As sad as it was to leave our luxurious hotel suite, I was super excited to finally see my new home. After a delicious and satisfying breakfast in the hotel's dining area, we went outside to wait for Sonia and Manuel to pick us up; they'd graciously offered to drive us and our luggage to our apartment.
David and my first reunion (after two years) took place in New York. Because of how momentous and special the occasion was for us, that hotel just off Times Square, in which we spent our first nights in America, will always hold a special place in my heart. And so will this place.
I don't know when riding in a car through this city will lose its magic. I hope it never does. I remember my last week in Michigan. Every time I had the opportunity to be a passenger, as opposed to the driver (which occurred quite frequently towards the end thanks to selling my car), I would make a point to soak in the views. Pressing my forehead to the window like a child in awe, I'd make mental notes of the landscapes, the homes, the ambience. I wanted to remember where I was coming from, and give myself a drastic base for comparison later on. Let me tell you, I don't think what I see while riding through Barcelona could be any more different than Midland, Michigan. Is it better? I'm tempted to say yes, but I'm biased. Ultimately, just having the opportunity to notice those differences is what I enjoy most.
Thanks to mountains that surround the city on all sides (except, of course, the coastline), I could tell when we were nearing our "barrio" (ignore the negative connotation, Americans, here it simply means "neighborhood"). We parked. Manuel offered me a straw hat. Sonia remarked that he sometimes sold them. I think it was a joke, though he did have several in a stack in his trunk. I wore the hat, briefly, as the four of us each lead a suitcase towards the entrance.
It was amazing. Not exactly like I had formed it in my head. Even though I had seen many photos, my head hadn't processed all of the proportions correctly. Regardless, I was in love, especially with the view.
Moving to an expensive city like Barcelona, I was expecting so many sacrifices. This apartment is something I'd be completely happy with in Columbus, or Midland! Sure there are little things to get used to (e.g., the frequently extinguishing gas, absence of a dryer, a dishwasher, etc.), I am more than comfortable and happy in my new abode.
David and I spent a good chunk of time in "OMG, here we are!" mode before I got the itch to unpack and settle in. We found temporary homes for everything and cleared my suitcases completely. Although we moved quickly, this took quite some time.
A very short walk from here, there is a very large, very American mall called La Maquinista. We decided to go there (but in car) to do some grocery shopping. I was quite impressed with Carrefour, an enormous supermarket, much like a Walmart or Meijer (for you midwesterners). I wasn't use to that kind of shopping in Spain. We were so tired that it was nearly impossible to choose anything. In the end, both frustrated and barely able to function, we quickly gathered enough items for the next couple days and made our way home.
We concluded the night by watching Buffy and putting together the Buffy collectors' figures that were David's Christmas present to me, but which up until now I'd only been able to enjoy via webcam.
Sadly, we discovered a minor flaw with the region-free DVD player David had scored at a second-hand store. Every couple minutes, the audio and video start to go out of sync. When this happens, someone has to quickly hit "pause" and "play" to reset the alignment and stop the distracting lag. But seriously, if that's the worst of my problems, forget I said anything at all.
Going to sleep in our bed for the first time was amazing. It's amazing how quickly this is feeling like home. But I should have expected it. Where ever David is, that's where I'm most comfortable.