KelsieGleason's Travel Journals

KelsieGleason Kelsie Gleason

  • 27 years old
  • From Illinois, United States
  • Currently in Barcelona, Spain

Visions and Revisions: Discovering the Culture of Barcelona

This journal will serve as a collection of my experiences, observations, and reflections over the next four months of cultural immersion in Barcelona.

One Week

Spain Barcelona, Spain  |  Jan 16, 2011
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            Today it has been exactly a week since I arrived in Spain. I’ve finally mastered the public transportation thing and can find my around pretty well now. I don’t stand out as much either, as long as I’m not with our entire class group. Being able to blend in has given me a lot more opportunities to just observe the people here and their way of life.

            What immediately jumps out at me from my observations has been the way the children act. There are a lot of young boys that act just like little boys in the US, pushing each other, swearing, screaming on the metro, etc. But those boys seem to be the minority. Overall the kids seem a lot more mature and independent here. They are very respectful, giving up their seat for older passengers, or helping a disabled passenger get his wheelchair off the metro. I’ve seen children that seem to be about 10 years old riding the metro alone and I’ve seen kindergarten age children walking down the street without any supervision. I’ve also seen a number of young children buying bread or other groceries at the store. I’m thinking this is probably due to Barcelona being safer than Chicago and parents trusting their children with more responsibilities/decision making. My host sister, María, is allowed to stay out all night with boys, something my parents would never have allowed me to do. My brother, Hector, is only 20, but he already works full time. He is gone all day, from early in the morning until late at night, but he still helps out at home without being asked. If he sees that his mom is about to take the dog for a walk, he will take the leash from her and walk the dog himself. He is the same age as me, but most of the time he acts a lot older. Maybe this is because he is the only male in the household while his father is away and feels like he needs to take care of his mom and sister? The only time I see Hector relax is when he is playing Call of Duty on his PS3 or watching soccer on tv.

            The way our sister interacts with her mother is pretty different from the way Hector does though. She seems to just expect that her mother will do things for her, and gets mad if her dinner isn’t prepared on time or her clothes aren’t clean. She is the youngest child and the only daughter, so maybe that is why she acts so much more entitled than the other Spanish children I’ve seen.

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