KelsieGleason's Travel Journals

KelsieGleason Kelsie Gleason

  • 28 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.

Tenim un nom el sap tothom: Barça, Barça, Baaarça!

Spain Barcelona, Spain  |  Feb 12, 2011
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            Well, now that I’ve seen Camp Nou I can definitely say that FC Barcelona is "Més que un club!" I’d even go as far as to say that my life is complete now that I’ve seen it, but that might be a bit overdramatic… It was definitely one of the coolest things I’ve seen so far though! We got to see all of Barça’s trophies, learn about the history of the club, and tour the stadium. We went in the locker room where the players change, saw the chapel where they pray before games, walked through the tunnel that the players run through before the games, and walked right up next to the field. (And I may or may not have pretended I was a Barça player getting ready for a game…) We even got to go up in the press box and the room where the players get interviewed! In the museum we listened to the Barça anthem, watched pretty much every goal ever scored in the history of the club, and generally just stared in awe at all the trophies and every single player's jersey. Oh and I got a photo with Messi (I can pretend it was real, right?) It was a tough choice between Alves, Valdes, and Messi, but Messi looked the least awkward on the green screen, so he won out...

            I was surprised by how political FC Barça is for the Catalans, and it was cool to see how much the club means to them. The Catalans used the football team as a way to protest against fascism during the civil war and during Franco’s regime and as a way to defend their rights and freedoms, jeering the national anthem in protest before a game and participating in strikes. A lot of the players fought on the Republican side of the civil war, and the club president was murdered by Nationalists. When the Nationalists occupied Barcelona, they considered the club a symbol of 'undisciplined Catalanism’ and they forced it to adopt a Castilian name, Club de Fútbol Barcelona, and to remove the Catalan flag from its club shield. Despite all of the hardships the club and its fans faced, today they proudly sing the club anthem, cheering, “s'ha demostrat que mai ningu no ens podrà torcer” or “we have shown that no one can ever break us.” I can’t wait to go to a game now to see what the stadium looks like when it’s packed with fans! March 19th can’t come soon enough!

            Oh and a quick update about last week—we had a “Speed Intercambio” with Spanish university students on Thursday which was a lot of fun. We met in groups of 2 US students with 2 Spanish students for 4 minutes at a time, just talking about school, home and family, nightlife, future plans, facebook usage, and anything and everything in between. The students are all studying communications and most are majoring in journalism, marketing, or public relations. They’re required to take 2 years of English at the university, so it was a great chance for them to practice English and us to practice Spanish. We had a lot in common with them and it was fun to get to practice Spanish with native speakers who are the same age as us. I’m excited to get to meet up with them to talk more one on one and get to know them better! On an unrelated side note: I learned at the “Speed Intercambio” that Spaniards are even more obsessed with ham than I had originally thought. Only in Spain can you find ham flavored potato chips… The Spanish students couldn’t understand why I was so shocked that ham is a chip flavor. The chips weren’t too bad, but it was definitely a different taste… Oh, and the Cheetos were shaped like footballs. I think the US definitely needs to jump on that bandwagon!

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