It’s been a little more than eight years since I spent three days in Barcelona as part of a three and a half week, six country backpacking trip through Europe with my then roommates K and J. Arriving today by plane from Granada I was amazed at how wonderfully familiar it felt. Like finding a favourite shirt you forgot you owned in the back of the closet and putting it on to find it still fits perfectly. You didn’t miss it while it was gone, but once you’ve been reunited with it, it again quickly becomes an essential part of your wardrobe.

This is a pleasant surprise given I wasn’t actually all that keen on coming here. On that backpacking trip, Barcelona was one of our longest stops, and for that reason I had told G that I felt no strong need to return. But, he really wanted to come here, and we found a really cheap domestic flight, so here we be. I am a good sister sometimes : )

He’s had his moments on this trip too. For example, he didn’t complain at all Saturday night when I made him leave the flamenco show we were at early cause I was sick. Nor the next day when my attempt at acting like I felt better failed and I ditched him at the Alhambra to go back to the room and sleep. Not saying I expected him to react poorly, but when you find yourself spending two weeks straight with someone you haven’t spent more than a few days in a row with for more than a decade, there’s a reacquainting process that needs to take place.

For example, have learned that he talks in his sleep. The first couple nights I was answering him from across the room. Have now (with a sigh of relief) accepted that it’s not me he’s telling off in the middle of the night. The seven-year-old boy who wore the same pair of sox for two weeks straight at summer camp now balks at wearing the same t-shirt two days in a row. And I had no idea how big a passion he had developed for Subway sandwiches. I think I may have seen tears in his eyes when we saw a Subway on La Rambla this afternoon.

I am sure he could write a similar list for me. But, well, I have a blog and he doesn’t, so you’ll never know how I’ve changed. Okay, that’s not fair. I have at least noticed a few differences between me now, and me when I was in BCN eight year ago that I can share. For example, had never considered the benefits of eye cream then. Now, at 31, I apply it daily in hopes of staving off the aging process at least a few more years. Eight years ago I packed one nice skirt. This time around: two skirts and two dresses. All signs point to me having completely out grown out of my tomboy fashion sense should I ever visit a third time : )

As much as this trip had given us a chance to get to know each other as adults, it’s also been an opportunity to remember and strengthen the bonds that kept us close as kids. We are the only two people in the world who share A as an older brother. A, if you’re reading, you better be here for the next trip. We are the only
two people that can be moved to laughter over silly shared child-hood memories (“I’ve got the hic-ups.” . . . “I’ve got the hic-downs.”) and we both still like the thought of spending an afternoon biking around town.

So, tomorrow’s plan is to rent bikes and check out BCN on wheels. For me, a chance to see how much has changed, and how much is wonderfully familiar.

To close, a few pics of stuff that made me smile today:

(1) Reunion with the best fruit + veg market I’ve ever visited.

(2) Chillin’ on the pier pre-tapas

(3) Simpson’s crackers

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