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Thank You, Barcelona

Sometimes I just wonder if I’m using up all my good luck way too early in life because 2014 has honestly been on the best years of my life. Barcelona has taught me a lot about the world, but probably just as much about myself.
 It took me almost an entire semester, but I finally made it to Park Guell during my last weekend in Barcelona.

I chose Barcelona for warm weather, a chance to improve my Spanish, and because it is one of the best cities in the world for young people, but it gave me so many more reasons to stay. I had no idea just how important Catalan Pride was or just how much the ’92 Olympics forever changed the face of this global city. I also was totally unprepared for the flood of Belgians that would soon become some of my best friends here.

Barcelona challenged me, pushed me around, and took more of my money than I could ever get back, but the experience I got in return has been more than I ever expected. I have learned to start running once the crosswalk light starts blinking. I have learned to avoid La Rambla at all costs, unless I’m really feeling Walk to Wok, in which case it’s worst every tourist-filled step. And finally, I have learned when to be cautious, but also when to trust in strangers, embrace going at things solo, and to value the friendships I have made along the way. Some of my best experiences abroad had very little to do with the places I was, but more about the people I was with.

 While I didn't meet nearly as many locals as I had hoped,
I did meet lots of interesting and amazing friends from all over Europe.

In the last 4 months, I've hung out with the USA Basketball; swam in the Mediterranean, and climbed to the top of more hilltops than I can even remember. Before signing off though on this last blog of the semester, I also wanted to give a shout out to my parents for sending me on the adventure of a lifetime. Mom and Dad, thanks for giving me chance to explore the world.

Just recently, my dad joked, “when I die, can I just come back as one of my kids?” Dad, you say that after only getting the abridged version of all the fun I’ve been having, but the thing is, I’m only able to have these amazing experiences because of both of your love and support. So thank you for trusting me to live on my own, for letting me hop off to a new country every weekend, and for making the journey over to come see me.

 My family came to visit me during the week of Thanksgiving
and it was perfect chance to get some use out of my new "selfie stick."

Well, Barcelona. I guess it’s time for me to go, but I did drink out of that fountain at the top of La Rambla, which means apparently I’ll be finding my back. There is so much I still feel like I have to do, and I definitely plan to spend at least a couple more months on this continent at some point in my life. Until, then I’m back to land to peanut butter, dryers, and where “large,” actually means “large.”

It’s not goodbye, Barcelona. It’s just “see you later.”

Dillon Patel is the Fall 2014 CEA MOJO in Barcelona, Spain. He is currently a junior at Duke University.

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