Day One in Barcelona
Davíd pulled two shots of espresso from the machine that sat in their kitchen. He asked me if I wanted milk and sugar and I told him, "Como tu quieras" - "however you like it."
He pulls a carton of milk from the fridge as I step out onto a small patio overlooking a courtyard. I delicately touch a clothing line as if my touch would send the entire thing spiraling down. I remind myself I won't need to worry about my clothes shrinking - everything will be air dried.
I turn back to the kitchen, more spacious than the typical Barça flat, as he holds out my little shot of espresso with milk and sugar. We've been walking all day and I'm so eager to take it before he asks, "Wait, would you like ice in it?" I want to say no but it's hot, I mean I am sweltering and the only relief in the apartment is the cool cross breeze coming from both balconies.
I grudgingly, but over-excitedly say "Sure." Once we are on the balcony, sipping on iced coffee made from a native Barcelonian in his Barcelona apartment overlooking Barcelona architecture, I take a deep breath to soak it all in. It's hard to imagine that nearly an entire day prior I first boarded my plane at LAX headed to Barcelona.
My flight had been delayed one hour arriving into Barcelona and the customs line is longer and more chaotic than I have ever seen before.
I reset my wifi for about the 27th time but it's a no-go. This Barcelona free airport wifi is officially crappy.
I really hope Davíd D. got my message about which airline I was flying and I hope he didn't wait for me. I was supposed to land two hours ago.
"Hey! Those two just cut!" One of the thickest New Jersey accents I've ever heard interrupts my frantic thoughts. "Yeah - get in the back of the line! You have to suffer like the rest of us," I subtly turn around to match the voice to the face. Jersey Guy is huffing and puffing. His wife is beautiful and more collected as he keeps muttering "I'm so pissed off." But the line invaders were sent packing. Great - now only 248 people still ahead of me.
I look back at my phone and stare the crap out of the little connecting loading icon then give up. I even tried using my data to send a .50 text message to Davíd - "Abandon operation Pick-Up-American-but-kinda-Latina-looking-girl. I will figure it out - don't know how - but I repeat, Abandon operation pick-up!"
But the walls of that airport weren't letting a fragment of cellular data out or in. I hoped the same didn't hold true for us mere humans in this damn customs line.
So when I finally got through customs I had the other task of finding my baggage claim number. That went smoother than I thought it would and I finally snagged my other luggage piece - just the size of another carry-on - and I hustled towards the exit. How on earth will I get to the apartment. I start thinking to myself, "Well a cab can't cost too much to Barcelona" but then again my anxious thoughts are interrupted and I am grinning.
Davíd D. is waiving me down amongst the crowd. I smile so big and then immediately I yell across strangers' loved ones, "En serio?!! Davíd - you did NOT have to wait. Dinner is on me for, well, ever!!"
Of course he follows up with his "No pasa nada XIQUI! I cannot believe you are here!"
Neither could I. I mean, I looked like a plane gremlin and am sure I smelled like one - which I can leave to your imagination because you know, plane gremlins aren't a real thing.
And with that we were off! His car zipped along the vastness of the Barcelona highway as we headed toward his apartment in Barca-freaking-lona. I couldn't believe it.
Songs played on the radio that were also popular in the States. It's funny to think that not long ago, American songs didn't arrive to other countries until several years later.
The boys, Davíd D. and Davíd B., had their own flat now. They previously had both been living with their parents which isn't uncommon for those in their mid- to late twenties in Barcelona. They also have the same friend group they had growing up in the city. Many of them talk about leaving some day, but in every sense Barcelona is their routine, their map, their playground, their home.
I walk into the apartment and gasp, "This. Is. Massive!"
Most flats are tiny but their living room is spacious. The room is awashed in white as sunlight pours in from their balcony that over looks the bustling street below. And across the way is an old bull fighting stadium and directly to the left is La Sagrada Familia.
I later asked the Davids about coffee and they had no clue about third wave or specialty coffee. One responded, "It's just a liquid I drink to give me energy." I attempted to hold in my gasps and disappointment and failed. He couldn't believe that I drank my coffee black. He insisted that I used sugar or milk.
But I told him no - there is such thing as good coffee. In fact, there is such high quality coffee that it is seen as wine with tasting notes and everything. He and the other David looked at me perplexed. I promised I'd take them to the places in their own city.
I continued gazing at the view that could pass as a fake backdrop. I thought about my luggage that needed to be unpacked. I pushed that seemingly small yet large task at hand and sipped my iced coffee, slowly.
As I set my elbows on the ledge and leaned over - it finally hit me, "I made it. I'm in Barcelona. And I desperately need to shower."
The Coffee Nomad