La Môme

Last night we went to the movies to see La Môme, which I think was translated to La Vie en Rose – The Apassionate Life of Edith Piaf in North America. It’s one of those movies that leaves you wanting to clap at the end while you stare at the credits on the screen going “wow!”. I have to go out now and will leave the comments for later, but I’ll leave you with the trailer…

Marion Cotillard does a magnificent job as Edith Piaf. I’ll never forget the scene when an older Edith collapses on stage and wants to go back on stage. Her manager says there’s no way, it would be suicide. She begs him saying “Je dois chanter, je dois chanter… j’ai pas de choix!” (I have to sing, I have to sing… I don’t have a choice!). Very powerful…


Time to change the blog…

I was a bit naive when I first created this blog. Since the main purpose of the blog was to chronicle our year in Barcelona and keep in touch with friends and family, I named it Our Great European Adventure. Not very creative, I know, but then, who said I was good with titles. The idea was that the blog would exist only as long as we were in Europe, I didn’t really think it would continue after we got back to Canada. But as any person who blogs knows, blogs are a bit organic and grow and change with time. I became more involved, started reading other blogs, met a lot of amazing people in the blogosphere, reconnected with a lot of my compatriots, and now I can’t think of not having a blog. I also didn’t want to change the address since that is a bit annoying…

So, since as of wednesday we’ll no longer be in Europe, Our Great European Adventure has been renamed building bridges. Living in Canada had already opened my eyes to the world and made me realize how small it actually is but living in Barcelona really brought that to an entirely new level. We leave Barcelona after one year having made very good friends from all over the world and with many plans to visit them and to have them come and visit us in Canada. We introduced people to Canadian and Brazilian customs and all that made me see that there isn’t anything as gratifying as building bridges between peoples and cultures. So this blog will now continue as a place where I will talk a bit about the world around me as well as a place to introduce our friends abroad to life in Toronto, the meeting place of the world.

Welcome to building bridges.

More goodbyes…

Today was my last day at the archives… After stopping at the post office to mail yet another box to Canada and then at the bank to close my account, I finally got to the archives at about 10 AM. I worked until about 1:30 pm when I just sort of hung out with Quino, Virginia, Paco, Felix, David, Jessica, all the wonderful people I’ve met in the year I’ve spent here. Some are archivists, others are security personnel.

I remember the first day I got to the archives. I felt overwhelmed. I didn’t know the procedure and I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to order. After one year, I’ve become more or less like a fellow employee. I’ll miss the random chats I used to have with all the wonderful people I’ve met there… The long chats about Catalan history and culture with Quino, about the neighbourhoods of Barcelona with Virginia, politics with Felix, and of course, about football in general and Barça in particular with the security guards (with whom I bonded during the world cup).

Hasta pronto amigos!!

Quino, Virigina & I:

Quino, Virginia, and I

In the reading room:

Felix making me chocolate flowers:


After having lunch with Naomi at Wushu’s (our last meal there for the next while, sniff), I went out to meet a fellow blogger here in Barcelona. Fernanda is Brazilian, married with a Spaniard and lives here in Barcelona. She’s trying to conciliate a tough MA in Comparative Literature with family life and raising a child. So far she’s been VERY successful and I’m certain she’ll continue to be so. Her little girl is adorable – only 4 years’ old and already able to take a picture of us:

© a cometarista

We had a great time meeting for the first time in person after several exchanges through the web, visiting each other’s blogs. As a parting gift, she bought me a book. Fernanda, MUITO obrigada, viu? E parabéns pela filhota…


Argh! it seems like the more we pack, the more there is to be packed! When we moved from our apartment on Rosselló to Jacquie and Sebastian’s house we sent three boxes to Canada. We thought we could fit everything else in our suitcases but guess what? We sent two boxes this morning and have two more boxes to send tomorrow and I’m considering getting one last box to put the remaining photocopies and books I have. Oh well, one gotta do what one gotta do…

Only 5 more days!!!! eeeeeeeek!!!!!!

Kinda scary, actually

I first created this blog, about 13 months ago, mainly to keep in touch with family and friends, and to post pictures and stories of our year in Barcelona. I had a choice or password-protecting the blog but decided not to. There would always be a friend or family member who lost the passport and couldn’t get in and I would have to administer the blog more closely to make sure everybody I know had the access code. Since I didn’t have anything to hide, I decided to leave it open. For the most part everything has worked fine. WordPress does a fine job in filtering spam and I’ve got to meet some amazing people in the blogosphere. Since the blog doesn’t attract that many people – a maximum of 213 per day so far – I never thought it would attract the attention of the media. Well, now I have to think again. Remember this post? Well, these guys read it too:

Radio canada banner

Radio Canada Text

Wow… freaky really… five people have visited the blog from that news report page. If you are one of them, welcome to this very random, idiosyncratic blog!

Saying goodbye to amazing friends

Our year in Barcelona was truly amazing. We traveled around, visited many places I have studied, I collected thousands of documents for my thesis, my cooking has greatly improved, my Spanish improved dramatically and I now understand Catalan well. Barcelona is an incredible city, so creative and alive that kept us buzzed with ideas all the time. Yet, the most important thing we got out of our year here was the number of incredible friends we have made. We feel we have made friendships that will last our lifetime… It was really a life-changing experience for us. The people I have met here really broadened my horizons, made me think in new ways, gave me so much that I’ll never be able to repay them.

Today we had a lunch party with about 15 of our closest friends here. They hailed from all parts.

From Catalunya: Pau & Mireia, Eli & her boyfriend; Mexico: Jesús, Citlali; Uruguay: Andres (who taught me to make mate! more on that later…); Germany: Sebastian, Sylvie; India: Jacquie; Canada: Joy; Australia: Zephyr; Chile: Francisca; Andalusia (Spain): Carmen; Brasil: Carmem

I was very proud of all the food we made. For starters Sebastian made a cured Salmon filet, and I prepared some fresh veggies with dip. Lunch consisted of Chicken Marbella (a recipe I got from a professor in Canada),  Basmati rice,  Gratin de Chou-Fleur, Fennel salad with red peppers & green onions, Spinach salad with pinenuts and honey-balsamic dressing.  Desserts were completely Catalan: Flam de Mató, Mel i Mató (both from Granja Viader, the oldest dairy house in Barcelona and home of the best mató in town), Musik (dried nuts), all served with heaps of dessert wines (Muscatel in a porrón, icewine, orange wine…). Pau has made Alan an honorary Catalan citizen for his expertise with the porrón and will be sending him a Catalan ID card soon ;)

In usual fashion, we sat down to eat at around 3 pm and the first ones left at 8:45 pm while the rest trickled our around 11:30 pm.  We had an amazing time with everyone and will hold each and everyone of them in our hearts when we leave…

[note: tomorrow I’ll post pictures here] 

Chicos, espero veros todos en Canada un dia!!! Volveremos a Barcelona pronto!!