The Turning Point (Day 38 to 43 in Barcelona)

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Day 38 – Expanding my Speaking, in English and Spanish

At an outdoor cafe in Turo Park, I met with Steven Kelly, who was in Barcelona on vacation. Bryan Wish introduced us as he is helping me find speaking opportunities for The Fast Forward Mindset in Europe while we are living here. 

Steven works at The West Wing Writers, a speech writing company based in DC and they recently launched a product called We-Amplify. It is an SAAS tool that gives you access to over 5200 contacts for speakers looking to get booked. It could be an opportunity for me, although most of the contacts are in the US.  Either way, I truly enjoyed speaking with Steven because he asked great questions and truly listened. That is more rare that you would think. 

After my meeting with him I got two more emails, one from someone who is in town now and another who will be visiting soon. I enjoy slowly moving to the role of resource and guide to friends and colleagues from the states coming by on their vacation travels. 

While at home, I tried an online Spanish tutor service called baselang that has unlimited sessions for $149 per month. The first zoom call was great. My hope is to be able to supplement my in-person classes with online tutors. My kids are doing 80 minutes a day, so I need to make sure to at least be able to keep up with them! 

I ended up picking the kids up at school again as Kel had her cooking class and then an event at the school to meet Jonah’s teachers. The kids had an hour art class in a cute neighborhood called Sarria. No one who worked their spoke english which I think is great. Jonah went to a younger kids class and the twins went to a sculpting workshop. 

While they were in class I sat in a square and watched hundreds of kids playing and having fun. I am still in the phase where I enjoy watching people interact and see how the culture is both different and the same as ours. 

The chef came back to our apartment for the second time and prepared meals for us for the upcoming week. It was amazing to see her work in the kitchen during the day.  For a busy family who wants whole food and healthy, creative meals, this is such a great option vs. take out. 

Tonight we had a cod and vegetable dish, with panko crusted eggplant dipped in honey, and we had brown rice and beans on the side.  Kids worked on their homework then we all passed out from a full day. 

Day 39 – Second Green Committee Meeting 

I went for a run in the morning. Then at 3pm we had our second meeting of the Green committee for the kids school and this time we had students involved. The dean of the school ran the meeting and took us through a process to clarify, advocate, and then choose initiatives for the year. He did a great job keeping things organized. At the end we all had to choose our top 3 that we want to focus on this year. Some ideas were a paperless school, more education on sustainability, and meatless food alternatives (guess who suggested that one). 

After that, I brought the kids home from school on the bus. That was my third day in a row, bringing the kids home. I love being more involved! We laid low on Friday night. Had one of the dishes from the chef on our terrace and then Kel and I started watching the TV show Friends in spanish to learn more spanish and have some fun with it. 

Day 40 – My Adventure Day with Jonah 

Leila and Josh had a bday party at a paintball place. We made the mistake of thinking it was located about 2 miles away, but it was actually 10 miles away in the middle of nowhere. We were running super later and Kel ended up taking a taxi there and luckily she was able to get another parent to bring the kids home with a car, so she just took the taxi back home in a $70 round trip ride. 

I had my first alone day with one of the kids for the month (See Post ” “). It turned into an epic day with Jonah. I decided to take the gondola up Mountjuc, as I figured Jonah would like the Gondola ride and the view, and the castle on top would be cool to see. 

We took a taxi there and the start of the Gondola was actually so high up the hill that I thought there was a miscommunication and he took me to the top of the mountain. Realizing we still could go higher with the Gondola I was relieved. The ride itself was actually pretty short (less than 10 minutes) and I saw below there was a nice trail you could take up also. Maybe I will run it some day. 

The top did not disappoint. The castle/fort was very cool. Lot of cannons facing the ocean and the surrounding hills, I presume to protect it from invading ships. Jonah hopped right on one of them. Inside the castle was awesome. I def need to learn the background of it. 

Jonah running right to the cannon on the top of Mountjuc.
Searching for Intruders.

We had a snack up top and then noticed a group of people doing archery on the grounds outside.

What a cool place to do archery.

That was unexpected and cool. We then proceeded to take the gondola down and from there I said we should walk to the ocean. The plan was to find a boat once there. On the way down we saw this stadium looking thing with gates over it and it was locked. It looked very old, like a concert stadium or something on the side of the mountain. 

Taking the gondola back down.

As we kept walking, I saw an opening of what look like a food concession stand for the stadium that was open for tourists. As Jonah and I ran in, I was definitely surprised by what I saw. It was the old swimming pools and diving boards from the 1992 Olympics.  The stadium itself looked old and decrepit with trash and graffiti everywhere. However, they seemed to be taking care of the pools as they were blue and clear and filled with ducks swimming and cleaning themselves in it. 

The 1992 Barcelona Olympics diving competition.

With no fear, Jonah started climbing down the seats instead of the stairs and it was very steep which certainly made me nervous. We ordered pizza and got coconut water to give us some more energy for our walk to the ocean, which I knew was going to be longer than Jonah wanted. But I figured it was worth a shot. 

As we kept heading down we hit the side of the mountain and then we saw something that just put a smile to my face. I remembered seeing it from the beach last time we were there. There is a huge one car gondola that holds about 50 people, and takes them from the beach area to the mountain. Now we could have another fun ride, and actually make it to the beach. 

The gondola went very high. Felt like 200 feet or so over the land and then it went over parts of the water. We were soaring over the cruise ships which looked tiny below us. Finally we got to the beach and landed in this tower, where we took an elevator down to the ground. 

Heading to the midway point on the cable car taking us to the beach.

From there we headed to the sand, where Jonah went out to collect the smoothest rocks he could find for the next 30 minutes. As we headed out I saw a huge ferris wheel on the boardwalk that I knew was not there two weeks ago when I ran to the beach. 

Guess who had to carry all of these rocks home.

As we headed closer I could see it was one of those temporary carnivals. This one however had amazing rides. The ferris wheel was so big there was no way you would ever think it was a temporary structure. 

The largest temporary ferris wheel I have ever seen.

Over the next 90 minutes we went ride hoping. First was the bumper cars that were the fastest bumper cars I have ever driven in. Then there was this ride that seemed harmless enough that went up and in a circle. Jonah was dying to go on it. As soon as it started Jonah realized it was a HUGE mistake. The ride went so fast that when you went up and dropped down you flew out of your seat into the shoulder harness holding us in.

His screaming on this ride made his screaming on the boat (See Post ”  “) look like child’s play. He was screaming bloody murder and the ride seemed to never stop. After that we took a break and caught our breath.

How we both felt after getting off the ride behind us.

Then we did the huge ferris wheel that looped 11 times! From there I was done and Jonah did two more things solo, a trampoline park area and a fun house.  After several tries, we finally were able to hail an empty taxi and went home to relax. 

Jonah ending the carnival on a high note in this 3D fun house.

That night, Kel and I went out with another couple who just moved from the states. We had a great time getting to know each other. After dinner we went to the speakeasy bar called Old Fashion that Kelli and I went to back in May while looking for our apartment. It’s such a cool, unique bar! 

Got home by 1am. Another full day in Barcelona! 

Day 41 – A Tranquilo Sunday

Sunday I started my day off with a 4 mile run to the base of Tibidabo mountain. My real goal was to run on the same trail halfway up the mountain that I did two weeks back, but I started too late. After the full day on Saturday we were happy to have a more tranquilo Sunday.  Kelli picked Lelia up from the sleepover bday party she was at and Josh actually had two play dates. First at his friends house and the second at ours. That meant of course Jonah had a playdate too never leaving the boys alone for a second. 

At one point Kel took a walk solo to just get some needed time to herself. When she got back, I headed to the gym to get back to my workout routine. Still feel there is nothing better than a run in the morning and a weights workout in the evening. 

We had our Rosh Hashanah dinner on the terrace with apples and honey to start off the New Year! 

Day 42 – Monday – Action Verbs 

I took the kids to school and had my Spanish class. We learned important verbs that I had already been using informally. Tener (have), Ver (see), Comer (eat), Querer (want), trabajar (to work), vivir (to live), and a few others. 

I once again stayed in the classroom and worked for several hours. At one point I had a funny run-in when I went to the bathroom on the first floor and someone knocked. As I opened the door to leave, it was none other than my 5 year old son by himself!  What were the chances of that? He was in the library and had to go. So that was a nice surprise to us both. 

At 2pm, I had lunch with an amazing entrepreneur, Eva Duran,  who I was introduced to before I even came to Barcelona. She took me to a local Spanish restaurant and we covered so many topics. Afterwards, she let me use her office for my 4pm online Spanish tutor. It was the top floor of an all glass office building with 360 views of all of Barcelona. How inspiring! 

I decided to work on two key things with my tutor. First, saying where I am from and second directions. I was proud of myself for having a broken conversation with our taxi driver in the morning and I struggled with both of these phrases. Soy de Estados Unidos, pero ahora vivo de Barcelona para un año.

After lunch I walked back home, picked Leila up after her dance class and we ended the night as we love to by having a delicious dinner on our back terrace. 

Day 43 – Tuesday – Jonah Thinking Night Was Day

I had my longest run today. It was a 10k. And yes later in the day I went to the gym and worked out hard. Now my biggest challenge is to figure out my food situation so I am not starving all the time and then overeat.  Also, I got my first haircut. The barber was from Croatia and did a great job for only 17 euro. I think that was my cheapest haircut to date. 

I met Kel and the kids in the apartment around 5 and Kel took Leila to the mall to buy shoes and I hung with the boys. Jonah was so exhausted, he fell asleep on me on the couch at 6pm. Around 7:30pm he woke up and I decided it would be a great opportunity to create a fun memory for my kids. Hoping it didn’t backfire. 

I knew when Jonah woke up he would be confused. Josh looked at me and said I think Jonah thinks it is morning. So I said, let’s go with it. Leila and Joshua put on their backpacks and we did our normal rush. “Come on guys let’s go. We need to leave now or we will be late for school,” I said. We gave Jonah his backpack and he put it on with no argument and we headed to the elevator. 

As we headed down to the lobby, we looked down at Jonah’s feet and he is not wearing shoes. So we sat on the couch in the lobby and Jonah just had a dazed look on his face. On the one hand, I felt bad, but on the other hand it was so cute. I called Kelli to bring down his flip flops and told her what we are doing. She brought them and then we walked to the store to get breakfast because Jonah had “forgotten” to eat.  

The twins tricking Jonah it was time for school at 8pm.

Finally, we decided to go back up stairs because Leila forgot something and in the elevator we let him know it was night time and that we played a joke on him. He laughed and took it like a good sport…… Phew…