Calçotada: Take 1

Yesterday was yet another first to check off the ole bucket list: go to a calçotada – aka a traditional Catalan onion BBQ. Calçots are long, skinny stalks of onions that are a local staple during the winter months. Family and friends gather together in restaurants, in parks or at home, to eat a vast amount of barbecue grilled calçots and meats, most often accompanied by pan con tomate (slices bread with tomato, olive oil, and salt) and beer.

My church here, the International Church of Barcelona, hosted a calçotada yesterday at a camp area in Les Planes. More specifically, Awaken – the young adult community group of ICB, hosted the event and about 75 young adults ended up coming and enjoy the afternoon with tasty food and great company.

I took the FGC train from Plaza Cataluña to Les Planes with the gals, and thankfully only got slightly train-sick on the ride over. The ICB Awaken team was ready to roll with bags of freshly sliced bread, tomatoes, salt, the delicious calçot sauce, cutlery, chips, and beverages. Technically it was BYOB and bring your own additional side, as the five euros per person covered pan con tomate, calçots, and butifarra (Catalan sausage).

It was a wonderful event and the weather held out for us! I would love to fit in another calçotada before my trip home coming up here… but we’ll see. Nothing planned so far. Also, plug: If you’re a young adult in Barcelona and looking for fun things to do, an awesome community, interested in having a relationship with Christ, or all of the above, you should really consider joining Awaken at ICB. People from almost sixty nations are members of ICB and they are shining examples of Christian hospitality and compassion. Don’t hesitate, just check them out!

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First Time For Everything

My birthday was lovely… It was my first birthday away from my family and good friends, but Damian, his family, and my friends here spoiled me. The actual birthday was spread out in about a week’s worth of festivities – one night I went to a cabaret show here (The Hole 2) with my old host-mom, Marta, and a mutual friend, Janelle, as a joint bday celebration for Marta and myself. It was a racy show and I probably blushed through the majority of it but some pretty good stand-up acts and amazing circus type performances. I was impressed and it was a fun first time experience.

The celebrations continued by having a delicious brunch at Marmalade with my gal friends here on Saturday the 7th. There are few ways I’d rather start my day than with Eggs Benedict and a mimosa. That night Damian and I went to our favorite pizzeria (Tío Mario) and then got drinks at Balius Bar, a cute old-school cocktail bar in Poblenou. On my actual birthday, when I got home from church at ICB, Damian and his dad had made a large quantity of milanesa, homemade fries, and a bizcocho cake. So far 24 has been lovely!

Día de San Valentín: The day started off lovely with donuts at Lukumas with the gals and then spent some quality time hangin’ with them. I had my first legit Valentine’s Day plans this year. For my birthday, the parents of the American family for which I nanny gave me a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant in the city, Santa Gula. So we made reservations early, and then Saturday the 14th Damian and I had dinner there – the food and wine were amazing and the atmosphere was cozy yet light. Also, first time getting Valentine’s Day flowers!

I am still loving my church here, ICB, and I am now in a new small group that is led by a missionary couple from Texas and Kansas- they are missionaries here that are working to open a dream center in Raval (a very diverse inner city area of BCN)- So I’m hoping to get involved in that helping in some way or another. Also, looking forward to going to my first ever Calçotada tomorrow afternoon in Les Planes with Awaken, the young adults group at ICB. Good company + an onion BBQ? Yep!

I’m also getting super excited to be coming home soon! Woo hoo! Less than 3 weeks!

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