the art of spanish terrace barbecues

it is a truth universally acknowledged that spanish people take their food seriously.

the day after we all stayed the night at pol's, he woke us with the idea that we should have a barbecue feast on his terrace in the sun. we gang of vagabonds had been scrounging food and eating as little as possible up until then, so a feast seemed well deserved. i bought the meat, scottish peter bought the veggies, pol cooked it all, clara brought wine and beer, and everyone else brought their musical talent, pretty faces, and/or entertaining stories from the night before. 

there was music, there was laughter, and there was grease. it was perfect.

two days later, i somehow found myself at an entirely spanish barbecue about 30 minutes outside of the city. i was the only american (or native english speaker, for that matter) amongst a group of at least 20 really hip twenty-something catalonians. 

we all squeezed in around one long table on the terrace of this beautiful house in the mountains. it was an all day affair--over 8 or 9 hours of eating, drinking, and laughing. i accepted drinks with a smile and ate things that had to be explained to me in broken english. wine switched to beer switched to liquor as the day got later. and strangers turned into friends as the hours went by. everyone took turns practicing their english with me, which i was grateful for, because catalan sounds worlds away from spanish in my book. but even when nobody was speaking english with me, i was able to sit and observe and just feel so damn grateful to be there. 

i don't know if i've ever felt so wholly immersed in a foreign culture the way i did that day. not just because i was alone with a group of spanish people i hardly knew, but because i was with a group of proud catalonians, which is a culture i previously knew nothing about.

one of the boys took the time to explain to me the whole rivalry between the once-independent region of catalonia and the rest of spain. he told me they want to re-gain independence in order to preserve their culture. the rest of the country if forcing them to conform to spanish culture, through various rules and regulations. and as he explained the history of it all with his carefully crafted english, i watched a group of boys climb up to the roof and perch themselves next to the catalan flag. i stared at the silhouette of their backs looking out at the blue valley below, and i understood.

those people and that setting were painfully charming. it was without a doubt the most picturesque day of my time in barcelona. and i don't have a single picture to prove it. luckily, it was hauntingly memorable. i could never forget.