Wednesday, March 10, 2010

8 March 2010 - Barcelona "Blizzard"

My street in the snow

I lived in Minnesota for twenty-six years. In this time I endured some tough winter storms. The storms were most severe when I lived in Hibbing. I remember two years in a row where we received over 130 inches (330 cm) of snow over the course of the winter. Those two years definitely made me a snow lover and made me quite immune to winter weather. This immunity proved beneficial when I moved south to Minneapolis where I’d often find myself the only person out running in the middle of a winter blizzard where temps would drop below zero degrees Fahrenheit and snow accumulations would easily surpass a foot in just a few hours.

Despite these intense winters, I had not experienced a snow day, a day where either my work or my school was cancelled due to winter weather, in well over a decade. In Minnesota, people are so used to snowy, icy conditions that a severe blizzard may just slow a commute but won’t force a snow day. We were simply too accustomed to the weather to ever benefit from it.

Today Barcelona experienced a freakish snow storm. At my school which sits atop a hill overlooking the city, nearly two inches of snow accumulated (Down in the city, I would classify the precipitation as slush, not snow). One of my teachers, a native of Barcelona, had never seen snow like this in the last twenty-five years. Traffic stood at a complete stand-still as drivers sat frightened and confused in their cars. Even though the traffic wasn’t moving, many cars still managed to end up stuck in ditches, atop sidewalks, and even caught in the middle of the road. No one could function. The metro, proving to be the only viable form of transportation in the city, was abuzz with talks of the storm. No one had encountered such a horrendous storm. How could life go on?

A storm like this would have no impact on the operations of any Minnesotan city. Actually, this would not be considered a storm; instead it’d be referred to as a dusting. Nevertheless, this dusting is giving me my first snow day in perhaps fifteen years. As I write this, the “snow” has stopped and my street is already clear (it is well above freezing). Fortunately, school was already canceled, allowing me to go to the bars tonight. Apparently, the IESE administrators hadn’t learned from Minnesotans to wait until the morning to cancel class.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

3 March 2010 – Barcelona

It is Sant Medir. Until fifty minutes ago, I had never heard of this holiday/celebration. My knowledge of this holiday began tonight when my evening study session was interrupted by the sound of drums, reverberating through the narrow streets of Gracia. I ventured onto my balcony and into the pouring rain to find a small drum corps eagerly marching up and down Mila i Fontanals—one of the few through streets in this old community. After a few minutes on my balcony, in my underwear, in the rain, I lost interest in the enthusiastic procession which was occurring on the street below me, and I returned into my dry apartment.

As soon as I entered my apartment, I noticed my phone was blinking, indicating that a message awaited me. Upon a brief scan of my phone messages, it became evident that I wasn’t the only person intrigued by this celebration occurring on my street; the other expats in my neighborhood had noticed this strange happening and had begun to hypothesize via messenger why some crazys would be out marching in the rain. The consensus was that we were just witnessing another idiosyncrasy of our barrio, but fortunately, I received word—over Facebook—about the Sant Medir celebrations. Who knew?

I don’t have anything deep to say tonight except for Happy Sant Medir…whatever that means.

18 February 2010 – London

Until today, I have never been to England. Until yesterday, I had no plans to go here. Now I find myself in some Marriott near Heathrow Airport after spending the afternoon walking aimlessly around London.

A few weeks ago I interviewed with a company that you all know. Not being big on working or on interviews, I didn’t expect much for an outcome. However, on Tuesday I received a call asking me to participate in a second round phone interview on Wednesday morning. On Wednesday evening I received a call asking me to go to London the next morning. That brings me to this point.

I don’t interview until tomorrow, yet I arrived in London this morning, allowing me to spend all of Thursday doing whatever (which equates to roaming aimlessly). Today reminded me—again—that life goes on outside of work and school. It is sad that in just six months of classes, I had started to forget about the great life that constantly lives. Just because I am stuck on an eight to five school day doesn’t mean that everyone else is. Walking the busy streets of London serves as a great reminder of the other options available. At the same time, it makes me wonder if I should be interviewing.

While I currently am torn about getting a new job, I’m again excited by the randomness of life. Twenty four hours ago, I had no plans to ever visit England. Now, I’m in London and in another twenty four hours I’ll be back in Spain…after spending a few hour layover in Zurich. Now that is cool.