Jo estic català

Today was rough. In fact, it is less like one day, not even two, but more like three.

I slept two hours before going to the beach, and felt rather exhausted when I did wake. Kaitlin and I went anyways, and it was ok, but the weather could have been better.

Then the coming back and the going away dinner and the despedidas to everybody I met in the program. Surprisingly, I wasn’t too sad about it all. Yet.

Later, I went to meet some of my other friends at a bar, then a club because the bar closed before I even got to it. On my walk, I heard some guys behind me talking, basically wondering where I was from. One seemed pretty confident that I was from here. Enough to actually ask me, “Eres Catalán?”. I replied yes, to see if I could go with it, but somehow they could tell right away by my pronunciation of “sí”. Oh well, it was worth a try.

Later, after some hard goodbyes and feeling like my whole life here is slowly being pulled away like a thread from my belly button until it is all gone and I am completely empty, ready to be refilled when the plane touches down in Cleveland, I realized something – I passed as Catalán. The last few weeks, people have been asking me the time, how the food is, directions once and a while, which side of the train to take. People think I fit in, people assume I know the language. I am not the blatant American, I no longer scream “speak English to this tourist”. I am, for the moment, Catalán. Jo estic català.

I have triumphed.

My mission, complete.

I can now go home rest assured that I have, without a doubt, reached my cultural experience here, and not just remained a long-term tourist. This was real. The friendships permanent, though soon-to-be long distant. Barcelona stays, but I will not, and that is just something that this place and I are just going to have to figure out and deal with.

Twenty-four hours to go. I want to be sedated. These words have never meant so much to me.

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5 thoughts on “Jo estic català

  1. DJM says:

    I am very jealous. I tried very hard, but was never very successful at passing as Japanese. Once, though, I almost convinced a girl that I came from the northern city of Sapporo, where the accents and customs are strange. The ruse might have succeeded were it not for my high alcohol tolerance and hideous table manners.

  2. Mom & Dad says:

    “All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on”

    Oh wings of Barcelona …. gently fly him HOME !

  3. Quim says:

    In your road to perfection: “Jo sóc català” 🙂

  4. briansaghy says:

    Quim. I’m not sure if you are correcting me or telling me that you are Català. If you are correcting me, I actually made the ‘error’ on purpose. Generally, the state of where your from is permanent so you use “sóc”, but for me, it was just for a moment, and I wanted to reflect that in the language. Gràcies.

  5. Quim says:

    Now I see. I like how you put the language to work, sorry for misunderstanding the “estic”.

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