It’s been five days since I arrived in Barcelona, Spain. I’m sitting about 100 meters from the Mediterranean in a rented apartment I found through If I crane my head really hard and lean out really far, I can just barely catch a glimpse of sapphire blue winking in the sun between centuries old buildings and modern-day satellites.


It’s a cozy little place reminiscent of my own (although mine doesn’t require a climb up eight flights of stairs) and comes with a cat similar to mine. Vocal and demanding, Tina Turner doesn’t take no when it comes to her demands for affection. My host is in Germany at the moment so Tina and I have the place to myself for a few days. It’s a welcome relief to get away from the eight-bed hostel dorm rooms I’ve stayed in since last Wednesday.


I’ve been avoiding writing this post. My last journey was easy to talk about; there was so much to share and the words came easily. This time the purpose behind sharing this story is much different. My family is joining me tomorrow. My dad wanted to see Barcelona one last time before dementia robs him of his cognizance.


When I was almost three years old, we moved to Barcelona from Campinas, Brazil. I have only a couple fuzzy memories of Brazil. On the other hand, I have distinct memories of Barcelona, even if they resemble polaroids instead of videos. My strongest memories are of the beach and the cockles (tiny shellfish resembling clams) cooked in butter that my family and I used to eat by the pound. Seeing Barcelona has been on my bucket list for quite some time.


About four weeks ago Dad called me in the middle of the day and said, “I’m going to Barcelona in May. Can you go?” It was terrible timing, I wasn’t ready, and in my mind I’d been thinking late summer would be better. But I had to hand it to him: instead of wallowing in despair he’s been actively tackling his bucket list. When I asked if he was definitely going in May and couldn’t wait a month or two, he replied definitively, “Nope. I’m going in May. Can you come?”


So here we are, about to revisit some of the places we haven’t seen in 26 years over the next week and a half. Dad and I will have four days on our own when my stepmom, Thelma, goes to Madrid. It will be the most time we’ve spent alone together since….well, I don’t know when.


I considered not writing about this trip at all. I’m a master at avoiding vulnerability, true vulnerability, and the thought of sharing this experience makes me queasy. It might even be that I change my mind halfway through and decide to keep this to myself, or that I’m still writing about the experience long after I’ve returned. But for now, my intention is to share something which I hope will have a greater point in the end.

  2 comments for “Barcelona

  1. Dave Hilgendorf
    May 19, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Hi Sara,

    I have really enjoyed reading your blog and your articles in the Register. Great job taking on a daunting traveling experince and pushing yourself. You have always had a great aura around you and It is just great to see how you carry your self and write.

    My girlfriend is also a blogger and aspires to be a writer. I just sent her your blog and let her know that your writing was very good and I enjoyed reading and that this last blog reminded me of some of her writing and that she should check it out and maybe someday down the road you two could talk about your writing experiences. Her blog is below.

    I don’t mean now or anytime soon but I just thought I would let you both see each others blogs. Praying for safe travels, great fellowship and a spirit of awe, wonder, and maybe healing if there needs to be, on this trip that you are on.

    Have a great trip,

  2. Troy
    May 20, 2014 at 2:11 am

    Sara, thanks for sharing your journey.

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