Kaj's Portfolio Weblog

dissabte, de desembre 04, 2004

Short summary of things I have done.


Thank Goodness I have written a diary from the moment I hooped aboard the plane.
That is my best advice for anyone coming to this town.
The other day I was sitting in a little bar, writing about my previous night experience and remembered a lot more then if I hadn´t written. I was smiling all the time of the memories. And it is so good to write down your thoughts and feelings. In Barcelona I have experienced that time really flies by hard. Sometimes you feel like you lack the time to integrate and contemplate all your experiences. Well, I have felt that way, so a diary will give you good written memories, you learn to write better and get your head clean after it´s fulness of cool experiences and thought here in Barcelona.

I started with going to Barcelona a week earlier than the rest of the Nijmegen group. I wanted my own little adventure. I booked a Hostel for 7 days, and believed that I would find a nice room within this time. Well, funny enough I met a guy in the bus from the airport to the hostel, and I got to live with the first guy of my age I talked to. Talk about going for something you want and the universe that will help you achieve it. If you feel up to it,
going alone and doing your own thing would be my advise. Go with the flow, especially your own flow.

I have done just so many things, and all of them have left an impression. In the beginning of my stay I engulfed in nightlife. Meeting new people every day in the streets, in the clubs, friends of friends, going to parties outside of the city.. I kind of lost my balance because I slept so little and parties so much. The slogan the Finnish people used in their presentation I find very true. Remember, after fiesta, la siesta. Barcelona nightlife, always as appaeling as it is is just one of the many temptaions ande possible routs to follow. Barcelona is rich of doing about every hobby or sport you want to. I found Aikido, Capoeira, Modern dance, Tai Chi, Singing classes, Spanish courses, I very nice library, the point is, you can´t do all of them, and have a rich nightlife, and go to university and have a girlfriend and etc. So I concentrated on Spanish course, Singing classes, school and the nightlife, although on a less frequesnt basis. A party will be better anyway when you´re properly rested. And since Barcelona is full of parties every day, save yourself for the beter ones.

Okay, this is suppost to be a summary so I´ll name some things I did. Ofcourse going to the beach and taking sunbaths and meeting up with girls to go to parties in the night was among them. I met a really nice girl this way and we had a wonderful week together. Seeing the surroundings, where your at, is very important I think. To take your time to go to the special spots of the city and take a good look around. The view from Tibidabo and Montjuic are very very nice. Also, buy a bike, or bring a longboard, and that´s a really nice way to transport yourself through this city. Go local to live with Spanish (speaking) people. Good for your Spanish and I think you´ll get more woven into the life of Barcelona. Take up a Spanish course in the Ramblas, good teacher relatively cheap and you´ll get around better. I´ve seen Montserrat which is a very beautiful place. The Sagrada Familia.. I still have to go inside, I promised my dad. Just going on a walkabout in barrio borne or barrio gotico leads you to many many nice things to see, as well as a person must check out Gracia and plaza del sol overthere. LifestyleBarcelona offered a paraglide on their website. It was nice to take the experience, go all the way up to Berga by bus and take the jump. Next time I would take the skydive. The Oveja Negra is a nice bar near the Ramblas because of the mix between international students and locals I think. Also a bit of a meatmarket...

I experienced many many things. The most important to me is to follow my own flow and needs, when you´re tired, go rest, when you feel lonely, go wandering around, when you feel energetic, go party. Go sit and drink tea/coffee in Starbucks or ´La paciencia´in barrio Raval where you can take a moment of peace and see life pass by all around you. Go out, you´ll meet beautiful people and tons of possibilities. Take up the road you like to walk. It is a beautiful and intense city in which I have learned many things. Choose for yourself and get rewarded. Most impressive is the pace of the city. People actually walk a bit more relaxed and slowly than in the Netherlands. People are very open and I have experienced very warm to eachother. This openness, the ability to meet so many new people allows you to look, wander, learn and share universes with others. The intenseness of that will mark me from these days forward I think. All the separate experiences are nice, going up`for the view, dancing outside of Barcelona in the middle of a forest seeing the sun come up, meeting a wonderful person, etc. It is the accumalation of all these experiences and beautiful, as well as ugly moments, that make an intense experience with far more livelyness every day then I have experienced before.

Walk your own path. Caminante, no hay camino. Se hace camino al andar.

diumenge, de novembre 21, 2004

Intervistes con catalanes

Teachers in school, as well here as in the Netherlands told me that Catalan are, in mayority, shy and a bit reserved. I have did not experience this. They are so open when you ask them questions. To me they´ve always responded in a very open manner. I can commence a conversation with these people whereever whenever so it seems. At least untill now. I interviewed four people. The first was my flatmate Jonathan. All the people I interviewed were born here in, or just in the outerskirts of Barcelona. Jonathan is 28 years old. His younger cousin felt strongly in favor of independency. Unfortunately, I did´t got through to him again, after the first time I talked with him. Jonathan feels Catalan, for Catalan is his first lenguage, but he feels more as a person of the world than that he does feel himself ´Catalan´. Therefor he doesn´t feel strong for independency either, unlike his younger cousin. He sees a could be economic advantage for Catalunya in being independent, but, he things that Catalunya ´cut of´ of Spain will only reinforce the focus on self, instead of looking out, into the rest of the world.
Monica, a 36 year old woman I met on Ramblas de Raval where she has a selling t-shirt stand, felt quite the same. She as well, felt more of the world in the first place. She was more in favor of the personal independency than that of Catalunya. She felt Catalan, for being born here. She said being Catalan for her, is ´una mierda´ because there is too much nacionalism. In her opinion that´s a reason why there is so little expension. She things that Barcelona is too focused on what there is to get for them, instead of looking more to what´s happening outside. The third person I interviewed, my upper-neighbour, awnsers the questions very similar. He aswell felt more of the world than being of Catalunya. I seem to have interviewed very alike persons. Maybe it´s just I step into communication with those people I feel drawn too and they have a likewise state of seeing things. I don´t know. For this reason I asked a boy from Sant Ignasi about his views, for I kew he was in favor of the independency. His name is Otger, he is 21 years old. When I compared the Catalans with ´Friesland´, a provence in the Neherlands where they speak another lenguage, he told me to take another point of view. He said, no look at it like this, that Germany would still be in power over the Netherlands, and more and more peole would just speak in German and Dutch was just something for local people. I never thought about it in that way. I was looking from the point of view of a foreigner, a ´giri´. Compared the situation to the Netherlands.. where Friesland is not claiming independency, why would they? I could grasp some of the feeling why Catalans would like independency.. I would like people adressing me in Dutch as well when I am in the Netherlands, instead of German because I speak it. But then again, I never mind speaking English in my country to foreigners. So is it a difference in feeling surpressed? A lack of widening view? I can feel both sides as partly true. (he remaining contradictions may paralel the truth.)

dissabte, de novembre 13, 2004

Expectations of Barcelona..

When I was still looking for he right study to commence,
I encountered my present school, which had the possibiliy to go to foreign countries in the third year.
That was one of the factors that made me choose my studies.
And now here I am, in my third year, in Barcelona Spain.
To me, going outside of my country is the ideal way to develop oneself, interculturally, personal growth, lenguages, aother learning climate, another climae and a different environment in which I could break away from old grown in patterns. First my plans were to go to Brussels.., but..
since I had taken up a Spanish course in my school and had met a group of Catalan students who came to my school in the Netherlands, my enthousiasm about Barcelona grew.
Then I saw the movie ´L´auberge Espanol´ and I really felt like I would miss out if I would not use the opportunity to go to Barcelona in the Autumn course, a sudy progtram our school offers.
So, the will was there, but I already had an appointment to go to Brussels..
As I read the text above my desk, I made my decision.

The text says:
¨Dreaming, one does not learn,
bu one can learn the guts to make them happen.¨

With this is called and made my arrangements to come to Barcelona.
After hearing stories from people who had been here, talked with the group of Catalan students, after I saw the movie.. I really had high expectations about Barcelona. I though it would be the place for my were I would finally free myself from some old patterns and come in o a current that would develop me as a person. I would suck in the experience. I ook a flight a week earlier than my fellow sudents and decided I myself wanted to find a room and commence my adventure. Maybe because I imagined this to be the place were I would finally spread my wings, it happened more easily. Sitting in the plane, just said goodbye to my father, I felt scared, but also very powerful. here I was, on my way to persue my legend, and my dream, for this time being.

In concrete assumptions, I thought about the climate, the warmer culture, the options to meet so many new people, the beauty of the city, the beauty of the women, etc. When I flew over Barcelona, it was much bigger than I thought. Ever since I am here, things are coming and going and within this maze of possibilities I think I am learning quite a few things. As I expected. Some life lessons I will take with me from this place. With that, and with the feeling, wih more feeling of confidence, I have fullfilled my expectation of growing here on a personal level. The climate was as warm, as I imagined, although I must say that the last days have been a little bit more cold than I prepared myself for. he people are nice and warm, alhough in subways, they look just as withdrawn as in the Netherlands. Something to do wih being sober in public spaces like trains and subways? Well, I guess some caracteristics of the people can be found in al sorts of palces were the culture is alike.
I do was a bit amazed by the international population in this city. The entire world seems o live in BArcelona, ofcourse, mainly from Spain, Caalunya and South America, but many, many countries are represented by inhabitants of this city. I should have known, but it is an aspect that I did not expect on forehand. I like it very much. Just in my street live Swedish, Catalan, Dutch, Pakistan, Indian, Maroccan, German, French, Guatemalan, Ecuadorian, Chilen, Argentinan, English, Australian, South African, etc, etc. people. Te entire world in nacionalities live in the same street, and in peace too!

I expected to fall in love with the ciy, and in many ways I have fallen, in love. There are many cool things, beautiful things, amazing things in Barcelona. For me it is a place of roads and people meeting, passing on, staying, living, learning, falling in love, and going on strong. A time I will never forget, and as expected, I just might prospone my leaving for some time.

dijous, de novembre 11, 2004

As being human, Dutch, a comment on the things happening in my country

Send an inspirationfire to the right person at the right time to say the right words at the right place for shedding light into the darkness, ignorance, surpass prejudice and fear, revive the bonding of people under the same roof, to show the humanity we posess in our being, which shows when people are in very long delayed trains together, when people are together in the same boat. The connections between people out of the ordinary that happen in situations where they unify in opinion and experience about what is happening.

A fire is burning in hearts of people, against wrong..
a flame in the belly can be found, against injustice
don´t stop caring or let yourselve be led into a extremely onesided point ofview
start caring about where we are going together.

That´s what I think.

passing by, hedonism and tourism in the city of Barcelona


After one and a half month in this city I have lived and experienced some of the life here.
I have touched a lot of possibilities. for me it is a city of just so many possibilities, I can hardly choose. everything I ever thought about as being a possible hobby I have found.
aikido, caoeira, singing classes, modern dance, djembe playing, climbing, running, writing poetry and practicing verses, etcetera. I see so many roads, it´s hard to remain focussed on one or two.
as a erasmus student I should study, party, sport, work, play, eat and sleep.. budgetted as well.
balance is always a keyword.

furthermore, you get to meet so many cool people here.. but as I will do too, many of them are passing by. I´m here for three and a half months, some for half a year, others just traveling here for a week, ten days.. I talked to my former housemate, who has lived here for eight months now. he says I haven´t even met half of his friends, for they already left for other places.

I too experience the temporal feature of contact in Barcelona among youngsters. On the one hand, that makes it quite exciting, on the other, right now I´m sad for I met a very nice person who left for other countries to explore. And it is not the first time. now, after one and a half month, four people I got to know are leaving, almost at the same time. You meet friends, fall in love, find a soulmate, and whoops.. there they are, leaving, as I will as well. It makes Barcelona both magical as something missing.

the city itself never sleeps, there are always options to go out to have a party, meet people,
it gives a lot of impulses which makes it hard for me to not be hedonistic. I think the city where a hedonistic mentality can be found, also attracts people looking for a hedonistic experience.
The form of tourism that is in this city, is not only people looking for architecture and culture.
Another form of tourism is present here, which in the long run, might not be actually beneficial for the city.

Tourism is an economic factor, but, tourists, backpackers that go for the cheapest parties, buy the cheapest booze to get drunk, pee al over the center and write grafitti on the walls, might not be the sort of tourism which supports the economy, or the city.

The gotic area for example is still made of ancient roman rock. If the grafitti or the pee doesn´t destroy the walls, maybe the biting means they clean the walls and the streets with will.

No ever could sell an ´eau de Barcelone´ for that would mean a smell of piss and cleaningwater..
i wonder why they do not have public toilets in this city.. either very classy, in a modernist mozaic style, construct many toilets which would be a site for sore eyes and people would go, proudly, in to pee, or a very simple construction, accessing the sewer by a sort of hatch, which closes once there is no more water pressure on it. just a hole in the street accessing the sewer with a big bucket to pee in. Easy build and not that expensive..

concluding I want to write down that this city is a great place for meeting people, although mainly for a certain period.. (either one of the two leaves quite soon.. so you can travel afterwards since you´ve met all these people. ;-)) There are so many impulses one can react one here, so many options, it is a big crossroad where you can find out what you really like, or get lost in the trees so you can no longer see where the forest is.
furthermore, Barcelona is aquainted with a form of tourism that might not be so beneficial for the city. Effects include peeing in the streets, smell, a lot of noise, grafitti, people and means needed to clean everything up. (you always see the BCNeta! team busy, but they will never ever be done working in this manner.) there are options one can think of to remedy these effects, either preventing (public toilets, legal free grafitti spots, attracting a different type of tourism more by doing more for those target groups. elderly people with pension are a nice target group.) as well as repressive means could be installed. (fines, cleaning work by sprayers or peeers.)
just some thoughts about BCN.

dimarts, d’octubre 19, 2004

Antonio Machado, qué poeta..

He encontrado una canción de Joan Manual Serrat..
y me gusta mucho..

Aquí, para vosotros..

el texto de la canción, por Antonio Machado y Joan Manuel Serrat.

He recuerdo este texto.. cuando estaba buscando a una fiesta, un ´rave´
en el bosque.. a cerca de Rubí..
estabamos buscando durante cinco horas..
Hemos encontrado mucha gente, tambien buscando a la fiesta..
y por fin, estaba ´puta madre´.

(Forgive my lenguage, it seems to be a way to say something it just so totally awesome, even though it means ´whore mother´.. Oh well, the girlfriend of Jesus was a whore as well I believe.. it´s just a job, wether I sell my hands or I sell my cross.. what´s the big deal?)

Pues, el texto.. para vosotros..
Quizas una persona puede traducir el texto..?
Yo entiendo algo.. pero prefiero que entiendo todo.

¨Todo pasa y todo queda
pero lo nuestro es pasar,
pasar haciendo caminos,
caminos sobre la mar.

Nunca perseguía la gloria
ni dejar en la memoria
de los hombres mi canción;
yo amo los mundos sutiles,
ingravidos y gentiles
como pompas de jabón.
Me gusta verlos pintarse
de sol y grana, volar
bajo el cielo azul, temblar
súbitamente y quebrarse.

Nunca perseguía la gloria..

Caminante son tus huellas
el camino, y nada más;
caminante no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.
Al andar se hace camino,
y volver la vista atrás.
Se ve la senda que nunca
se ha a volver a pisar.
Caminante, no hay camino,
sino estelas en la mar.

Hace algun tiempo en ese lugar
donde hoy los bosques se visten de espinos
se oyó la voz de un poeta gritar
caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar...

golpe a golpa, verso a verso...
Murío el poeta lejos del hogar
le cubre es polco de un país vecino
Al alegarse, le vieron llorar
Caminante, no hay camino,
se ahce camino al andar...

Golpe a golpe, verso a verso...
cuando el jiguero no puede cantar
cuando el poeta es un peregrino,
cuando de nada nos sirve rezar.
Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.

Es lo que hay, tio

It is what there is, uncle..

a typical sentence my ´compañeros de piso´ use.
Es lo que hay, tio..

I hear a lot of people saying this sentence..
I wonder if it originated here, or it is imported from the South and Middle American people..

I like it.

It goes for a lot of situationes.

Es lo que hay.


El otro día, estaba buscando a una tienda que aún estaba abierta..
por qué, estaba las doce de la noche y queríamos beber unas cervezas barratas.
En mi carrer, carrer de Sant Pau estaban un grupo bebiendo, reindo..
He preguntado a ellos.. saben ustedes una tienda aún abierta a esta hora?
Desearía comprar cerveza.

Me han ofrecendo cerveza, vino, algo para comer..
Hemos hablado sobre unas cosas..
me han dado direcciónes para encontrar la tienda..

¡Qué guay!, ¿no?

He dicho: voy a comprar unas botellas de cerveza y vuelvo..

Entonces.. después mi pasar a la tienda..
Hemos hablado mas, bebido mas..
Hemos tenido un botellon en la calle, a las ramblas,
y por fin a placa de Catalunya.

Qué abierta son la gente.

Una de las chicas me ha dado un campaña..
Ahora cada vez cuando estoy feliz..
Hago un sonido con la campana..

Y en el futuro..
quizas como el perro de Pavlov..

nececito solo la campaña..

y estaré feliz.

No, en serio, la campaña es una cosa para recordar una noche muy buena..
El sonido me da una sonrisa.

dilluns, d’octubre 04, 2004

Life is like a box of chocolate..

Being one of the nightdwellers of Barcelona..
me and some friends bought ourselves ´a caja con pan con chocolate´
at a ´panaderia´, quite early in the morning.

Let me tell you..
if you want to meet some people,
do the following:

Buy a box with these croissants with chocolate..
and walk with just two persons behind the box..
everybody will notice that a whole box might be just a little much for just two persons..
and every hungry soul on the street that you meet,
will ask you for one.

We met maybe fifteen people like this.
Four Catalans took us to a party because of the contact we made.

You make contacts at night so fast..
One of the things I love about this city..
you can just have a conversation with about everybody.

Some interesting, some quite surficial..

you never know what you´re gonna get..

dimarts, de setembre 28, 2004

Maria in the street

It was a sunday morning,
I met my sister at plaza Reial to have a drink, some talks
and maybe visit a cool place here in Barcelona.
As we were walking in Bario Gotico, we came across
a parade..

Suddenly, we found ourselves in the middle of a group of people,
standing silently, and then..
singing. At the frontside of the group they were carrying a statue
of the virgin maid. The people were singing in such a sad, but
beautiful manner. A woman came up to us and she gave us those little
Maria coins, to put on on our clothes. Made me bit sentimental.
It always does, to hear people sing, in such devotion.
You can hear their feeling through the voice.

I don´t know if it´s a yearly or monthly ritual,
this sunday mourning, was the morning after Merce.
Maybe the tradition is to carry your God or Gods through town,
to ask for their presence, just as the people form the far past did.

The experience made me a bit more open that day.
To receive a gift, no matter how big or small,
with such an intention..

Can make you put up your inner smile.

divendres, de setembre 24, 2004

Welcome to Catalonia!

Hello and welcome to the course!