What’s up Bama nation!

So my good friend John Fredericksen decided to hop on a plane and come check out Barcelona. The weather was dismal, he was sick as a dog, and his new iPhone 6+ got stolen his first night here, but man did we have a good time.
I showed him my favorite restaurants, bars, and sites. I even felt like a local as we walked around Sagrada Familia and I explained to him the significance of each side of the building and what the architect was trying to portray. I also realized that I don’t use Google maps anymore and within a four or five mile radius of my residence, I always knew where I was.
After I showed John around my favorite parts of the city, he told me that Barcelona is the center of one of the biggest Jazz festivals in the world during November. So he and I set out and found some amazing Jazz clubs. Our favorite of which, Harlem Jazz Club, was a bring-your-instrument-and-sign-up-and-jam format. At one point there was this guy maybe in his young twenties just shredding a saxophone, an older drummer he made a four piece set sound like a full percussion ensemble, an old woman tearing up some jazz piano, and the lead singer who was the head of the event and stayed on stage most of the time. In between songs the lead singer would speak Spanish and if he spoke English it was with a very strong accent. But when he started singing, he sounded more Frank Sinatra than Frank Sinatra. They covered everything from Frank to Muddy Waters to Stevie Ray Vaughan to Etta James. It was an amazing night, along with the rest of the nights John was around.
When I first got to Barcelona, I was in awe and utter disbelief that I was actually in Spain. Slowly but surely it came on to me that I am here and life in Barcelona just became my way of life for three months. But because I was so awestruck by the city and the process of accepting my new life was a gradual one, I never got to experience what it’s like to be in Barcelona for the first time. I was so busy with seeing things and trying to get the most out of my study abroad. Having John here let me see myself during my first week in Barcelona in third person. Despite the setbacks he was just happy to be here, and his visit probably delighted me even more.
It reminded me that I AM in Barcelona. Few people get to go on a journey like this and after he left I remembered not to take any of it for granted. The sort of honeymoon phase excitement should be excitement that I should sustain when I am living in a place as wonderful as Spain, or Tuscaloosa, or my home in Atlanta, or anywhere else that my future takes me. Monotony is a beast that habituates euphoria, and it will always be a beast unless you step back and recognize each and every blessing that God or whatever you believe in has given you.
There is a lot of repetition in many of our lives, and when I say this the first thing that comes to my head is schoolwork. But what we need to do is recognize the monotony and think back to the days when we were excited about the things we now call a daily routine. I have to think back to my first college course ever. I came in so excited, ready to learn, and then one day classes became a chore. We need to approach everyday with excitement and an open mind as I once did with my first college courses. When I see my family in three weeks for the first time in many months, I need to register that euphoria, and remember that is how I should feel about the people that I love every day. We are all incredibly blessed and we often forget that. I am incredibly blessed to be able to spend one hundred days in a wonderful city, I am blessed with a great family and a great school, I am blessed to have friends like John, and I am even more so blessed for what John has shown me.

Thank you for reading,

Chandler Coston