Days 14- 15 – 16 – 17 Purpose: Going Exploring and Finding Everything I Need I Already Have
Highlights from the highlife in Spain? Some wonderful exploring, a classical guitar concert in an amazing space, an attempted pick-pocketing, death by cheese and a surprise dining experience as we twist and turn about the streets of Barcelona. Barcelona is our gateway to home- I’ll post this upon return, but it is more than that. It is among the first of the cities we traveled to where we knew then and know now that we must live in another culture. It also forces us to make the most of the home we have.
Tuesday. Day 14- I have slept more in this trip than I have on previous trips and have enjoyed every last wink. Trips to museums, learning more about the history of Spain and Barcelona suffered due to this. It’s a small price paid for the renewed ability to give thanks for my many blessing and just chill and enjoy Chris’ company. I made some decisions about writing, art, my future workouts and yes, even Christmas presents I want to give.
La Rambla and the Boqueria (market) remain both touristy and lovely. My favorite is trying to blend in or find the little places just outside of the tourist view. I am clearly not great at blending in (selfie stick and all) but I do succeed in finding little gems off the beaten path. So too is Chris!
Speaking of which, Chris found a concert which we attended that blew me away. It was 20 classic guitars, a lead guitarist, a violinist and a piccolo player. Oh, and their were flamenco dancers. It may stand as the highlight of this trip. I never imagined 20+ guitars playing in such unison nor the impact of great acoustics (the Palau) on such subtle music. This video is worth a look. Palau! Watching this taught me something about what I want to continue to create at work- a culture of collaboration and fun. These artist clearly work hard (check- we do that) and love what they are doing (check)- we have those things. But they also we able to each play their unique role in unison to create something that together was breathtaking. Work is not art, so we will not reach such heights, but if our approach is similar, we can create something unique.
I am eager to get back and try to live that energy while I motivate my little orchestra. We then repeated a restaurant experience we had on our first night together in Barcelona some 4 years ago. The food was fine – not nearly as great as we remembered, but the experience was perfect. Our Spanish is better (well, Chris’ is)- the Spanish restaurants speak more English – and our constant love of Spanish food have provided much more context and foundation. We also had pig ears. Confession? I’ve had them before and in my post-vegetarian world I’ve decided that if I’m going to be OK with an animal being killed so I can eat, I need to be open to going from head to tail. I’ve had better. Yeah, these ears, never again.
Wednesday- Day 15: Nothing magical which means everything is magical. Oh wait, we saw a beautiful Church (Sagrada Familia) had dinner with a friend, napped and got pick-pocketed and fought back. Yeah, dull day in Barcelona.
Having both Chris and I work for the company has been a unique challenge I am increasingly aware of how special it is that we have been able to pull this off. It was hard on the company to have us both away, but my team did it really well. We work together and work is, well…. work. Vacation has given us a time to do our needed check-ins, goal settings, tune-ups and goofing around. 21 years and we remain best friends. I am reminded that I need to keep my hand on the off button too. (Many have said that about me….)
We walked to Sagrada Familia and then had our requisite Siesta, I wrote and read a bit, listened to music in our wonderful rental and then went off to dinner with a friend and her boyfriend. Their company was wonderful and we spoke of Spanish immigration, current Catalan politics and a little bit of EU perspective on American politics. From what we can tell, most people in Europe just do not understand how Trump became President or how he has lated. We have no clear explanation to offer them other than that our voter turnout is low and that people are really just sick of the system. I still find it a lame excuse for him, but it is the best I can do.
Pick-pockets tried to nab my phone and then they started on Chris. They briefly snagged his phone from his pocket and I think they were shocked that we went back after them for his phone. Our best instincts kicked in and we showed STOP at them- Chris in Spanish and we stood our ground. They were stunned and when Chris and I charged towards them the guy handed us his phone. Clearly it jacked us up a bit, but we were pleased that we did not panic in the situation and we kept our heads about us. TIP: They were presenting to try to get us interested in going to see Flamenco dancing – and then bumping up against us “dancing” as they were trying to get us to go to show. It is during those “bumps” that they try to grab shit. Bastards. Anyways, we scared them with my big gay scream. The one guy almost shit himself when Chris turned on him and shouted. I swooned.
Thursday – Day 16: Have I mentioned we cloud live here? A Scottish Cheese lady tried killing us with Cheese (again). On our last trip we met this lovely affineur for a private tasting and decided to repeat the experience. It was incredible and during our time there the students were protesting the current political situation between the Catalan people and the Spanish Government. I will admit that the idea of unrest felt less dramatic when sitting in a dark chesse cave drinking wine and talking about goats in Spain. Luckily we chose an early private tasting so we were able to wanter afterwards and give ourselves a long break prior to dinner.
I stalked Chris for a while. He loves to meander shops and stands. Me? Not so much. Where I can look at one or two stations or stores, he can look at hundreds. Knowing it is a passion for him and a tolerance for me, we split for a bit to meet later. I got back earlier than expected and was able to spy on him-watch him explore, learn, look and wander. He’s a cute shopper and I am glad he and I know there are some experience we have that are more enjoyable if they are done separately.
That evening we explored a different neighborhood, el Reval – and started at a lovely cocktail bar. I got the death stare due to attempting (perhaps too much) to use the new remote app on my camera and a solum promise from Chris that there will never, ever, ever be a day, date and time that he enjoyed the selfie stick and that it will never be tolerated in restaurants. I am not going to let him get away with his intolerance, but that is a work in progress.
Friday – Day 17- Departure. Today is all but a wash due to the time change, but what a lovely wash. We have a 13-hour flight home which will give me some time to edit pictures, clear out e-mail and collect my thoughts.
One that I have is about “purpose” – mine, ours and what I / we may do in the future. Purpose. It’s my focus word for 2017. It is part of my mantra – Patience, Priority, Purpose, Integrity, Serenity, Release – I say that when running, when stressed (sometimes those are the same) and say it just to ground myself. The impact of work on this trip was to help me focus on “purpose” – mine as a partner, a CEO and a colleague. I owe it to myself to enjoy the benefits of hard work just as much as I owe it to the people I love and the people I work with to show up to my full potential. This vacation has helped remind me of the comfort of this mantra and the benefit of focusing on “purpose.” The world seem to be a more complicated and complex ecosystem of often conflicting and competing ideals, goals and agendas. My role, my purpose? Not totally sure, but with more trips like this and the desire to explore, I’m sure I will find it… and if I don’t, at least there will be adventure, Chris’ company and Jamon. Lots and lots of Jamon.