Volver

La idea de volver a escribir en el blog ha siempre me ha acompañado a lo largo de estos meses. Sin embargo, también sigo sintiendo la misma pesadez, desazón, que cuando empecé a escribir en esta nueva plataforma.

Quiero escribir, sí. Pero quiero escribir porque me apetezca, porque es una actividad que me relaja, porque disfruto hablando de las cosas que me apasionan. No sé si esto le pasa a más gente pero durante mucho tiempo sentí que escribir una entrada, o una reseña, era más bien una obligación. De hecho, incluso empecé a enfocar mis lecturas hacia el blog, por ejemplo, aumentando el ritmo de lecturas. Pasar una semana sin publicar algo era una tragedia. Y, aunque estuve así durante bastante tiempo, poco a poco me invadió la sensación de haberme convertido en una fábrica de reseñas.

Esto también hizo plantearme el por qué de todo esto. Honestamente, aún no tengo sentimientos muy claros sobre que mis reseñas estén en Internet, ni que le sirva de algo a nadie. Ni que tampoco ese tenga que ser el objetivo. Pero entonces, ¿por qué? Está GoodReads en el que hay una base de libros muy amplia y sigo a gente en cuyo gusto en literatura confío, y hablar con ellos es bastante fácil. Además, tengo una libreta en la que escribo un párrafo o dos sobre cada libro que leo, además de mis citas preferidas.

Parece pues que tener un blog sea algo completamente redundante. Y sin embargo una parte de mí se niega a abandonar la posibilidad de volver. Ahora mismo, en mi escritorio, me doy cuenta de que el simple ejercicio de redactar este artículo me ha ayudado a formular con más precisión lo que me pasa por la cabeza. Quizás esta sea una razón, de la misma forma que escribir un diario siempre me ha resultado muy terapeutico.

Tampoco puedo negar que una de las variables sea la respuesta de los (posibles) lectores. Como ya he señalado no estoy totalmente cómoda con que mis opiniones de amateur campen por sus anchas en Internet. A pesar de esto, ya que me pongo a escribir en abierto, el feedback es una gran alegría, y una de las razones por las cuáles seguramente seguí con el formato anterior. A la vez soy muy consciente de que no puedo reciprocar este comportamiento. Me resulta imposible combinar mis estudios de doctorado, seguir leyendo, dar clase, escribir por aquí de vez en cuando, y tener algo de tiempo libre para socializar, con leer blogs con la misma asiduidad que hace unos años.

Aún estoy reflexionando como quiero que sea el blog, o si lo quiero mantener. No tengo ni idea como puedo resolver todas estas dudas. Pero tengo todas las vacaciones por delante para averiguarlo.

¿Vosotros/as qué opináis?

Living Alone and the Culture Shock: An Ex-ante Approach

In less than 48 hours I will leave my hometown – the city where I’ve lived ever since I was born – and move to NYC.

I’ve spent those last two days packing for the journey. This made me realise how much stuff I have. Not only clothes but also… things, gadgets, random objects accumulated over the years. And yet it was tough to decide what to leave behind. 2015-06-27 17.48.33

I’m only carrying a handful of books:

  • Poeta en Nueva York by Federico García Lorca, the set of poems the writer composed while studying at Columbia University and while traveling around the area.
  • Les Fleurs du Mal by Charles Baudelaire, my favourite book of poems.

Also, a general guide to New York, a guide to the “literary” New York, and a couple of novels. And half a dozen of textbooks! (Unfortunately, those are expensive worldwide.)

All in all I’ve managed to fill three suitcases and probably one medium bagpack. Believe it or not sweaters take up a lot of space.

I’ll be back for Christmas so if there’s anything crucial that I’ve forgotten I only need to wait five months but it still feels different. I’m about to become an independent adult. Which is exciting but also rather frightening. It means being completely responsible for what I do, for my own well-being. It means being left out if I ever forget or lose my keys – which already happens way too often in Barcelona. It means deciding to go to the doctor if I’m not feeling well, or fixing things in the apartment.

Incidentally, I will also need to learn to live with someone else, someone I haven’t met yet, and from a different country. Hopefully, everything will go smooth.

On top of that I guess I’ll go through the so-called culture shock. I learned about it days after I was admitted at CU. Apparently every person that starts living in another country goes through four phases of adaptation to the cultural landscape:

  1. Feel completely in awe of the new place you are living in. Well, given that I’ll be living in New York, it will happen for sure. I mean, it’s pretty much the centre of the world in cultural terms, among others. For instance, one of my favourite living authors, David Mitchell, will give a lecture in Novemeber. This would be unthinkable in Barcelona.
  2. Honeymoon period ends and, together with the routine, you start realising that things are different, and this annoys you. Even in US and Spanish culture are relatively similar, I still think there’ll be some tensions. Maybe I’ll see life differently, maybe I’ll be not so respectful with personal space (we Spaniards greet each other by giving a kiss on each cheek), but there’ll be something. Also, I’m already scared about how pricey everything will be, especially food. I’m used to buy very cheap fresh vegetables and fruit… More importantly, the weather. In Barcelona we never ever go below 5ºC (41ºF), I cannot imagine how I’ll be able to cope with the cold!
  3. You eventually learn how to solve your problems and go through daily life without feeling that fried oreos are something very close to heresy. In other words, you just get used to your new life.
  4. According to Wikipedia there’s another stage, mastery, where apparently you’re in full control of the situation. Seems like step 3 to me.
Surprise, surprise: I’m a Whovian.

Well, tomorrow will be a busy day full of last-minute errands and trying to fit everything into the suitcases. If I’m lucky I’ll be able to bring my favourite mug without my father noticing it.

To Bilbao!

Yesterday I officially graduated (although we got a non-official diploma, but never mind) and it’s hard to believe it has been 10 months since I started this program. So much has happened in my life, and I have made many good friends from all around the world that I hope to see again.

To celebrate it my father took me to Dos Palillos, a restaurant in Barcelona that combines Asian and traditional Catalan cuisine. It was so good!
Here are a few pics:

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In a bit more than an hour I’ll be driving to Bilbao, a city in the north of Spain, to attend a music festival, BBK. My main reason for going there is Muse, my favourite band that I haven’t seen in two years! However, I also look forward to discovering other bands such as Of Montreal, Catfish and the Bottlemen, or The Cat Empire. 

I will also be seeing many friends that I have met in the several Muse concerts I have attended, I really cannot wait!

So, I won’t post anything in the next four days. See you soon!

Number9dream by David Mitchell

It’s kind of ironic that I changed blogs because I was tired of only writing book reviews, and my second post here is… a book review.

It’s been three years that I read David Mitchell for the first time – and I will always be thankful to the friend that lent me Cloud Altas. And just yesterday I finished reading the last book by Mitchell I had left, Number9dream.

I already knew that the author had been in Japan for a few years and, after reading the brilliant The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoët, I wasn’t surprised when I found out the book was set in Japan.

The main character is a nineteen-year old named Eiji who has abandoned his rural hometown for Tokyo in order to find his father. It looks like a simple, coming-of-age plot, isn’t it? Well, you never know what to expect from David Mitchell, so I assure you it is much more than that. For one, Eiji has a wild imagination and spends some of his spare time indulging in his daydreams. And there is no way for the reader to tell whether what you are reading is what is actually happen or not. Because it is a novel, I think I’m always inclined to blindly believe whatever the narrator is telling me, so this led to a fair amount of confusion. But I think this was intended.

Actually, Eiji’s imaginations is what I liked the most of the novel – together with a few winks to other novels by Mitchell such as Cloud Atlas. The plot is… unbelievable crazy. It could almost pass for one of these thrillers where an ordinary man is thrown into a dangerous situation that could end up in World War III or the like.

But, it is written by David Mitchell, so it will be a pleasure to read no matter the content.

To sum up, it is a good book, but it is perhaps the book by this author that I have enjoyed the least. It has a good premise, some nice and unexpected turns, but overall I did not find the characters relatable and the story did not engage my attention either.

By the way, the book’s title is taken from John Lennon‘s song, #9 Dream.


I did not imagine there were such pretty gardens in the center of Barcelona.
I did not imagine there were such pretty gardens in the center of Barcelona.
Joan Maragall Gardens –– FYI, Joan is a man's name where I come from, it's the Catalan equivalent to John.
Joan Maragall Gardens –– FYI, Joan is a man’s name where I come from, it’s the Catalan equivalent to John.

I started writing this review earlier this morning, when I was resting from my walk around Montjuic – it is something between a mountain and a hill in Barcelona. Now that I know for certain that I am leaving this city, I feel the need to visit some spots I may have disregarded or completely forgot about in the first two decades of my life.

 
 
 

One of them is Montjuïc. Almost everyone has visited the castle as it has one of the best views of Barcelona, but the gardens surrounding it are not well known. I discovered them two years ago when waiting for Muse at the Olympic Stadium. Together with some friends we went for a stroll and discovered there were pretty gardens everywhere! Unfortunately, it was 5:30 AM and all of them were closed, so I promised myself I’d come back.

 

They are actually very nice, and each of them very different. Joan Maragall’s Garden reminded me of the “classic” French Garden from the XVIIIth century, which I love. On the other hand, Joan Brossa’s Garden is more of a well-kept forest, where you can see the type of flora and fauna we have in the area. In any case, both are very quiet places, and not very far away from the center.