Monday, October 09, 2006

Then and Now

Our first fall visitor, Matt, a friend and former co-worker from New York, arrived last week and, so far, has seen an admittedly interesting slice of our life in Barcelona. On Thursday, we took Matt to a dinner celebrating the upcoming and very small wedding of a Swiss friend from Andrew’s class. The dinner was outside of Barcelona, but what we expected to be just a few tram stops away turned out to be further out into the Barcelona hinterlands than we’d expected. Once there, it was a lovely event, with drinks first and then a sit-down dinner for all the couple’s friends from Andrew’s school. After dinner, unplanned and unexpected, several people volunteered to sing wedding songs from their home countries—a cappella, in a roomful of eyes, basically my worst nightmare. We heard songs in Finnish, Nepalese, Russian, and Japanese. Later, the Japanese singer admitted that he hadn’t known any wedding songs and so had chosen a song schoolchildren sing. Obviously, no one knew the difference.

This weekend, we went with Matt to a bar to meet a friend of his who is studying in Barcelona, though Matt couldn’t remember at what school. It turned out that this woman is a first-year student at Andrew’s school—Andrew had actually met her once—so the bar was filled with a strange mix of first-year students invited by Matt’s friend and a few second-year students Andrew had invited to meet us there. A couple from New York were there as well, visiting Matt’s friend. A collision of worlds.

One of the interesting things about Matt’s visit is that he’s one of the only people to have truly seen the then and now: he was friends with both Andrew and me before we began dating; he worked with us for nearly a year after that; and now he’s visiting us in Spain. It’s not a usual sequence of events.

In a few days, we’ll all be on to other places—Matt to Lisbon, Andrew and I to Amsterdam. For now, there’s Gaudi to see (Matt); Spanish to learn (me); business cases to read (Andrew). And one-euro turbio to drink as a nice evening reward.

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