It’s a time for celebration: Andrew has officially finished his MBA! He had his last class on Friday; and turned in his last assignment on Saturday. Graduation isn’t for another month; but he is, for all intents and purposes, an MBA. He deserves a big hand.
This weekend, fittingly, Andrew and I crossed off two more items from our “things to do before leaving” list. On Friday, we had lunch at the Boqueria, at one of the small stalls preparing tapas and meals from meat, fish, and vegetables fresh from the market. We chose one and sat down, and the guy behind the counter told us to indicate what we wanted—platters of fresh fish, sausages, salads, clams, and other tapas stretched along the counter; everything would be prepared to order. We had flashbacks of Marrakech, ordering without a menu; nonetheless, we selected a few dishes—sausages, albondigas, patatas bravas, calamari. The calamari were a challenge. We were sitting in front of all the fish, and we could watch as the cooks pulled pieces out to be cooked; both of us said “Ew” when they pulled out oval-shaped, purply-white squids. Those things turned out to be our calamari; we’d neglected to order them fried, and four plump globes of squid were simply grilled quickly and served with parsley and lemon. Those were a struggle to eat, with their squeaky consistency and unappetizingly textured insides. Sliced and fried, fine; this way, less good. But the rest of the food was excellent—and there was no need to leave me as collateral to pay for it.
Last night, we crossed off another list item, something new for me but not for Andrew: an FC Barcelona match, held at the immense, 100,000-seat Camp Nou. One hundred thousand seats—you could fit ten Connellsvilles inside. “Ten villages,” a Spanish friend agreed before the game—though calling Connellsville a “village” is, perhaps, a stretch. Andrew had gotten the tickets from a friend, and our first-level seats were so close to the field that we could hear the kicking. We could see Ronaldinho stretching before the game. I could hear my favorite player, Puyol, shouting commands to his team. The craziest thing about the match was how quiet the stadium was during the match—at times, almost silent, everyone intently watching the game. There were occasional chants, and plenty of screaming at questionable calls and good plays, but otherwise it was eerily quiet—intense. Barcelona won, 2-1. The game was so much fun—and I even bought my first-ever piece of sports-team paraphernalia: an FC Barcelona scarf.