Laundry or Architecture?

¡Hola desde España! I have finally arrived here in Barcelona, and I couldn’t be more excited to call this city home for the next six months. I got in around 11 pm last night, and had just enough time to grab some crepes with my new roommate and take a peek at the view off my balcony before I was exhausted and ready for bed. This morning, I woke up to a 4th floor view of a sun soaked city.


While this view is definitely something special, I might even say I like the one looking down better.


Looking down may seem like a funny thing to focus on standing on a balcony, but there’s a couple reasons I chose to share this view with you. First, just take a minute for those buildings. Can you think of anywhere in the United States that looks like that? Let me know, cause it’s got me beat.

But that’s not even my favorite part. Believe it or not, it’s the laundry. The clothes swaying in the breeze instantly stuck out to me and made me feel more comfortable. It might sound weird, but it’s kind of like a little peak into the lives of the locals who live here. Of course I’ve never met my neighbors but it’s just a reminder that people are living their lives all across the world and doing day to day stuff just like we do, like laundry for example.

Apartment buildings are above nearly every restaurant and shop in the area I live in, and most if the city for that matter. Balconies seem to be a normal thing here, not only serving a practical function and saving the city countless dollars that a standard drier would use, but decorating the city with personal touches to the already lovely pastel architecture.


As we wandered around some more today, I fell in love with the streets. I struggled not to get lost because I couldn’t help but look up at the countless apartment building and their balconies above me, each covered with overflowing plants, Spanish flags, and, most importantly, clothes. I definitely wasn’t complaining.

Hopefully you guys can get a little glimpse of how I felt and why I decided to talk to you about laundry of all things. It’s little things like this that make me feel connected to a place, and less like just another American tourist coming to see the more well-known, spectacular sites.

It’s 11:30 here now, so I’ve been here just over 24 hours. I start my classes tomorrow, so I’ll have more for you very soon!

¡Buenos noches!

Photo (Video) Of The Week

Hi again! First off I have to say I loved reading your comments, and it’s fun getting to know you a little better! A bunch of you said you were excited to talk to me, which is my favorite thing I could hear because I feel the same way. I’ve also realized I’m going to have to get to work on my Spanish because wow you guys are far better than I am. It’s okay though, you’re helping me learn too!

I really enjoyed hearing about all your interests in sports, food, traveling, and studying. It sounds like a lot of you are really into soccer, or fútbol as I should start calling it. We even have a couple of Barcelona fans in your class, which will be really fun because I’m trying to go to a game of Barcelona versus Madrid while I’m there. I’ll keep you all posted on that one, but are there any favorite players I should know about? I love that some of you have already been able to travel, and others have the desire to. Not only do you see what the rest of the world is like, but you also get to learn more about where you already live through comparing and contrasting.

I’m writing to you on my last day in London, England, and tomorrow I hop on my plane to Barcelona! Here’s some pictures of where I’m staying right now with my cousin at her flat, which is what they call apartments here.



While I am excited to share my new home in Spain with you, I decided to focus on the idea of traveling in general for this week’s photo (or video in this case) to give you all a better idea of what I’ve been up to for the past few weeks. Remember how I said I went to Eastern Europe first before I begin my studies in Barcelona? Well, how do you think I got from place to place? In America, we often take planes to other states, even cities, because our country is so big. In Europe, you can take trains from not only cities, but country to country, because it’s so much closer! Plus, the views out the train windows are a big bonus if you ask me.

This is a video from my train ride from Prague, Czech Republic to Vienna, Austria. Since I’ve been to four countries in the past two and a half weeks, I’ve spent quite a lot of my time on these trains (personally, I like to listen to some music and munch some snacks while I look out the window). I got a lot of questions about the pretty architecture and buildings in Europe, and I think this one does a good job of showing that off.


Alright, that’s about all I’ve got for now. Next time we chat, I’ll be in Barcelona, and we can start the adventure from there!

!Hasta luego, hacerme preguntas, y comentar si te gusta el video!

Let me know how I did with my Spanish on that one (:

Nos vemos en España,

Hi there from Europe!

¡Hola amigos! My name is Joni, and I’m a student at Portland State University, right downtown in the city. I’m twenty years old and originally from California, but I moved to Oregon just over two years ago for school. I’m now going into my third year with the university, but from all the way across the world in Barcelona, Spain, and I get to have your class experience it with me! Here’s a picture of me, my coffee, and one of my favorite burritos (yum) at the Saturday Farmer’s Market on the PSU campus so you can get to know me a little better. I bet some of you have been to the market too!


I’m a sociology major, which basically means I study people and how we interact with each other and the world around us. I am grateful to have the opportunity to study abroad because I love traveling and seeing what life is like in other places. It encompasses a lot of my current interests, including art and architecture, people and social relationships, nature, history, photography, and food of course, as you can see by how happy I am about that burrito.

Right now I’m actually reporting to you from London, United Kingdom. My studies in Spain don’t start until October 1st, but I’ll be moving in to my apartment on September 29th and I’ll update you with some pictures from Spain first thing. For now, I’ll show you a few I took on my trip to Eastern Europe, and maybe you’ll be able to spot some differences and similarities between the buildings in these Eastern European countries compared to Barcelona in Western Europe once I get there. Maybe think about how it compares to Portland too.

Prague, Czech Republic
Budapest, Hungary
Vienna, Austria

I’ve never been to Barcelona before, but I have heard loads of good things and we can learn together. Barcelona is one of the most popular cities to visit in the whole world, number twelve in fact. It’s about one third the size of Portland, but has almost 1 million more people, so it’s pretty big! The city also looks a little different than what you and I are used to because it’s a whole lot older, and the beach is right there too, like you can see in the picture I put down below.

One of the parts I’m most excited about is the winter weather. I’m sure you guys know all about the rain in Portland, which isn’t my favorite. In Europe they use Celsius to measure the temperature instead of Fahrenheit like we’re used to. Barcelona isn’t as rainy or cold, and the average winter temperature is around 14 degrees Celsius, which is about 57 degrees Fahrenheit. It can get pretty hot in the summers, and is still 80 degrees right now in September.

Here’s a map so you can get a better idea of where I’ll be reporting to you from!


I’m really looking forward to living in the city because although I’ve traveled to a few other countries, I’ve never gone by myself or lived abroad like I will be for the next six months. I’m hoping to improve my Spanish as well, and maybe you guys can help me with that one. The official language of Spain is Spanish, but Barcelona is a little tricky because they speak two different kinds called Castilian and Catalan. I speak a little bit of Spanish, but this should be fun for me to practice while I’m there, and I’m sure I’ll have some funny stories to tell you about my mistakes while I learn.

My program is called ALBA, and has other students from all down the West Coast who I’ll be studying with. I get to take classes in Art and Architecture, Spanish, and Sociology. I’ll be going to school Monday to Thursday, so I have three day weekends every week which, is pretty cool if you ask me. I also get to live with someone I’ve never met before sharing a Spanish apartment, which will be fun because I get to learn about her experience as well. One of the most important things to remember when you’re traveling is that everyone has a story, and sees the world in a different way. Whether we’re in Portland or Barcelona, we can learn a lot from the person right next to us.

Once I’m in Spain I’ll update you with some more pictures, but let me know what you think about traveling, school, or anything you have to ask me in the comments. Have any of you taken any fun trips? Overall, I’m excited to explore the city with you and am open to all that the experience has to offer!