From The Place I Am Sitting

On a balcony, overlooking the Calle in Barcelona, I am thoroughly enjoying my amazing European vacation. There is a vibrant street life and I am listening to unfamiliar languages and seeing a larger humanity in a longer time-frame; Ancient Traditions and Relics with Futuristic Thought and Style.

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Two days ago, I found myself at Camp Nou, where local heroes FC Barcelona were taking on Manchester City in a Champions League match. I couldn’t have been further away from the pitch in the 99,000 seat stadium, but it was one of the most exciting sports experiences of my life. It was all about the match; everyone was there to watch the action. After the quick initial fanfare, it was 90 minutes of pure sport. A Competitive Focus and Flow that evades most forms of athletics. The one tiny concession stand only sold hotdogs, didn’t sell beer and was, it seemed, only for tourists; at halftime, the locals pulled out homemade baguette sandwiches. During action, the crowd attention was intense. I had a wonderful running commentary in Catalan next to me, which I am sure was exactly what I was thinking but in a language I don’t understand. At one point, I was chastised by a fan behind me for jumping out of my seat too soon on a Neymar breakaway and my American arsenal of sports cheering was useless: I quickly learned that whistling is reserved for bad or missed calls and the typical two-note taunt that we blast at opposing players is highest praise reserved for the revered one: Messi.

In a Barca 1 – 0 victory, the lone goal was a gorgeous looping volley over the keeper on a perfect 40 yard assist by the Great Lionel Messi. I have seen many great athletes in many sports, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a player so obviously on such a different level as everyone else in the game. He controls the ball deftly and makes others miss it comically. He is a wizard.

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The past 48 hours in this city have been exciting and refreshing, and I look forward to another 36 before departing on an overland journey through the Pyrenees to Borde Neuve, France, where we will bask in the stunning vineyard scenery and drink pure wine. I am already reminiscing about the first 96 hours, spent with Great G and Grand in Sydling St. Nicholas, England, with the absolutely incredible Buckland family. This vacation is so unreal and beautiful it seems like a fantasy, but sitting on this balcony overlooking Spanish culture, I know that it is just the lovely life I lead! Of course, no matter where we are, the best aspect of vacation is spending all of my time with Amazing Alaina and Incredible Ivy; I am so blessed to be able to love these two and share their company around the world!

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