Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Last Day of January

It is very strange to think that this is my third week in Spain. I am always very occupied here, so time goes by very quickly. Today was a very fun day in Barcelona. First, I went to class. After class, we took a tour of a bomb shelter that was constructed during the Spanish Civil War. It was very sad to think about how the war destroyed so many people's lives. Today, I learned that many people came to Barcelona during the war because it was close to the French boarder, and they then crossed over to France when the Fascists won. This means that many Spanish families were in France when the Germans invaded during World War Two which meant that there were many Spaniards in concentration camps. That is one of the things that shocked me the most. Also, just thinking about how many people lost their loved ones and their homes. Also, I found it very sad that the American government never came to help the Spanish victims. They didn't see Franco as a threat, so they went after Hitler instead. It was a very intense experience, but I am very glad that I was able to learn more about Spanish history.

After the tour, a group of us went out to lunch at a place near the shelter. Then, I took the metro home and took a nap. I bought my ticket for Valencia on February 10, and I am very excited for that trip. I have seen a lot of my sister's pictures of the city, and I have always wanted to go. I am especially excited to see the aquarium.

I ate dinner with my host sister, Julia, and my host mother, Montse tonight. We eat later on Tuesdays because they are very busy. Nora and Marsal eat first, and Cacho, my host father, doesn't eat until later, when he gets back from work. I was able to have a very good conversation with them about what I learned at the shelter. My host mother said that The Spanish Civil War was a lot like the American Civil War because, in a lot of cases, family members were fighting against each other. Julia hasn't begun to learn about the war or World War Two yet, so she had a lot of questions. It is very hard to answer questions like "How do people like Hitler and Franco gain power?" I think the answer is that people often make decisions out of fear. Although these are very sad things to talk about, I think they are important to discuss because if we are to have any hope of a peaceful future, we need to understand the mistakes of the past.

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