A Taste of Life: Tapas Style

Hello from Barcelona! I am posting this ~special edition~ twentysomething post all the way from Spain, my first ever international post. My parents decided to treat the family to a sure-to-be-amazing European vacation, cruising our way through the waters to explore cities in Spain, Italy, and France. I wasn’t sure if I’d even have wifi to post this week (which was making me anxious as it was), but here I am! And considering my special location this week, I wanted to make sure it was something relevant to the trip.

I’ve been in Spain less than 24 hours at this point, and I already feel like I could write a novel about it. Everyone looks like they’ve stepped out of an H&M catalog. The European architecture sprawls up into every corner of every building for blocks and blocks. In Barcelona, I haven’t done much except stare in awe at the beauty and amazement of being in Europe. The highlight was walking around an open market for hours…fresh fruits, thinly sliced meats, brightly colored bouquets of flowers, and the chattering chattering of so many languages around us. Being in a new country allows you to notice things that you’ve never really noticed before—in particular, languages, people, and foods.

Tonight for dinner, the family was looking for two things:

  1. Somewhere inside to escape the “winter” cold in Spain, and
  2. Something authentically Spanish

Surprisingly, the first criteria was more difficult to find than the second. And although we were tempted more than once by “Hard Rock Café: Barcelona,” we decided against it for a two-story tapas restaurant glowing bright with hanging lights and cheering soccer fans crowded around the inside bar.

There was only one problem: no one in our family had ever had tapas before. We didn’t know how it worked, how to order, what to order, how much to order, etc. etc. The only “tapas” we had ever had was the appetizer platter from Applebee’s, and that doesn’t really count. And our selection was so drastically different than the usual mozzarella stick and potato skin. We were so confused, we almost walked out of the restaurant. How many Italians does it take to figure out a plate of tapas…?

Anyway, we ended up staying and enjoyed a random little assortment of authentic Spanish tapas (I use the word “enjoy” lightly, here). And as a true twentysomething blogger,  I was thinking: “What can I write about for tomorrow’s post?” And it hit me then. Living a twentysomething life is a lot like going to a tapas restaurant for the first time.

  1. At first, you have no idea what you’re doing.
  2. You’re waiter is supposed to be helping you, but at the end of the day, you have to be the one to make your own decisions.
  3. You’re overwhelmed by the choices in front of you (all of which have equal potential to be both amazing and dreadful).
  4. When you are unsure about something, it’s easier to talk through it with the people sitting around the table.
  5. Trying new things can be an exciting new adventure, but it can also leave you hungry and wanting more.
  6. Don’t give up on something after one time.

I think these Tapas Life Tips are useful to anyone, not just those in their twenties, but I thought they were especially useful and relevant to those of us who still feel like we may be trying to “figure it out.”

I like the idea of tapas more than I think I like actual tapas. In my mind, appetizer-type foods are meant to be before a big meal, not actually the meal itself. BUT I’m glad that we at least tried it. And now, having had an authentic tapas experience, I would be much more likely to try it again. I guess that speaks to life a bit, doesn’t it?