Barcelona CS Host Victoria

上圖是Iris,她是我的巴塞隆拿CS Host Victoria的女兒,Iris在上小學,她長着水汪汪的大眼睛,又超喜歡拍照,我們一拍即合,Yeah!

 

原來在西班牙、葡萄牙兩國,補習盛行,我的里斯本(葡萄牙首都)CS Host Angela是位補習老師;而小小年紀的Iris,放學後也要背着大大的書包,去上英語補習課,晚上我與Victoria一齊接她放學。

 

Iris每周大概補習兩、三晚,從家徒步15分鐘就到補習社,補習班約有十位學生,一位補習老師;Iris下課後還興高采烈的拉着老師說話,看來Iris挺喜歡補習班。

由於我不會西班牙語或加泰隆拿語(巴塞隆拿位於西班牙 加泰隆拿省,加泰隆拿語是方言、西班牙語是官方語言,就像粵語VS普通話),所以我和Iris只能以英語溝通。

Victoria說:「我做CS Host的其中一個原因,就是想讓Iris多練習英語,在家她都不肯跟我說英語。」

 

另一天,我與Victoria到小學接Iris放學,小學與家也是徒步15分鐘就到了,Iris的小學下午就放學,不少家長也聚在校門等候,當中有頭髮花白的爺爺奶奶,也有帶着狗的年輕父母,當中(當然)無黑人或亞裔。

Iris是個很愛笑的孩子,她不停拉着不同的同學聊天,又(竟然)周圍向人介紹我(用英語!),我好像已成了她家的一分子,不過她的同學/家長看見亞洲臉孔的我,有點不知所措,含含糊糊地推搪過去了。

 

我們放學回家時,天色還亮,又有藍天,一路回家時拍了不少照片,我同Iris都high爆啦~

 

 

Victoria是糕餅師,每朝清晨就起床上班,她是位單親媽媽,整個單位只住她們母女,家在市郊,近蒙塞拉特山,我們也去了一趟。

 

由家去蒙塞拉特山,開車45分鐘就到了,山中有一所蒙塞拉特修道院,內藏「黑聖母」,黑聖母就是以黑木雕成的聖母聖子像,由於聖母多為白皮膚,所以這黑皮膚的聖母甚為罕見,黑聖母是免費參觀,周邊聖壇超靚,天花砌滿馬賽克,畫功細膩、金碧輝煌,好靚呀~!但場地好細,人很多,好迫……

 

修道院後的蒙塞拉特山有不少行山徑,Victoria說自己每周都來行山,我走得氣喘呼呼,她還健步如飛,所言非虛啊……

 

 

Victoria又給我與Iris煮了晚飯,我印象最深的是「薯仔餅」,就是蛋+薯仔,就像薯仔奄列,我從未想過薯仔竟能配蛋吃,在香港也未見過,很有趣也很好吃啊~!

 

我又在Victoria家看了Benjamin Lacombe蝴蝶夫人,好靚呀! 

有個晚上Victoria還與我夜遊巴塞隆拿,Victoria帶我去看她珍藏的塗鴉聖地,又去了一個有巨型噴泉與大象(?)的公園,然後行行下去了海邊,我們還上館子吃了(有點太鹹的)正宗西班牙炒飯(我埋單啦),行得好盡興:)

 

Victoria與我的母語都不是英語,但英語是我們的唯一共同語言,我們能溝通,但很難聊得深入,有時我聽不明她說什麼,她又在等我回應,我都唔知應該講乜,那種徬徨挺磨人……

 

 

我在巴塞隆拿試了Meetup(Meetup是一個全球性網站,免費注冊,會員可組織收費/免費合法活動,其他會員自由參與,活動包羅萬有,行山、畫畫、飲食,真係乜都有),我報名參加了一個免費的畫畫故事接龍,地點在一間咖啡店。

我準時到達,但行勻全間咖啡店都不見類似群組,也嘗試問欵似食客團體,都唔中;也在Meetup group chat留言,無人回覆;我多等十五分鐘,都無人來,唯有放棄,回家了。

就在我已踏入地鐵車廂,才見Meetup group chat有人說「已到達」,其他人也陸續蒲頭,看看時間,已是活動舉行時間的一小時後,原來全世界遲到一小時在西班牙是很平常!?

 

 

 

This is Iris. She is the daughter of my Barcelona CS Host Victoria. Iris is in primary school. She has a pair of beautiful brown eyes and she loves being a model. We are friends in the first sight, yeah!

 

Tutorial school is surprising even common in Spain and Portugal. Angela, my CS Host in Lisbon (Portugal capital) is a tutorial teacher.

And young Iris with her huge school-bag attends English tutorial at night too. So Victoria and I is going to pick Iris up at night after the tutorial.

 

Iris has her tutorial 2-3 times per week. It’s a 15 minutes walk from home to the tutorial school. Around 10 students in each class with 1 teacher.

Iris seems to like the tutorial school because she still talking happily to the teacher after class.

 

I can’t speak Spain or Catalan (Barcelona is in Catalonia province in Spain. Catalan is a dialect and Spanish is an official language. Just like Cantonese VS Mandarin). Iris and I can only talk in English.

Victoria said, ‘Iris can practise her English and this is one of the reasons why I host the couch surfers. She don’t like to talk to me in English at home,’

 

 

In the other day, Victoria and I are going to pick Iris up after school. It’s again a 15 minutes walk from home to Iris’s primary school. Quite a lot of parents are already waiting outside the school gate. There are white-hair grandpas and grandmas, young parents with dogs and (of course) no black or Asian people.

 

Iris loves smiling. She keep chatting with different classmates and (surprisingly) introducing me (in English!) to everyone. It seems I AM her family. But her classmates/parents don’t know what to say when they saw me who has an Asian face. They just murmur softly and walk away.

 

It is still day time when we walk home. The blue sky is beautiful. We took lots of photos on the way home. Iris and I are super high!

 

 

Victoria is a barker. She woke up and went to work super early. She is a single mum. Only Victoria and Iris live in the apartment. They live in the suburb near Montserrat Mountain which we have a visit.

 

It takes 45 minutes drive from home to Montserrat Mountain. Santa Maria de Montserrat Abbey is in the mountain. And Black Virgin was kept in the abbey. Black Virgin is a sculpture craved from blacken wood. It is rare because most Madonna are whites. To see the Black Virgin is free and the holy altar is beautiful with golden wall mosaic. But the altar is very small and too many people, so crowded…

 

Lots of hiking treks in Montserrat Mountain. Victoria said she comes to hike every week.

I am exhausted and she is still flying on the treks. Um, apparently she didn’t lie…

 

Victoria made a meal for me and Iris. The ‘Potato Cake’ impressed me most. It’s just simply egg+potatoes. Just like potatoes omelette. I never thought potatoes can go with eggs and I never have this in Hong Kong.

It’s interesting and delicious!

 

I read Benjamin Lacombe's Madama Butterfly at Victoria home, such a beautiful book!

Victoria and I was walking in Barcelona the other night. Victoria show me the secret graffiti place in Barcelona. And we walk into a big park with a huge fountain and an elephant (?). Then we walk to a beach. And we even have dinner in a restaurant. We have a (little too salty for me) Spanish fried rice (my treat). It was fun:)

 

English is not the first language for me and Victoria. But English is the only common language for us. We can communicate but we can’t talk deep. Sometimes I don’t understand what she is saying. And she is expecting me to answer. I really don’t know what should I response. It’s a bit frustrated…

 

 

And I tried Meetup in Barcelona. (Meetup is a global website. Free for anyone to register. Members can organise legal charged or free activities such as hiking, painting, dinning out…really everything. Other members can join if they like.)

I sign up for a free drawing-story-telling event. It take place in a café.

I arrive in the café on time. But I can’t see any likely drawing-story-telling Meetup group in the café. I even asked the diners who seem to be but they are not. I posed in the Meetup group chat but nobody respond. I wait 15 minutes more. Still nobody come. I give up and go home.

Someone in the Meetup group chat pop out ‘I’m arrived,’ when I enter the train. Other participants are showing up one by one.

It’s already AN HOUR after the meeting time. Is it a common sense to late for AN HOUR in Spain!?

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