Why I’m Still in Spain (Photo Edition)

Beach at Calella, Spain


“When are you back?” my roommate texted, aptly noting that my teaching duties had come to an end, and yet I wasn’t exactly clamoring to return to Paris.

I wrote back to explain that I wasn’t really sure when I’d be back. I was having a great time. And I was offered a free place to stay the whole month of August if I wanted.

“OMG!” My phone lit up again a few minutes later. “You met somebody!”

My roommate is funny.

While it would be a nice bonus, romance remains illusive. But Spain has seduced me.

I extended the ticket because…well, I think visuals work just as well as words here.

Terraces and plazas and perfect weather, oh my!

Virreina terrace, Barcelona

New friends

Sion Dayson and friends in Tarragona, Spain


Benissanet, Tarragona, Spain

The town where one of my new friends grew up!


Seafood ravioli at Gut Restaurant, Barcelona

The sun makes me really, really happy

Sion Dayson in Benissanet, Tarragona, Spain

Nico, who has kept me laughing all month.

Fun new friends


La Lonja in Zaragoza, Spain

La Lonja in Zaragoza

Cathedral in Zaragoza, Spain

Cathedral in Zaragoza, Spain

Whether you like the modernist architecture or not, it’s pretty wild having these odd creations pop up all over town

Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona

Palau de la Música Catalana

Rooftop of La Pedrera (Casa Mila)

Rooftop of La Pedrera (Casa Mila)

Gaudi Castle at Parc Guell

One of Gaudi’s fairytale creations at Parc Guell

Costumed person at Parc Guell

There’s a *person* in there

Also, did you catch the beach at the top? Yeah, there are beaches everywhere.

Now before you think I’ve gone and abandoned Paris entirely, I’ll reassure you that I’m heading back next week (um, I think I am. Kidding, kidding).

But I do have to figure some things out. Namely why every time I spend extended periods somewhere else (New York say, or now Barcelona) I don’t want to return to Paris. I feel better and bolder in these other cities. Paris, you’re beautiful, but you rarely make me feel this good.

Even with the intensity of the past month, friends (who have seen me on Skype, thus able to see the difference in how I usually look) have been telling me how relaxed I appear. How happy. And it’s true. On a basic level, Spanish is closer to my heart than French, I do incredibly well in the constant sunshine, and I like wearing flip flops everyday. It’s pretty clear why I’m so comfortable here.

But Paris has also become a huge part of my identity and offered me so many opportunities. I am darn grateful for this life, I tell you.

I went to reflect on some of these issues at nearby Parc Guell. I stumbled onto this fun-loving band.


Doh. ANOTHER reason I can’t leave!

As is the week-long neighborhood party in Gracia (where I am currently staying!) that kicks off tonight (though things really get under way tomorrow).

The Festes Major de Gracia (in Catalan) is one of the city’s biggest party times (that’s saying something for a party town). Besides numerous concerts, workshops, parades, fireworks, and open-air dances, the streets and plazas of the ‘hood compete in an annual decorating contest. I’ve been watching nearby streets get ready for days. Apparently, they’ve been planning for months. I can’t wait to see what the finished product looks like.

Carrer de Joan Blandes in Gracia, Barcelona

Carrer de Joan Blandes, round the corner from me

Carrer de Verdi getting ready for Feste Major de Gracia, Barcelona

But Carrer de Verdi seems to be up for the competition, assembling a possibly questionable Old West theme

Verdi's Saloon, Carrer Verdi, Festes Major de Gracia

This is a saloon built on the *street* y’all!

I read a figure that a million and a half people come for the Festes Major and it’s right outside my door.


I think I’ll ponder this life-purpose, place-in-the-world stuff later.

For now…fiesta!

What are you up to for summer fun?


27 Responses to “Why I’m Still in Spain (Photo Edition)”

  1. 1 Tanya in Transition August 14, 2012 at 10:13 am

    You understand a little why I love living in Nice: the sunshine and the beach (granted, it’s a pebble beach but it’s still a beach). Enjoy yourself chica and catch you later!


  2. 3 Jennifer Flueckiger August 14, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Sion, you do look wonderful and happy in Barcelona. You’re a true citizen of the world, my dear. Enjoy!


  3. 5 Hope Rehak (@HopeRehak) August 14, 2012 at 11:14 am

    I think any time you get out of where you’ve become comfortable, you feel better and bolder. Or maybe I shouldn’t use the 2nd person “you” and just say “we” and people like us. People who like to travel or need to move. Parapatetic folks, you know. Please visit Chicago!


    • 6 paris (im)perfect August 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm

      It’s funny. I don’t consider myself as peripatetic as I used to be. I think it’s definitely important to keep getting outside of your comfort zone and that’s what animates. But I also feel like there really *are* certain places that resonate with me more.

      I know there’s a romance with a new place that doesn’t last. But I think I’m aware of that enough to realize there’s something deeper going on. You might have put your finger on it, though. I obviously need this as part of my life – the need to move and see new things and travel. But I DO want the stable base from which to do that.

      As I’m responding to your comments I think it’s helping me clarify what I want. I’m darn lucky – Paris is a great base. I guess I just need to keep leaving it to be happy!

      So…Chicago, yes. Heard good things 😉


  4. 7 Lindsey Tramuta (@LostNCheeseland) August 14, 2012 at 11:19 am

    I was JUST going to say, I’ve never seen you glow like that!! I think you do have some soul-searching to do upon your return to Paris…. there’s a reason books like “Paris I Love You But You’re Bringing me Down” exist! 🙂 I’m so glad to hear this experience has been so rewarding!


    • 8 paris (im)perfect August 14, 2012 at 12:29 pm

      Ha, yeah. I almost used that exact title (“Paris I love You But You’re Bringing Me Down).

      This *has* been a great experience. So happy with the gifts of the universe. I look forward to catching up when I’m back. (There *are* things I’m looking forward to in Paris : ) )


  5. 9 erica August 14, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Enjoy my dear! Looks amazing!


  6. 11 Stéphanie August 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Maybe you’re happier when not in Paris because you’re on holidays. It means Paris in now your homeland, with its routine, administration, responsibilities, etc.


    • 12 paris (im)perfect August 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm

      Stephanie…good point and one I’ve obviously thought about. The first month in Spain I was working SO HARD, though. Definitely not holidays. And even in the midst of what should have been a very stressful situation, I was still beaming.

      I’ve had a complicated relationship with Paris since the beginning, so I don’t think it’s as simple as home versus holidays.

      But it is very true…that’s a BIG reason travel is so fun!

      And it’s also true that Paris is in my blood, too.


  7. 13 Amy Kortuem August 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    I’m so glad you’re treating yourself to some reflection time. You deserve it. Enjoy it.

    (I’ll bet if you came to North Mankato, Minnesota, to give a writing class, you’d have a very different opinion about getting back to Paris!!!)


  8. 16 Paris Karin (an alien parisienne) August 14, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    “The sun makes me really, really happy.”

    All of the comments about this are so spot-on: you are indeed GLOWING in those photos!

    While I understand (very keenly at the moment) how special Paris is, um, yeah, I think frequent trips out of the city would be a very good thing. 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing these photos and for letting us travel vicariously with you. I felt the sunshine emitting from them!



    • 17 paris (im)perfect August 14, 2012 at 8:50 pm

      Oh, Karin! Paris is indeed special and I know just how much you understand that. It’s a privilege for me to be able to go back there anytime I want. I think I just need to get out more – I think that is the perfect mix for me!

      Glad I could share a little sunshine. It’s worked wonders for me and I’m glad it shows!


  9. 18 Jolie August 14, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    Ah, what difficult choices you have! Paris, Barcelona? I know just how you feel though. While NY is not real grey, when I returned to the Deep South, I felt (and still feel) the same glory of the sunshine everywhere! It makes me happy, happy, happy. Big difference. I need sunshine too!


    • 19 paris (im)perfect August 14, 2012 at 8:51 pm

      Haha. I know. Really hard choices. Cue the violins.

      But it is true…sunshine makes SUCH a huge difference. I guess I’ll stay based in beautiful gray Paris – but get flashes of sun as much as I can.

      Glad you’re still enjoying the sunshine of New Orleans.


  10. 20 Emily Cannell August 16, 2012 at 2:29 am

    I`m DYING to go to Spain….This is not helping…


  11. 22 Cassandra August 31, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Spain has seduced me, too. Glad you could enjoy it this summer! On the flip side, gay Par-ee in summer is on my travel list.


    • 23 paris (im)perfect September 1, 2012 at 1:38 am

      When Paris actually has a summer, it is great, too. Unfortunately, it’s shorter and more unpredictable each year. I was still wearing a coat in June before I left for my Spanish summer! Another reason I was SO happy to be there!


      • 24 Cassandra September 1, 2012 at 12:10 pm

        Coats in June?? I didn’t realize it could still be chilly at that time…!


      • 25 paris (im)perfect September 1, 2012 at 12:14 pm

        Indeed. There is no way to sugarcoat it: weather in Paris is simply awful more often than not. I’m also a very warm-bodied person who gets colder than most people, but I think everyone would agree: there were few opportunities (if any – can’t remember one!) where I could wear litte summer dresses in Paris. Thus, even more love for Spain where I got to look cute every day ! ; )


  1. 1 End of Summer Mantra (and the Return to Paris) « paris (im)perfect Trackback on August 23, 2012 at 6:08 pm
  2. 2 Of Melancholy and Marvels; Paris Years On | paris (im)perfect Trackback on April 9, 2013 at 11:30 pm

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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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