For my ~wild~ semester abroad spring break, I went to Barcelona with the company of none other than my mom, and her mom, my Grammy. I was so excited to be back with family, visit a city at the top of my list for the semester, and with the benefit of free meals and no-stress travel all week. Barcelona turned out to be one of my favorite places I’ve ever been. I could wander the streets forever, the endless small alleys with little cafés and boutiques, perfect weather. You have food markets and shopping areas like La Rambla, amazing old cathedrals and buildings in the Gothic Quarter and, as the cherry on top, the beach. You have Gaudi’s inventive and awe-inspiring architecture scattered around the city. Without being too quick about it, La Sagrada Familia was probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen -- there is no other way to describe it than to say it really truly took my breath away.
For two of the six days we were there, we went on day trips, both only an hour outside of Barcelona. The first was to the Salvador Dali Museum, easily the best art museum I’ve ever been to -- Dali transformed this old theater to become a home of his masterpieces, from his sculptures to early paintings from university to his surrealist phase to his more traditional portraits, it is full of his unmistakable character.
Our second day trip was to Montserrat, a town and monastery built on the top of a mountain. It is home to the Black Madonna, a religious relic allegedly discovered in those mountains thousands of years ago. We met our tour group at 5:45am, but it was absolutely worth it to see the sun rising as we drove up and up into the mountains. This small world on top of a jagged mountain was unreal, full of history and charm.
I could go on about what we did each day, what we saw, what we ate. However, I think the most important part is not what I did, but who I did it with. Going on a trip comprised of three generations, with two women I love so much and look up to so much is something really special. Each day, it felt like we melded together a little bit more. I had known that spending a week with my mom and grandma in Barcelona would be fun and funny and I would have stories to tell, but I didn’t think about how distinctive the trip would be for me. I think I wouldn’t have found as much sentimentality in it if I hadn’t decided to make them the subjects of a project for my photography class. Without realising it, I was able to capture 36 authentic moments of mother-daughter laughter, nondescript conversations, and moments I might have otherwise missed. Despite the fact that it’s difficult to catch authentically candid moments with a massive and loud film camera, I found that by looking at the two of them through a lens (while trying to capture these moments, and hopefully actually doing so), I was able to see this mother-daughter connection, the synchronisation -- their identical mannerisms, their laughs, the fact that they look more and more alike as they get older.
It’s funny how mothers and daughters resemble each other in a way no other pair of people can. It is clear which raised the other, clear who is older than the other, but there is something so tangible about their similar characteristics, the way they move, laugh, communicate with facial expressions only, how visible 52 years of togetherness really is. While my photos are not developed yet and so I can’t put them on this post, that’s not too important to me-- it is what I saw while I was taking these photos. What counts is how I was able to see a reflection of my own future with my mom, how I can’t wait to mold and mold to be more like her, and consequently more like Grammy who shaped her, and how lucky I am to have been able to see such a special place with such special people.