My year anniversary in this beautiful city is looming. Yet, I cannot quite believe I am typing those words. I remember setting up this blog from my rainy London office on a gloomy January Tuesday, looking through the window, trying to find a way to escape reality until my dream could actually come true.
Back then, this blog was my escape, my way out and the hope I held onto for a few months.
I have to say, I had expected to feed it a lot more than I have in the past 10 months and I have to apologise for the lack of content, but I guess, life just happened.
Yesterday, for the first time in a while I felt inspired to write again. Now, I’m not sure this is a good thing and I’m not sure why it happened but here I am, typing this post from my new life in Barcelona, on the very first day of summer.
What have I achieved in a year living in Spain? Were my expectations met? Would I do anything differently? What advice could I give YOU if you were reading this and also thinking of making the move? Whether it is here or somewhere else.
Firstly, in the little time I have spent here, I have to say, one common reaction I have seen whether it was inside or outside of Barcelona is the look of surprise and envy on people’s faces when I say ‘I live in Barcelona’.
Ok, perhaps part of their reaction was due to the fact that I look like a right ‘giri’ (a tourist). But I have also realized that most people see Barcelona as a fantasy, you know, a bit like that hot girl they will never be able to pull but they can still try and be friends with her in the hope that someday she may be interested…But really, they know they don’t stand a chance. She’s so untouchable.
I was recently speaking with someone who reminded me of myself a year ago which I guess inspired me to write again in here.
When I started this blog, I didn’t do it in the hope to become an online influencer or even to make money from it, I just wrote those posts as a testimony for one of the most amazing experiences I have done but also and mainly so I could actually inspire and help people.
In fact, I happened to meet a girl in Barcelona – who is now one of my best friends here – who had read my blog before even meeting me,
millennials heh? Yesterday, in the midst of a bit of life crisis, I took a few personality tests to try and figure out if I am in the right job, in the right place, doing the right thing, if I have found my purpose and all that shit…Well, one thing I learnt from those tests is that I am NOT doing on a daily basis what truly makes me happy: helping people.
Long story short, I am back on the blogging scene in the hope that this small contribution to the digital space will help me feel more complete. By the way, if you’re also questioning your life purpose and having a bit of an interior drama situation, I would recommend you check this test out.
As a way of looking back on my time here, I wrote down a short list of things you are very likely to come across if you decide to move here. So here goes:
- You will be spoken to in English. That is, if like me, you’re blonde and have lighter skin.
- You will forget about a bank holiday at some point in the year, but that’s ok because if you do, you can just go for a long weekend on the Costa Brava.
- You will learn to not queue well. Coming from 5 years living the UK, I have developed some serious queuing skills. The way it works here is: the last person who walks into a shop (this works mainly for lunch take away) just asks who’s the last one in the queue.
- You will need to learn one thing by heart: your DNI/NIE. This is the paper that you will be asked, on some occasions, several times a day and you cannot survive in Spain without it.
- You will walk close to the buildings. Whether is it the rain or the heat, Barcelona is built to shelter you from it and that’s pretty great!
- You will drink beer. If you don’t like beer (like me when I moved here), well, I’m sorry to say that, but you’re gonna have to learn to like it because you cannot socially survive if you don’t like cañas (blonde beers).
- You will order cold or room temperature water. That was funny to me as most restaurants in the UK just serve you fridge temperature water but here you have the option to not freeze your mouth which is actually quite nice.
- You will drink coffee after lunch. Most restaurants do lunch menus and will include one drink and/or coffee. If you don’t order coffee, well, you’re weird.
- You will say ‘castellano’ and not ‘español’. Here people either speak to you in ‘castellano’ or ‘catalan’ and we all know why. Let’s not get political.
- You will spend a lot of time in chiringuitos. Those are little beach bars and they’re pretty overpriced but they’re just so damn cool.
- You will want to compete with other people on who has the best tan in the office and how you got it.
- You will regret not to have taken time off in August. I’ll get back to you on that one in September but most people leave Barcelona in August because it’s just so damn hot.
- You will get used to going out until 6am just like when you were 17 and you didn’t know what a hangover was.
- You will want to learn salsa at some point. Teaser alert: I will get back to you on that one in September as well.
- You will get confused between some words in Catalan and in Spanish/Castellano. If like me, you didn’t learn Spanish at school, or the proper way and have only lived in Catalunya, then you’re most likely going to get confused between words, especially vegetables.
- You will leave a room and say ‘A deu’ (goodbye in Catalan).
- You will know the ins and out of the bicing system (Barcelona cycling scheme) and that you don’t need to swipe your card each time but you DO need to watch for that little red light!
- You will learn to not plan and go with the flow.
Reading again this list, I am realizing I have learnt a lot here and this place has become my second, or rather, my third home. London will always be my second home.
People have welcomed here with wide open arms, I have made some friends, some of them, I’m pretty confident to say will stay friends for life.
My plans have changed, I have moved twice, broken up with someone, had many hangovers, laughed, walked, ran, swam, flew, danced, taken photos, disconnected…
I have lived life to its maximum and I have to say, it hasn’t been perfect but I wouldn’t do it any differently.