When I was home, everybody asked me the same couple of questions! So here’s what people wanted to know about living in Barcelona.
(Also, apologies for being a bit of a lazy blogger lately! I’ve been sick and not really feeling like writing much. But I’m going traveling soon, so I’ll have lots more stuff to post about! )
Oh, so you’re like studying out there?
Nope, I work. Currently, I’m a translator for a teen celebrity gossip website and I write for a travel and tourism magazine.
Wait, you moved to Spain to work?? You do realize there’s a crisis there, right?
Yep! But I haven’t had any problems finding work. Actually, I think it’s easier for me because as a foreigner I have a different skill set than a Spanish worker.
In fact, I just got my contrato indefinido (open-ended contract) so I have a really stable job.
How long have you been there?
Since June 2011.
Why did you move out there?
I was studying here and loved the city, and just knew I had to come back.
Did you have visa issues?
No. I was born in England so I have dual nationality, which was really lucky.
Do you like living in Barcelona?
Of course! It’s my favorite city I’ve been to so far.
How long do you think you’ll stay?
Good question! I don’t know. Right now I have no plans to leave, but I don’t have plans to stay either. Basically, we’ll see how things go and then I’ll decide things as they come.
Do you speak Spanish?
Yes. And a bit of Catalan. (This one drives me crazy though, because I wouldn’t live in another country without at least knowing some of the language! It would be both insanely hard and pretty rude.)
What’s the food like?
Ham, seafood, ham, and ham. Sometimes potatoes and peppers. Delicious.
A variation on this question: “Is is like Mexican food?” Not at all! I sometimes feel like I could kill for some good tacos.
Who do you live with?
Five other people, which I love. It’s basically like L’Auberge Espagnole. There’s always something to do and someone to talk to.
Did you go through major culture shock?
I wouldn’t call it culture shock exactly. In most important ways, Spain and California are very similar. The standard of living is similar and people mostly believe similar things. Of course, some things are different and even uncomfortable at times, but I wouldn’t call it a shock because they’re really not so different.
I bet you have a cute Spanish boyfriend, huh?
Ha. No. I’ll save that particular horror story for later as I’m not quite ready to share it publicly and it deserves its own post. All you have to know is that it always makes people look absolutely horrified and like they want to hug me but don’t want me to burst into tears if they do.
Aside from questions, people usually have a few comments to make. My dad says that the city’s name in English is actually pronounced “Barcelone-aahhh” because of the sigh people make when they find out where I live.
A few other things people usually want to let me know are how brave they think I am and how they wish they had done this in their 20s. Other people want vacation suggestions (I’m more than happy to give them!) or to talk about how much they liked Barcelona when they went.
I think the best comment I ever got was from a guy who had also lived in Barcelona in his 20s: “You live in the Raval? That’s where all the cross-dressing prostitutes live! I wasn’t that hardcore – I lived in the Gótico, where the normal prostitutes are.”
Keep in mind, this was explained to my mother at a Christmas party. She practically exploded. But I’ve moved since then!
That pretty much covers everything I get asked on a regular basis. Anything else I might have missed that you want to know about life in Barcelona?