My life in Barcelona : review of the past 6 months

The last 7th of July, I arrived in Barcelona full of enthusiasm to build my new life. 6 months later, time has come to do a review of this new life of mine. In between my new professional and sentimental life, the terrorists attacks of the Ramblas and the Catalan independence, there are some stuff to write about !

July

 

Right after my arrival, I have to move in quickly. Luckily, my sister has done all the visits and found the place without me (it took her 20 visits to do so, thanks to our French and not spanish nationality !). I do the paperwork quickly, but moving in with 5 stairs to climb and heavy suitcases is another matter. There it is : I have my home in my favorite neighborhood, the Born. The studio is noisy, hot and not very luminous, but I don’t care : I am in Barcelona and that’s all that matters.

I start my graduation internship. Quickly, I have a lot of things to learn, responsibilities and projects. I come home after work tired, with a bubbling head. But I love what I do and I feel good. I open my spanish bank account, I wake up at 4 am to do my NIE… The administrative paperwork make me realize this settling might be for good. For the first time in months, I feel I am at the good place.

In Barcelona, weather is VERY hot, humid : we sweat and suffocate. Air conditioning becomes our best friends. Beaches and streets fills in of tourists. I start very soon to groan like a Spanish girl : too many tourists !

August

The heat calms down a bit before coming back. At my internship, I keep up with my missions and they get harder and more complex. I still love it a lot. I start to build new friendships, and seeing again my beloved friends from my Erasmus in 2014. I welcome tons of friends that come to visit me : the occasion for me to visit Barcelona deeply and discover new places. My Spanish skills come back quickly and so does my popularity amongst strangers (boys) !

The 17th of August

I am at work when I receive a text from a journalist friend “Estelle, dear, everything is ok ?”. I don’t understand. Then texts flood in and the word “terrorist attack” comes out of my colleagues mouth. I comfort siblings and friends. I get informed. I try to understand but my head is heavy and buzzing. Is there really a car that just drove on the Ramblas and killed dozens of persons ? Outside, sirens and helicopters confirm the worst. A friend arrived this day to visit my sister : at last minute, she took the Arc de Triumph exit instead of the Ramblas de Catalunya. I am shaking.

This night, I come out of work at 9 pm. I was forced to stay there until this time because of a police roadblock that has been forced by one of the terrorists car nearby. Everything is closed. My stomach is aching. I don’t cry, I am just lost and confused. I am under shock. My beloved Barcelona, hurt by crazy men. Broken lives. Children, parents, young adults, grands-parents. On one of the most central places of the town, the most visited one. The one where I must have been most. I was there the last weekend. I did the exact same path than the terrorist car. Waiting my best friend at Liceu, where the car stopped. By two days, it could have been me.

I went on the Ramblas only 4 days after. I didn’t want to have to this morbid curiosity and go there straight after. I didn’t feel ready. Even on the places of the terrorist attack, mute terror invaded me. I walked, silent and crying, holding the hands of my friends and sister.

September

Barcelona is recovering slowly. Heat is still there, so as summer. The independence question stems again : strikes, flags, tensions. Media overreact and some friends and siblings get worry. Except pans concerts each night at 10 pm, and a flag war on the balconies, situation isn’t that bad.
My sister has gone and I find myself alone. For the first time, I realize I live in a big city. Alone amongst billions of living souls. I start relationships that end quickly. I struggle to see my rare good friends. But moral is still up thanks to the city. Barcelone, with its hidden treasures, historical sites, good restaurants and tea rooms and tons of cultural events has the power to cheer me up. When I am alone, I just go out there with my camera to capture the city. I meet other French girls and realize that in case of spleen, I still have a great community to count on.

October

The 1rst of October is insane. At least in the media. I spend this day in family by avoiding tensions zones and we don’t see anything : nor words, nor violence, nothing. Just police trucks that drive quickly, and violence images against the voters on the social networks. I am pissed, sad, and jaded. All this independence story doesn’t weaken my envy to stay, but cast a shadow on my professional career. How all of this will end ? I keep living this case day to day, and things slow down despite the continuing pans concerts.

Temperatures are still high and I even have the chance to do a boat party. In October ! I live the Barcelonese dream : tee-shirt and bare legs in October, nights out with friends, walks with my camera and tons of activities at night and during the weekends. I don’t miss my French life at all, even though it is sometimes hard to explain some situations in Spanish (like when I had a cut of electricity for two days and that no one came !). I ‘meet’ the Spanish administration and realize it is even worse than in France. So glad about that !

November

First weeks are still soft but cold comes in brutally by the middle of the month. I take out coats, gloves and scarves. But I don’t dare to complain : in France, bad weather is there until October ! Despite a rough adaptation to cold (I had forgotten what it was after 4 months of summer !) I gladly welcome fall in Barcelona.

I finally start to create my own routine here, to have plans, a circle of friends. My adapting time is slowly fading out. I travel a lot during the weekends (France, Valencia, Lisboa), and I miss Barcelona. My home is there. Here.

December

December is only starting but it is already full of promises. In between new personal and professional perspectives, my future is slowly taking shapes. And it is doing it here. I didn’t doubt when I arrived, but I doubt even less after 6 months here : Barcelona is the city where I want to live and stay. The language difference ? I almost don’t have it anymore. The cultural fence ? I am half Spanish and Spain always has been my second country ! Friends ? Even though my best friends don’t live close, I have enough friends here not feel alone. Sentimental life ? I haven’t been spared those last few months, but I let myself live what I have to live. Before anyone, my heart belongs to Barcelona. T’estimo Barcelona.

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