It is an interesting time to be moving to Catalonia, I must admit, as I had envisioned our first few weeks in Barcelona to be quite different to how they panned out. A helicopter hovering above our brand new flat (the price one pays for living in the penthouse #verymuchjustfirstworldproblems) gave me a serious dose of nostalgia about my parents’ house, located just a short walk away from a large military airport. And with all of the crowds in the streets, really, it is no surprise that I keep getting asked what on Earth is going on here.
I didn’t expect that the main question we would face after we moved to be whether or not Barcelona was safe and yet that has been pretty much the only thing people want to talk to me about right now. The pictures that the media around the world are painting are… I don’t want to say exaggerated, not to offend any of the sides, but the truth is that during these first few weeks in Barcelona I have not felt unsafe even once. Ok, we stumbled upon a right-wing rally once on the way out of Barcelona zoo but, believe it or not, it was peaceful. Not as adorable as little lambs wearing Catalonian flags, but still very much a-okay.
It all feels rather odd to me as there is so much more to Barcelona than the current political climate. Maybe it is the privilege of a bystander, someone who did not pick any of the sides, to be able to zone out of the mess, but most people I talk to about my first weeks in Barcelona are bystanders too. They have no horse in this race. Why would they not want to know about food? People? Atmosphere? THE SUN? There is sun here, not something one is used to seeing in the UK on a regular basis.
The political troubles aside, Barcelona is truly a wonderful place. I kind of knew this from my previous visits, but these first few weeks (almost 2 months actually!) have only reaffirmed my assumption. True, it is hard to find anyone that speaks English around here. True, it took us forever to find a place to live. True, it took us forever to get our bed delivered. True, it took us forever to get Internet. True, we still cannot register for some of our bills as the companies take forever to answer our emails and call centres are Catalan only. True, that actually the only thing that we managed to sort out efficiently was the shipping of our stuff from the UK, even though the truck driver had an intermediate stop in East Germany… But there are just so many things left for us to discover and experience past these few short, first days in Barcelona and I couldn’t be more excited to share them with you.