Tres meses, una lista

Three months (tomorrow) and six posts.  Road to hell. Good intentions. Et cetera.

The original plan was to stay through the end of August.  That’s now been extended to (at least) the end of October. All depends on what work turns up in the next few weeks.  Everyone says I’ll have more than enough to make it financially viable to stay, but the same people have also all repeatedly said that nobody will do any hiring until mid- to late-September.

I’m going to try to post more during the next couple months and do a better job of documenting what is and has been going on.  But in the meantime, here’s a random list (in no particular order of importance) of things I’ve learned/noticed in the past 90-ish days.  Some I might expand upon here, others in the privacy of the offline world (or maybe in a story or six) …

  • Living by myself for the first time in, well forever, has been a, como se dice, interesting experience, both good and bad.  Especially weird after having shared a space with Larry for the past 21 years.
  • Living with people one doesn’t know isn’t nearly as stressful as thinking about how stressful it could be (I guess there’s a life lesson in there as well).
  • Eggs are not for breakfast in España, well at least not in Barcelona.  They’re all over the menu for lunch and dinner, just not for breakfast.
  • There is popular mindset that people in Catalunya (much like those in NYC) are not very friendly. This, at least for me, is an unfounded myth.
  • Even if I don’t get there, knowing the beach is just a few minutes away makes the world a better place.
  • A stove, a sink and a fridge do not a kitchen make. Cooking without counter space is not ideal.
  • One can live without a microwave, a proper coffee pot (ojala, I miss my Nespresso machine) or an electric kettle.  I’m embracing pioneer culture.
  • Embracing limbo is a challenge, because it doesn’t provide much to hold on to.
  • Never, ever, never, ¡jamas!, listen to Michael Bublé sing “Home.”  At least for now.
  • I have not had a food delivery (pizza, Chinese, Indian, Vietnamese, etc) in the past three months.  That might be the longest stretch without a delivery boy at my door in, well, my (adult) lifetime.
  • Movies I’d never normally watch are still interesting because watching them with Spanish subtitles is pretty much 2 hours of big screen class time.
  • I don’t notice it day-to-day, but my Spanish (or Castelleno, if you will) has definitely improved. I can almost have a 2-hour conversation and not feel like my brain is melting. Almost.
  • As much as I tend not to follow them, I’m learning that I like to have a plan.  Ditto for structure.
  • I did my best to go to Paris with an open heart and open mind.  Still standing by the theory: Beautiful city, shame about the people. Not ALL of them, mind you, but hombre, por favor.
  • As much as I thought (knew!) I NEEDED that television, I don’t turn it on all that often.
  • Outdoor space is great, but it doesn’t replace having indoor living space that doesn’t feel claustrophobic when there’s more than one person in the room.
  • Subletting a space is a strange beast.  At first it’s great, because you’ve got an instant home without the muss and fuss of putting a house together.  But then after a while you realize just how much it’s not your home, nor will it ever be because it’s all temporary.  Which leads us to the biggest of realizations so far …
  • Everything. Is. Temporary.
  • Clutter is one thing. Someone else’s clutter is quite another.
  • Who needs a drier when outside is pretty much a convection oven?  Oh, and you can’t leave things hanging, because the sun bleaches them out wicked fast.
  • I miss having my books (and my cats) around.
  • I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve worn long pants since June.  And the majority of those times were in Paris.  I’m not sure that’s entirely age-appropriate.
  • I’m also not sure that this whole adventure has been entirely age-appropriate … all this time alone gives one lots of time to think (yeah yeah yeah, I could be writing but we’ve addressed that already), and I think a lot if this re-inventing thing is a game for a person the age my passport(s) say I am.
  • I had to renew my US passport here and it was Dead. Easy.
  • It’s harder, bureaucratically at least,  to open a bank account here than in the US or the UK.
  • On time here isn’t necessarily what one is used to in other locales.
  • For good or for bad, there’s a very true sense that life in Barcelona is a lot more laid back than in many other parts of the world.  As much as I think I’m laid back, I’ve got nothing on Bcn in that department. A very wise man once told me that I bury land mines in front of me then do everything possible to walk right into them. I’ve learned a lot about my land mines this summer.
  • I am well and truly chuffed to be heading back to London on Wednesday.  I have no idea how I’ll feel the following Tuesday when I’m scheduled to come back to Bcn, but I’m committed through the end of October.  Stay tuned.
  • I’m sure there’s more, but I’ve got other things to write (yes, like real, paid, professional writing work, who knew?), laundry to take down, at least one episode of Orange is the New Black to catch up on, and I guess I should try to sleep.
  • Everything happens a little bit later in Barcelona.

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