Thursday, August 13, 2009

So last year

A year ago I was in a manic rush to get my visa in time to move to Barcelona. (Might I add that after investing two months of free time and hundreds of dollars in the process, not one immigration officer flipped through my passport to view the document.) I predicted that I didn’t know what I was getting myself into as I prepared to move to Spain. I was right.

I would trade in this


















for this.

Last September my overnight flight landed in a chilly, rainy Barcelona. I rolled my suitcases to the arrivals gate and met a tall, aristocratic Spaniard dressed for the pages of a country club catalogue who didn’t remove the mobile phone from his ear to greet me. I smiled and awkwardly greeted a tubby three-year-old in a ruffled dress and tights on the verge of a tantrum and her brother, a sandy haired, five-year-old version of his father.

I bumbled something about being grateful that his wife had told me he'd be wearing red pants so that I'd spot them. He gave me a horrified look. I wouldn't understand my mistake until getting the children ready for bed that evening, when they referred to their underwear as pants in proper British English.

That night I would remember how I woke up to sunlight filtering through the trees into the bay windows of my apartment on Rutledge Avenue. My white-and-gray kitty slept curled against my knee on my queen bed. In my new room in the uptown Barcelona neighborhood of Sarria, I switched the light on in the mornings to see walls papered with teddy bear cherubs and a closet with choo choo train door knobs. I woke (and often slept) to the wails of a cranky Casilda coming through the paper-thin wall between our rooms.

I don’t regret taking that job in Barcelona. Admittedly the transition was hell, but I’m wiser, more independent and (hopefully) more cosmopolitan for it.

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