Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Best and Worst Thing About Barcelona

As I've probably mentioned before, one of the great aspects of Barcelona is the cosmopolitan nature of the city and the people it seems to attract. During my seven years here, I've met and befriend people from seemingly every country in the world, working in everything from the underground economy to the government, and old stereotypes I might have had were quickly vanquished after a few drinks and conversations.
Especially the first few years, these expat friendships helped me gain my bearings and find my feet in the city. There's a bond, I think, that comes from the shared experiences of living in a foreign land. It truly seems to speed up the process of going from acquaintance to friend and I know without the support of the people I'd met the move would have been more difficult and possibly shorter.

Sadly, when I think of these friends now, almost all have long since gone, called away from Barcelona in search of better jobs, or because of love, or due to a sickness in the family. For all its beauty and allure, Barcelona is also a transient city and people come and go, usually sticking around for two years before moving on.

And I have to admit each time a person comes into my life and then leaves, I find it harder to go out and make new friends. But eventually I do because I believe the richest experiences in life don't last forever; if they did then they'd lose that special quality and become routine, normal. Also, one of the benefits is I now have plenty of places to stay and a local guide when I travel.


  1. We've proudly the broken the two year mark... so far so good (we even have some Catalan friends, and sometimes *they* actually phone *us*). Sad to say though, if either of us lost our job, we'd probably have to move.

    So far we've managed to lose our two best friends... one back to his home country for a promotion and one Catalan off to Silicon Valley for better opportunities.

    Our best luck so far has been with mixed Catalan/expat families.

  2. Yeah, expat couples make up the majority of my friends now. Cultural differences provide interesting topics of conversations!