I cautioned them against bringing those things. A double lined hood, oversized, heavy and I’m sure comfy, but practical? No. I do wonder how many days they will take to dry. Our location here in Barcelona is one thing, I can only imagine the laundering ordeal once we get down to South East Asia. Although, maybe the temperature will be considered too hot to wear such a heavy garment?
It is not cold here. Fall is coming, but we can still have all our windows wide open to catch the breeze. Last night was the first, for closing all the windows. 5 days ago we were baking hot. This is the start of the shoulder season when you don’t know which way the day will go. Especially by sitting inside. Layers are in order for an outing. A city expedition, as it were. We have been on a few of those so far.
Walking to get groceries has been an interesting challenge. I can’t remember the last time I have ever lived without a car at my disposal. Even as a child, my parents drove us places we needed to go. I took the bus, (some years), to school and always for fun. Then I turned 16 years of age and I’ve been driving, ever since.
It is not like I didn’t incorporate the lack of a car into our plans. I knew full well, we would live here, in the old part of Barcelona without a vehicle. What I did not realize was how many times a day, back home, we pop into our car and go get something. Even at my parents house where it took 15 minutes to get into the nearest town. Spoiled. That is the only way to describe, how we have lived. Although, we are no different from anyone else, I assume. At least, those who live in the suburbs. I kept rationalizing, this is how people who live downtown Vancouver must surely be living?
I guess it is the sheer quantity of changes we are having to adapt to.
- No car. That means lots of grocery trips, almost everyday. Until I master the metro, this means lots of walking too. So a bunch of time is spent getting food and other supplies. The apartment came pretty well stocked, but we are a family of 4 and there was no food. Thankfully, there was important basics, like toilet paper.
- No dryer. Circle back to the hoodies. And anything else cotton. Even towels. Another thankful nod to our landlords for bringing us a bedding change every 10 days. Otherwise, I would be off to a laundromat for that. Another walking journey. More time spent waiting for that, or commuting back and forth.
- No space. Back home we have a relatively small house, by suburban Canadian standards. We are under 1,400 square feet on a fairly big city lot. In the summer, our yard makes our house feel much bigger. Here in Barcelona, we have a tiny terrace off each set of glass doors, giving us loads of extra space to dry things on the railings. But, not much room for anything else. And then you are standing almost beside the folks on the balcony across the passageway. Maybe they are smoking, having a party, whatever, you are doing it together. The inside living space is generous by urban city standards, but we are getting used to being in such close quarters to each other, all the hours we are awake.
- There is a different word for everything. I didn’t continue on my Spanish language learning for too much longer after being here in Barcelona in May. At that point I discovered that there are 2 languages and they are different. Catalan and Spanish. I got a little disheartened at that. Mainly because the Catalans are really trying to become independent from Spain. (Some kind of vote is going down on October 1st). So running around trying out my baby Spanish on people was not likely to go down so well. As it stands, google translate helps me read basic instructions for everything I want to do, but all that activity takes a bunch more time than it used to.
- Use of time. Since so much of the daily chores require more of my time, I’m not used to the rhythm yet. I’ve also taken on more than my share of the chores, since everyone else has so many first priority tasks. My kids have school and my husband has work. I am left to do all the other stuff, less important to the future, but pretty critical on any given day. Cooking, shopping, cleaning, planning, etc. All the same chores anyone has to do to keep a house running, but made more complicated by the sheer newness of everything.
- Lack of routine. Just like when I left my job, I thought the freedom to choose when and how I did things would be the best! In many ways it is, but sometimes the lack of an overarching structure means you get less done in a day. I feel less productive because I don’t have the same kind of output to show for my efforts. Added to the mix, my 14-year-old daughter does not want to be here. So getting her into a routine of any kind is like pulling teeth. I am hoping she is still suffering from jet lag and will snap out of this funk in a few days. The mark for full adjustment is Thursday. (Stay tuned).
I also terribly miss my library. I thought I could do ok by taking out ebooks and reading them on my computer, but that is not going to work for the kids. They need some time to look at something other than a screen. I have found 2 English bookstores here in Barcelona – one used and one new. We trekked to the used store called Llibreria Hibernian, 5 stops away from our place on the L3 metro green line. Then we spotted a grocery store in that neighbourhood, which is way better than what we get locally in our touristic area. Sigh, so much for being close to the water.
On the upside, my husband and I snuck off to the beach yesterday afternoon. It was very busy, but nice and warm. Laying on the soft sand with the heat of the sun warming your soul, is a very nice thing. We had to be careful taking this photo, didn’t want any of the other more scantily clad ladies accidentally getting into the shot!
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