From Barcelona: So, what made you come here?
Blogger Jeremy Holland attempts to answer this much-asked question by retracing his decade-long journey before his big move to Barcelona.
It's a question I often get ask, and one that I find impossible to answer.
It's a long story; one that began as a youth with dreams of white sandy beaches and dark-haired beauties in red flower dresses, me, and a dog. Where these images came from - I can't tell you.
As a child, I was lucky enough to visit many cities and countries in the world, but we never spent any significant time in Spain. My sister said we came to Barcelona once in the early eighties, but there were no rooms available, so we headed back to France. I don't remember, so I'm not sure if that counts as a visit.
Or perhaps it's the British blood that drew me to this country, but my old man was more of a Francophile and a lover of the Greek islands than the Iberian peninsula, so I don´t think that explains it.
As I grew older, the visions of white sandy beaches, dark hair beauties and a dog faded as the everyday life of an American teenager became more of a concern (making friends, passing exams, and partying). I didn't give much thought of Spain until after graduating from high-school when I learned an old friend (I knew him since I was 10 and my time in England) had moved to Madrid.
What a life - I thought, only contemplating it for a second as I had my own plans - two years at a community college followed by two more at a four-year university where I'd get a degree in something that'd lead to a good job and pay lots of money.
It didn't quite work out that way, and by the time my mid-twenties arrived, I was living in Los Angeles and working in technology, making a living. I had a great group of friends and my family around me, but still something was missing, so to clear my mind I took a trip. I thought about my old friend in Madrid, but heard Barcelona had a beach, so I went there instead.
It was a far cry from the white sandy ones of my dreams: brown with shards of broken shells embedded in its rocky grains, las playas of Barcelona were nothing but the dredged up sand from the sea bed that were sardine packed by two in the afternoon. But I didn't care. It was like no other city I had ever seen. The buildings were twisting and melting works of art, the parks had carved stone statues of the gods and the streets buzzed with life. I met people of all ages from all over the world and partied till the crack of dawn and not once did anyone ask me what I did.
I had forgotten that there was so much more to life than earning enough money to buy a big house and a nice car, and I returned home refreshed and pensive.
Back in L.A, I took stock of where I was. In two years I was to turn 30. I still had my friends and family; although many were marrying or settling down, while those of us who hadn't were becoming jaded to the Hollywood scene. Professionally, I had found my niche in on-line advertising as an account manager for a major search engine and earned high praise from my boss and a decent salary.
Still, there was this nagging feeling that I was not destined to be a rung in American society who would get by as long as I worked hard and never fell behind on my credit card/mortgage/car/insurance/utility payments, or lost my job in a downsizing. The thought of spending my entire adulthood worrying about getting fired, while paying off things I needed to buy and not enjoying life made me realise: there had to be another option, so I came to Barcelona.
That was over six years ago, and other than a six-month stint in Cadiz, I've been by the brown rocky beaches ever since. As for the dark-haired Spanish beauty and the dog? She's a blond from Andalucía.
So now that I've told you, tell me: What made you come to Barcelona?
Jeremy Holland / Expatica
Written by an American expat, From Barcelona is a blog dedicated to the city, the life and the people of the capital of Catalunya (Catalonia).
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