Barcelona is shitty! Barcelona is great! My relationship with Barca is quite diverse. It last for more than 8 month and wasn’t my first choice. But when I look back I had a great time there. In this post I tried to summarize my time in Barcelona.
In the beginning I had quite a culture shock. I was like a rabbit in a corner; unable to move. Until I remembered why I came back and stood up again.
By the way: The trickiest situations during my journey I had in Barcelona. However, in Barcelona I got to know to very nice people and made lovely friends.
And there I got to know to someone during my last 2,5 month who I really like a lot. Due to this encounter I took a flight back and interrupted my visit in Germany to see him again … I’m very happy that I did it. Now Barcelona is my place where I can come and go and try out some projects. I was looking for a place like that and a place where I have roots... I should find out that I found this place already.
Great start – Everything went like I wanted!
Before I came, I volunteered in a family in Andalusia. I feared I couldn’t find a job and got in panic... I applied for jobs where they looked for German Speaker even if I wanted to practice Spanish. The most of those jobs were in Barcelona in CallCenter. I found something what offered quite fair working hours: week days from 9am to 6pm.
I applied and got two days later a phone call, confirmed an interview and took two days later a blablacar over night to Barcelona (11 hours ride), threw my stuff in a hostel and went to two interviews. The first one was the job I wanted. On the next day I got the confirmation. I had a job!
Three days later I had a room! Wow! That was a great start.
I had still my positive and relaxed energy I got on my travels in Mexico. I was full of ideas what I could do. My callcenter job would pay my bills and in between I could do my projects, give Yoga classes etc. That was what I planned.
Well, first of all it comes differently and secondly as you think… Especially if you are having a culture shock…
All started with a culture shock which slowly developed. I just couldn’t deal with all the – in my opinion – stupid and unnecessary things like fashion trends, Apple stores, little dogs in ballet skirts (yes! I saw quite often). In addition my job in the call center was quite exhausting. I underestimated what it means to sat for 8 hours in front of a PC and talk all day long and deal with complaints. In addition we had the pressure to reach the daily targets or you would have less money. I really hated it but it also paid my bills and I could save up money and had time for my Yoga classes and it was just during the week. But I really hated it.
But my team was really great and I met nice and lovely people. Everyone followed his or hers dream and had different reasons why they were working there.
Apparently the following situation let my heart broken and I crawled deeper into my culture shock:
I had my lunch break when I saw an old homeless man in bad condition walking beside my workplace. It broke my heart how he walked and looked like. He approached to a café beside my workplace. A fat man came out, gave the man an evil look and placed himself in the door so that the old man couldn’t enter it. Eventually the old man turned and walked slowly to the garbage bins. I couldn’t stand it any longer, looked into my bag where I just found a banana and handed it over to the old man. He smiled and said: “Gracias”.
After this encounter and some other things I checked out possibilities to help and found a foundation that helps homeless people. During Christmas and New Years Eve I volunteered there in the kitchen. It was a great experience.
I was happy that I had in three days after my arrival in Barcelona a room in a shared apartment. Life was great! I got everything what I wanted but like I mentioned I underestimated what it means to come back and throw yourself into a tough 9 to 5 job after having freedom and did things which made really sense…
There was this thing with my roommate… I guess everyone would recommend not starting anything with a roommate. Even me. But when I got my culture shock I felt quite lonely.
He was handsome, Italian, but stacked in his situation and seemed to be very unhappy. It seemed he didn’t know what he wanted to do and he was unable or not ready to change anything. Often he was quite mean to me and talked to me as if I was a little girl. He wanted to give me some advice but the things he said he had rather told to himself. Of course all things we say and how we act is just a reflection of what we have learnt and what we think. He went to a job he didn’t like much. But he took French lessons and played guitar in his spare time. He looked lost and controlled and controlling.
I cannot remember how it started between us. But I remember how it ended. All happened in my first three weeks in Barcelona. So it didn’t last long. I remember when I thought “Hmm, I’m not fallen in love” while he was texting with someone on WhatsApp. Suddenly he asked me: “Are you asking yourself now if I write to other women?” I was surprised about this question. I said: “Ehm… no.” Well, we think and believe what we would do...
He was quite jealous. One day I went out and came home in the early mornings, when he made a drama due to I went out with a friend. He stayed awake until I came home. Actually, he went out too and didn’t ask me if I wanted to join. After this drama I didn’t feel well there anymore. I didn’t want to tell him anything what I was doing due to he said mostly something negative about it. Like I mentioned he was obviously unhappy in his situation but wasn’t ready to break out.
Finally I told him that I wanted to let it between us.
I felt immediately better and got fresh energy. He brought home other girls for sex and it seemed that he wanted me to know it. I didn’t really care. It was clear that this would happen. Where should he go with a girl anyway?
However, it was obvious that I couldn’t live much longer there. But yet I was unable to move.
A 'No' is a 'No'!
In that time I went often to the Parque Ciutadella because it calmed me. One day a young African guy came over and said he wouldn’t leave until I would talk with him. I said I would like to be on my own but he wouldn’t leave.
So I gave up and listen to him. It seemed to be he was a nice guy and it was interesting to talk to him. I thought we could be normal friends. Not more. We exchanged phone numbers.
I knew he would live in a shared apartment and I visited him to have a chat. It seemed to be he hoped for more. I explained to him it wouldn’t be more. His roommates already left for having a party somewhere.
Long story short:
He wouldn’t listen to my ‘No’ and he approached quite close to me. Too close. He was very strong and suddenly sat on me. I said: “Get off me!” He didn’t. I got scared and repeated with a loud voice almost screaming: “I SAID GET OFF ME! NOW!”
Finally he did and left the living room. I took my jacket and said that I would go now and that he didn’t respect a ‘No’ and I buzzed off. Outside I realized it was a tricky situation. I called my best friend Insa and told her everything while I was walking home. She comforted me and talked me down. I was so glad to hear her voice. We spoke until I got home. He wrote to me “don’t let me alone”. I guess he was quite desperate and lonely. I wrote that he should leave me alone and respect it. I blocked him in WhatsApp.
Writing is my therapy and lovely visits in Barca
I wrote a post how I felt with my culture shock. For this post I got very nice feedback from my friends. It gave me back my positive energy.
In the meantime one of my best friends came to visit me. She lives since a while in Shanghai and was on vacation in Germany. We cried for happiness when we saw each other. It was great to have someone from my past there. After her my mum came to visit me and stayed for a week. I haven’t seen her for 2 years. It was great to see her and spent time with her.
I was happy again and had new energy that helped me to remember why I came back and what I wanted.
Remembering why I came and coming back on my feet!
Finally I remembered why I came to Europe: I wanted to save up money and I wanted to start my own things.
I realized I couldn’t do it on my own and looked for support. I found a group of women who are helping other women to be entrepreneurs. We caught up and I got my energy back and felt full of power! I took them as my coaches. Coincidentally one is from Germany and the other one from Mexico! But as you know: I don’t believe in coincidences :-)
“Why don’t you look for another room?” “Well, you know…” Fuck off! You are right!
We talked about my current situation and the first thing they asked me was why I wouldn’t look for another room. When I started to explain myself why I couldn’t, I realized that I just used excuses. In addition in a couple of weeks my roommate and friend Patrizia would leave the apartment. She went back to Swiss due to her internship was over. She was the reason why I liked to come home.
Therefore when I came home that evening, the first thing I did was looking for another room. Two days later I found one in which I moved in three weeks later!
My Italian roommate was surprised when I told him I would move out. Due to I wanted to close the chapter in harmony I invited him for Mexican food on my last day. When we said goodbye he hugged me quite long. I wished him well and hoped he would find his way. He is a good guy on his journey. Like everyone is on a journey. On the next day I moved out and he had to work. He wrote later: “Your room is empty…” I replied: “It’s better for me.”
“Why don’t you give your Yoga classes in German and English?”
The second thing my coaches asked why I wouldn’t give Yoga classes held in German and English. I wanted to practice Spanish… But I knew in Barca are tons of Yoga classes given in Spanish. Classes in German and English were special. Why not? I had nothing to lose.
I started to put out in some dates for Yoga classes in Facebook groups. It worked out! I received many requests and people were interested. I gave my first classes outside.
Really nice people joined my classes and with some of them I became friends. During the winter months I rented a cozy and full-equipment Yoga room in the city center. Later I gave meditation classes at the beach until it got too cold to be outside.
I started to play and try out. Yes, I had my energy back.
Feeling very relieved in my new apartment
My new apartment was close to my workplace, my roommate was from Bolivia and it was overly clean due to he had a cleaning lady. He was a nice guy, a bit older than me and liked to watch TV. He told me the price for my room and it was really cheap. He said the additional costs wouldn’t be that high…
When I moved in I saw how relived I was! It was like tons of weight fell down from my shoulders! I was happy again and came home with a big smile. It is amazing what it does with you if you live in a place where you don’t feel good. I waited too long. On the other hand I wasn’t ready before.
From Russia with love
Again nice things happened to me. For example my lovely Russian chica Julia who volunteered with me in a hostel in San Cristobal was back in Spain in Malaga. She wrote to me that she would come to Barcelona. I was delighted and offered her to stay at my place. My roommate agreed. Yes he was a kind guy.
Julia arrived and it was great to exchange with her and listen to her stories what she has experienced after we separated in Palenque. With her I could exchange about how it feels to be in Barcelona and about culture shocks etc.
Obviously she became a great cocinera on her travels! When we first met, cooking was not her cup of tea. I remember when she had to prepare the breakfast in the hostel where we volunteered. The first time she got in panic which was quite funny. Now I was really impressed about her new talent and it was nice to see that she enjoyed it a lot.
She stayed 10 days with me and it was strange for me when she left. She traveled back to Russia with a stopover in Paris. It was great to see her again. It showed me that I have lovely friends all over the world and I feel understand with them.
On vacations with my brother
In the meantime I had vacations and my brother Mitch came to Madrid. Therefore I traveled first to Valencia and then to Madrid to catch up with him and his girlfriend Mariana from Mexico. Both already have visited me in Ireland. It was a funny time.
I was happy to see him. I told him that I would hate my call center job and that Barcelona was too loud for me and fast. He asked me why I wouldn’t leave it. Well, I knew I needed just a couple of months more until I would have the money together I wanted to save up. But it was hard to take the job… But his simple question let me think and I reflected my current situation I was in and where I came from.
New friends in Barcelona
During my journey I met many women and became friends with them. I really enjoy it a lot to exchange and share and motivate and inspire each other. That’s really cool because in Germany the majority of my friends were guys due to I worked in a male-dominated industry.
During my time in Barca I met really lovely people and made new friends. Most of them are women as well.
I did quite a lot with two lovely girls. One was from Belgium (French part) and for a couple of days my roommate in my first apartment. The other one was a friend of hers and as well German.
We did other things together like cooking, hiking, going to the beach, paddle surfing or visiting a festival. I am glad that I got to know to them.
Funny was that just the Belgium one was in time when we caught up. I was mostly the last one and came always too late…
Surprise, surprise or the definition of “no high costs”
I lived two month in my new apartment when my roommate’s passion for watching TV started to annoy me. When I came home from working in a call center I just wanted to have silence. In addition we didn’t talk much due to he was just sitting in front of the TV and used earplugs connected with his smart phone. So-called double screening (yes, this is the official name). The TV was huge and if I wanted to have silence I had to go into my room. Apart from his TV addiction we didn’t have much in common which is ok. He is a nice guy and he is this kind of guy who would do everything for you.
However, one day we received the first invoice for the additional costs. I had in mind my roommate’s words “they aren’t that high…” Well, I consider “not high” as 20 or 30 EUR more per month. It was 60 EUR more per month… I told him that I it was much more than I reckoned with.
My Yoga tour through Mexico and nice last months in Barca
I already planned I would leave Barcelona in February and go back to Mexico to give tours with Yoga and meditation. I developed the idea together with my coaches. They always look where my passion and energy is when we talk about ideas. Mine comes out if I talk about traveling, Mexico, Yoga and meditation. So why not bringing all together and share my experiences?
Therefore I decided I would look for another apartment due to I wanted to have some nice 3 month before I would leave. I already knew how I could find another one.
Third try: my new apartment close to the beach
After two days I found one very close to the beach, fair price and five people in total and available until February. Perfect!
When I came in a guy with dreadlocks opened the door. He showed me around. On a couch in the living room was a guy smoking a cigarette. The guy with the dreads explained the conditions and said I could put my stuff there before I would move in if I needed. He said it would be a quiet place and often they would sit together and have a beer. It wasn’t that clean there but I felt very comfortable there.
The dreadlock guy said some German girls lived there before. They had two rooms to rent. The room I was interested in was free due to the guy who lived there just visited his family in Argentina until February. In the other one lived a German girl who left.
It turned out the smoker on the couch and the one with the dreadlocks were from Chile. There was another roommate. She was Catalan and wasn’t often there.
I really liked it! I said I would like to have the room.
So I had a new room!
Welcome dinner with my new roommates
They invited me and the other new roommate (a nice girl from Ecuador) to a welcome dinner. That was before I moved in. It was a funny evening with lots of talks, beer and meat al chilenio. Actually it was just meat.
The smoker turned out to have the same taste of music like me so he had my attention. He is two years older than me. I notice he is quite cute, has a nice smile and has a voice I like to listen to. He has beautiful eyes and beautiful long dark hair that he bound together as bun and he has a beard...
No! He was my roommate. And I had in mind what happened the last time. I didn’t want to look for a fourth apartment...
There was also...
Here are some stories which I would like to share as well before I will head on with my time in my third apartment.
An immoral offer at the beach
I lived for a week in my new apartment when I got the idea to go after work to the beach and meditate. The beach was just a 5 minutes’ walk away from my apartment.
It was already dark when I came, sat into the cold sand and watched the waves and listen to the sound. I meditated for like 15 minutes when I suddenly saw a guy passing by on a bike. I just thought:”Hopefully he won’t come.” Of course he did. Obviously he saw me sitting there.
I could hear that he turned and walked with his bike to me. He was short but broad-shouldered and quite intrusive. I mean I was meditating and explained I wanted to be on my own but he wouldn’t listen. He introduced himself, laid in the sand beside me and said he was a gypsy (“Soy gitano”). He told me about that at this beach people often had sex… Why was he telling me that…? I got nervous but I tried not to show it. I just told him about meditation and I that I had to go now because my (imaginative) boyfriend was waiting. I stood slowly up and moved slowly away. He came with me and suddenly asked me:”Quieres follar?” I said:”Gracias pero no.” He said he would be great in bed. I just said:”Gracias por la oferta pero NO.” and I left.
“What the f*** is wrong here?” I thought. Well, ok it wasn’t a good idea to go in the dark to the beach.
Free peep show at the beach
I decided I would just go during the day even I felt robbed in my freedom to use it. But it turned out even during the day it was full of perverts…
One morning I went to the beach with my yoga mat and placed myself at a place where many people walked around. I started my daily Yoga and enjoyed the warm sun.
People passed by alone or with their dogs. An elderly guy who looked as if he could work in a bank took a break from walking with his dog and seated himself on the rocks close by.
Suddenly I did a pose in that I could look through my legs and see behind me.
Well, I could see that the elderly man made it himself very comfortable… He sat there with open pants and was masturbating while watching me doing Yoga. I was shocked and pissed off.
The thing that most upset me was that he obviously saw it as the most normal thing in the world to masturbate if a young woman was doing Yoga. I mean what is that?! There were many people at the beach but he didn’t even care.
I was too shocked to say something. I took slowly my things together and moved on. He got it and buzzed off. What the hell was wrong with the guys here?! So I couldn’t even go to that part of the beach during the day. I found another one.
Knocked out at work and missing my family and friends
It was a Monday in mid December when I didn’t want to work at all and felt not good that day. I had some pain since a couple of days in my uterus and back pain. For some reason I googled ‘symptoms cancer uterus’. And guess what? My symptoms matched with the diagnosis. They always do. It was a stupid idea…
I got in panic and thought I couldn’t go to Mexico, had to stay in Barcelona and didn’t enjoy my life like I should be just due to money... Suddenly I felt dizzy and felt I would pass out. I just said to my colleague next to me that I wouldn’t feel good. The next thing I remember was that I woke up in the chair, legs up and many worried faces looked at me “eat something!”… I just said that I didn’t want to eat but they should call the ambulance because I wanted to know now what was going on.
My lovely team leader Kathryn accompanied me in the ambulance and to the hospital.
To put it simple: It turned out I was ok but had a panic moment that why I passed out. I got a second opinion later in Germany and it was fine as well.
But in this moment I realized that I wanted to see my family and friends sooner as I planned. I felt so lonely in this moment and helpless. It was a terrible feeling. Therefore I booked on the same day an earlier flight for the 16 of February 2016 and didn’t take to the later one on the 25 of February.
Birthday party with melted wine a la Alemania
A couple of days later I moved into my new apartment and celebrated my birthday there.
I invited some friends of mine. All women!
The only guy was my roommate with the nice smile and beautiful eyes. He helped me to prepare before my friends came. I did melted wine a la Germany and did Sushi a la Mexicana. I forgot some wine bottles and my roommate went to the supermarket and bought some. Coincidental the wine was from Chile. He also gave me a red rose as a gift. So cute! It was a long time ago that someone gave me a rose.
My friends came and my roommate seemed to enjoy being the only man among women.
I whispered to my Belgian-french friend Yasmina that I would like him and that we would have the same taste of music. My friend just smiled and said: “Jeanineee”
When everyone went home my roommate and I sat alone in the kitchen and talked. And – what a surprise –we kissed each other. I remember that I said something like “but we are roommates” and he just said “but just for two months…” Fair enough.
It was a nice evening even if I had too much of the melted wine, Jägermeister and beer... Therefore my hangover lasted almost a week. Unfortunately I’m not joking :-)!
On the next day it was a bit strange for me. My roommate didn’t seem to have a problem at all. Bueno. Just two months…
How to try being half fallen in love
Time passed by and we did more together like watching movies, going out for dinner and he took me with him to his friends, I got to know to his sister and his mum who just visited him. A very strong and independent woman who travels on her own.
I tried to keep my distance emotionally or rather I thought I could keep my emotions under control. We didn’t consider us as a couple. We said we would be friends. What else could I expect? I would go in two month. I tried to enjoy it and not to fall too much in love. Well, that is like saying “I try not to be complete pregnant. Just a little bit.”
I suppose men can better deal with that…
For me it was difficult, due to I didn’t want to be just like an affair. As well I couldn’t quite deal with the thought that we were just friends because that meant he could bring other girls home like my former Italian roommate did...
Now when I am writing this I see by myself that it’s a weird and mean thought about his great personality. It was just my Ego.
The truth is that I didn’t know what I really wanted, hence I didn’t open up much for him and didn’t say what I was thinking.
Well, I was the one who would go in a couple of weeks to Mexico and leave him in Barcelona. I couldn’t even tell at this time when and if I come back. So what could I actually expect from him?!
The truth is I was already fallen in love with him but I wouldn’t confess it…
…I like him a lot. He has lots of talents like doing music and taking photos. The photos he takes are real art and the music his does as well. He is covered with tattoos what I like as well. He is a very sensible person. He sees the things I don’t see. He is the one who sees if another person has a new pullover and wears it the first time. He would tell something nice about it so that the person feels good. He is the one who watches on Instagram baby animals and would tell you how cute they are. If he sees a cute dog he would stop and tell the owner “que guapo es este perro”.
And he can be happy like a little boy. I remember when he came home with his new e-guitar. He smiled and had big shinny eyes. It was so beautiful to see him so happy! When I am writing this I remember him exactly and I am smiling and I could also cry due to I see that I miss him.
In some points he reminds me of myself when I lived in my first shared apartment. I was a bit chaotic too. I remember when my dreadlock roommate asked him “do we have eggs?” “Yes!” and he passed him over some eggs from the Catalan girl. “We could say that she already ate them!” That was pretty much me in my early years living with my friends together ;-)
I had the room until the beginning of February. My idea was to switch to an Airbnb until I would take my flight back to Germany. Also my German friend Verena offered me to stay her place.
I avoided talking with my roommate about the topic… I was coward and didn't want to think about leaving. I was nervous to go back as well.
One day he talked about it and offered me to stay with him in his room. Such a lovely guy. Firstly I wasn’t sure if he was serious due to I knew he needs lots of time for himself. Like me. But he was serious about it.
A couple of days later one friend of mine told me that my roommate would like me much more than I was thinking. She told me that he told her on Facebook that he planned to do a surprise goodbye party for me at the beach. Well, in the end it was too cold to do it but the idea was lovely. I had a bad conscience because I had so many doubts and worries before…
Well, sometimes we don’t see the whole beauty in front of us, because we are looking desperately for the missing parts…
So I moved together with my roommate and put my stuff into his room. I didn’t have much with me hence it didn’t take much space.
It turned out it was really easy going! We both had enough space and time for ourselves as well. I enjoyed it a lot to fall to sleep with him and wake up beside him. Even now when I am writing this I remember exactly his lovely smell and how cute he sleeps and how he hugged me…
During this time our Catalan roommate said she would move out on the 6th of Feb and I could move into her room. That was great!
But when her room was free, I just put my stuff into it and slept still at my roommate’s place.
Time to say ‘Hasta luego’
When it came to the point to say ‘Hasta luego’ we did a ‘Goodbye party’ at our apartment and I invited some friends. It was a nice evening.
On the day I left my roommate’s mum also flew back to Chile. So it was a tough day for him… He brought me to the bus station. And it was hard for me to leave him. I was also nervous to go back to Germany after 2 years of being abroad. It turned out to be great and showed me how I changed so far. I feel freer.
What comes next?
I was in contact with my roommate. We phoned each other and during the first 3 days he mentioned 3 times that it would be nice if I came back to Barcelona before I would fly to Mexico. When he said it the first time I thought “Hmmm, but I haven’t planned it”. The second time:”Well, yes I miss him a lot” and when it came to the third one I booked a flight back to Barcelona. I wanted to see him and I wanted to find out how it would be for me with him.
Read next time about my short trip back to Barcelona where I went with my roommate to a radio where he was invited to speak about his experiences with psychedelics.
Thank you for reading my story! I appreciate it a lot! Lots of love.