20 Lessons I Learned Moving To Barcelona From The US

20 Lessons I Learned Moving To Barcelona From The US

Tips on adapting to Barcelona before you lose your mind
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Barcelona - a gorgeous, fun-loving city that never sleeps and always has a beer at an arm's reach. I spent the past seven months roaming the narrow streets of the Gothic, rocking red lipstick and getting carried away in romantic flings on balmy nights. This isn't my first rodeo though - having survived Barcelona back in 2014, I came back for more of the madhouse awesomeness that is this city. Here are 20 lessons I learned moving to Barcelona from the US.

1. If you think you'll sleep, you're kidding yourself

For most who spend a summer in Barcelona, the word “schedule” is void of all meaning. Beers at the beach quickly turns into an evening glass of cava, a few tinto de veranos at a late tapas dinner, midnight beers at Plaça Reial, a few cocktails at Sugar, shots at the Moog till sunrise and then a 24/7 rave someone told you about...you see where I'm going with this. Get your Z's before coming over here.

2. Doubt everyone, even if it sucks

After having not one but two landlords disappear with my and my roommates' deposit money and friends lie about their entire life history, I think twice before trusting anyone. I hate to be that way, but the melting pot that is Barcelona will chew you up and spit you out if you're even slightly naïve.

3. E-mails won't get you a job

Neither would phone calls. Unlike the US, where all formal communication is handled through our beloved Gmail, here you have to walk into a company/store/bar with your CV in hand and a ton of confidence. After struggling for two and a half months, I was finally able to hustle up some pocket money at the very end of the summer by literally going into every store and flashing my CV to the manager.

4. It's incredibly easy to exercise, so you have no excuses

That's right, “no gym membership” is never an excuse to let yourself go. Between hitting up the Barceloneta workout spots, hiking up Montjuic or even swinging at the hundreds of playgrounds, as long as you want a six pack, you'll get it.

5. Tourists are a necessary evil

As much as I hate to have to elbow my way up la Rambla on my way to a job interview, fact is that once the end of September lull hits, a ton of jobs disappear. No more pub crawl salesmen, less baristas and tour guides. It's a tough choice - tranquility vs. money. Hopefully, we'll come up with a middle ground for that one.

6. You'll have the best legs of your life absolutely effortlessly

Because you'll be climbing dozens of steep stairs every day. Floors don't just go “1, 2, 3” here. You'll have to hike up entresuelo and principal before you even catch a glimpse of the first floor. If you live on the third floor, that basically means the fifth and some nights you'll just prefer to cuddle up on the aforementioned stairs instead of climbing them.

7. Speak Spanish, even if you sound like an idiot

Newsflash: speaking Spanish will always make you feel stupid at first (especially if you're stuck on US high school level), but if you really want to integrate yourself in the city, understand the locals and get better deals - you have to start speaking.

8. Talk to everyone

I guarantee you'll never be alone unless you purposely hide at home. Sit at any bar (guy or girl) and you'll be chatted up in less than 5 minutes. From Silicon Valley investors to Elvis Presley doppelgängers, international marketing gurus and world travelers - you'll be amazed at the friends you make.

9. Don't piss off the bouncer at Jamboree

Or Macarena. Or Marula. Really, always kiss the bouncer's ass if you'd like to party happily all summer long.

10. Working in nightlife is crap

Sure, it seems super fun at the beginning - drinking all day long, talking to people and occasionally hooking up with coworkers, but the truth is that working in nightlife will exhaust you and kill whatever motivation for a career you may have. Plus, these gigs are rarely certain, so don't be surprised if you wake up penniless one day.

11. Erase Tinder

Seriously, meet people the old-fashioned way. The most you'll get out of Tinder is some hot tourist visiting town for a weekend and even if sex is good and conversation decent, he'll catch a flight back home sooner than you know it and you'll be scrambling for a booty call. Instead, talk to the cute guy at the bar or let a handsome local buy you a drink at the vermouth bar. Make lasting connections.

12. Relying on the police is usually just wishful thinking

I've had to go a bunch of times and first of all, if you don't speak Spanish you'll have to wait for three hours instead of 30 minutes. Secondly, chances are the officer typing up your denuncio will just say “joder” and bluntly tell you that you'll never get your stolen item back regardless of whether you were pickpocketed or your apartment agency screwed you over.

13. If you don't have internal discipline, you'll be a hot mess

Remember the partying cycle I mentioned? Yeah. If you don't have the will to wake up before noon and eat some vegetables, you'll waste your entire summer sleeping till dusk, drinking excessively and blowing all your money on stupid shit.

14. Only tourists go to the beach clubs

Locals prefer lesser known bars.

15. The fact that bocadillos are the most convenient option doesn't mean that's all you should eat

Because they add up quickly and your bikini bod will vanish quicker than you devour the manchego cheese off that jamón sandwich. Yet, living off of those for a month turned out to work better for my figure than my typical US diet.

16. Bargain for everything

You're a fool if you pay the asking price. That's only the starting point for negotiation and this principle applies to most things - clothes, trips, even food.

17. Take advantage of the nude beach, but for god's sake - use sunscreen

Enough said.

18. Generally, you don't have to dress up but if you do, people will treat you better

People stroll pretty casually around here, as we walk everywhere, but if you pack a pair of black heels in your bag and whip them out at the line for Opium, your chances of getting in quicker will increase by 100%.

19. Don't rely on credit cards

Though many places take them, smaller shops still don't or have a 5 Euro minimum. Do yourself a favor and always keep a 10 handy.

20. Don't let tourists stop you from enjoying Barcelona's landmarks

I'm talking Park Güell, la Sagrada Familia, the Barceloneta, Tibidabo, etc. - don't avoid them altogether, just pick a good time of the day to go to beat the crowd. Try early mornings - nobody here wakes up before at least 8am.


Cover Image Credit: Dayana Aleksandrova

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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7 Things Never To Do While Visiting London

Abandon all hope, ye who use public transport during rush hour.

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As I've said before, London is an interesting place to be, however, there are a handful of things that should be avoided. Of course, mistakes will be made and lessons will be learned, but maybe if you read this, you'll know better faster.

1. Do not stand on the left.

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... of the escalator. Some people prefer to walk down to their train, and if you're in the way, it's as if you were sent from hell itself, especially during rush hour

2. Do not take the Central Line.

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Unless you're going to the Museum of London or St. Paul's. Or you're into weird smells and clinging to the pole because there is no such thing as a smooth ride. To each their own.

3. Do not attempt to get anything to eat in Leicester Square after 4:30.

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Leicester (pronounced like "Lester") Square is one of the best places to grab some grub in Central London because of the sheer amount of choices. Just plan to eat early because everyone else knows that very thing and you'll end up waiting an eternity for a table, then food.

4. Do not rely completely on an app.

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It's totally fine if you have no clue where you going or how public transport works, but once you get the hang of it, you're allowed to trust your own judgment. Maybe you don't have to get off the train then switch twice before getting there instead of riding a few stops more and switching once.

5. Do not attempt to take the Tube during Rush Hour when you have other options.

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Just take the bus if you have to to the national railways. The SWR trains are slow, but at least you're not packed in like sardines and there are usually open seats.

6. Do not forget to check for student discounts and bring your ID.

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Remember this when you go to the palaces, it could save you six pounds and make a real difference if you're going with others.

7. Do not let anything ruin your day.

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There will be a lot of things that will try to ruin your day... Like people who intentionally break some rules above, lines (Sorry, queues), poor navigation skills, etc. Still, you're in London. Savor your visit, and don't let any mistakes or people without common decency ruin your visit.

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