This week did not have a good start. After sleeping poorly on Sunday night due to the presence of my new (and really stupid) six-legged roommate, I woke up to discover that yet further wildlife had added itself to my collection. Silverfish may be harmless, but they’re not what you want to see first thing on a Monday morning (and apparently they eat cotten, so my laundry pile is gonna have to move). Even better was my breakfast. After losing two unopened, pre-use-by-date packs of beef and a newly opened pack of chicken to the God of Rotten Meat, I had decided to turn the fridge up, since clearly Setting One of Seven wasn’t doing much, and maybe Setting Five of Seven would. Unfortunately, for my substandard, UHT milk, it was already too late, and whilst soggy cereal is horrible, bone-dry cereal really puts a downer on the morning. So having crunched my way through some vaguely-chocolatey cardboard, I trudged off to my class, were the highlight was debating how best to translate “afternoon tea” into Spanish. And then Downton happened and that was all fun and dramatic and generally depressing.
The next day, my compatriot and I went to be touristy and generally British by going for tea in a tea shop that served every kind of tea under the sun, followed by churros and chocolate. The best bit, though, came next. We’d discovered an English shop a couple of weeks ago, so we decided we’d visit to get any necessities. An unassuming little place, it was a tiny patch of England in a sea of Spain – like Gibraltar, but without the political crap surrounding it. I was very moderate and only bought a jar of curry sauce, in case of emergency depression, and a small jar of mango chutney, but I almost cried seeing all the brands that were so familiar to me. (I also suddenly discovered I really wanted ginger snap cookies. I hate ginger snap cookies.) It was a very well spent afternoon, and I came home on a high, feeling pleasantly refreshed.
This wasn’t to last. Highs are often followed by lows, and, some time in the evening, the Angry Bug bit. Suddenly, I was furious with my home university for sending me here under-prepared, and with the university here for making me feel unwelcome. I was angry that I had to do the Year Abroad at all, and angry that I had to leave everything I loved behind. I wrote a ranty, frustrated blog post, expressing (badly) why I felt that Barcelona wasn’t a great place for a Spanish student to be – and it was badly received. The intention, originally, was to persuade those currently choosing their Year Abroad destination to carefully consider the implications of choosing a place where the main language was not one with which they were familiar. What some people heard was me bad-mouthing Barcelona. Now, I love the city, but to be told my experiences with people being unwelcoming to me were wrong, was more than I could handle in such an emotional state, and suddenly I’d gone from angry to panicked. What if everyone who’d read it now hated me for it, even my friends? What if what I’d written was unfair? I spent the next few days trying to calm down and work out that I hadn’t done anything I was accused of and everything was misinterpreted. Though, I’ve learnt that voicing opinions on the Internet is generally a bad idea, and doing so when angry is even worse.
The rest of the week has been spent settling down with work and my final bit of admin-bureaucracy-crap. This Wednesday I have to apply for permission to be a resident, since I’ll be living here for more than three months (free travel within the EU my bottom; thanks Herman van Rompuy). I’m irrationally terrified that they’ll find out I once stole a Haribo from my sister when I was 7 or something, and they’ll deport me. I highly doubt this, but we’ll have to see.
It’s also nearly been a month since I’ve moved here, so stay tuned for a commemorative post…