I had an idea to independently study some Spanish during my time here.
I have learned some words and phrases but I would not brag too much about my skills. I’d really recommend studying some basics before arriving here but you get surprisingly far by using English and body language. If you like the board game called ALIAS, you will survive anywhere. Plus remember the existence of (awkward) Google Translator.
I quickly met some interesting people here in Barcelona.
I met a photographer from Peru who has enjoyed living in Barcelona for many years. He got his income secured by renting scooters. During one evening I talked for an hour with a waiter who worked near the La Rambla when the terrorist attack happened and now he missed all the tourists who were too scared to come back after the incident. Barcelona turned very quiet after it.
It was daytime when I met an old, white haired gentleman in the metro station in Gracia. Few minutes earlier he saw me in a tea shop and now he recognized me. I recognized him too. He had a working history in Finland and we talked about Nokia and Apple. We were heading to the same direction so he introduced me an amazing old public library which had some lemon trees and a pool for big goldfishes in the center of the building. That beautiful building was full of history and he told me pretty much everything about it. He wanted to show a photographer (read: me) a place that had no tourists in it and which could be a very good spot to take photos. He was absolutely right.
I spent a moment at the beach near the studio where I’m working. There were a lot of people trying to sell me something (beer, water, mojito, a massage,..) and I felt like I’d be in a shopping mall instead of a beach. One man from Pakistan got tired of with selling things and he sat down quite close to me. I am not too sure where he started the conversation but he ended up telling me how he liked to paint. He felt like sharing something about himself and he wanted to bond with me even for a few minutes. He told me that he used a lot of suncream every day because he didn’t get the point of getting tanned. He just happened to get tanned, because he was working outdoors all the time. He rolled down his sock and showed me how he was the same color as me. It felt like an important short moment. ”We have the same skin”, he said and then he threw a joke of some kind. Soon after that he left.
All these people were total strangers to me but they were all very kind. They shared something important to them and maybe they tried to make me feel like I was in the right place.
When I moved here my brain were processing the idea of my own space in the city.
Where did I feel safe and at home? Where could I skip thinking about verbal communication which was challenging for me every now and then in this country full of language? This place had to be very small and peaceful.
I ended up thinking further and soon I was processing what was my intimate space here in the city. This thinking did lead me into my art project here in Barcelona. One day I was casually taking photos and I took a picture of my bed. That was it. My only intimate, non-verbal space which was all mine and where I could feel at home. My bed.
I share more details about my project next time!