I got the idea of expat interviews from another blog writer, the Young Adventuress. She interviews expats from all over Spain and I always loved reading through these. I think expats see the place they live in in a very unique way. They are not locals so their view is more objective however they know more about the area than a tourist who spends only a few days or weeks there. That’s why I decided to follow her example and start to interview people. Unlike the Young Adventuress, however, I am only going to ask people who I know personally. I believe this way I get a more honest reply for the questions.
My first ‘victim’ is Maryvonne, a French lady who has been living in Barcelona for over 30 years. She is a widow but has a son here who has just proposed to his girlfriend so Maryvonne has happy times to look forward to. She was a member of my intercambio group in the library.
Describe Catalonia in three words.
Sun, Spanish character (openness), food.
Why did you move to Barcelona?
I begun to work as a teacher in September 1997 in France. My friend’s boyfriend was from Barcelona. My friend said ‘You have to go to Barcelona’. When I did, her boyfriend introduced me to his friend, Antonio and we fell in love.
Where is your favourite place in Catalonia?
Montseny mountain. The summit, the Turo de Hombre (Man’s Peak).
Tell me one thing that you love in the city but most of the tourists don’t know about it.
In Grácia there are lots of ´passatjes´. It means ´to pass´. These are very narrow roads and only pedestrians can go there, not cars. Houses are very expensive there. There are no apartments, only whole houses.
Is there something you don’t like in Barcelona?
The noise. It’s very noisy here, more than Paris.
Tell me about a funny cultural misunderstanding you were a victim of.
The word ‘constipado’ (to have a cold). It’s different in French (to be constipated).
Special thanks to Maryvonne who was happy to answer all my questions.