Time flies past in a stressful life where nothing really happens. I started my new job and quit again within a week – lesson learned, if it seems too good, it usually is. Now I have a new job coming up for the month of April, just a short gig but an interesting opportunity to teach in a Swedish environment. I was hoping to pick up something for March as well, but it seems like a dead run now despite ongoing attempts.
There haven’t been many opportunities for riding but my running is coming along nicely. It feels great to be back again, it has been rather a struggle after a longer period of fatigue and now I pace myself to not exhaust my energy levels but instead enjoy a shorter run – quality instead of quantity. Our new accommodation has a rather nice city run down along Passeig de Sant Joan, past Arc de Triumf and down to Parc de la Ciutadella. There are always lots of things going on in the park, practising acrobats or spontaneous dancing, so it makes for a nice loop and then I head back up again. Best of all, running is for free. Hopefully, I can make it down to the beach for a run soon as well. Poco a poco as we say in Spanish – a bit at a time.
Overall, life has been very much about being an immigrant since arrival, trying to fix accommodation and job while taking on the paperwork. It often feels like a task from Joseph Heller’s Catch 22, it is difficult to know where to start. Now at least we have accommodation where we can register, which will make things easier, a bank account has been organised and lost papers have been retrieved. Immigrating is hard work at the best of times. I came here because I wanted to, nothing forced me to, nevertheless, sometimes it feels like a struggle to understand the order of things, but that is the essence of culture clash. They are often daunting, like when my director of studies tells me to buy sweets for the students as a way of motivating them to behave in class – a perfectly acceptable way of classroom management in Spain it seems, however, it clashes with my culture where sweets are for the weekend and to give sweets to someone else’s children is just pure wrong (for health reasons among other things), especially in the role of a teacher. A more pleasant side of a culture clash is being woken up by the sound of firecrackers outside the balcony and finding out that it is the saint’s day of this particular district of Barcelona. Later the same day, we enjoyed a parade with riders and horses, drums and trumpets, and showers of hard boiled sweets which made the children and elderly alike crawl on the ground in pursuit of them. Sweets that made the streets sticky and caused my shoes to squeak all the way back home.