Today’s guest is Angelika. Welcome Angelika, I am very happy to have you on the podcast today. Thank you very much for joining us and sharing your story about your experience living in Spain.
Thank you very much for having me.
Can you tell us a little bit about what your life was like before he moved to Spain?
Before I moved to Spain, just a normal life living with the parents and just trying to find a job in a corporate world, and actually thanks to the corporate world I was able to move to Spain. We had just a normal ordinary life in central Europe.
Okay. How long have you been living in Spain?
I have been living in Spain for 14 years now.
When you moved to Spain, did you come alone, or did you move with your family?
No, I came by myself. It was basically a transfer within the multinational company that I still work for. The idea was I’m going to stay three maximum of five years. Well, it has been 14 years now, so it’s probably not that bad.
Where are you staying in Spain now?
I’m living in Barcelona.
You are in Barcelona. It’s a very popular place. Was it a direct route right to Barcelona or did you live in any other cities in the last 14 years?
During University, I did one year in Madrid, and then I stayed one more year in Madrid. So yeah. I had the experienced previous experience from Madrid.
And it’s a very interesting difference between those two cities.
I’m assuming you prefer Barcelona over Madrid.
It depends. Barcelona definitely has a better climate. And, because it’s stable the life and well, in Madrid as well, the life is mostly on the street, but the people are different. And I think we all know it, or at least the foreigners that lived in different parts of Spain. You can see the difference between them. The Catalan let’s say, and the rest of Spain, there are some specific characteristic features. So yeah, there are differences and depends on what you want. And I would say that Barcelona is this hype, you know, this hippie town hipster, super modern and Madrid is very classic, very traditional.
Excellent. And what was the biggest obstacle that you had to overcome when you moved here?
Find a network of friends because the language barrier was not there cause I already spoke Spanish. So that for me was not an issue. It was more creating the network of friends, the support network, basically.
Yes, I hear that a lot that, especially when you move by yourself, it is a lot harder to start with that network when we leave all of our good friends behind. What is the biggest thing that’s surprised you when you moved to Barcelona?
It’s difficult to think about it because when you are so many years, you know, it doesn’t surprise you anymore. So I don’t know, to be honest, I don’t think I right now, I don’t think I can. I would have to think about it. Just off the top of my head, I can’t think about anything. Maybe, maybe the difference between the Catalan region and the rest of Spain. Because they all talk about it in Madrid, they would always talk about it. But, I was never in direct contact with any Catalan people or I would not know Barcelona that well, and I would not know what the Spanish or what the locals are talking about, but then moving to Barcelona. Yeah. That, I would actually come to the realization that there is a difference.
Okay. And is there anything that you know now that you wished you would’ve known before moving to Spain?
Maybe if I knew how beautiful is Spain as a country, I would move maybe earlier. But I can’t think of anything else at the moment.
Was there something that was a big adjustment for you to get used to when you moved to Barcelona?
The hours. I mean, basically, they are what time they have lunch, what time have the dinner? Let’s just the news, the daily, the main news, you know, starts at nine o’clock on the Spanish national TV. So just everything is shifted basically two, three hours later than, in Europe.
Right. I found that was a tough adjustment for me too. Then having lunch at two o’clock I thought, okay, that’s not bad, but dinner at 9:00 or 10 o’clock at night. It’s just even still for me, it’s too late. Like I just can’t have dinner that late.
Yeah. I don’t eat at 10:00. I eat at 8:00. So that’s the latest.
I also eat around the eight o’clock mark because in Canada we have dinner five or six; seven o’clock is considered late dinner and here it’s very early. So that definitely was a big adjustment for me.
They have an explanation for it. It’s because of the hot weather. I know it’s very cold now and we can’t think about the hot weather, but when it’s really hot in Spain, you know, the sun is up until 9:00, 9:30, and it’s still very, very hot. And when it’s hot, you don’t feel like having dinner, you know, or eating anything. So. Well, they were explaining to me, my Spanish friends. And that’s why they have such a later dinner time. You know, that was the explanation I got from the local people.
Well, it does kind of make sense because, I mean, when we think of the weather in the summer, especially August, it’s so hot that, you don’t really want to eat anything or very much. In that heat that’s for sure.
Is there one thing that frustrates you about living in Barcelona?
One thing that frustrates me. I think I would say the bureaucracy and I think it’s well known in Spain, the state bureaucracy, and that everything let’s say it’s not very efficient either. So, it takes everything takes forever. But I think coming to the Southern countries, Southern European countries, I think you have to accept it because you know, what you are getting yourself into, so, and I don’t think we can change that.
No, I don’t think so either. And I think, it’s a good kind of rule for everyone. I think everything takes longer than it should. If you think something should only take a couple of hours, it’s going to take you all day. Don’t plan anything too close together because everything takes longer than it should.
Yeah, exactly. Or if they tell you that it will take two months, it will take three, four months.
Right. So, with a lot of things don’t wait until the last minute because things don’t get done quickly.
What, what do you like most about living in Barcelona?
The weather and the climate it is very constant, very comfortable allows you to live. Let’s say outside, be outside, spend a lot of time outside. So yeah, the climate and the weather, I think that’s something that you cannot pay with any money.
I definitely love that. You can normally sit outside on the terrace year-round and have something to eat or drink, it does get cold a bit in the wintertime, but with the heater it’s good. There are not too many places that have different seasons that we have but still have the ability to be outside year-round.
Is there anything that you miss from your home country?
I think just like everybody else, sometimes the food local foods. Even though in Spain, you have excellent food or in Barcelona, you have an excellent food scene, but you do miss or your own, national food. So, I think that would be one besides the obvious family and friends, I would say the food, but there is always a way around, you know, there are some restaurants with the central European or Eastern European food in Barcelona. It is very good. If I feel like I want something local, I mean from my home country, then I just go there for dinner or lunch.
Excellent. So you’re living in Barcelona. Do you have a favorite city or town within Spain that you like to visit or to get to that you think is wonderful?
Yes, it is Toledo, which is an amazing mixture. It is a small town, it’s a small city. I think it’s, 80 kilometers from Madrid, 60 or 80 kilometers from Madrid. And it’s just an amazing mixture of different cultures and religions. It’s just a beautiful historic town. I think it’s under the UNESCO world. protections.
Amazing. I haven’t been there. I’ll have to go there and check it out.
What tips or advice would you give somebody who’s thinking about moving to Spain?
Moving to Spain? A lot of patients, I would say, if you are coming, maybe from the English-speaking countries, be prepared that you need to slow down, you need to relax.
You know, everything will take its own time and they will take its own curse. Don’t expect that everything will be done within, don’t expect efficiency. Let’s say that. Just you have to just how to go with the flow. I think it helps you in general. I think it takes you out of the stress and helps you relax because you can’t do anything. You just have to go with the flow, you know, adopt to the mentality there. So I would recommend a lot of patients and switching a little bit, the mindset that you know, everything will go.
Yes, we have to have patience. It actually will happen, but it will just go slower. And I find it is interesting because a lot of times when people do move to Spain and they’re leaving, let’s say North America, for example, which is a very go, go, go place that they do want to get out of that busy-ness. That’s one thing that they like about Spain, but even though that they do like it, it is initially a bit of a hard adjustment.
For me it was one thing, I hated the go, go, go busy all the time. So being in Spain was nice, but it was still, even though I wanted that slower pace, it was still a little bit hard to adjust to when you’re not used to it.
I agree with that.
You are right. Things do get done. They just take time.
Well, thank you very much for your time today and for sharing your tips and stuff with our listeners. Hopefully, it will help them make a decision if they want to move to Spain and check out Barcelona, which is a fabulous city, or even just to come for some holidays.
Definitely, Barcelona is one of the greatest cities I think, in the world. So I would, everybody who is considering moving to Barcelona, I would definitely recommend it. You have to live your own experience. You have to give it a go and try and, you know, see and experience it with your own eyes. So, yeah, I highly recommend it to everybody. Well, depending on the age personnel circumstances, but Barcelona is always a good option.
Excellent. Thank you very much for your time.
Thank you, Sally.