Welcome to today’s show. My guest today is Angela, and she is joining us from beautiful Barcelona. Angela, I would like to thank you for joining us today and sharing your experience of moving to Spain and living in Barcelona.
Hey, thanks for inviting me.
Can you tell us a little bit about what your life was like first before moving to Spain?
I moved to Spain in 2013. I was living in Switzerland in the Southern part, where the first language is Italian. And I had a very good job actually, an office job. I was invited to Ibiza for holidays with friends and no, actually it was Formentera.
We had to go through Ibiza to go to Formentera. I didn’t have a nice opinion about Ibiza. Honestly. I thought it was just very commercial and too much party, but it turns out that going through it, I saw it in another way, I fall in love with Ibiza. Then I started to go on holidays twice per year. And one day I just say, I want to live here. I didn’t make a very long plan. It was quite instincts, how you say in English and instinctive?
Instinctive, or it was just a very quick decision that you made.
Yeah. It was just like, I want to do this. Don’t think about too much because if I start thinking this is me, am I correct? Or if I start thinking that I overthink, then I have that, and then I don’t do anything anymore. So I just say, I want to do this.
I quit the job. I sold the car. I put everything. Oh, no, I didn’t. I sold the car. I bought a less expensive one. I put everything in my car, and I was with my book boyfriend back in those days. We just took the car with our things. We took the boat, the ferry, and we went to Ibiza, but now I’m in Barcelona.
So how long did you stay in Ibiza?
Okay. So, you definitely enjoyed it then.
Yeah. Yeah, it was a great time. It was beautiful. It’s a beautiful Island. Magical, definitely an experienced too, to do. I never expected to be that long, to be honest. I mean, yes. That’s what was the purpose, but when you leave your certainties, your routines, and you. Everything goes so fast. I mean, it’s like, really, I’m an expert in so many years, eight years now. I don’t realize it, because. It’s so many adventurous happens and the cultural shock. And I don’t know how to explain the time.
Yes, time just goes by very quickly when you’re doing something new, when you’re experiencing so many new things all the time and discovering new things. So seven years in Ibiza, which is nice. I know what you mean, a lot of people view Ibiza as just the party Island and not much more than that, but obviously, there’s more to it. Then you decided to leave Ibiza, and you came to Barcelona.
So, what made you decide to move to Barcelona?
Well, I really loved the culture in Ibiza from the local people, they are Catalans too, because it’s still under Catalonia but I wanted to. To go back to a city because basically in Ibiza, you live in the country. It’s, I mean, in the summer you have, a melting pot of the worlds, and it’s very international and you have everything, but it’s still a country place.
And I was born in the Northern parts of Switzerland in Zurich. So, I’m basically a city girl, and I, after seven years of nature, beautiful sunsets, and a more natural lifestyle with a hippie vibe. I was more like; I really want to go back to the cities. So I decided I want to stay in a place with the same culture because I, I like the Catalans. I liked their way of being and if it was close Barcelona close and Catalunya and so that’s, what’s the reason.
That’s great. Are you working now in Barcelona?
I’m working. I started to work remotely as a home office, already before the pandemic. So, I was working, and I’ve been with this company already, remote working. So I can live where I want actually.
That’s really nice. I think one of the kinds of benefits in a certain way of the whole pandemic is people realizing that they can work from home and home doesn’t necessarily have to be in the same city as where their office was. It could be maybe out in the country. It could be further away or sometimes even, potentially another country if that allows.
So, it’s the work from home. It is nice. I’ve been working from home. Oh, my gosh, I think probably more than ten years. When I started working from home, I remember I’d get a phone call or something from a friend, and they’d ask, “what are you doing”?
I would respond, I’m working. But you’re at home. Yes. I’m working from home.
So it was, at that point, that people really thought that you couldn’t work from home. But of course, we can, and I was very early on into that part. I do now enjoy co-working spaces and things because there is nice to have a working community and people to see and meet and things like that.
Yeah. That’s nice.
What was one of the biggest obstacles that you had to overcome moving to Spain? I know being from Switzerland and part of the EU, it’s not, as hard as it is, say for Canadians and people from the US, but what was one thing that was that you find challenging about that?
I can’t really remember because it was so far away. I think maybe it was not; it was not the very step of moving. That was not the difficult part. I think the most difficult part was to understand the culture because. It is very, Switzerland has a different time perception and, and also the administrative way of doing things is completely different.
So, I was a little bit; I was thinking like I was living in my country. When I got an appointment, I was thinking, okay, I’m going to do this today. But then I went there, and it was no. So, they would just give you a little step of what you have to do, and then you have to come back. In Switzerland they give you everything at the first appointment, they said, okay, this is what I need. And you sorted it in one time.
Here it was, more steps. So I wasn’t prepared to that. I would say that that’s the main obstacle, and it also makes things slower. So everything I expected to be solved, like in one day took me months, and I wasn’t mentally prepared to that, but I also think if someone told me, I wasn’t really realized, because if you haven’t experienced it, it’s like you have to live it to understand.
Yes, that’s right. And that’s what a lot of people say it’s the bureaucracy to, to get things done. Depending upon where, what country we’re coming from, a lot of things are more streamlined, or we know what to expect, and things do just seem to take a little bit longer to get done in Spain.
Yeah. I would say that was the main obstacle, which was a mind obstacle at the end because if you are prepared for that, like now, I know what it’s like. I’m going to the shop today; I know it’s not going to be solved today. It’s okay. I’m fine with that. I know it because I lived in it after so many years.
I’m now used to that, but when I arrive at first, it was difficult. It was difficult because I would expect the things to be solved immediately. Like I was used to, and this is not the case here. So it’s just, I think it’s just a mindset thing at the end, just to get into us, know your mood and understand the things are not going to be solved at the same day. It’s just that, I think.
Right. Is there something that was a really big surprise for you? Whether it was a negative or a positive that you were just like, wow, I didn’t expect that.
Yeah, the medical service was like a very positive surprise. Yeah. I think, in Ibiza and here in Barcelona, too medical services are very good. I didn’t expect that because like, I don’t know, every country says from themselves, they have the best of everything. So when you leave your country, you think, ah, my company has the best medical surveys or whatever. It’s like we have a little bit; we are conditioned a little bit to think that where you were born is the best country in the world.
So when I first needed to have a medical service in Ibiza and Barcelona, I was surprised it’s actually very good and advanced that they have advanced that technology too. I actually had more advanced technology than the little city where I was living in Switzerland. So that’s a surprise. Very surprising.
Okay. That’s well, that’s, that’s a good surprise then. For me, one of the biggest surprises was the time that they eat dinner here. I think it’s so late. Coming from Canada, we have dinner around 6:00. Usually, in Barcelona, it’s 9:00 or 10:00 pm. That was a big surprise for me. I still don’t eat at 10:00pmit’s too late. I just can’t do it.
I think that is an interesting topic because that was also the eating routines. The dinner time, I was kind of used to it because I’m half Chilean, so we are used to it for dinner.
I have dinner later then, 100% Swiss people. But the lunch was a big surprise because I was used as a lunch or dinner and the plan is no longer than one, two hours. It’s like, That’s the length of a dinner or lunch. And the first time I went to Ibiza, it was all of the afternoon. And it was like, Oh my God. I mean, I arrive, and everything was very chill, very familiar. Everyone was doing a little bit. And I was like, okay, this is going to take longer than I expected, but that’s the beautiful part because then you have more time to have human relationships.
That’s right. And it is because even if you go for lunch and it’s not considered a long lunch, lunch here, even at a restaurant, is at least two hours. Coming from Canada, I don’t have lunch or dinner for two hours. It’s an hour or less. You go in; you eat, chit chat a little bit. That’s it. I do like the relaxed laid back atmosphere with that. I do remember the first time I was invited to somebody’s house for lunch, same thing I thought, okay, no problem, this is kind of slow. And it was all afternoon. I mean, I think we were finished lunch at five o’clock, and I thought, my gosh, this is almost dinner time.
Yeah, that happened to me too. I remember. And it took me a while to understand like, okay, if this isn’t because I use it to say every time somebody invited me to lunch was like, yes, yes, yes. And then I was like, okay, now Angela, you have to think about it because it’s not going to take one hour. I’m just going to; it’s going to be till five.
Yeah. As you have to adjust your day and think, okay, what do I need to do? Can I do it later? But it’s a good surprise, and it’s a nice adjustment time.
Yeah. It’s a lovely thing.
What are a few things that you wished you knew before moving here? Whether it was either moving to Ibiza from Ibiza to Barcelona?
Well, in general, something that nobody told me, and that is also like, maybe it’s a little bit an unpleasant topic, but it took me a while to realize that there is a little bit of a gender difference. It took me a long time to understand that I was a woman, made a difference because yeah, I stopped, and when I was alone, like doing stuff, it was a lot more time. It was difficult to be taken into serious consideration. When I was with my boyfriend, everything was easier. And it was like, I felt like he repeated what I was saying, and they were listening to him and not to me. And I was like, what is going on here? As a woman, I was, it’s something you have to be prepared for and that it’s going to be okay. A little bit more challenging to be listened to. Yeah, a little bit more.
Okay. We talked already about eating and lunchtime and that, is there anything else that you’ve seen that was kind of a big adjustment for you?
Yes, it was also being more open. Like, I wasn’t used to, to share more of my private life. I was very a very private person. This requires a little bit of adjustment to share a little bit more about myself, my feelings, my personal state. Yeah, it just requires a little bit, but it was a very nice adjustment.
Okay. What are some ways, or how did you go about finding and making friends either in Ibiza or here in Barcelona?
Well, in Barcelona, it’s a little bit challenging now because I arrive just one month before the pandemic. But I started to do sports activities. So, I think that’s a good way because those people have the same interests. In Ibiza, it was mostly events, even, because obviously a lot of parties, a lot of events, so that was the way to connect with, with people.
Excellent. And is there anything specific that you miss from Switzerland?
Oh, yeah, the amazing, simple bureaucracy. It was amazing. Everything. It’s just, everything works. Works perfectly. Runs a lot smoother.
I know the feeling.
There is less headache with that. You know, one thing should only take a few hours, not a few days. You know, it’s one of those frustrating things as well, but you just get used to it, and it is the way it is.
Yeah. What do you like most about living in Barcelona?
I like the culture. This is like really, even the, considered the situation now, but there is so much culture, so much art and if three and there’s this for me, it’s just, and the, and the attitude of the people it’s very welcoming. It’s just; it’s rich. Like I feel very rich culture, and it’s inspiring all the time. I’m an electronic music producer, so this is, I need inspiration. I need inspiration. I need stories. I need passion. I find it, and I found this in Barcelona. I really love this.
Okay. And if you were to, go on a weekend, getaway somewhere within Spain.
Do you have a favorite place that you like to go to?
I have to investigate still a little bit, but I think the Pyrenees Mountains because, after so many years on an Island, I had sometimes missed the mountains; I think I was going in that direction.
That’s one great thing about Barcelona is it is so close to the mountains. Once you get outside of the city, there’s a lot of nature and things around. So it, I think, you picked an excellent spot to get a mix of that city life, but then also, to easily get out of the city and enjoy nature.
Thank you very much for your time, and I really appreciate you talking with us and sharing your experiences here.