HOW TUNA MADE ME CRY, & OTHER STORIES

It’s been nearly a week since leaving the happy confines of Bromley (Kent Greater London) for the humid climes of Barcelona.

When I’m not sweating it out on the Metro, in elevators, or in a park eating lunch, I’m sweating it out in the office, in shops, even in bed. I’ve resisted Snapchatting since my arrival because my hair can’t handle the weather either. It’s no wonder everyone in the office dresses casually: I turned up at the office on my first day in a skirt, shirt, tights and blazer. After climbing four flights of stairs, I was about ready to expire. Turns out the elevator does work, after all.

Getting out here was equally hassle-full (I’m tired, okay) – I had been intending to stay with my boss, William, at his place for a couple of days until I sorted a flat. At 9pm the evening before I was due to fly, I realised I had zero clue of where he lived or how to get there. Of course, that set me off – I was moving to a strange city, with a language barrier, effectively homeless. Fortunately, Liz was able to put me up for a night in her spare room, and seeing a friendly face upon arrival was just so, so welcome. After a long day at work, and three disastrous apartment visits, I was about ready to collapse, crying, when I realised I didn’t actually have a place to stay that night. I rang my boss, my voice catching, and to my relief he had set up the spare room especially for me. When I rang the doorbell the smell of home cooking was painfully nostalgic. He opened the door, said “I hope you like tuna” and that was that. Tears.

I survived a week of work, writing a new hotel review every day. Sadly, this does not mean I am currently working as an international jet-setter with an unlimited budget: instead of lounging on beaches in Zanzibar, like I say I am, I’m stuck on a swivel chair in an air-conditioned office, taking inspiration from Google Images. I’m 90% sure the women I work with think I’m a little slow though unfortunately: because I’m working in English, I’m thinking in English most of the time, which means that when someone speaks to me in quick-fire French I’m often lost for words until my brain finally catches up and I can respond. Of course by that time, they’ve already repeated the question in English, completely undermining my efforts.

That said, I’ve actually been able to use my French quite a lot in my househunting efforts. I pitched up at one house and was asked if I was French, because apparently I speak Spanish with a French accent. Not to brag, or anything. Fortunately, I think I’ve finally found a place to live – a flat of 10 (!) girls, just two blocks’ walk from work, dangerously close to Zara Home and Jo Malone. Plus my room is absolutely enormous. Big enough to house a double bed and a single bed, so start booking your tickets out here, kids.

I experienced my first Spanish night out last night. It’s fiesta season in BCN and boy do these people know how to party. Dinner isn’t normally until 9.30 or later, and it’s not unusual to find yourself turning the key in the door as sky starts to pale. I enjoyed a meal of tapas with a Durham crowd before heading to Espit Chupitos, a bar boasting a menu of over 200 shots. Our favourite was ‘Boy Scout’, where we were offered a marshmallow on a stick to toast over our flaming shot. If you make it out here, I might make you do a ‘Monica Lewinsky’. I’m not telling you what you have to do: use your imagination.

After a long night (and morning) of dancing at Razzmatazz, I spent today wandering the streets of El Barri Gotic. I visited the cathedral, sat in an atmospheric square as the most talented buskers I’ve ever heard performed melancholy love songs, and cheated on L’As du Fallafel with an enormous pita stuffed with my favourite veggie treats. Tonight I’m off for paella at the waterfront and then out for drinks at the W Hotel – nicknamed la vela by the locals – to celebrate Luce’s birthday. I’m not planning on going out. But then I said that last night too…

S. X

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