Happy as I was to say goodbye to hostel-life, the real world isn’t all they make it out to be. Sure, I’ve got my own room now and I am not woken up anymore by people leaving early in the morning, and also, I don’t have to be quiet anymore when I get home or get up.
On the other hand though, I am suddenly not meeting new people anymore, and instead of noisy roommates I now have noisy neighbours: a baby, mother and grandmother that love speaking to each other VERY LOUDLY on one side, a couple with child that love to ARGUE AND CRY VERY LOUDLY on the floor above, and on the floor below there’s an old man that loves to listen to his radio at 5 in the morning, but only in summer. Lucky me that it’s winter. In short, I am not so sure yet how I feel about my new life.
These mixed feelings have also been brought on by the fact that I am suddenly stuck in a European winter, with nothing to do but look for jobs that do not interest me in the slightest. You could get depressed from less I think.
Spain has been hit hard by the financial crisis, with an increase in unemployment of around 7% (compared to 4% in the Netherlands). In fact, Spain is the country in Europe that is suffering the most, and the Netherlands the least. So a request for my friends back home: please stop telling me that the situation is not good in the Netherlands, it’s all relative and you don’t realize how lucky and rich you are!
Available jobs for foreigners in Barcelona who aren’t bilingual Spanish/Catalan (and which foreigner is) can be divided in two categories: teaching English and call centers/customer service centers. As you might recall from my last post, I’ve already ruled out teaching English. Leaves me with the call centers. And to make matters worse, you probably pay your cleaning lady quite a bit more than what I would earn in a call center.
Understandably, I spent the past week checking out flight prices to Eindhoven or Dusseldorf on ryanair.com and trying to picture myself back in the Netherlands. Only reason I am still in Barcelona is because I have already paid a full month’s rent, which stops me from giving in to my urge to run back to the land of family, friends, extremely well-paid jobs and last but definitely not least: hot, high pressure showers.
It’s also easy to fantasize about all the things I could do with the money I would (probably) earn and save so quickly back home. Like go on a new trip, or just go on a little weekend trip every month. It would also be so easy to deal with everything in my own language again, and to know exactly where to go and who to talk to, no matter what you need. Or, heaven forbid, maybe I could finally find a job that is actually challenging and rewarding. Imagine that!
To be honest, it’s not just the already paid rent that is keeping me here. Although staying here would clearly not be good for neither my bank account nor my career, I started thinking about the things that I find difficult here and how they would be better in back home. And the answer is that they probably wouldn’t be. Because one thing I dislike after spending so much time in countries with lots of sunlight is the cold, dark and grey weather, but this will only be much worse in the Netherlands. A few days ago it was actually sunny and 19 degrees here, so I shouldn’t even say anything about the winter in Barcelona.
Another thing that’s different from Sydney or South America is the openness of the people here. But it takes about 6 months to make a new Dutch friend! (In the Netherlands, abroad it’s a different matter.) And I don’t know if I am ready for people using their diary to plan going for a coffee, let alone constantly having to listen to others and myself complaining about how tired and busy we are…
That’s why I have decided to give it another chance. But man, writing a motivation letters for jobs that have about 0 aspects that you like is really, really hard! So don’t be surprised if my next post is written at the airport after all….
Or, if someone has a car and some spare time, you can come pick me up if you like! A little road trip through Europe, wow, I think I am onto something here!