October 4, 2004
Tyler and I arrived at Barcelona Airport. Our bicycles did
not. We moved in with guardian-angel Oriol, room-mate Sandra,
ex-we're-still-not-sure Paco and frequent visitor Marc and commenced
becoming Catalan. I started classes on 10/5, and Tyler began
the search for "the perfect apartment"...
- In the middle of apartment hunting Tyler needed to visit
collaborators in France, so I found yet ANOTHER excuse
to go to Paris. On the way to the airport, Tyler dropped his
computer and wished he had remembered to back everything up.
Tyler and I commiserated over good wine and phenomenal cheese and
great crepes, and... Ahhhh Paris. -
...thirty six apartment viewings later... Tyler and I moved in
on November 1 and made our first trip to IKEA (pronounced "e-kay-a"
in Spain). We later remembered why we had not visited IKEA
more in the past.
Tyler and I learned that we could not use the sink and the shower
simultaneously. We also found that the water heater would
often shut down with an error "A4" leaving the offender
in a very cold shower. We called the administrator who pointed
the finger at the installer who pointed the finger at the manufacturer
who pointed the finger back at the installer – who finally
suggested that perhaps the Americans were simply showering incorrectly...
After too many phone calls and too much finger pointing, the A4
problem appeared to be "mostly" resolved. Tyler and I
have found a handy workaround to the problem that is to "reboot"
the water heater when it acts up. We've have added yet another
verb to our mixed language vocabulary as in: "AKKKKKKKK
the shower A4ed again. Do the workaround. Do the workaround!"
Tyler and I were just finally starting to settle into their new
surroundings... when my family came to town to celebrate the holidays.
After spending several days in Barcelona, we all headed south to
Andalusia to see the real “Spain” complete with orange
trees, flamenco, beautiful women and (oh, yes!) people that speak
Spanish all day. We especially enjoyed a trip to the Alhambra
with tour-guide Marisa (who lived in Granada in her college days).
For those of you who know me well, the adjustment to Spanish time
and non-work life has been CHALLENGING. I am very thankful
that Tyler has yet to go crazy from my Program Managing seemingly
every aspect of his life. I run to the beach via Las Ramblas
nearly every morning at sunrise (it rises late around here!).
I wave to the en Manel and en Juan at the local flower stand on
my way out. I go to Catalan class every morning. I speak Castellano
aka SPANISH during break times and often Japanese after class with
a close friend from Japan. My afternoon classes alternate between
Spanish on Tuesdays and Thursdays and French on Mondays and Wednesdays.
I seldom am able to keep any of these languages straight in my mind...
Tyler has happily adjusted to his 22 minute commute (door-to-door)
via subway. He works for the Genome
Bioinformatics Research Lab at Universitat Pompeu Fabra which
is conveniently located near the Olympic Village across the street
from the beach. His group includes individuals from other
parts of Spain, France, Greece, Germany, Portugal, Holland and Italy.
He is the token Norteamericano, but they don’t hold that against
him. Tyler tries to practice Spanish with the rest of his
team when they meet for a morning café amb llet or when they
go to lunch. He completed the Pre-Intermedio level Spanish
course in the fall and is now taking a conversation class with Alicia,
the super-mona maestra who seldom wears mini-faldas.
We are hoping to spend Semana Santa (Easter week) in Morocco and
are planning to spend “summer” vacation cycling in Spain
and possibly the South of France (in late August / September).
We are also thinking about a visit to Japan for Christmas next year.
More importantly, we are planning to visit the Bay Area in late
April / early May (04/28 - 05/09ish). We’d love to see
you during our brief visit (we’ll be in the states around
10 days). Moreover, we’d love to see you in Barcelona,
so please don’t hesitate to let us know should you have plans
to come to Europe soon.