30 January 2016

Year Abroad Update: Leaving Valencia and Flat Hunting in Barcelona

It's over. My Valencia experience is a closed chapter of my life. It feels so strange to be thinking about this: I didn't know what this moment would be like before it happened, nor what my feelings would be. The truth is, I haven't really had much time to digest the transition from a city to the other: it happened over a hectic afternoon, and in a way I'm glad about that. Sometimes it's better not to have time to think, otherwise you would go a bit crazy!
Where do I start from? Exams in Valencia. I had to take four exams before leaving, and thought I would leave to Barcelona straight after my last one. Easy said, but not done. As I should have imagined, that turned to be a bad idea as the university website wasn't very clear about timetables. I only found out about my Enlightenment and Romanticism unit exam being at 3-6pm instead of 12-14pm after I'd booked my bus ticket for 6pm, from a bus station not too far from university, but a good twenty to thirty minutes away by metro, and hence not doable. My mood was already quite low due to the difficulty of finding a flat in the city before actually being there. I really didn't need extra obstacles.

I bought an extra ticket leaving at 8 and arriving at midnight, which made me panic a bit as I didn't really want to get to a big city during the night. I planned to see how my exam would go and if I managed, I would leave for the 6pm one, but I had very low chances.

After a few  depressing days to say the least from being unsuccessful at finding flats, not having my housemate Anna and my friend Emmi with me to help out and revising for exams (is there any person on earth who enjoys revising anyway??), I decided I needed to get a grip. I wasn't going to let all that s**t affect me so easily! 

At first, it didn't work. Despite doing meditation before bed and a bit in the morning against my mood, doing yoga every morning and even during revision as a way to calm myself, I still felt quite bad. I soon realised that the main reason behind my low mood was that I was spending too much time home looking for flats. I started going to revise with my friend Chiara to the economics library (not even my faculty, but that didn't matter as long as I was with a nice person), and having a few girly nights with my friends Emily, Lisa, Lizzie and Yasmin. And most of all, I stopped looking for flats. Ha! Was that irresponsible? No. I felt so relieved, and I wasn't being successful at it anyway. So I just shut my pc down and tried to get my healty lifestyle back. 

Then came the day of the last exam. Without thinking about my trip, I did my best, and realised that I was nearly done an hour earlier. So I quickly wrote the last words and proof-read the answers, then rushed to my flat, called a taxi and got to the station. I hopped on the bus at 10 to 6 and took a deep breath. I'd made it! I couldn't believe it, but I had made it. 

On the way to Barcelona, I didn't have much time to think. I read, and read and distracted myself. I didn't even enjoy the post-exams excitement as I didn't have time to celebrate. 

As soon as the bus approached the city and entered the centre, all my feelings sprouted together. I felt so frightened and amazed by this big new city that I was going to live in! I kept repeating to myself, this is my new home!! and stared at the high streets in wonder. The lights, the people walking fast, the incredible amount of bars and restaurants open and looking so bright were incredible to watch from the bus window. 

At last, I arrived at my friend's place, the same where I stayed in October. She welcomed me as usual and I went to sleep shortly after, tired from the long day. Most of the stress had melted, but I still had to find a flat. 

On Friday I went to see a few houses in city centre and oh my god. It's true when they say that you can find anything in big cities! The first flat I saw was a dump, a sort of hostal advertised as incredible for its position (true: Rambla de Catalunya!), with people of any age...and sort. The view was actually incredible, but the rooms were tiny, dark and dirty. I went back home and to relax myself I made some comfort food (which in my case is pasta al pesto!) and watched good old Divergent. After a quick chat with my friend, I went to sleep.

On Saturday, I went to see other two houses. I was very excited about the first one as it was cheap, on my metro line to work, and a Spanish girl and a Portuguese girl lived there, both quiet, clean and fun to be with according to the landlord. However, when I got there I saw that the flat wasn't anything special, and that my room would have had a single bed and a window overlooking the lift of the flat. I'm not joking here - most rooms in Barcelona have their window overlooking the inner patio or nothing at all, which is extremely depressing even if you can compensate with the light from the living room. According to my friend, you can get used to that, but I still have my doubts.

The next house was super close to my future office, but corresponded a bit to Bristol's Stokes Croft, if you know what I mean. Not the best area to live in if you ask me, but wait to hear about the house! A thirtysix-year-old woman lived there with her lovely cat, and as she was an interior designer the flat looked more than incredible. All the furniture was brand new, with beautiful decorations and it was super duper clean. Unfortunately, it felt a bit far from everything, and despite my enthusiasm for the amazing living room and kitchen, I didn't want it (did I say that my bedroom would have overlooked the flat stairs? -.-). 

In the evening (that is, a few hours ago), I went to view another flat and liked it quite a lot. It has a very big living room with a nice view, the kitchen and bathrooms are nice too. The only bad thing is that my room would be very small and not very bright, but I could compensate by staying in the living room.. I'm going back tomorrow with my friend to view it in the daylight and decide. Wish me luck! I will keep you updated for what happens next, thanks for reading :)

If you have any suggestions about accomodation in Barcelona, please let me know!

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  1. Hi Assia! I hope you will get your dream apartment in Barcelona. The beginnings always are difficult, but I guess you already know it. Valencia misses you already!

    1. Hi Tomasz, I don't think that my flat will be too dreamy even though I would love that :) Aww thanks, I miss you all too, I will never find a salsa crew as good as ours :)

  2. I have so enjoyed reading your adventures in Valencia! Thank you for keeping all of us posted and sharing your beautiful photographs with the blogging world.
    Fingers crossed that the new flat arrangement works out and I can't wait to continue reading about your continued journey, now in Barcelona!

    -Lor //

    1. You are very welcome! I need to catch up with all the blogs now that I finally have some time :) I have found a flat and will write about it soon! <3

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