Well we're finally back in lovely Barcelona after a month and a half-long vacation in Miami. It was so great being back home and seeing our families and old friends but to be totally honest, it felt kind of weird to be back too. Even though the Professor and I were both born and raised in Miami, living in Barcelona for nearly two years now has made us look at our home city differently. While we were there we kept referring to the prices of things in Euro instead of dollars, we grumbled about the traffic and how you can't walk anywhere, we bemoaned the fact that you can't find fresh bread easily and we lamented the lack of local parks to take the baby to within walking distance from my dad's house where we were staying.
Apart from these minor frustrations, there were also times where the Professor and I would feel a little out of place or a bit disconnected from the average American. For one thing, we were totally out of the loop when it came to pop culture and current events. We follow the world news from Spain but we don't get much U.S. domestic news unless it's something major. I also remember being at a party where a few friends were tossing about the word 'twerking' and I had no idea what they were talking about. (If you don't know what that word means either, please don't bother looking it up. Trust me). In another instance, I was at brunch with a friend and their nine year old kid and the kid was telling me all about how he wants to become a software engineer when he grows up because that's where all the money is. When I heard him say that I just felt this sense of surprise and the same feeling of disconnection. I couldn't help thinking that a Spanish kid would never say that. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever heard a Spanish adult talk about wanting to make money or pursuing something purely for that reason.
Going back home was definitely an eye opener about how much living in Barcelona has changed us in very small and subtle ways. The style of life here and the general outlook on life just seep into your subconscious without you realizing it making you feel foreign and out of place when you go anywhere else. Our experience reminded me of a funny excerpt from the book Bringing up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman, an American who moved to Paris:
I realize how much I've changed when, on the metro one morning, I instinctively back away from the man siting next to the only empty seat, because I have the impression that he's deranged. On reflection, I realize my only evidence for this is that he's wearing shorts.
Amusing anecdote and I totally get where she's coming from now. If we ever do move back to the U.S. (and that's something we keep going back and forth about), it'll probably take a long time to get back into the American perspective. I'm just not too sure we want to.
By the way, Bona diada de catalunya! for any Catalan readers.