4 questions answered about relocation, daily struggles and adaptation in Barcelona.
Moving to Spain is both a dream and an uneasy path that many visualise but so few undertake. Life after moving is inevitable divided into before and after, and the first conclusions and realistic impressions one can make in about half a year of living in a new place. Why move to Barcelona? What to expect? What are the difficulties? We asked these questions Natalia from Novosibirsk, a mother and a successful businesswoman, who has recently relocated to Barcelona and lives with her family between two cities.
Why have you decided to move to Barcelona?
Well, it is a bit early to say moved – to be more exact, we live in both countries. We spend about 5 months in Russia and 5 in Spain while traveling for another 2 months. The reason for moving was, first of all, the climate and landscape: I wanted to see sun, sea, flowers and mountains outside my window. The U.S. and Asia were not an option, I can’t really say why. But such a combination of mountains, sea and civilisation (I mean, a modern city with business opportunities) you can find in Barcelona. Plus, we had an impression that the laws and the mentality were very similar to ours. Even though the latter turned out to be quite different.
What difficulties did you have after moving?
I would say that the most complicated issues were the language and healthcare. I gave birth here and had numerous doctor appointments. Since all that was covered by an insurance, we had to communicate either in English or Spanish. Although my husband helped a lot with that.
The 2 main problems that I had:
First, the quality of life I have here is somewhat lower than in Russia, where the flat is bigger, we got a driver, personal assistant, understand local healthcare, have friends and everyone knows you which opens many doors. In Barcelona I am starting from zero. Not everything can be solved with money, and I don’t want to pay for certain things, it just gets really expensive. Local level of service is much lower than that I was accustomed to, and if you encounter a decent one it is much more expensive. It was not easy to find such banal things as good quality hair dyeing, styling, nail care, etc.
And second, a huge difference in mentality: in the beginning it made me really angry that nobody cares about anything. It is impossible to find some products just because Spanish people don’t buy them. Then again, there is the constant lateness… But after a while I got used to it so well, that now I am late in Russia as well
There is no decent service here, no respectful attitude – you are just one in a thousand. No one cares about you, and it is unsettling. In general, all the points mentioned are closely interwoven. Even though my husband will probably name some other relocation struggles, because he was handling all the organisational, financial and legal issues.
What is the main difference between Novosibirsk and Barcelona?
The main ones are the beauty, weather and rhythm. Back there everything is fast and interesting, but cold and dirty. Here – it is warm, beautiful (not everywhere in Barcelona though, but I am in love with Mallorca) and slower. It is easier to relax here, to live in another rhythm, to dedicate more time to your child.
How do you feel right now? Did Barcelona become your second home?
At the moment I feel more comfortable. I found a good hairdresser next door and became a regular client there, assembled my wardrobe, organised the household. I got two housekeepers, here and in Russia, although with the one here it was not easy to come to an agreement, but now it’s much better. Currently we are building our own house, and once we move there, I think, it will be just awesome. I feel like I want to spend more time here, to make new friends and keep the acquaintances. And of course, I want to learn Spanish. Without the language it is tough here.
What difficulties did you encounter upon moving? Was the difference in mentality big? What was the hardest about adapting in the first 6 months? Let us know in the comments, we would love to know!