Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Barcelona Story Time

WARNING: This post is sewing-lite. If you visited this blog today with the exclusive desire to read a new post about sewing, look away now. Truth be told, there's not been much sewing going on round here of late since the completion of a couple of black sateen Jenny skirts for some friends, it's just too frikkin' hot.

Anyhoo, Monday 5th July was the aniversary of my arrival to Barcelona, two whole years ago, which I think now makes me two years old in span-years. So, did I ever tell you about how/why I ended up here? It was kind of going on when this blog was just a wee baby and lacking in direction and content. My aim for this blog was to write about style, inspiration and creativity, and I included posts that spoke a bit about the stuff that was going on in my life as it undeniably reflected and effected my considerations on those topics. I still think some of those random postings contain some entertainment and insights, but taken as a collection, they are somewhat lacking in focus or effective explanation. So, in the style of an ol' grandpoppa, I'll share my tale, if any of y'all care to listen (well, read).

When I was about 13 my English teacher somehow had some hook ups and offered us an American pen-friend/penpal. I was pretty into penpals at the time and had a very random selection of peops all over the world with whom I used to exchange no doubt enlightening missives. I think I was the only one who said yes, and in due course I got hooked up with Lee who I soon found out had actually lived in my home town in Essex until he was six when his mum took him to live in Idaho. We had a fantastic correspondence for a number of years. He used to confess his love for Sandra Bullock (how old is she now? She looks exactly the same as 17 years ago), talk about the reporters of the high school newspaper that he was involved in, and my favourite, send photo copies of his year book (an alien concept to this little Brit) complete with hand written annotations like 'Total bitch!' or 'Really great girl, by bestest friend'. We even got hold of each other's phone numbers and had exciting long-distance chats over a crackly line.

Inevitably, the adolescent correspondence died off and contact was lost. Until some time in my early twenties my parents received a surprise phone call wondering if I could still be reached at that number. Lee and I were back! We chatted a couple of times (he'd been to university in Alaska, me in Nottingham, he was now living in France teaching English), and although at that time we couldn't get either of our impoverished arses over the English Channel to actually meet up we gripped tight to our renewed contact. A couple of years later, after some rather tumultuous goings on, Lee was living in Barcelona with a bit of spare cash and came to London with his friend and wonderful new boyfriend and we actually got to meet face to face. It was so fantastic, like meeting a long lost family member. A year or so later, he and his boyfriend (unlucky, Sandra, you missed out) came to stay with me and my then boyfriend in the town he hadn't stepped in since he was six!

About a year after that, I booked a trip to stay come and visit them in Barcelona, and between the booking and the visiting had some tumultuous goings on of my own. The trip was a welcome relief, and spending time with Lee, Isi and Harriet, a former London-dweller whom I had met through my old sewing group who had recently re-located to Barcelona, in a beautiful city was the nourishing soul-food I had been unconciously craving. Admittedly, during the eventful and unpleasant months which preceeded my visit I had begun to plot my escape to a new and freer life. I had been working every hour I could wrangle waitressing at a pizza restaurant in order to save, and attempted to conscript my friend Jack into the adventure, my former London flatmate who had become the boy who cried travel without ever getting very far. I shared my woes over tasty food and drinks with Lee and Harriet, and when told me what I really should do was move to Barcelona, I really didn't need to think twice.

So I went back to the shit, got it delt with, secured Jack in the position of co-adventurer, and less than four months after my initial trip to Barcelona, on July 5th 2008 I became one of it's many immigrants sleeping on a bunk bed in Lee and Isi's flat. So much has happened in the last two years, so many experiences, lessons, craziness and times. With the very imminent 'Mission Repatriation' looming another wave of change is about to wash over my life. I wonder what's in store for the next two years.......

(clue: probably quite a bit of sewing)


From left to right: Me, Lee, Harriet and Jack (Isi taking the photo)

16 comments:

Tilly said...

Lots of sewing! Which part of the UK are you moving to? (Do I sound like a crazy stalker yet?) x

Clare said...

what a fab story - spontaneous, life-changing adventures are the best ones! and re-connecting with an old friend is one of the most amazing experiences, isn't it?

Stacy said...

What a great story! We just never know who will end up being important in our lives, or where our lives will take us.

Len said...

Oh wow, what a cool story :) so much can happen in such a short space of time can't it? I hope you're looking forward to coming back to the U.K though, new adventures on familiar pastures!

Clare said...

Love this story and how penpals existed before internet friends! enjoy your last month in Barcelona and hope lots of good things happen for you when you get back to the UK.

Kelly's Korner said...

I spent three days in Barcelona one winter (we live in Germany) and it instantly became one of my favorite cities. It's on my list of "run away from life" destinations! :)

corinnea said...

I knew Kelly would comment here! She and I joke (?) about running away to Barcelona at least once a week... Fun to see someone be so brave. Hope the next two years is good too!

Tasia said...

Great story, I always wonder why and how people ended up where they are! I remember going to summer camp and then actually writing letters and mailing photographs to each other when summer ended.. the world certainly has changed since we were kids!

Minnado said...

This was a fascinating post to read - I had no idea how you came to be in Barcelona! I love the serendipity of meeting your penpal again - and how lucky were you to get a penpal you got on with as an adult. BTW I have to add I am intrigued by the idea of university in Alaska - to someone who went to Lancashire for uni that seems very exotic:)

Connie said...

I am glad you shared this with us. I wondered how you got to Spain. What an amazing adventure to have while you are young. I hope your next step goes good.

Irene Bullock said...

Oooh, there are so many things to which I can relate in this story! I also had penfriends, in Thailand and Sweden no less! At the time I found that quite impressive for a girl living in Middleofnowhere, Spain. Also I've lived in BCN for a year, my first working experience, fresh out of University. I lived just off the Ramblas, yes, next to the drugs dealers and the ladies of the night. I have really fond memories of that year, of all the bars, restaurants, clubs, beaches ... Zoe, I'm sure you will carry that little sunshine of Spain with you the rest of your life (insert emotional tear here). Good luck back in the UK!

didyoumakethat said...

What a great story and wonderful friendship.

sewsister said...

OMG, I just found your blog yesterday (yes, perpetually late to the party, I know) and I just have to say, I LOVE YOU!

No, not in THAT way, you know... in a fabulous way!

Thank you so much for taking the time to educate us.

Cheers!

The Sew Convert said...

Love the story!!! I had penpals too in my teenage years, girls from the Netherlands and New Zealand. Unfortunately, everyone lost contact after a while. Your 'adventures' sounded really exciting and I seriously think makes good background for a movie script (pardon my film and tv persona taking over here hahaha). I totally admire (and am utterly envious of) your courage to move to another city! Am glad you will be sewing more:)

Zoe said...

Thank you all for your sweet, supprtive and insightful comments. Y'all are amazing. And thanks for sticking with my blog when the sewing action gets thin on the ground! xxx

skyturtle said...

Cheers to you, your writing talent and Barcelona.
It's a pleasure to be one of your readers :)

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