For so many years I Googled stuff like ‘Is it better to live in Barcelona or Edinburgh?’, or ‘Pros and cons to live in Barcelona’, and so on.. but I could never really find the answer I was looking for, or, eventually, I concluded that I would never do, as everyone’s experiences and backgrounds are different and most of all, everyone has different priorities. Now, I was born and raised in Lake Garda, a gorgeous and safe place in the North of Italy, lived in Barcelona from when I was 19 to 22, on and off, and the circumstances that brought me there were definitely different from the ones I find myself in now, ten years later.
I always loved Barcelona and during my time in Edinburgh I always thought of coming back. Back in 2006, I was working as a waitress in a lovely hotel, but I was working late and partied hard twice a week. I did enjoy that, I had a good friends’ group and I had a lot of fun!
I could and would not do that again. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a party, but I love the day light much more, and my ideal fun-time out is between 6 pm and 1 am, in a pub or by a terrace, with friends, chatting, and drinking pints of craft beers or good quality wine.
When I was living in Barcelona I wanted to study translation at uni, but the government did not accept my Italian Diploma and required me to attend 300 hours of college here in Barcelona. To say I was gutted it is an understatement. I had studied very hard for my A-Level equivalent in Verona, and I could attend uni in Verona if I wanted to so I was a bit saddened. However, I took this as an opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and move to the UK in order to learn English. As the majority of Italians, despite having studied languages and English for a long time, I was an expert in English literature, but a beginner speaker of the language, to put it mildly.
While I knew a few Italian people in London, I decided against it, as my goal was to learn English as quickly as possible, and mixing with Italian friends from back home would have made that much harder. So, thanks to the recommendation of a few friends that had lived there shortly, I chose Edinburgh, Scotland.
I didn’t know what to expect, I booked a one way flight to the Scottish capital and a bed in a hostel’s dorm for the following 2 weeks, for a mere £11 a night. That hostel is the place I got to call home for the next 10 months, the place where I made friends for life, and where I met my other half ❤
Sorry, this is becoming a post about Edinburgh rather than the differences between my second home and Barcelona, so I’ll try to go back to the point.
Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city, with amazing weather all year round, terraces in every corner where you can have a pint for a few euros. It’s got city beaches, which are not the best, but it’s also 30 minutes away only from stunning ones.
But Edinburgh gave it all to me. The chance to graduate, the chance to buy a flat, to grow professionally and personally, to be myself and to meet people from all over the world. To believe in humans, meritocracy and experience what it is to respect others, really do it, whether it’s by queuing or saying thanks, or holding the door for someone else, and much more.
These little gestures of politeness are much rarer in Barcelona. I don’t want to bitch about it, and I did know that British politeness is something you do not find everywhere else, but it’s something I got used to and often miss.
What I am really enjoying of Barcelona is my wee balcony, and now that summer has officially started, the possibility to spend a day relaxing on the beach, every weekend if we want. What I miss of Edinburgh is the possibility of hiking, by literally just walking from my flat in the city centre.
I could go on and on and I will certainly write more about Edinburgh and Barcelona, but the bottom line is that the ‘grass is always greener’ and that every place has its pros and cons.
For now, I’ll enjoy what Barcelona has to offer and focus on this 🙂
What about you? Have you ever been conflicted about where you want to live?