It’s no news that I want to leave Barcelona. I’ve been saying it for a couple of years now.
Before finishing my PhD, I was determined to leave once I would finish it. But then I met my boyfriend, and doubts came in.
Because this guy wasn’t like other guys I went out with while I was single. He was and still is something else.
However, though I decided to stay and wait for him to finish his PhD, I’m still not so comfortable in this city.
The question is why?
After meditating I’ve realized that I have a wound, a Catalan wound, something that Catalans will recognize as “L’ESTACA”.
For Catalans, L’ESTACA represents the lack of freedom under which they lived after the Spanish Civil War. During this time, Catalans weren’t allowed to speak Catalan, among other types of repression they suffered. L’Estaca also represents a metaphorical wound inflicted by this repression.
Catalan song about “L’ESTACA”.
Though decades have passed since Franco’s death, and now Catalans are allowed to speak Catalan, they are still wounded because they are not independent. Some of them would like to be a free country, apart from Spain. They would rather be part of the European Union than part of Spain.
To add some more pain, the rest of Spain generally dislikes them. Recently, a girl from Andalucia admitted on video to have been taught to hate Catalans with no rational reason to support such hate.
But my ESTACA is not Catalan’s ESTACA. My ESTACA is a wound they unintentionally inflicted upon me.
When I arrived, I learned my lesson well regarding to how Catalans are. Long story short, a classmate at the university that knew that I was from abroad and that therefore I was probably alone, organized a party with her colleagues before my face and didn’t invite me.
For an ignorant 20-years old Mexican who has just arrived, this is an insult. In Mexico, if someone knows you come from abroad and you are new at the university, he/she, they, will invite to whatever party they are planning to throw.
But I wasn’t in Mexico.
During the time I lived here, I experienced similar behaviors. Something notoriously different from Mexico is that here people tend to organize their friendships in ghettos that never or rarely come together: The ghetto from high school, the ghetto from the neighborhood, the ghetto from my 1st workplace, the ghetto from my 2nd workplace… and so on.
In Mexico this is unusual, since people tend to gather all their friends as much as they can.
After 10 years I’ve realized that this behavior has wounded me. I’ve arrived at a point where I can barely give a chance to another Catalan.
I am not proud of or happy with this, since I also know that Catalans are really hard working, creative, innovative people that, of course, also know how to be nice good friends. Is just that the emotional side of this is quite hard for me.
Once, a Mexican friend living in Barcelona to whom I was talking about this, told me:
They treat you as they feel themselves.
At that time I didn’t understand it quite well, but now I know:
Since I feel wounded, I’m constantly defending myself from Catalans, just as they are defending themselves from everybody that makes them feel disliked… just like I have felt disliked every time a Catalan friend organized a party or something alike, with their friends from ghetto No. 1, when I was part of ghetto No. 2 and thus I wasn’t invited.
When you realize that people from whatever place in the world are not mean, but that they have been educated under a collective pain, then you understand their unspoken social norms without taking it personal.
Mexicans may not be “as mean” as Catalans, but we also have other issues that are the byproduct of our past and our suffering, issues that Catalans may not like when visiting Mexico.
I would like to leave Barcelona with peace of mind. Knowing that people from here did their best with what they had. Knowing that only I am responsible for healing my wound, as Catalans are for healing theirs. I wish them the greatest success on this.