Interview with a Spaniard
Which country do you consider to be your country?
Well, I was born in Spain, but I don´t like to say I´m from here and only from here. I think we are all part of the world. Our DNI is all the same. Of course, on our passports, there is a name of a country. But I’m not married to one country. If I would have to choose though, of course I would choose Spain. Because I was born in Spain and also I´m in love with Barcelona. It´s my favorite city in Spain. So I would choose this city. If people from all over the world ask me: “Where are you from?” I would always say Spain. And If I needed to be precise I would say Barcelona.
With the independency movement* now, a lot of people are really proud of being from Catalunya. Would you say you´re proud to be Catalan as well?
No, now no. I`m sorry to say that but I´m not an independentist. And I hate how it has generally been. The situation. I think the situation has broken the society of Catalunya. And I don´t like how the independence people have treated the other part of Catalonian people. I think we can live in one Spain together. But nowadays the Catalan society for me is broken. Because there are two sides. The Catalan people who don´t want independence and the ones who do. This independency movement has broken some friendships, some families.. and that´s what I don´t like about the idea. I´m not against the people but I hate the ideas, I hate the radical ideas of the politicians that could break a country, a city and also a family. For me, what has happened in the past month is not what I like to see in my country. So I would always say I´m from Barcelona, but I wouln´t say Catalunya that is very obvious. Because I´m not proud of just being form Catalunya. I´m from Spain and for me, Catalunya is part of Spain.
Do you feel at home living in Barcelona?
Well yeah, I want to tell you something. Until now yes, and I still want to live here because I have lived here for a long time. But after the Catalonian process and what happened with the independence, with the legal referendum that was completely illegal for me it´s getting hard. I think I´m a little afraid and uncomfortable if I´m thinking about not living in Barcelona. But with the politicians who just want to put their opinion on us it´s not that easy. They want to tell us what to think and what is mandatory. We are living in a new republic now. To be honest I want to live here. But just imagine the situation would get worse. Just imagine there would be some fights in the streets or shops would be broken. I don´t want to leave the city I love and the city I grew up in, but the situation of the independent people is getting worse. And I think they are making the situation of Catalunya worse. So, if it would get worse then I´m sorry, but I would have to leave Barcelona. I don´t know where. Maybe some other part of Spain, but not Barcelona. It would be a pity, but I´m sure this won´t happen. But the situation now is not good for me and for people who think like me. I don´t feel comfortable with that. And for me the unique situation would be to leave Barcelona.
Do you think a lot of people would leave Barcelona like you would?
I think it´s not a good decision. Leaving the city we have been living in for the last 30 years or more. It would not be easy for a lot of people. But I can imagine that some people will do it. However, I really keep my fingers crossed that we can come to some kind of agreement. I want an agreement. And I want a legal referendum. But I am going to vote no. Some people might say “Oh that´s contradictory.” No, this is not contradictory. I don´t want Catalunya to become this country. But I think Catalan people deserve a referendum. Talking with the government and having an agreement. But I will vote no. I know now that my vote will be no. I think that Catalan people like me, my parents, my sister, my neighbors, we deserve a referendum. But unfortunately I don´t know if this will happen. But the government now is not good for me.
Another topic: You are in contact with a lot of tourists and foreigners here. Can you tell me a general misconception people have about Spanish people?
Yeah, I have heard some prejudices about Spanish people – a common one is that we don´t work. That people from the south, Andalusia, don´t work and are lazy in general. There are also some prejudices about Catalan people. Some people think that we are “avaro” (parsimonious). Which means that we don´t like to spend a cent with anyone. I want to break that myth, because when I have money I spend it as soon as possible. With my friends, for myself, with my family, so in my case it is not true. Maybe for a few percent of people it could be true, but you cannot say it in general.
What kind of image do you think foreigners have about Spain which is not true and you would like to clarify?
Well especially people from Europe think is that when you come to Spain you just come for party, for drinks, sex and alcohol and that´s what I think what I want to say to European people. Of course they are right, alcohol here is a bit cheaper. I can agree with that. But Spain is more than just sex, alcohol drugs and drink, drink, drink until you die. So that´s what I want to clarify. When a lot of people or tourists come here to party. I love tourists and I like tourism. I sometimes work with tourists and have seen that a lot. So I think they need to change their prejudices that Spain is not only for party, sex, drugs, alcohol.
I think that is really true for Barcelona, right?
Yes. On one side here we have a lot of discos, a lot of pubs. In Spain in general we have many thousands of bars, discos and pubs. Here we also like to dance. But having the idea that Spain and Barcelona are only for partying and so on is a little bit wrong. You can come here to have fun and to do what you want. Well, not completely do what you want, but to enjoy your summer holidays. But we need to be honest, Barcelona is made for tourists. Most of the taxes that go to the city hall are coming from tourists. So we need to understand that Barcelona is a touristic city. But we cannot think this is a city for only party and do what you want. I already have seen it with my own eyes. People come here and pee on the streets and so on. This is not the jungle – I mean in every city we have rules.
Would there be anything else you would people to know about Catalunya, about Spain?
Yeah, a lot of people know at least something about Spain. Maybe they know Flamenco, Paella and toros. This is a topic I also want to add. I don’t like bullfights. Paella is not my favorite meal. I don´t like to dance Flamenco. Of course, this is typically Spanish, that´s what we have created. But Barcelona and Spain are much more. What I want to say is that I´m really glad to live in a cosmopolitan city. I recommence everyone to visit it. I will be here. I can be a guide, I can give you some tips and I want to repeat that we have many different things to see. More than just party. And also please reconsider the prejudice that we are stupid. Because sometimes I feel that especially people form the US think that Spanish people are stupid and don´t know English. So, come here, visit and enjoy your stay. Forget your prejudices be happy here.
In this interview, I was talking to a guy who was born and raised in Barcelona, Spain. He had a lot of interesting things to say, a lot of prejudices to clarify. During this interview I learned a lot about the independency movement and about how someone who lives in the city feels about it. Of course, there are a lot of different opinions, but I think we need to listen to every single one of them. Only like that we can get to know each othe better and get a better understanding of each and every person on this planet.
*Catalan independency: A political movement of Catalan people who want Catalunya to become independent from the rest of Spain.