Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Renovations Catalan-style

Today two men came into my Barcelona apartment. Initially I didn't understand what they wanted at all, but I opened the door and let them in anyway because I was hoping they came to fix the air-conditioning that has been broken for weeks. While I was doing so, my North American paranoia started to kick in: what am I thinking? What if they just want to case the apartment? What if they break in to steal stuff later? What if something else? There are two of them and only one of me! Plus, I don't yet know how to say "I changed my mind, please come back later" in Spanish (something to consider learning, perhaps).

Actually, what they were doing in reality was fixing some rotten tiles on the balcony. After a few minutes of watching all the grey paint, cement, and chisels make appearance, I was quite sure they were in truth repairmen making rounds in every apartment in the building, as ordered by the finca administrador. I called my friend just to be sure, and she talked to them, but at that point I was already in my European mindset, relaxed. This is Spain, after all. The whole thing is just so Spanish: no note in the entrance hall for the residents, no warning, just show up, ring the bell, stomp all over the carpet, get the job done, then yell from the balcony to another person on another balcony and head over there to repeat.

Also, right at the door I informed these guys that my Spanish was very bad, which is apparently true when it comes to construction lingo, but in more social situations I fare alright. So I understood perfectly when they discussed me in hushed voices and rather flattering terms. Adorable.

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