Saturday, 14 July 2012

walking into the new

Thursday night I took a stroll out.
I got to my hotel room, dropped my stuff in there, sent 1-2 mail then, since the guy at the reception told me it was worth going to, I went up to take a look from the hotel rooftop… turns out not only he was cute, but he was also right. You could see a lot from up there, spacing from the Sagrada Familia to the rooftops of the Gaudì's houses draping the city center.

Rooftop view

Then I took the elevator straight down to ground level and wandered around aimlessly: I started from Passèig de Gracia, moved down towards Plaça de Catalunya, and zig-zagged around the streets between the ramblas, smiling absentmindedly to people and stopping occasionally for some window shopping. Not sure why but everything seems to just fit my mood.

I felt a little bit nostalgic since the moment I landed. Italians have a saying "di se e di ma sono piene le fosse", "graves are full of if and what ifs": I always liked it and tried to live up to it, not dwelling so much on the past and the choices made, not regretting anything. Still this doesn't mean I am completely untouched by the wild wondering one's mind can reach when allowed to much freedom. In Italian we call these moments "seghe mentali", mind wanking, Flavia found it hilarious.

Anyway as soon as I landed, and all the way down to work, I was met by familiar views and couldn't help myself to indulge in a little of a "Sliding doors" moment.
Oh, I remember that restaurant! Oh, I had orxata there! Ah yeah, coffee is good there!And yeah, let's be honest and face it. Barcelona is so much more beautiful than Milan, to my eyes at least, that I know part of my reaction came from that.

 But there was something else setting me in the mood for a stroll down memory lane. Something (perhaps?) completely unrelated: I got an email from Robert. The Stockwell era is coming to an end.

The house Robert, Enric and I shared in Stockwell had been out in the market for sale basically since we got in and we always wondered what was going to happen to us in the moment it was going to get sold. Oh, I remember the collective mental wanking we had over examining the possible options in case of sale. What were we going to do if the sale really happened? It didn't.

Since my first day in Stockwell, I sat in 4 different offices, lived in 3 different countries, got a new tattoo, a new niece, crossed back and forth an ocean. Maybe it's silly but that email appeared to me as the closing point of a part of my life.

The house in Stockwell was, amongst the many houses I lived in while abroad, the one I loved the most. It didn't happen in the best moment of my life and yeah, let's face it it was not the best house from a merely architectural point of view: we had no bedrooms, rather spaces divided by internal walls where we could fit the beds and the tiniest wardrobe ever.
The windowsill of Enric's room was falling over the balcony, the heater was not working and you needed to take a shower while somebody was in the kitchen downstairs so that he could hear you screaming and cussing as a signal to restart that blasted machine from hell. Oh and the washing machine seemed permanently set to the anarchic program: "I shall wash your laundry for as many hours as I please, at the temperature I feel it will irritate you the most, rumbling so loud to make the bus driver at the Stockwell bus station wonder about a possible earthquake. And yeah! I shall also sputter out the soap in a sit-com grotesque spoof of the Exorcist".

Despite all these and many other materials fault, I still loved sharing the house with Enric and Robert, having dinner together in the kitchen, where a Kate's mask is still hanging on the fridge door. I loved spying on the mum fox with her 2 little cubs in the basement neighbours garden. I loved the neighbourhood, the restaurants, the hairdresser, the gym and the library. And as I made my way towards Gracia to meet with my boss for dinner I couldn't help but grin, whistle and take in the view.

  At Casa Batlló

 Robert's mail felt like a signal, telling me that my life as a migrant abroad is coming to an ending These could have been the places, singsang a mockingly David-Byrne-esque figment of my personality A new era is beginning and who knows where it'll lead me. I guess I'll just have to keep on walking to discover it.


  1. Barcelona is such fun! I was there with Elizabeth (and her aunt, ugh, but that's another story!:):) and I just loved it.

  2. Eh eh, I am waiting for the story of you, Elizabeth and her aunt in Barcelona to appear one day or another on your blog... ;-)

  3. Non è esattamente una storia, e non vorrei che a ferire i sentimenti di Elizabeth. La zia non mi piace e questo fatto abbastanza chiaro a Elizabeth in un'e-mail, come ci stavamo progettando il viaggio. Carolyn è il genere di persona che deve essere sempre al centro dell'attenzione e non vuole che chiunque altro a parlare! Inoltre, sembrava pensare a niente ma cibo, cibo, cibo e fu il più lento walker sulla terra!

  4. Stockwell will always be with us...It started with tought times for but it did really feel like home.
    A bit sad knowing that the place will be gone but when an era ends, another one begins!

  5. Robert, before this era comes to an end we have to make sure of one important thing... make sure Enric takes his "kate's mask" off the fridge door!

  6. If the mask is still there on the fridge door, I will make sure he takes it to Cambridge!!!

  7. Sami asked me if the mask belonged to me (WTF?!?!), so, yep, Enric is still avoiding the return of the mask...