One of the hopes of living in Spain was that our children would learn Spanish. We knew about Catalan, but assumed that we could pick a Spanish-speaking school with little problem. Unfortunately we didn't realize that Spanish-speaking schools don't exist in this part of Spain. Really.
Meanwhile, our ex-neighbors in the US are sending their children to a Spanish immersion public school.
Instead, all non-international schools must by law teach pretty much everything in Catalan. Catalan is about halfway between Spanish and French. It's cute, but pretty much useless (7 million speakers), unlike, say Spanish (with 500 million speakers). In an effort to make Catalan more useful, the regional (or "national" as they like to call themselves) government tries its best to ban Spanish in as many settings as possible. Even the English teachers must be fluent in Catalan.
There's a long and complicated history that I'm glossing over. Various people were oppressed in the past and now feel the urge to oppress other people just to show how much they were oppressed. Franco was involved. However, I did hear somewhere that Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.
Now that I've got the two things I hate about this place off my chest, I can start talking about the good things... and there are many....