Sunday, January 24, 2010

What I miss from America

  • Real breakfast. With french toast, lots of maple syrup and links.
  • Weekend brunch. It was always a great no-stress way to catch up with friends.
  • Reasonable movie times
  • Reasonable dinner times. 11pm is not reasonable, sorry.
  • Neighbors that will talk to you.
  • TV programs that start (and stop) at their advertised times.
  • Windows without bars
  • Parking
  • NPR. I'm starting to like En Dias Como Hoy though.
  • "The customer is always right" (as opposed to "We have your money, why should we care?")
  • 1-800 customer service numbers. Any customer service, for that matter. Did you know that 807 customer service numbers are technically illegal in Spain? Does anyone care? Doesn't seem like it.
  • Internet shopping.
  • Not paying sales tax on internet shopping.
  • Not paying shipping on internet shopping.
  • English language book stores with science fiction books other than by Jean Auel. (My trusty Kindle has mostly solved that problem)
  • Spanish immersion public schools. Yes, we actually had a Spanish immersion public school in our neighborhood in the US. Here we have to pay lots of money so that they get some Spanish as opposed to everything in Catalan.
  • Volunteers and community spirit. I find people here are too quick to say "it's the governments problem" rather than fixing the problem themselves.


Marta G. (A Bilingual Baby) said...

Hi! I have seen your blog after visiting the blog 'From Barcelona'.

If you miss neighbours that talk to you, you can have mine! Ha, ha! They always want to chat with people, specially if you are in a hurry!

As for schools, I agree the situation is a bit surreal, to say the least. Mr. Montilla wants us Catalans to study just in Catalan, but then his children go to a posh German private school. I wouldn't want my son to go to this German school (Nein!) but I would love to be able to choose schools and not depend on catchment areas and other things.

At least, Chacón, another Catalan socialist, went to a public hospital to give birth, so, more elegant than telling people 'this is good enough for you, but, honest, I won't use it for me'.

Best regards,


santcugat said...

Reminds of when we saw "Els tres porquets" yesterday and the wolf said "Que susto! Err ensurt! [In Catalan] I don't want to make Montilla mad!".

The sad thing is that all the arguing about language distracts from the real problem, which is that the educational system in Catalunya is severely broken. In math and science, Catalunya lags other comparable regions in Spain by a large margin.

A friend of ours teaches at a local university and is getting desperate when not a single student is able to write a coherent paragraph in any language (eg they start using txt abbreviations like q instead of que).

Jeremy Holland said...

Yeah, the lack of a good breakfast place is something I still have trouble with. What I wouldn't do for corn-beef hash and a poached egg!

Albert said...

Hi again, since you posted on my blog I quickly went through your blog and there's something I keep wondering and while obviously I respect your right to say whatever you think since I'm the first person who will criticise my own country when I feel I have to. It's just that can't help but wonder, why after being treated so horribly in Catalonia do you still live here? I don't understand. Since you seem disappointed by Catalunya not being Spanish enough for your taste (I sincerely apologize for that) why don't you just move to Madrid or México (I recommend México, lovely country)? you'll surely feel more comfortable and better understood there, if the answer is that you prefer Catalunya then please feel free to criticise Catalans for whatever reason except for being Catalans, that is just disrespectful towards the country you live in.

santcugat said...

I like it here. We haven't been treated horribly at all, what gave you that impression?

Toni said...

santcugat said...
I like it here. We haven't been treated horribly at all, what gave you that impression?

Well, I guess all your endless moaning about how terrible things are overhere and how Catalans "impose" their language on everyone, somehow gives off that impression ...

But just one question: How on Earth can Catalan be imposed in Catalonia? Is English imposed in England or German in Germany??

Finally, it wouldn't be so bad if it were just you, but many other expats just go on and on and on about the same topic, and makes us wonder why such people freely choose to come to live to such country!

santcugat said...

I think it's mostly that expats tend to be independent minded people who don't like the government telling them what to do.

But luckily there is more to life than language politics!

Anonymous said...

I was using the "It's not my problem" motto to describe consumer service in Iberia...

but I'm stealing this now: "We have your money, why should we care?"