Friday, January 14, 2011

Complaints about my complaining

On some rare occasions I have the urge to complain about something that I don’t like about Catalunya. Invariable I get a comment along the lines of “If you don’t like it, then why don’t you move somewhere else?”

Why are people complaining about my complaining? If I can't pseudo-anonymously complain on my own blog, what's the point of it all?

Well, if we really hated it here, we wouldn’t be here. There’s many things on the positive side, including two great jobs and living in one the best cities in the world.

The problem is that many ex-pats that move here don't know how long they are going to be here for. Expecting them to immediately commit to have their kids immersed in a language that is totally useless outside a very small region of Europe is crazy.

From our kids perspective, we’ve already paid the price for living here. It was a year of hell for the kids, during which they weren’t able to participate in class and their self-esteem suffered a lot.

But now our kids are fine with Catalan, Spanish and English. The younger one is even starting to speak Spanish with a pretty heavy Catalan accent at home and says "voila" and "eh" all the time.


Anonymous said...

Well... you're now complaining about the complaining about your initial complaining... and since this comment is sort of a complaint.... the complaints are piling!

Jeremy Holland said...

I don't think the complaining is the problem per se. it's what you complain about. write about the oppressive government in Madrid and the unfair tax structure that sees nominal redistribution and you'll get much support. complain about people calling Catalunya a country when it's a region of Spain and that's not allowed. as abe fortas said,
Dissent and dissenters have no monopoly on freedom. They must tolerate opposition. They must accept dissent from their dissent. And they must give it the respect and the latitude which they claim for themselves

M.D. said...

Very true article, I notice it myself as well when commenting something negative about Catalunya.

I also think that as an expat you're also much more comparing between your home country and Catalunya, because you have two different places to compare (something people that have been living here all their life don't have). And I think it's also positive to remain a bit critical about both places, although everyone agrees that the culture of relaxing and looking at life on the positive side is one of the main strengths of Catalunya.

Anonymous said...

If you don't like reading this blog ... which is an honest look at a new life from an expat's perspective, then don't bookmark the site and go back to your one-dimensional world. That's life ... two sides.

M.D. said...

Totally agree with the comment of "Anonymous" of 16th of January!

emma said...

when did it become politically incorrect for a person to put their opinions up on their own website? goodness.

from what i've read (which is just about every post on your blog), you take care to point out the positive, the curious, and the ridiculous as well as the negative.

in any case, your complaints are objective, well-stated and valid. most of the time, i think youre being overly kind.

santcugat said...

Thank you, emma and everyone else. I try to avoid being a cliche expat and complaining about the lack of proper hamburgers (what the hell happened to my bun!?).

Anonymous said...

The main problem is complaining about something we can't and we don't want to change here in Catalunya.
We have our own language here that is called Catalan. we have been speaking it for generations and we frankly dont apriciate it when people from outside come here and talk ill about it.
So what if it's not spoken all over the world, is that a reason to discriminate it or cripple it on the streets or schools? I think not.

santcugat said...

Most people I've talked to that are from here also find government-enforced Catalan odious. I also don't think it's right that the 45% of the population in Catalunya who uses Spanish as their main language are denied the right to school their children in their mother-tongue.

tc said...

Although you may think that there isn't much use for Catalan outside of Catalunya, I've found that is absolutely not the case. We are Americans who moved to Barcelona 6 years ago and went the concertada route for our kids. They are now in high school grades and speak fluent Catalan and Spanish (and English, of course). When we go to Italy and France, our kids communicate with ease and pick up most meaning from the language. Recently they both spent a week on exchange in France and they reported great ease in communicating in French with heavy reliance on their Catalan.

ChrisP said...

LOL. It's funny for me read stuff like this. I live in Costa Rica right now and God help you if you don't have something exclusively positive to say on the expat message boards. You will be marked as a pariah and excoriated both on the board and off. I've commented about the horrible food here on a couple of occasions and received mountains of hate mail telling me to go back to where I came from and calling me every name they can think of. OP, your complainers are so tame! I guess it happens everywhere, huh?