Today marks the one year-anniversary since I moved from Barcelona to Belfast. It has been an absolute crazy year full of ups and downs. Being away has really made me learn a lot about myself and about life. I thought it would be interesting to look back at my year and my current thoughts.
I was a bit hesitant about posting this post because I am going to share some of my negative experiences I have had being abroad and I do not want to offend anyone. But at the same time, I am here to be 100% honest about my experience, and this has been it I am not going to sugar coated. Now back to the post.
Although it’s been a year of learning and growth, it has also made me realise I do not want to stay in Belfast for much longer. Ireland/Northern Ireland (take it as you want) is a great country, it has beautiful landscapes, but I am 22, and I am looking for more than just landscapes. I miss the cities, the buzz, the people. Belfast is very small compared to Barcelona and other cities I travel constantly so I run out of things to do very quickly. I miss the food, the standard foods are not of my liking at all, too greasy and fried from what I am used to.
Even after a year, there are some things about the people and the country that I still don’t understand or find difficult to comprehend. I am aware is another country and people have different ways of acting and looking at life, but that just does’t match my views on life. I am very outgoing and I seriously could not care less about what people so or stop doing with their lives, and a lot of locals are the other way round. They are very close minded on a lot of different aspects (like LGBTQ+ related aspects, or religion, to put a few examples), and that for me are not issues.
In my opinion, they also drink a bit too much. Going for drinks with your friends is completely fine, but the amount of times a week they go out, spend all their money, the amount of drinks they drink and the big amount of times people complain of not having money after… that is very annoying. Limit yourself and stop complaining.
Another aspect is that Irish people are really nice (at least to me), Northern Irish… not so much. I have never had so many issues based on my nationality than this year. I can’t even start to believe what minorities have to go through constantly. People from the Republic would get all excited that I was from abroad and they wanted to know about everything Barcelona-related, on the North, all I got were dirty looks and “oh, if you don’t like it here go back to your country”, which is not great.
So when people ask me if I am staying forever, the answer is no, in fact, I am leaving at the end of the month because of a break up so I literally have 0 idea of what the future holds for me.
Anyway, not everything has been bad. I have been lucky to find some friends that are worth gold. They have proved to be next to me when I needed them the most and for that I am so grateful. Living conditions in general are not bad, I get good money for my work and rent is pretty low in comparison on what people pay back home so you do get value for money. As it is a small place, you can walk pretty much anywhere so I personally did not need any type of public transport tickets which means, more money for myself.
I have also grown a lot as a person, I had to live by myself for most of my time in the city so I really had to learn how to budget myself properly (which was one of the hardest things if I am being honest). I had to take care of the house and myself and that just pushed me to be even more responsable.
All I can say is that it has been an experience for myself to go to another country with a different culture and views on life of what I am used to. I always recommend going abroad even if it’s for a few months or even years. It will definitely make you realize what to appreciate or not from home.
Now it is time to close this chapter in a few weeks and move back to Barcelona, new city, new life.
It is time to start over.