Today I wanted to talk to you about the sweet little home that we have shared in Barcelona for the past few months. I'll be explaining a bit about the place, like why we chose it, how Brett and I deal in such a small space and how Ollie has liked the area.
I wanted to write about this home because, despite some of its downfalls, I am really going to miss this place. We are moving this Saturday further South, towards Valencia. We will be in Moncofa for about a month and I am so excited! But it's also bittersweet to be leaving Barcelona, our first home abroad.
APARTMENT DILEMMA & GETTING SCAMMED
^^two different spaces we'd originally looked at that in hindsight were perfect^^
Firstly, before I get into the specifics, I think it's necessary to note something. Originally, we had a space picked out that was perfect for us. For our visas, we had to show proof of residence for one year. So, we had a rental agreement and were ready to go on our way when we, unfortunately, found out we were scammed :( We found this out literally 6 DAYS before our visa appointment. We had no choice but to settle on something else, and on such short notice, all of the original places we'd found for our budget of 500-800 euros a month were gone or not available until way after we needed to be in Spain according to the embassy.
The two pictures you see above, are links to the other two places we'd looked at, but wound up being unavailable once we realized we'd been jipped. You can click the pictures to follow the listing.
This was a huge letdown and threw our budget through a loop. Mind you, we had no jobs lined up. We'd planned to work somehow but knew that it would be difficult considering we'd have to find a loophole since we didn't have work visas. As you can imagine, budgeting was a very big deal for us until we figured out a more permanent work situation! We knew this going in though.
WHERE WE WOUND UP - CARRER DEL PORTAL NOU
The cheapest apartment we were able to find on such short notice, for the length of time we needed for visa purposes was this one. Because we were scammed, we knew that we would have to color outside the lines budget wise and figured once we got to Barcelona, we could move after 3 months no problem, now that we had our visas. (breaking a lease is pretty lax here)
Our apartment is right at 1,000 euros/month. 200 over our max rental budget. This apartment is 200 square feet. Yes, 200 square feet. The apartment we are living in is the size of Brett and I's master bedroom back in Dallas! We have no oven, a 3 ft closet and absolutely no personal space. :D The last catch, is there is no sunlight. The studio is completely interior; so the window that we do have, faces a hallway....that also receives no sunlight.
Every single morning, I take Ollie out at 7 am for a walk or run...and to see the light of day haha. Afterward, we will come back and usually I will work out or do some reading. Then we will all make it a point to go outside together, sometimes to a cafe, sometimes just a walk to the park. This has helped the sunlight issue a little bit, though admitedly I am seriously excited to wake up to sunlight once we move to Moncofa this weekend!
Despite the few cons, Carrer del Portal Nou very quickly became home to us. Brett, Ollie and myself acclimated pretty quickly to the space and the only real issue we have had is the sunlight. Our home is located right in the heart of Ciutat Vella which is cozied next to El Born and Gotico. Parc de Ciutadella is a 4 minute walk away and the beach is about 20 minutes by foot. The size also doesn't bother me. At times if I need some space, I go outside. We also make use of our community terrace! Ollie is very taken care of as well. We take him with us everywhere we can! Barcelona is very pet friendly so this is not an issue :) Anywhere he goes, he is smothered in love and kisses. He certainly gets alot of "¡muy guapo!" and "¡besos, besos, senor!" :)
There were times in the first few days of arriving that we wondered why on earth we didn't pull the trigger on the ones that were more affordable with double the space and windows, but I think we were meant to land here. :)
WHY NOT MOVE WITHIN BARCELONA?
^^Sunday picnic tradition in Parc de la Ciutadella^^
We thought about this and went back and forth so many times. There were other spots we found around Barcelona that far exceed where we are at now for a fraction of the cost. It was so tempting to stay in Barcelona and meet more people here, get integrated, etc.
Ultimately, we decided we wanted to see more of Spain since we are here for an entire year anyway so why not? We'd also save some bucks here and there so that's always a plus!
Right now, we plan on being in Moncofa for about a month. After that, we will head to Valencia until after the first of the year. Then, we will ride out our visas in Granada!
After that, who really knows :) But the plan is Republic of Georgia for a while.
OUR HOME IN DALLAS (THE COLONY, TX)
I thought I would include our home in Texas so you can get an idea of what type of home we are used to living in. I take a lot of pride in decorating and really enjoy cooking and having people over for meals and drinks.
Our home in Dallas was so special to us. It was the first house we lived in together, even though it was leased, it still holds so many irreplacable memories. Our home was 2,000 squarefeet, with a front AND back yard, 4 bedrooms, 2 livingrooms and a garage. We had hardwood floors throughout and anytime people came over, they always had a place to stay. We had a huge kitchen complete with a stove, oven, microwave, huge refrigerator AND a dishwasher. There were huge windows throughout the house letting in sunlight all day long.
I would have so much fun decorating our home and truly valued the time that our friends and family spent when visiting with us. I love shoving drinks in people's hands the second they came over and cooking something homemade.
I remember the day we moved into the house and thinking to myself, wow...this is home now and I love it.
But despite the massive change and despite the complete difference in living space, I know that our home has forever changed and for the better. It may not be spacious and filled with only my best picks from Etsy and Target, but it is filled with love and happiness that I find just by being close to Brett and Oliver.
While I am certainly happy to soon be in a space that has sunlight, I will miss our home in Barcelona so much. Brett and I (& Ollie hehe) have made so many amazing memories here in the past few months. We've met some wonderful people and had some of the most amazing experiences that I know we will never forget. Carrer del Portal Nou was our first home abroad and with that brought alot of exciting but also scary feelings...feelings that I will always hold on to and remember that we made the right choice moving abroad.
The best and I'd say most important part is I feel that the challenge and the lack of space has brought Brett and I so much closer. If you ask anyone of our friends back home, they'd all tell you that Brett and I are attached at the hip and one never goes without the other. I knew that we would ineveitably bond more once we moved abroad but woah, try living in a 200 square feet studio when neither of you have "real jobs."
I think ultimately, we have discovered that there can be even deeper layers to our love, which was an unexpected but welcomed surprise.
I hope you enjoyed my take on our home in Barcelona!