10 things we miss from Barcelona

A while ago we shared with you 10 things we had learnt after living 3 years in UK. Now, it’s the time to tell you 10 things we miss from Barcelona, our homeland, the city where I grew up, where Sam and I met, got married and where J was born. Definitely compelling reasons to make us write this post. So here we go (by the way, they’re randomly organised so it doesn’t mean number 1 is the one we miss the most) AND obviously this doesn’t take into consideration our family who live there, they are the ones that we miss the most of course!

Having said this, without further ado…

#1 Cacaolat with Croissant

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Oh what a perfect combination for a wonderful breakfast! You can have it in a cafe or at your home, a just made croissant from the bakery, still warm and fluffy accompanied by this chocolate milk made by this Catalonian brand. It’s making my mouth water only thinking about it! haha

#2 An outdoor Swimming Pool

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I know it doesn’t get as hot here as it does there but last summer we went to one that is located just outside the city, in Sabadell, and the atmosphere was so cool. Water slides, picnic area, music playing in the background. We had such a really good time there! and it was quite affordable actually for everything that got to offer.

#3 The Beach, but not any beach, Sitges

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Home for the Film Festival, even though it’s a bit far away, it is a great place. You not only have the beach but also the castle ruins to explore and then the streets nearby full of restaurants and shops. One of my favourites from there is a place that makes the most delicious waffles I’ve ever tried!

#4 Montjuic and the Magic Fountain 

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If you’ve been or have heard of Barcelona you know this one had to be listed. An spectacular show of music, lights and the water that it seems to move along all of it. Half an hour presentation, usually ending with the Barcelona Olympics 92 song by Freddy Mercury and Montserrant Caballe, a classic. I can go back in time and picture myself there so many times, so many memories…

#5 A big mall in every corner

Unfortunately, here in Manchester we only have the intu Trafford Centre as the main place for recreation and shopping. Well, in Barcelona there are quite a few, not as big, probably, but sometimes quantity better than quality, it gives you more options of places to go out! 🙂

#6  Japanese restaurants

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It is such a shame but here where we live there are very few restaurants, that we know of, that sell sushi and sashimi. On the other hand, Barcelona is getting quite popular for the Japanese gastronomy so we always like to try a different one every time we go.

#7 Street shows in Las Ramblas

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Yes, people, that’s me a long long time ago.. 😉

Another typical touristic place, but definitely you get some good vibes watching the young people (OMG I’m getting so old! I can’t believe I just said that! LOL) break dancing, the statues, the mimes, you never get bored of it. But, please, always be careful of your belongings, pickpockets are quite frequent in such places. ( we don’t miss that bit! :P)

#8 Patatas bravas

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Our favourite tapas. Sam and I like to try this appetizer at different restaurants and do our own ranking.

#9 Chiringuitos, especially in Summer

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There is nothing like the feeling of just chilling at the beach having a drink while laughing with your friends and if you dare to do so, go into the water at night!

#10 Obviously, the SUN and the BLUE Sky!

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It might seem hard to believe but I was telling Sam as I was writing this post that if I had written it on our first year in UK I would have had more things that I could list. The thing though is that after 3 years in Manchester, I like quite a few things of this city and I’ve got used to many of them so when I go back to Barcelona I kinda miss them too…

Life of an expat can be so tricky sometimes, ending up between two worlds, a continuous feeling of homesickness regardless of where you are!

Have you ever experienced something like that? What is that place that you miss being there?

The best 5 songs that describe our British Adventure

June is a great month for us, summer is getting closer, holidays back home are getting closer and we mark our anniversary of this British Adventure. So this time we’ve thought we will share with you the best 5 songs that have helped us cope with the challenges of immigrating and settling in UK. Those songs that had a positive effect on all of us. Here we go:

#1 Impossible, James Arthur’s version

Ok, we know now this is a love song of a break-up story BUT on our first year, 2013, right before coming it became quite popular in Spain and for us hearing the word IMPOSSIBLE meant that we were turning the tide against all the challenges of leaving our home and adventuring ourselves to a new country. For us, it seemed “impossible” but we made it!

#2 Do you hear the people sing? from Les Miserables

You can see, we are quite dramatic in this family, LOL, but in a time when we were facing my husband’s unemployment in UK due to sorting out his residence status, THIS was the right song for us. Was England playing the role of “France” and we were raising against the injustice? Maybe, we felt like fighters anyway, and at the end, we overcame that rock as well.

#3 Don’t worry from Madcon feat Ray Dalton

Aha! we like to party (party-parents) of course, we don’t go wild anymore! haha but we heard this song on our first Summer holidays in Barcelona, and yep…we definitely felt like we didn’t need to worry about a thing! Beach, sun cream, family, friends…and “party” all day 😀 The pleasures of coming back home.

#4 Hace calor from Estilo Libre (It’s getting hot!)

No worries, nothing dodgy in the video! just another Summer hit we heard in Barcelona. This song though, we like to sing it here in Manchester every time it gets really cold, hailing, snowing or raining… we turn on the car and listen to this song! The irony of it helps us go through the bad weather and have a laugh about it. See, reverse psychology 😉

#5 Wrecking ball from Miley Cyrus

No need to show you Miley half-naked so this video will just work fine. Why do we like this song? Well, you can laugh about it, but I gave birth with this song! haha, seriosly, I was feeling like a “wrecking ball” about to “wreck” so in the hardest time Miley was there LOL

In my family, J and I are music lovers, while Sam doesn’t bother that much, unless for Les Miserables (he can be hours listening to the Soundtrack) but I think and feel that music has the power to bring you back to a place, to a memory, to somebody. It helps you ease the toughest challenges, it can uplift you when you’re feeling down or make you have a great time. These are not the only ones that have marked this adventure but just a few. I know we’re still building our own “soundtrack” so who knows which ones will come in the future…

What about you? What are those songs that had an impact on your life?

 

 

10 things we have learnt after living in UK for 3 years

We are getting very close to our 3rd year anniversary of this British Adventure, so even though we are not experts on the matter, we can still share with you a few things we have learnt so far:

#1 Manchester is London, UK is London, always.

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When you move to UK, it doesn’t matter if you told family and friends you’re going to live in Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh or Manchester, you are always relocating to London. So every time they ask you, they will always say “How’s it going in London? -No, I live in Manchester. -Yes, I heard “London” is a big city”… ALWAYS.

#2 Be polite, even if you don’t really mean it.

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So, you will say “Thank you”, when you get of the bus, even if the bus driver tried to kill you and didn’t even left you close to the bus stop. You will say “sorry” when you’re in the store and you were a “bit” too close when trying to overpass someone on the aisle. You won’t raise the voice if you get really mad at someone, you will just stare at them, thinking what you would do to them if you could, and then after a dramatic pause, turn around and go.

#3 Fish and chips and Beans on toast

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It’s what it is: fish AND chips, beans ON toast. There’s no magic flavours hidden behind these so well-known British cuisine. No surprises, crystal clear, you will get what it is: a piece of fried fish with French fries, or a can of beans pour out over a toast. Is it good? Is it not? we’ll leave it to your palate to decide.

#4 The absence of rain is GOOD weather

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If it’s not raining it’s good enough to do all sorts of outdoor activities, -please, advice to new comers, never wait until it gets sunny or you might end up enjoying yourself just 3-4 days of the year! trust us on this, no rain is good enough.

#5 along with that, you will never wear an umbrella with you

We found out about that on our first year, it seemed like magic, but we would be soaking wet and everyone around would be completely dry, how? we still don’t know! we thought maybe the weather was being a bit racist…haha, jokes apart, you seriously don’t need an umbrella, just a hoodie. It’s all you need in this crazy weather.

#6 There is more than one type of curry

Before, we only had heard about a few Indian restaurants in Barcelona and that was about it, never tried curry or any Indian food. Since we moved here we have learnt to prepare our own Korma curry and we can distinguish many other flavours. Now I know what ginger is for! haha

#7 Every Spanish food must have chorizo

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Apparently, according to Tesco, Asda or even La Tasca, paella must be cooked with chorizo, if you want “Spanish chicken” must have chorizo as well, AND be spicy! It’s one of those misconceptions that I don’t know who initiated here after probably travelling too many times to Majorca or Benidorm.

#8 You will always give a card on Christmas

It doesn’t matter if you personalize it or not. (we’ve been given empty cards, no name on them, at all, that we could actually use ourselves to give them to someone else) haha No, no, we would never do that! but yes, cards are an important part of British culture. You can say anything with a card. Say sorry, say I miss you, congratulations, to the big brother, to the auntie, to grandma, to your boyfriend, seriously…they cover all range of topics, and of course, Christmas is a perfect opportunity.

#9 You will get to know a British layer after layer

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They won’t show you all at once, you will only get to know them little by little, cause what it would seemed a cold person, might be the tenderest one, after delving deep into their hearts. And who you thought you would never get along with might become a true friend and help you in times of need.

#10 Generosity is a frequent attribute in these isles.

There are many ways to fund raise, many causes that you can be involved with, many people willing to help, they might stop you on the street, or you could start your own campaign, and people actually donate. Of course, everyone is different, but as a general thing, we have noticed this in more than one person we have come across.

The list could go on and on. We are still learning so many things. Immigration is one of the best ways to grow in all the sense of the word. Adapting to a new culture, new people, new places is hard, and now I know that unless you have experienced it for yourself, you’re not able to understand what it feels. You can find all sorts of barriers, language can be one, but won’t be the only one, but when you get to overcome them, and laugh at your own mistakes, you are able to see the forest with the right eyes, and you just forget of the tree.

You know you’re an introvert blogger when…

You get nervous AND excited with your first comment from a completely stranger.

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You join a LINKY and feel like you’ve just crashed a party and everyone is looking at you thinking “who is this newbie?!

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You have a DRAFT post saved for ages cause you’re just not too sure of showing it to the WORLD!

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You comment on someone else’s post and feel like “Hi, I was just stopping by and..”

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And last but not least, you get a FOLLOWER and think “YEAH!” and then “Wait?! I don’t know that person AT ALL, is he/she stalking me??!”

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OK, you got me there, am I an introvert blogger? Maybe! Sometimes! and it might be because I’m just starting in this blogging world and all these freaking outs just vanish away in the future, but who knows! have you ever felt like that? or am I alone here?! haha

ethannevelyn

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The best 5 places for a low-cost family day-out in Manchester

Hey! You’re not going to believe this but there’s actually a sunbeam coming through my window while I’m typing this post! Yep, that only means one thing…Summer, or the Manchester version of Summer is getting closer! We can’t complain…this weekend, a heatwave is apparently reaching the mancunian valley. For those who are from a warmer country don’t build up your hopes that much, “heatwave” means a bit over 20 degrees, but trust me, you will appreciate it!

So we’ve thought it would be a good idea to share with you our 5 favourite “low-cost” places to visit in Manchester. We are a high-standard family with a low-cost budget so if you want to save some pennies but still have some fun read through our suggestions! 🙂

#1 Wythenshawe Park (Park and Farm)

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Easy access if you don’t have a car. The metrolink will take you there. You have play area, green areas to play some football and an admission free farm. It was one of the first parks we found when we arrived to Manchester. It can be a good place to visit if you want to have a picnic and give some fresh air to your little ones. They usually have an ice-cream van by, but just in case they don’t it’s better if you bring your own drinks and snacks.

Cost: only petrol or public transport tickets. 🙂 See more info here

#2 Manchester Aquatics Centre

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We like this one because of the 2 slides they have on the baby pool, plus facilities are usually well looked-after, you’re close to town if you want to go for a walk later on and price admission is cheaper than other leisure centres. Children go free but must be accompanied by an adult. I recommend checking their website or giving them a call before you go, just in case the baby pool is closed.

Cost: petrol/parking/ public transport + admission fees (adult £3.20 – junior or +60 £2.00) Check their website here.

#3 Children Centre

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You can find them in your neighbourhood. They are community centres that will provide you with a handful of activities throughout the week for your kids and yourself. There’s no charge. You just go and have a good time, and if you’re quite sociable you will make new friends easily or at least enjoy a good chat with another parent. This last week Sam and I went to a Baby Massage session. It was…interesting! haha..I’ll tell you more about it on a different post.

Cost: just the calories you burn to walk there 😉 Go to your local gov.uk website to find the closest one to you.

#4 Going to the Cinema

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What?? Wait a second?! didn’t we say that these were “low-cost” activities? Don’t worry, we’re not going mad and spend 10 pounds per ticket plus the popcorn. BUT, we love watching films, and we do watch a lot at home, however, every once in a while we do go to the big screen, even with E, that’s a whole new adventure, breastfeeding in the middle of the dark while “enjoying” a movie! (but again, that’s a different story!) Going straight to the point: Odeon Kids where prices start from £2.50. The screen times are usually mornings during the weekend and bank holidays. You will need to check first though, and not all that glitters is gold, they won’t show you the latest releases, so don’t expect to see the Jungle Book for 2.50…probably in a few months. 😉

Cost: petrol/public transport + £ 2.50 per ticket

#5 Manchester Natural History Museum (The Manchester Museum)

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Or the place with the “big dinosaur” as J says. We’ve been to MOSI (The museum of Science) and we like it there as well, but J has more fun in this one. All museums in Manchester are free of charge, so the only cost, your time! By the way, they both are quite accessible by public transport, and if you’re driving and need a cheap parking place in town, you can find a few for 3.50 all day. It will depend how long you want to walk for.

Cost: petrol/parking/public transport      Check their latest news here

These are just a few suggestions based on our own experience trying to find affordable places and have fun at the same time. Very close to you, you will probably have green areas or a good park where to play with your kids. Indoor playgrounds are a good option as well, depending on which one you go, it will be more or less expensive. Libraries offer some entertainment for the kids. At the end, it all falls into your creativity and a good attitude to have a good family time regardless of the circumstances!

Which one are your favourite affordable places in Manchester or other areas in UK?

 

Run Jump Scrap!

Pros and Cons of living abroad

Well, we finally got to our 6 months mark! Yep, we made it! We arrived to Manchester in June and we are still around here with no intentions, for the moment, to go back to Barcelona. We thought now it could be a good time to reflect upon the pros and cons of living abroad in this British adventure, maybe it will be useful for those ones thinking “I might give it a try and move to another country!” So here we go:

1st of Pros: economical improvement.
One of the main reasons to leave Barcelona was to look for better job opportunities, and well, we haven’t achieved all our financial goals yet but we can say there’s been a noticeable improvement since we moved to the UK. Samuel found a job on the third week we got here, and we can see God’s hand in that miracle, because we know of many other people that are still looking and have been here almost the same amount of time than us. He is learning new skills, building good relationships with his workmates and looking after our family’s needs and self-reliance. About myself, I changed my mind about the initial idea of me getting a full time job, I decided to start my own business as TuBa Advertising and I got to realise that I feel much more fulfilled being able to look after my little troublemaker than missing her stories, new words, amazing little adventures because of working for a company more than 40 hour per week. Of course I still want to get more experience and feel that I am a successful professional in my field but I can still do that being self employed, it might take me longer…but it is worth trying it.

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1st of Cons: loneliness.
Oh yeah, it is good Samuel found a job! Of course, but that also means that we don’t have normal weekends anymore, just one day off, that we always wait for him until he gets back from work around midnight and if we get lucky and there’s a nice day out there we might go out and do something fun. So basically I don’t have much time left to talk to another adult, and plus, because of my “social skills” I don’t get to do friends as quickly as I would like to, and sometimes, even when I try really hard, I might not catch some of their sense of humour or bits of a conversation…so yes, we miss our families, we miss our friends, I miss not having to make an effort to feel that I fit in in whatever sort of activity we attend… But I guess this is something that we will be able to overcome as time goes by.
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living abroad

2nd of Pros: learning a new language
How good is that?! Isn’t it! So apart from Spanish and Portuguese now we get to become more fluent in English. But let us tell you that it is not an easy task, specially if we just speak more often one another than actually with the locals. That means you really have to try hard to take advantage of opportunities to talk to other people at church, at activities, wherever you are and not just to the bus driver asking for a “day rider”! We feel we have improved, Samuel specially is doing really good since we got here and Julia, she is soooo adorable saying some words in English, such as “bye bye, yeshh (yes), go! and many others.. 🙂
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2nd of Cons: the darkness
Don’t worry, it is not a spiritual darkness! But a physical one! Seriously! Here in Manchester gets dark at 4 in the afternoon! How strange is that? And can you believe that at midnight gets lighter than in the evening! Amazing! We even took pictures to prove it, to ourselves of course, I don’t think anyone else is too bothered about it, hehe…but anyway, I get a bit scared every time I have to go out at 6pm or later than that…cuz it truly gets really dark out there,..we’ve been told it’s because of the season… Oh well, we will just have to wait until summer!
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3rd of Pros: spiritual growth and uplifting experiences
The scriptures tell us that we need an opposition in all things, words of truth indeed. Since we got here we’ve seen how important we are to our Heavenly Father, how closer we can get to each other as we trust in His words and try to apply them in our lives. We have been trying to get more involved in missionary work as a family and we have had the opportunity to share the gospel with some spanish speaking friends, one of them is listening to the missionaries and is working hard to prepare himself for baptism. Our testimonies have been strengthened because of that and even tho we might not understand everything that is said at church when you become part of the Lord’s work you feel blessed.

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3rd of Cons: Public Transport
Ok, I really didn’t want to end this post with something negative…seriously, Manchester has many assets, that for sure, but public transport is not one of them! It is expensive, the journeys are too long and the fares are not unified, so if you buy a travel card with one Company you might not be able to use it with another. On Sundays it is not-existent! And they don’t keep it too clean…I feel bad saying this… But just consider these as suggestions from a regular user 😉

This is it by now! Who knows what our thoughts will be after our 1 year mark! Maybe we love the darkness, we own a car already and we have become the souls of every party-activity and have loads of friends! OR maybe we are back in Barcelona!!…only God knows.

The soundtrack of our adventure

Have you ever had a song that takes you to that specific moment in your life? Well, we have a few of those and we’d like to share them with you.
Before coming here, like around April – May we used to listen to Impossible, James Arthur’s version… Whether this whole British adventure was meant to be “impossible” or what I don’t know but we are here now and with an extra “divine help” we are making the impossible turn possible 😉
Ok! Another one that has an interesting effect on Julia’s after bath mood is Somebody that I used to know by Gotye. We don’t know why!! But it really works every single time. She usually likes to run around the flat completely naked but when she listens to this song she sits down quietly to watch the video on YouTube while we put her clothes on. Oh! And her favorite song ever since we got to England is Lalala by Naughty boy. She starts singing it like the little boy in the video. And the last but not least Ela é top by a Brazilian group. This is the song that is played at the restaurant where Samuel works. He didn’t like it in the beggining but now he’s starting to listen to it at home as well…
Anyway, so these are just a few! And if we had to put here every song that takes us to that special moment we would need a whole discography of our lives! I actually think that’s a good idea…maybe one day we’ll do it…you know, kinda like ‘The Greatest hits of the Costa Tuesta family’ hehe…