My perpetual research on Catalan identity made me think about my own position in the Catalan society and my conclusion is: I am not a part of it. I live here but I don’t live Catalonia. Firstly, and obviously, I am a foreigner. And it’s not just blue eyes, weird accent and wearing shorts in February. Being ‘Erasmus’ I don’t have much contact with the locals so I haven’t really immersed in the culture and the local lifestyle. I haven’t even changed my eating habits – I still have dinner the ‘English time’ - unless I go out. What comes next is something that for me, as a language student, is crucial – Catalan. I have never learnt it simply because I don’t want to confuse my brain any more – it’s enough hassle with Spanish and Italian, but also because I know I’m here just for a little while.
And I know it because, although I am aware that I’m very lucky to be living here for a year and I do think Barcelona is one of the most amazing cities in the world – I cannot quite imagine myself living here permanently. It’s not that there is something in particular that makes me wanna leave, it’s rather lack of things take make me wanna stay here. Still, being an alien here made me realise where I actually belong – at least at the moment – and this makes Barcelona special for me too.
The last element that constitutes my foreign identity is the Catalan legacy. It’s something you’re exposed to from the very beginning and is transmitted through the language, the traditions, the food, the mentality. I have noticed the same trait in – if not every, at least the most of – Catalans I have met and it’s this rich heritage, the local identity and pride. I can be aware of it, understand it and admire it but I will never be a part of it. And that’s what really makes me a foreigner here.