Arturo the Bull
Finding a flat
I'd been living in a friend's studio apartment in Barcelona for just about a year, while he stayed in the apartment I'd left behind in New York City.
The original plan was that we would do this apartment exchange for four months, then he would return to Barcelona and we would look for a bigger place to share. That did not happen.
Instead, my friend got a job in Korea and was way over there for an additional six months. Then he took another two months vacation and travelled around the USA visiting family. All this time I was stuck in this tiny studio apartment in a peripheral neighborhood of Barcelona, when I wanted to live near the center of the city.
When this friend finally came back to Spain, our friendship had pretty much disintegrated. I was unhappy that he had changed our original plans. He was unhappy that his car got towed while he was away and I hadn't gone to rescue it from the car-pound. So, we did not look for a new flat together.
I didn't look at many flats myself. There was one full of young, modern, professional people. They interviewed me, told me I could rent a room in this massive, turn-of-the-century apartment in the Example. Just as I came home from the bank, having withdrawn the 30,000 peseta deposit, one of them rang me up and said that they had found someone else to take the room. This all happened in one day.
I did find a flat, though. I interviewed with a girl named Paqui (short for Francisca). She had a regular-sized flat near the Hospital de San Pau, which was also near the studio where I had dance classes with an Esbart, so it was perfect. She had another roommate, Begoña and I would be renting the tiny bedroom down that hall.
That interview was kind of weird, though. Paqui showed me all the renovation work that was going on in the flat. Her brother worked in home construction and was fixing up her kitchen and bathroom for her. The place was a little bit of a mess, but it was not dirty, just full of bags of cement and piles of tiles. She invited me to dinner, which was a kind of disgusting dish she called "bread soup", basically chicken broth with big pieces of bread soaked in it.
I lived with Paqui and Begoña for several months, until Paqui got the idea that she wanted another girl to live with them and asked me to look for another place to live. Just when I found that place, though, she asked me to stay on. That's another story, though!