The awkward turtle

Celebrating the failings of a successful person


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That moment you realise someone is checking out your boyfriend…

I saw you. Yeah you! You checked out my boyfriend whilst we were walking hand-in-hand. You even had the audacity to give the confused “are they really a couple look”? It’s not just in my head!

Not to seem big-headed but there has always been an unsaid mutual agreement that I was the hot one of the couple. Buoyed by this I had only ever previously been aware of when I was getting the once over by a guy, it had never occurred to me that meanwhile girls were checking out my man. That was until we got to Barcelona. I don’t know what it is about it here, maybe the fact that the more stereotypically desired tall, dark and handsome (maybe not so much of the tall) is on tap so my fair-headed boy stands out all the more? Or maybe its the glow of his sun-tanned skin than has blown new life into his complexion (a true phenomenon to me as I’ve only ever known him as pasty under London’s grey skies). Whatever it is I am now conscious to it, like the spotting of the one yellow car and suddenly realising ever other car you see is also yellow, I cannot undo the seeing of eyes lingering over him. Anytime I witness it I look at him in amazement. Who are you?

My suspicions that other women might actually find my beau desirable were finally confirmed at the beach one hot afternoon. After many rounds of volleyball we were all bathing in our sweat when a bubbly lady came over to our group and directly speaking to R opened with, “I just wanted to say I was watching your volley game and you were really good.” Embarrassed he replied thank you and the conversation continued. We learnt she was a Swede who also played volley and when we all finally exchanged names he gave her his. “Oh that’s my husband’s name too”.

The husband was nowhere to be seen!

New-girl-shows-how-women-check-out-men
Jess from New Girl shows how subtle women can be

 

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The life less worked

At first giving up my job in London was inconceivable. I craved the stability of a regular wage and I clung to the order of routine  like a baby to its comforter. Logistically I couldn’t take my job with me to Barcelona so instead a picture was painted of a life in the sun where I could redefine my career path at my leisure. The first question everyone asked me when they heard I was moving out here was “But what will you do there?”. A sensible question by all means but one that I had no concrete answer to and I only ever responded with, “I’ll just be”.

Fast forward 3 months and I am still just being. What scares me most about this is that I’m not scared about not having found a job yet, I’m scared at how comfortable I am with just being. Everything that has propelled me towards this moment in time has taught me that somehow what I’m doing is wrong: my upbringing, my education, my further education. Every step I have taken was supposedly working towards something…something more like work. But at 25 and not knowing what I want to do in life I’m starting to question whether this is not rather a problem with how I have been moulded to think than my joblessness.

Falling into being is not as easy as one might imagine. Like an ageing boxer watching younger generations claiming his titles and who wants the world to know he still has strength in his arms, I too was desperate for people to know that I had skills, knew how to work and could earn my own keep. For an entire month, living in our first shared apartment, when I wasn’t looking for our own flat I spent the days feeling dejected and useless. I took the disappointment of missing out on this or that flat as a personal blow to my ineffectiveness: in short I judged my worth to what I contributed to society and without a formal occupation I felt worthless. This self-evaluation was intensified by my constant comparison to other housemates who had jobs or who were looking. One evening during a communal dinner the flat owner chastised me harshly over my lack of job prospects as he couldn’t comprehend that at the moment it wasn’t my plan to have a job instantly. I had not expected to be put on trial for my life choices especially as I had not anticipated them to offend anybody. It wasn’t until the arrival of some new housemates, two lovely Argentinian girls on a long-term sabbatical, that I was finally able to own my state of joblessness that had previously caused me such self-doubt. In true argentine fashion they were totally upfront with their position and announced it to the world in an “if you got a problem with it go fuck yourself” way. I jumped right on their bandwagon and from that moment on I was no longer made to feel guilty about just being, nor faced to give an account of my day.

Work is good. A good job keeps your mind expanding and doesn’t allow you to fall into full idleness. There are many things I miss about working the regular 9-5; seeing the same friendly faces, knowing I had something to do with my day, getting paid. That pretty much exhausts my list. I would welcome some consistency since I have moved to a new city and a job is a great way to make new friends. Mostly I feel like I was just spat out of the university machine albeit with great memories, many fond essays and a handsome amount of debt.

 


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Welcome to Barcelona: The Flat Hunt

Welcome to Barcelona, the city of dogs and their devoted owners.

I’m qualified to welcome you to this vibrant European city now that I’ve been here for a month. This month has seen me busting out my rusty Spanish and inflicting grievous harm on innocent spanish speakers as I attempted to secure our new permanent digs in the city. My morning routine looked a bit like this: wake up at 8.30 am, pick up the laptop sleeping next to my bed and scroll through my go-to piso search sites (Idealista, Habitaclia, Fotocasa), send off initial contact requests for anything I quite fancied and, if it was a particularly dry day of fishing, things I just vaguely liked. By 10am my phone would have started ringing; calls from agents I contacted the day before to arrange a visit. A normal conversation would go like this (rough translation into English but imagine the speed at x5 in Spanish): “Good morning you have contacted us regarding a property with 2 bedrooms is about 60m2 and it’s unfurnished…”, my only response to the initial onslaught would be “Donde?”. I would send so many email requests that by the time people got back to me I couldn’t tell one property from another, all I could say was “Sure I’ll come see it”. On the occasions that I had to initiate contact (and this happened daily) I would have to do my prep: giving myself the “you can do it talk. They don’t know you, it’s completely fine. You can make yourself understood just pick up the phone.” Going over my opening sentence in my head whilst listening to the ringing tone. I tried a more hands-on approach which saw me walking around different areas with my head tilted up at a 45 degree angle trying to spot alquiler or en lloguer signs on buildings. Whilst I did end up with a stiff neck I would recommend this method as it’s a great way to explore the city and stumble upon hidden gems.

Now 4 weeks later, 3 apartments that got away and only 2 days left in our designated Airbnb room,we have finally found a place. Albeit, we won’t have it for another Continue reading