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  • Friday, September 30, 2005

    Getting Started

    I arrived with my family in Sant Cugat about 3 weeks ago. This was a last minute decision to try living in Spain for a year. The recent sale of a company that I started has allowed me this unique opportunity to take some time off and explore life in a different culture.

    The best part so far has been that the people here have been wonderfully helpful. This has been hugely appreciated because no one in the family speaks Spanish or Catalan. (My wife actually speaks a little bit of Spanish, but not enough to get by without help). While most people don't speak English, they have been very accommodating and gracious as we struggle to look up words in our ever present English/Spanish dictionary.

    We have rented a town house about 5 minutes from the kids school.

    One difference is that our house seems to be built like a fortress compared to our house in the states. There is a tunnel under the units to the parking. After you gain entrance into the tunnel with your door opener, you have to get to your car’s garage. The garage has iron grating that reminds me of a prison cells. The garage door also makes a powerful, harmonic clang when the door locks closed that just rings with the words, “this will not be opened without proper authorization”. You have to get out of your car and unlock the cell (garage door), pull in, relock the iron grating, and enter your house from the door at the back of the garage. After about a week in the apartment, I had to make a quick stop into the house. I pulled the car in but I left the door to our car’s cell open. After running in and getting whatever (I think it was passport for the bank, but getting a bank account is another story), I jumped back in the car, pulled into the tunnel, hopped out of my car and slammed our car’s cell closed. When I reached the end of the tunnel and needed my garage door opener, I couldn’t find it. After quickly searching the car, I decided that I must have left it in the house. Since there was no way to get the car out of the tunnel without the opener, I left the car (blocking all cars from the other 14 town houses) and went out through a door next to the tunnels exit. In my rush, I let the door exiting the tunnel close behind me. This locked me outside our complex. After hopping over a wall to get back to my front door, I was able to get my wife to open the door. We both started searching around the house for the garage opener which is on a keychain which also has the key to the car’s cell. After about a ten minute search, I decided the key and garage door opener must really be in the car after all, only at this point, I had no way of getting back to the car. I decided that it was now a good time to meet my neighbors.

    Of course, the one neighbor that I had already met was not around. At about the eighth house I was able to get someone to answer the door. She was actually just leaving to go someplace, but I’m a little unclear where since she didn’t speak any English. As you can imagine, trying to explain my above circumstances in sign language proved to be quite difficult. I think she thought that I might want to go through to her garage, but it seemed such a strange request that she didn’t believe we were understanding each other. She started walking with me, ringing doorbells of more people’s houses trying to find someone who could translate for us. After crossing the street, and trying several doors, we finally found someone who was home who knew some English. She convinced my neighbor that I really wanted to go through her garage so we went back to my neighbor’s house and she let me through. After she unlocked her garage and we walked to my car, she finally realized what was going on. She showed me the panel I could open that had the controls for the tunnel’s door. Once the door was opened, I was able to drive my car out into the street where I wouldn’t be blocking everyone. After another 10 minutes of searching, I finally found the key and garage door opener in a nook off under the car’s driver’s side seat. I then went zooming off to an appointment with a car dealership since we still had an Avis rental, but once again, that is a story for another post.


    Blogger Ilona said...

    I noticed in Germany that the houses are also built ... to last centuries I guess. People don't tend to move around as much there. Have fun with this - I look forward to checking in regularly.

    7:23 AM  

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