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Fieldwork starts at home

May 4, 2010

As I prepare for fieldwork in Barcelona, I realise that fieldwork has already started here ‘at home’. The logistics of preparing a 12-month family move from one country to another (in this case from Britain to Spain/Catalonia) are quite daunting, and they are a crash course into the current actualities of life in the target locale. Although I have moved country of residence 14 times in the past, this is the first time I do so with a whole nuclear family.

Over the past couple of weeks, for example, I’ve had to learn quite a lot in a short period of time – with help from friends and colleagues – about Catalonia’s school system, and about the similarities and differences between the various affordable options. I’m also trying to learn the arcane art of finding a decent flat in an overprized, unfamiliar market, not to mention my struggles with the Catalan language and history. És a dir, que no ens avorrirem.

What about the Web, John? you ask. Any good? Yes, the Web is being very helpful, thanks. It’s quite amazing how you can zoom into a neighbourhood with the Guia Urbana de Barcelona, locate the primary schools, pop into their websites and phone them up if they look promising (ish). Yes, I have tried the official route as well, but they’re not picking up the phone, so I shall have to insist.

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