Thursday, August 16, 2012

The "Keys" to Success

Life is only as complicated as we make it.  Sure there are speedbumps along the way, but I like to believe that we are not given more than we can handle.  Life here has been filled with challenges.  Challenges to the point that I question if my life will be boring when I move back home and can just walk into a store and get what I need or to go to the doctor and explain in English exactly what my problem is and not just hope for the best result but actually understand what they say to me.  Every day life here presents me with a challenge - sure they've changed in their difficulty since we first moved here - it's no longer about where to buy a muffin pan or scotch tape (the hardware store and the stationary section of El Corte Ingles) but about other life things - like hopefully get a drivers license and then OMG a car....

But that doesn't mean I still don't have simple challenges that I'm faced with all the time.  That muffin pan took me weeks to find and now I know where to go.  It really comes down to that sometimes, just knowing where to go.  It's not like I live in a third world country here.  There are plenty of amenities if you know where to look.  It's just a matter of persistance and often times, trial and error.

You would think after 2 1/2 years that life would appear to be normal at this point.  And yes, it is... for the most part.  But that doesn't mean that there aren't times that no matter how hard you try to get something done, it's still way harder than it would be at home.  Case in point and the reason for this blog entry?  It just took me 2 months to get my house key copied.

What????  Yes, you read it correctly, 2 MONTHS to find somewhere that could copy my key.  Now I should note that my landlord did ask us at our closing if 4 keys was enough and since I was still living in slight fear of her ability to take the house away from us, I told her it was fine (knowing full well I would go out and get more made).  So I probably could have eliminated this problem had I just said, well, do you mind making 2-3 more for us???

I can't help but find this journey amusing.  Seriously, 2 months to get my keys copied??  How can you not find humor is this?  And this, my friends, is just the story of my life here.  Nothing that should be easy, ever is.

I started off simple enough, there is a hardware store less than a block from our new apartment.  I went in, took a ticket, waited in line for my turn and then asked for copies of my keys.  He took one look at my key and told me "muy dificil"... great.  That's awesome.  I asked him where I should go.  He told me to go to the corner of Mallorca and Roger de Lluria.  A metro stop and several blocks of walking away.  He didn't know the name of the locksmith, but said they could help me.

So I went in search of the unnamed locksmith.  I looked on every corner of that intersection and walked a block in each direction just in case I missed it.  No luck.  I have no idea what he was talking about but said locksmith was not there.  Fail.

Then one day as I was walking through Gracia (our neighborhood), I noticed a locksmith who was closed for siesta.  I made note of his address and that night after Josh came home, I went back hoping I'd find someone who could help me.  The gate was raised which meant he was open BUT (always a but isn't there?), the door was a solid white with no windows, was locked and didn't have a doorbell.  Hmm... good locksmith, no one can get in!!!  There were a lot of words painted on the door of which I had to google translate several as I stood there on the sidewalk.  I knocked on the answer.  There was a sign above the store that said in an emergency to call the phone number listed.  So was not being able to get my key made an emergency or the fact that I was standing outside his store and couldn't get in?  I decided that my Spanish just wasn't up to par that day to try to make the phone call and so I called it a day and headed back home, once again sin llaves.  Fail.

I wasn't ready to give up yet though.  There is a store in Barcelona called Servei Estacio.  It's kind of like True Value meets Home Depot - 6 narrow floors of home improvement stuff.  One of those floors has a key copy area.  So once again I try my luck.  And my luck apparently is crap because he also told me that my key is muy dificil and to try somewhere on C/ Balmes which he said was closed for siesta.

But don't worry, this story will eventually have a happy, albeit long, ending.  About two weeks ago, Liam and I went to go to the American store.  Though we live very close to our old apartment, we live a little higher up and therefore slightly closer to the store so we decided to take a new, different route.  And I'm so glad we did.  Well first we came across the Pole Dance Factory...hmmmm... interesting and added on some amusement to our lengthy walk.  Pole dancing classes anyone????  Then as we were walking down Guillem Tell, I saw it.  The locksmitht hat otherwise would not have stood out, but had the name of our key, Sidese, right on the sign.  Finally!!!  Success!!!!  Ok, not so much because it's Saturday so of course it's closed.  But with no note on the door proclaiming they were on holiday anytime soon, I made note of the address with the intent to go back that Monday with the kids to get our keys made.

And yes, on Monday she was there and for 20 euros each, she made me some new keys.  Patience and perseverance finally paid off!!  So yes, life is still a challenge here on a sometimes daily basis.  But how boring would it be if I could just run to Home Depot and be home in 5 minutes with new keys?  Ok, I take that back...that would be very nice, but it wouldn't be challenging!!!


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