I spent most of the first 4 days, by the sea, in an area called Barceloneta. There is a wonderful long narrow strip of beach with white sand, where the clear, blue waves of the Mediterranean, lazily roll in and out, like a metronome. I felt a sense of reassurance, here. I would spend the morning, tidying the flat & cooking and then at mid day, I would take the 20 minute walk to the beach. Here, I would sit on a bench, roll a cigarette and drink coffee, whilst gazing out to sea. There is something very powerful about looking out to the horizon over the open ocean. It is a perfect way to develop the right head space for practicing mindfulness.
On August 30th, I decided to do a test commute to the Blue Building, where I was to start work in 2 days time. The night before I had met a Russian man called Gregor, down by the harbour. He runs a small Jet Ski & Segway Tour company during the Summer. In exchange for €250, he handed me a box, containing a brand new NineBot Mini, which is an electric upright scooter. It felt like a scene from a Cold War spy novel. He seemed nervous as he moved into the shadows underneath the pontoon to do the money exchange. Being extremely naive, I thought it all incredibly exciting.
It was an exhilarating 20 minute commute on the NineBot. I decided to take the longer route which took me along the boardwalk above the beach. The salty sea air swept over me, as I sped along at 20KM/h towards my destination.
The Blue Building was located at the end of Playa de Barcelona, overlooking the pontoon, where I had met Gregor. It had a fabulous view over the open ocean. Once, inside the building I asked the receptionist, which floor my company was located on? He looked at me with an amused fascination. Maybe, he didn't understand English? I asked him again. This time, he told me with a strong Spanish accent, that the office space was currently still under construction, and wouldn't be completed for another 2 weeks!
I immediately checked the contract on my mobile phone. I confirmed with the receptionist that I had the correct address. He told me not too worry, because this kind of confusion is part & parcel of life in Barcelona.
After a phone call to my agent, I found out that I would be starting work at a different office address in the Bac de Rhoda district of the city. Apparently, the client had forgotten to notify us of the change. My new start date would be September 18th. I now had 2 weeks to kill.
At first, I felt let down by this mix up, but I then realized that I should try and enjoy the extra time, I now had at my disposal.
This was the first problem I had come up against, but my ability so far, to live independently, had given me a new confidence, that I hadn't felt, for at least a decade. In fact, instead of panicking, I actually took a perverse pleasure in the fact that I wouldn't have to become a corporate clone, for, at least, another fortnight.
Turning a negative into a positive to calm the mind, was the next coping strategy that had presented itself to me. I was managing to maintain a routine of daily activities, but, at the same time, I was handling unexpected changes. It felt like a good balance. I had begun to understand that not everything is under our control, in life, and it is about how we manage our reactions to those things that are not expected, that is important.