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Spain, it's not time to be reunited (yet)

As some of you might know, we’ve been in Barcelona looking for a flat to relocate from Berlin for the past few weeks. A few things happened during the COVID19 pandemic that prompted us to think about whether we wanted to stay in Berlin longer. In particular, Shopify became a distributed company and opened a legal entity in Spain. Furthermore, my wife got a job at Shopify. What are we doing here? The idea of moving to Spain sounded very appealing: no language barrier, better weather, and more healthy food. It felt the natural next step for us, and therefore we decided to spend weeks in Barcelona to see how it felt being back here.

It took weeks of many questions and answers to finally admit it was not the right time for us to be back.

What follows is a brain dump of what led us to make that decision. Note that this is based on my experience, and therefore it’s subjective.

First, it’s very comfortable living here. It’s too comfortable that it makes us feel uncomfortable. We like the challenges and the learnings that come from them. We feel moving back would rush us into a more appropriate life for an older version of ourselves. Being abroad means being exposed to other cultures, and we love that a lot. When we left the country, we became more aware of what we didn’t know and learned how nuanced and complex the world is.

Many people here say that “in Spain, we have a good life”, but I realized that statement is subjective. What’s good? If you reduce that to weather and food, sure, you’ll have a good life here. But in other areas such as innovation and education, Spain is far distant from other countries in Europe, which also means good life to us.

What are we doing then? For now, we’ll go back to Berlin. We need to rest in what’s our home. As weird as it sounds, we miss Berlin’s weather. It’s been too humid and hot these days in Barcelona (we might have become Germans). The plans for later this year or early next are to visit Amsterdam, to assess it as our potential next home.