Every time I go to Barcelona I always take a trip to the area called Sant Just Desvern. It’s where we lived for the majority of the seven years and about 25 minutes or so from the city center.
Victor once again had to continue preparing the presentation with his team, so this time I decided to check the bus schedule and head to Sant Just. I hopped off the second bus and now I was walking through the very familiar streets. Everything was nice and green and the sky was blue. My first stop was at Caprabo, it’s a grocery store chain in Spain and we did a lot of our shopping there since it was just a few minutes away from home. I was looking for some Weikis and an Aquarius. Weikis are basically a round piece of milk bread with small chocolate pieces inside. My siblings and I loved it growing up. Aquarius on the other hand is like Gatorade, but tastes much better in my opinion.
Around the corner of Caprabo was a small newspaper shop we would go to all the time to buy the day’s papers such as Mundo Deportivo or La Vanguardia, but my siblings and I were interested in the candy like the Kojaks and the latest toys they had. All those years we were there it was the same lady who ran it and was always very nice to us. By this I mean we got sweets for free sometimes. Unfortunately, the store was closed and given how everything has become digital in the last ten years I am assuming the store was closed for good.
Next on my list was to see our previous houses. The first year we lived at house 7.1, but then the owners wanted to sell the house and coincidentally the owners a little bit further down the road, 9.3, were looking for renters. Talk about an easy move.
I walk back up the corner, cross the street, pass the community concrete soccer field, basketball court, and ping pong table. I then walk down the hill to take a left on my street and walk up the incline for a bit before it flattens out and I arrive. To the left are houses and to the right is vegetation and a little valley. At the bottom are tennis courts where my brother and I played on occasion and of course there are paddle courts too. It would almost be a crime in Spain to not have paddle courts. Back up the hill on the other side is the rest of the sports club which they started building while we still lived there, but for many years it remained unfinished. They finally completed the job and it looked great. It had a very nice outdoor pool and even a horse stall.
I arrived at 7.1 and then a minute later at 9.3. One thing they both had in common was the rugged and worn exterior. They looked like they had forgone maintenance since we left over 10 years ago. Especially 7.1, it was pretty sad.
Close to the dead end that I was approaching there is a little path that leads to a park divided for those with dogs and those without. The sun was starting to truly exert its heat, so I sought shelter by a bench under a tree and started thinking.
On this visit back to Sant Just I felt different than on previous occasions. I felt like 20 years could go by and I would not have the urge to come back to the place I had spent a bulk of my childhood years. I was not sure why I felt this way…..
Maybe it was because nothing significant happened for me in Sant Just. All my friends lived elsewhere, my schools were elsewhere, my tennis clubs and tournaments were elsewhere. My core memories just happened elsewhere.
I spent the majority of my childhood here, so I asked myself “What did I like most about living at 9.3?” I would say the backyard. It was narrow and somewhat long, but my brother and I would spend hours playing soccer on the parts that had grass. Most of the time I was the goalie and it was a lot of fun except when we accidentally kicked the ball over to the neighbors which happened often. We would also play “mini tennis” in the enclosed garage that was shared among the houses with the first number. So 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4, and 9.5. We played baseball, using a kit my Dad had picked up for us during one of his work trips. Even with all that, I have come to the conclusion thatI do not hold sentimental value to the places we stayed at in Spain like I do to our grandparents’ house in Germany.
It was a nice trip to Sant Just, but I think this chapter has closed and maybe even for Barcelona too. Every time I have gone to Spain either with my family or alone, Barcelona is always the destination. I think it is time to explore so much more of this beautiful country.