…if it can be somebody’s home.
This beautiful line from a song by Jaume Sisa regularly inspires me to remember not to be “precious” with my “stuff”.
It has come to symbolise the open nature of Catalan people towards outsiders – at least those who wish to learn more about local culture, respect tradition and language and try, to some degree, to integrate.
This is certainly how I have felt since the moment I first stepped foot in Barcelona, back in 1992. While I wasn’t aware then of the distinct Catalan culture, I felt immediately at home.
Then in 1995, I returned as part of my year abroad in my multilingual undergraduate business degree. But this time to Lleida, a provincial, more rural and agricultural, capital.
Here I discovered the true character of people here. Hardly speaking Spanish, let alone Catalan (I had been living in France and had forgotten most of the two years of Spanish I had learnt), I nevertheless received such a warm welcome from everyone that I will remember the experience for the rest of my life.
From the owners of a bar where I first went to eat while staying in a hostel to the student services officer at the university, who at our first meeting to help me look for a place to live invited my to come and live with her and her flatmate since the third girl was moving out.
Through the years I have made many friends and spent time in the heart of their families and villages, where I have soaked up the culture and warmth which is rivalled only by the burning summer sun.
The generosity, open doors and eagerness to help have led to my putting roots down here and while I still have thoughts of living in other parts of the world, in recent years I have thought increasingly about making Catalonia my permanent home from home (the UK), a base from which to travel.
We shouldn’t need borders. But recognising and respecting the identity of a people, and the values they hold dear is a fundamental part of being human. We all want to belong to a “tribe” which shares our values.
There are things we should do as the human race, working together as custodians of the planet and ensuring collective well-being.
Then there are aspects of life which require more focussed thinking to solve local problems.
The two should be considered together, not as competitive forces, but as part of a holistic approach which takes both local and global issues into account – and everything in between.
Recognising that we are privileged to “own” property and material goods, that we are really just custodians of it all (much like the Koran teaches, actually), should make it easy to say…
Oh, welcome! Come in, come in,
We’ll turn your sorrows into smoke
My home is your home…
If it can be somebody’s home
Oh! Benvinguts, passeu, passeu.
de les tristors en farem fum.
A casa meva és casa vostra,
si és que hi ha casa d’algú.
Visit our nascent travel section find a beautiful version of Jaume Sisa’s song, incorporated into an original and evocative video highlighting some of the treasures to be found in Catalonia: