L’Auberge espagnole


Great flick. Can’t begin to put into words what an amazing number of buttons it has touched.

Just so that I don’t forget:

  • The creative imperative: a writer
  • Living arrangements: shared housing
  • The foreign culture syndrome: frenchman living in Barcelona
  • Life, ordinary life that is, coming at us. Fast!
  • The call of the night: “bares the tapas” in Spain
  • Our relationship to our parents
  • The search for love (in all the wrong places)

Plus, count them: three, instances of Radiohead’s No Surprises, all used at the perfect time. Let’s see, what did I actually think of all of this?

What a mix of emotions! First and foremost, the fact that at the end, he chooses to do what he loves: writing. The fact that what he writes is the script to the very story you’ve been told. C’est sympa, non?

I can’t say my calling is quite that visceral, after all I do work in what happens to rank up there as one of my top hobbies (computers) anyway, but if I had to be even more conceited and get to choose a second career, that would probably be film. See how this story might be able to grab me, then?

Film will probably have to remain a hobby for me though. And that is great. That I can have the luxury of such a hobby is phenomenal, trust me.

What other threads of emotion?

Ah! Of course, living arrangements. House sharing plays another great role in the story. What a coincidence, that I should be looking to move right this month. Tomorrow we’re looking at places in “the city” (San Francisco) as a matter of fact. And I do love my current house, the current house mates, the current “culture” and “buen rollito” surrounding it.

Question: better to leave it now at it’s peak than later when it’s begun to rot? Better to start developing a new community elsewhere? Better to maybe join the next vibrant one down in Avaloni? Help it develop further?

What do you think?

The Erasmus plot element can be easily transfixed into what us Spaniards have got going on here in the Peninsula. For us it’s the “Aventura Americana” … for some it is the academic adventure at Stanford or Berkeley; for others it is the professional adventure in the technology sector in Silicon Valley; maybe it has been and even still is both for you at the same time like it is for me.

Folks here even come from having lived first the very Erasmus experience depicted in the film. Some people have all the fun/luck, huh?

And so we’re well aware of our luck. Trust me, we are. We’re not quite as eclectic as the mix L’Auberge espagnole shows you. We’re all from Spain, by and large, so we’re as eclectic as a mix of Catalanes, Madrileños, Gallegos, Andaluces, Navarros, Toledanos y demás.

We’re aware of our luck, though few do anything to perpetuate it. I know I don’t.

That might be a good policy, though. No need to do anything about it, as that might just spoil it. The other policies seem to work well so far: be yourself, help thy neighbor, love your friend. That sort of thing. Things will work themselves out.

Except that some things just can’t be accidental. Can they? Sharing a house sure can feel coincidental and imposed by convenience factors, no? But it is not, or at least it doesn’t have to be.

In all truth sharing a house has turned yet again (it’s the 4th or 5th house I share, I’ve lost count now) as I expected into the most rewarding of living arrangements I can think of. Sharing each other’s lives, each other’s hobbies, each other’s points of view and each other’s misery at times.

And not just with the people you live with, but with the people you invite over as well. The ones you’re happy to see when they knock on your door and you look at their distorted face through the fish-eye peephole.

Because those count just as much, if not more at times, than the ones you might sleep inches away from, separated by just a wall.

This all brings me to the point of what it is that makes it so hard to leave the area. It might sound like just a 30 minute drive from here, but it is a completely different world up there when you untangle yourself from each other and keep such a distance that plans have to be made to entangle up once again.

I think I’ll just leave it at that for now. What are your thoughts?

One thought on “L’Auberge espagnole

  1. I don’t know why but I cannot send my comments using the interface you’ve provided. I guess just because I am in this blacklist. Also, you may understand this as a customer complaint, but using this Netscape messenger is a pain in the … and it is impossible to write more than a paragraph without driving you nuts.
    In short, I cannot agree more with you. A great movie. Re-Opened my mind as much as did yours. But you know that, right?
    I really hope our SF adventure goes as well as we expect …
    I have lived the Erasmus experience in Paris, and when I came here I was looking for the same thing.

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