‘There are always so many things going on in London. It’s a very cultural city! Exhibitions, events, concerts...’ ‘I think it would be nice to stay in an area that is near to the river, and not too far from the main attractions’
Why did you leave Catalonia?
The main reason was work. My husband (Jan) and I have been working in the film industry for 22 years now. He’s a key grip and I’m a makeup artist. We have 10-year old twin boys and since they were born, we always thought it would be nice to give them the chance to learn another language properly and share with them the experience of living in a big city with people from all over the world.
Why did you choose London?
While we lived in Barcelona we worked for foreign production companies. Jan started to get job offers, especially from English producers and DOPs (directors of photography). At the time I didn’t, because my kids were babies and he was the one who started taking jobs in London. It was tough because we spent long periods without seeing each other and that’s why we ended up moving to London.
How long have you lived there?
It’s been six years since we moved from Barcelona.
Are you happy with the job opportunities you found in your adoptive country?
I am indeed! Everything happens in London now, especially in my sector, in the last 10-15 years. The big studios are here, like Pinewood, Warner Brothers, and many more.
What do you think is the best thing about living there?
There are always so many things going on in London. It’s a very cultural city! Exhibitions, events, concerts.... Almost everything you want to study, you’ll find it here. I personally like the fact that it is a multicultural city, so you never stop learning from other cultures.
What would you most like to change?
The weather! Although I have to say that for the last two months it’s been amazingly sunny. Some days we’ve reached temperatures as high as 35 degrees celsius, apparently something not seen for many years. Oops, I forgot another one, the traffic. It’s exhausting, and can often be very annoying.
What do you miss most from home?
My family and friends, and not only the sun but the light, particularly during long English winters. I also miss the mountains, the beach, and our lovely Mediterranean food... Shall I continue? [She laughs]
What about your new home would you like to see in your own country?
I envy the long democratic tradition of Britain and how that shows in your day to day life. We could do with some of that at home.
What characterises your local neighbourhood?
Our neighbourhood is known for its good schools. It’s a family area, perfect for kids. It’s surrounded by three lovely parks and is south of the river Thames, where you can cycle or simply go for nice walks.
Where are the best places for visitors to stay?
It depends on what you like, but I think it’s nice to stay in an area near the river, and not too far from the main attractions.
What do you consider the highlights for any brief visit for the first time?
Big Ben, the London Eye, Soho, Hyde Park and the rest of the parks, Covent Garden, Borough Market, the British Museum, and going to a play or a musical in the West End.
And if visitors have more time or make a return visit?
Then I’d recommend them to travel outside London, just an hour or two. You can go to very interesting cities, for example Bath, where you can find Roman baths with hot springs. It’s a world heritage site.
Near Oxford you can find Stratford-upon-Avon, the town where William Shakespeare was born.
Brighton, Stonehenge, Cambridge, Norfolk, Lewes, Rye... You can get to all those places very easily by train or bus from London for a day trip.
Are there any places to avoid at all costs?
If there are, I don’t know them. London is a safe place for visitors. However, there are some areas where you need to be streetwise, particularly after dark, such as alleyways, underpasses, etc... I guess like any big city.
What is the best experience you have had in your adoptive country?
Professionally, I’ve had many great experiences. If I hadn’t moved to London I probably would never have had the opportunity to work with big names and institutions like the West End, The National Theatre, The Barbican, or huge corporations like Lucas Film, Disney, Paramount or Warner Brothers.
Do you plan to go back to Catalonia?
Hopefully one day soon. It’s hard to tell when, though. My boys still haven’t finished primary school. Initially, my idea was to start secondary school in Catalonia. I suppose it will depend on the political and economic situation there. Not sure yet.
CATALANS ABROAD london - united kingdom