Women and interns and bikes

For the minority of you who follow my blog, it’s been a while since my last post.

In May I was slaving away at my final year exams, which, my parents and professors assured me, was really going to ensure my happiness in our middle-class bubble, uhm I mean the big wide world. But finally I’m done and dusted with my student days and am now living the lap of luxury in Barcelona. Working for an online travel agency, as an intern.

An Intern. What every graduate aspires to be after they’ve spent the past four years slaving away to achieve a 2:1- only to find out that no one on in this country seems to know what that means- especially given that the Spanish grade system ranges from 1-10.  A 2:1, well done me. So, I intern.

I recently bought a new bike, which I’m very proud of:

Me and Fiffi the Foffa
Me and Fiffi the Foffa

I ride it up the sloped streets of Barcelona to work every day. Well, every other day that I’m not sweating through my knickers by the time I reach the office. It’s Summer here in Barcelona. Not that half-arsed speck of sun time to get out your Speedo Summer we’re used to in the UK. Oooh no. This is the real deal. My Indian-Irish heritage has not prepared me for this, not one bit. So I’ve taken to riding the bus with Barcelona’s finest.

Having escaped the dreaded London commute, the last thing I wanted to do was take a bus anywhere, no matter the duration of the journey. Having said this, TMB buses have saved me many a day when I simply can’t face sweating up those hills on a baking-hot Barcelona morning. You could say that my relationship with the bus is somewhat more stable than it was back home. I’ve gotten used to my route. I greet the other bus frequenters at my stop in the morning–Bon dia! I’ve even bought myself a three month-long travel card, only for the most serious of city commuters, of course.

God bless the Barcelona bus service! http://www.tmb.cat/en/linies-de-bus
God bless the Barcelona bus service!

Among the eccentric CTOs and downtrodden managers, mothers and children on their way to school, and the occasional sorry sight of a lost, British tourist, my attention is always drawn to the ever-so-slightly senior female office worker on her way to work. Standing in the aisle: tupperware in one hand, iPhone in the other; no hands on the pole. These women are savvy, have great balance, and are prepared for anything. More impressive is what happens next. (As a semi-regular on the bus, I’ve seen the following happening a fair bit). Suddenly, the iPhone in her hand starts to ring- not buzz as there is no such thing as an indoor voice in Spain, at least that I’ve experienced. You could be forgiven for thinking that this was simply a whatsApp notification because you’ll only hear it for a split second before the call is promptly accepted by the recipient. It’s the husband, inquiring frantically about how to boil eggs. Again.


Ever so patiently, she calms him down. The egg boiling procedure is explained, then summarised, and then recapped to make sure it is fully understood. She tells him to have a good day- and quickly checks if he will need anything from the supermercado, which she will pop into on the way home from work, after picking up the kids from school and the dog from the vet. FYI, her inquiry is genuine, not snide.

Women are incredible. This post is not intended as an anti-feminist rant, or a feminist slight. It is simply an acknowledgement of the women who work in and out of the home, and who do it in style. My mum is the best example of this. Please, don’t underestimate us!

Mama A
Mama A

As for me, my story has only just begun. I know that I won’t stay an intern for long, but for now, I’ll just enjoy the ride.


3 thoughts on “Women and interns and bikes

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