Brain drain in Spain

A friend in the US asked me today “so what have you been up to?” and I immediately panicked because I did not have an exciting answer. I am always conscious of how my life looks to the outside, as if that mattered in any way. And I am reassured that I am living a worthwhile life if I have plenty to report on, and even more reassured if it sounds exciting, though I rarely feel excited about the “exciting” things I do, more often I am bothered by the amount of time and effort it will take to prepare for and to get somewhere. Either that or I am terrified of the task ahead. Doesn’t it sound fun to be me?

So of course, having nothing to report off the top of my head had me reviewing my activities of the last month, which at first depressed me because 1) It’s winter and I’m always depressed when it is cold and dark out, and 2) the majority of my activities have been focused around working (from home), bottomless spending on a property I bought in Rhode Island, locating receipts for taxes…you get the idea. Stuff that make you want to curl into a ball and weep.

But then I had to acknowledge a couple of interesting outings I’ve had thus far this year. First, I’ve been hitting the dirt track every other week at the old Kenny Roberts Ranch at Montmelo. This is adjacent to the Catalunya circuit and is specifically for small displacement dirt tracking. There are races ranging from 4 hour “endurance” team challenges to shorter sprint races most weekends. I hardly qualify as a dirt tracker, but it is pretty good fun and all the pros come out to play too.

KR ranch

GP hand builds pipes, and he made one for my bike. This pipe has saved me a lot of embarrassment on the track because it makes the bike so fast. Of course, the pros took notice and wanted to it for themselves, thus we have Aleix Espargaro preparing to mount my steed:

Espargaro_xr100And then a line up including Ferran Cardus, Ricky Cardus, and Luis Costa (the girl is Costa’s girlfriend and we might ride together for a team challenge).


Needless to say…GP sold a couple of pipes that day.

The other thing I have been doing is trying to forge some new friendships. Motorcycling helps, of course, but I need other expats and people with similar life experiences I can relate to. In the last year and half  so many of my expat friends–and even native countrymen who have lived outside Spain–have left the country because of the economic situation here. And it seems like every time I meet someone new with whom I can have an intelligent conversation, I learn that they, too, are leaving in the near future.

The economic situation doesn’t affect me because my clients are in North America. I’d like to stay, but I’m feeling ever more isolated because it seems like something familiar is happening. There is a “thing” that happens in Hawaii. The locals call it brain drain. It is a phenomena where all of the intelligent and motivated people leave to find opportunity and education, because, as you can imagine, Hawaii has a dearth of prospects when it comes to careers when compared to other states. So the people who remain are…well, you get the idea. I hate to say it, but it appears that a brain drain is happening in this city.

This isn’t happy news, because it makes living here far less enjoyable. Thus I find myself at a crossroads again. Do I want to stay? Where do I want to go?