(By by Dawn Kelly/Barcelona Metropolitan)
1. The Gossip
Women. Women love to talk. I come from Liverpool, a place where women talk almost continually without stopping for air. All at the same time. All about different things. Gossip is important to us. It’s a well-known fact that holding gossip in can cause stomach upsets and nausea (this may or may not be true.) What I have found with international flat sharing is that gossip knows no boundaries. You think that language barrier is gonna stop you revealing last night’s secrets? Think again. It’s only going to make the story more amusing. You might need to draw visuals and use props, but don’t you worry, you will get your point across, and there will be laughs and maybe even some high fives.
The bookshelf in your hallway is going to look absolutely phenomenal, and nobody needs to know that you haven’t read everything on there. So the next time your friend is perusing ‘your’ collection, why not accidentally fail to admit that you haven’t actually read Die Verwandlung in its original language. As far as they know you read it and it was exquisite. This rule also applies to your film collection.
3. The Food
I love food, British food, Spanish food, sweet food, savoury food, dipping strips of toast into a runny egg yolk, the smell of the steam that rises off a hot chocolate pudding, the crispy crunch of bacon between layers of fluffy white bread. What was I talking about? Oh yes, housemates. Well, with international housemates the food reaches a whole new level, nothing beats a dinner party where you’ve got a quiche Lorraine, tacos, fresh piña coladas and typical British, err, salad (I can’t cook) all on the go at the same time.
Culture is important, and it’s important to share, and what a better way to express your culture than through the art of dance. Many a night in my kitchen I have witnessed examples of the Domincan Merengue (How do they move their hips like that?) and in return I’ve been able to display popular British classics such as the ‘slut drop’, ‘the awkward clap-your-hands and shake-your-bum nan dance’ and the ever so popular ‘walk-to-the-dance floor-dance’. While together we can all have a shared scoff over the ridiculousness that is twerking.
I adore my housemates from university, but let’s face it, I’ve been to Manchester a million times, and I don’t even ever want to go to Hull. You know where I haven’t been? The Dominican Republic, and what’s that? I have a Dominican mummy there waiting to look after me like a child of her own? Someone buy me a plane ticket.
6. Language Learning
Currently there are four languages spoken in my flat, and although I can’t speak them all (no matter what my bookshelf leads you to believe) it’s the perfect opportunity to do what any foreign language learner does; learn all the swear words immediately and bombard the next person you meet from that country. Drunk. At 3am. Finding it hilarious. Fun for you, not so fun for them.