Hello, what’s your name?

Mariana Petinatti

Please tell us a bit about yourself.

I was born in São Paulo, Brasil, and after living for 4 years in Austria moved to Barcelona 14 years ago. I came to Barcelona in 2004 just for 6 months but now I´m settled here with my small family. I met my Austrian husband here and we have a six year old daughter, who was born in Barcelona.

How long have you lived in Barcelona and why did you move here?

I have lived here for 14 years now. While living in Austria I sent some CVs here and was called for some interviews so came here initially for six months to see what happens and just felt in love with this lively and sunny city. From the very beginning, I was fascinated with the night life, multicultural environment and the job opportunities — so here I am!

Which area of Barcelona do you live and what do you love most about your neighbourhood?

We live in Poblenou. I moved here in 2004 after living in Raval and Barceloneta and 14 years ago the neighbourhood was totally different to now. It was a bit underrated but it has been very interesting to be part of the changes and development of this area. I like it here as it’s really a place of new ideas and it has turned to a really cool area. The Rambla de Poblenou is like a district in itself where we have access to all kinds of shops and services. Of course we are very close to the beach. When you have a small kid this is fantastic! As a Brazilian, for me, it’s a good mixture between São Paulo and Rio. I just love it here and can talk about it for hours!

Which family-friendly place would you recommend in Poblenou?

When we have a lazy day in the barrio (neighbourhood) we love to have lunch in Siamo Qua, an Italian cantina on the Rambla de Poblenou. The staff are always really friendly and always treat my daughter as special so she always says that this is her favourite place to eat! The food is really authentic as well. We also like Mika Milan on the Rambla de Poblenou and it’s Aperol spritzers for the adults and cold pressed juices for the kids. Always a good option!

What’s your favourite thing about living in Barcelona?

I really like that Barcelona is perfectly located between the sea and mountains so is really nice to have fantastic day trips to the beach or out to the hills for hiking. The city itself is incredible! When I go into the city centre on the bus, I always enjoy looking at the buildings. The architecture and the energy of the city is really awesome!

How would you spend your perfect day in Barcelona?

Just jump into the car and explore the surrounding villages and countryside! In the photo of us, we are just one hour from Barcelona in San Feliu de Guixols on the Costa Brava and had a really nice walk along the sea.

What has been the biggest challenge since moving here?

Definitely it was when our daughter was born. It was the first time I really felt far away from the family not just because of the help they can provide but also that I would love that my child would have more contact to her family. I would also love her to be more in touch with my Brazilian culture and the Austrian culture of my husband.

And the challenge to choose a school hahaha, but I’ll talk about that in the next question!

What is your experience of schooling in Barcelona? Do you have advice?

We were concerned that our daughter would not cope with four languages. We speak Portuguese and German at home and at school she would have Catalan and Spanish as well. However, it has not been a problem at all.

We, as a family, have had a lovely experience at a concertada (part state funded — part fee-paying) school in Poblenou. My daughter was in the nursery from aged 2 and stayed until P5 when the school stops and she had to move on to primary. To choose a primary school was really tough as I had the feeling the choice was so related to family values. Many families from the pre-school, chose for their child to carry on to the same primary school in another area of Barcelona. We didn’t. Families get really stressed about which school to go to next! It can be also stressful to get the place in the school you want because of the system here.

Our daughter goes to a state-funded performing arts school which is different from the normal schools here. She had to audition to get in and it’s a long day for her as she goes on the school bus, but she couldn’t be happier, and neither could we!

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