Two of them came from Andalusia at very different times in their lives and in the history of Spain – Conxa Morello, aged eight, in 1972, and María José Barallobre, in 1998, after finishing her degree – and the third, Rosa Gálvez , daughter of parents from Granada, was born in Barcelona in 1971. They are three Catalan flowers with Andalusian roots.
Without being parallel, their biographies converge on trips, often in the summer, to the South, a shared experience that has allowed them to observe the transformation from a very traditional Andalusia rooted in the past to a modern Andalusia.
“The image I have of Andalusia has changed with me, as I have gotten older. When she was a child, she had a very mythical image, because she spent her vacations in the village. Now my perspective is more realistic”, says Rosa, for whom the changes have been above all economic. "I have seen plowing with a mule and threshing in a threshing floor."
Conxa, who emigrated with her parents and her ten siblings from a farmhouse in Córdoba to a textile colony in Ripollès, remembers the poverty of the Andalusian countryside. “Culturally, Andalusia was paralyzed. Now I have just returned and I can say that he has taken giant steps. There is a rediscovery of her memory. In Cádiz, for example, where I have seen the Phoenician ruins under the puppet theater. Andalusia is another”, she celebrates.
However, the great economic leap forward has not managed to reach Catalonia's prosperity, admits María José, a researcher at the CSIC, who left Seville due to a lack of options to do science. "In Andalusia there is no city comparable to Barcelona," she says, although she admits that since she left several research centers have been opened where she could work today as a biologist and that if she doesn't, she jokes, it's because it would cost her divorce.
More skeptical about the future is Rosa, marketing director of a software company, who insists that, at least from what she sees in Granada, in her family context, most young people aspire to a civil service job, after years of studying oppositions, because "there is a lack of industrial fabric" and "there is not so much business initiative".
What the three do agree on is that the best thing about Andalusia is its people. "That treatment is not given here," explains Conxa, who has spent two months there because her profession, a psychotherapist, allows her to manage her own schedule. “What I like the most is their way of living. The irony, the sense of humor. They know how to enjoy life, Andalusians give us a thousand laps about that”, explains Rosa, for whom in Andalusia personal life is given more importance than work.
Curiously, the sense of time is another of the differences that they observe from their condition of shared double identity: “There is time for everything there. They meet and talk. Here we have lost the meaning of the conversation”, Rosa maintains, who remembers, introducing the most thorny issue of the conversation, as a child, in the summers in the town, the “feeling towards Catalan was always rejection”.
“Catalans are a few gripped”, they told her, “Catalins!”, and echoed some topics behind which she recognized a “clear feeling of inferiority” that currently, according to Conxa, has given way to a situation in which "they no longer call you Polish" because they have more confidence in themselves. “They are not even worried about the independence movement,” she says, something with which María José does not agree: “I do believe that the procés has worsened communication. In many houses, they suddenly hung Spanish flags.”
"I'm sorry but in Andalusia we Catalans still don't have good press," Rosa replies. “We are not a culture that they are particularly interested in. Perhaps we have not been able to show the most attractive part, ”she assumes.
Beyond the reaction to the Catalan political scene, the rise of the extreme right in Andalusia has internal causes. “The first thing my mother did when we emigrated was to take us to see a sardana in Campdevànol”, recalls Conxa, who vindicates the leftist tradition of the peasantry. "What is happening is very complex," she says, noting that radicalization is due to factors such as immigration. "There is not enough economic drive, job prospects are lacking," adds Rosa. “It is a good time for populism and fake news does a lot of damage. There is a call to the traditional Andalusian feeling: horses and bulls”, concludes María José.
In order to improve relations between Andalusia and Catalonia, in any case, the three are clear that ignorance must be combated, on both sides.