Hello everyone, my name is Montse Gimferrer and I was born in Girona area in 1964. My background was a typical middle class with a lot of artistic and creative vibes around the house which helped me decide to take on to Fine Arts university studies and Graphic Design. I worked in many graphic design studios in Barcelona and had all kinds of jobs, as you do when you study and you are not very rich, from restaurants to coffee shops and a few more.
But I had trouble with drugs that affected my life so I had to change. That is when I packed my bags and went to England to a treatment centre and I didn’t even speak a word of English, just the Beatles titles, that was as far as I understood!
At first I wanted to stay a couple of months and go back to Catalonia but, as you know, one thing led to another and now I have been living in the UK for almost 20 years! I changed completely, 360 degrees as you say. I went to a treatment centre and after that all my priorities had changed. They have been not so much about work drive and relationships but more about having a healthy relationship with myself and those around me and be happy. I took on many volunteering jobs in places like Oxfam shops and currently I work at the Citizens Advice Bureau as a Gateway Advisor. In between, I have also done shares in schools about my addiction and recovery, I have worked as a simultaneous translator in international conventions and I do try to help as much as I can with people with the same problems as mine.
I have three children now and I am married! I think that leaving your country for whatever reason makes you twice as loving towards everything you left behind. In my case, I missed everything, and I still do. I miss the sense of humour, the laid-back days, the food and the outgoing character of Mediterranean people. I miss the arts dearly, so this is why I speak to my kids in Catalan at home. They know about Catalonia, specially the Catalan culture which has been given freely to me by my family and friends.
I often talk to my father about our current situation in Catalonia but this has been an ongoing issue since I was born. Hence, my name, Montserrat, the patroness of Catalonia; and my brother is called Jordi, I mean how much more patriotic can you be? It has been like this in our family since day one.
It is a huge privilege for me to be part of this project and I am humbled to have my name among those people whose opinion I rate highly and from whom I learn on a daily basis. At home, we talk about Catalonia, so much so that my English husband knows more about Catalonia than myself, which is embarrassing :).
I am basically looking forward to sharing and interacting with everyone! Twitter makes me feel close to home and I am more in tune with Catalonia than England! This is exciting! I have butterflies in my stomach thinking about forming part of this project!