Friday, May 24, 2013

Two year Spain-iversary

Sunny Spain is finally here!
 Also sometime after I was coming home from work I realized that today is the date that two years ago we flew into Madrid to begin our life here.

I have only taken two photos so far today. Looking back at my first anniversary post I realize that the top two things I love about Spain is the Sun and the roses! How appropriate! I have looked back at the list of the top 10 things I love about Spain, and I still agree with myself on every point, go and have a look.

I bought myself Hydrangeas, Basil (not shown) and potting soil on the way home and indulged myself in some gardening. The weather has just gotten warmish again and it feels marvelous! It is finally warm enough to sit out on my terraza while I work. The container plants really set off the white walls and the tile. Did  mention that we live across from a park?

I might have tried to photo shop the wrinkles out of my table cloth. Domestic goddess I am not.

Ok now for the serious journal entry.

I am so much happier this year than last year. Don't get me wrong, but I know that I don't "fit in" in Spain, and I am beginning to wonder if I ever will. The fact that my husband is starting to look for work outside of Spain comes as a little bit of a relief. It is not that people are unfriendly to me. Spaniards are a fairly friendly people. 

What I think it is, is a combination of things: My Spanish family lives really far way (Barcelona) and I just do not have as many Spanish friends as I thought that I would. In fact, I seriously surprised myself by jumping feet first into the ex-pat community. I used to judge people a little bit when they clung to an ex-pat community when they moved to a new country. Boy did moving here ever open my eyes! 

Other people have written this far better than I have, but here is my go at explaining the ex-pat feeling. There is something about being an ex-pat that only another ex-pat can understand. It does not even have to be somebody from your country or culture. You are "transplanted" people and that is enough to start the bond. If you are a crafter, you know that when someone shares your hobby there is always something to talk about even if you have nothing else in common with them other than the hobby. The ex-pat community is so much more than that. Moving to a different country and culture changes you. It changes you in big ways and in small ways. It changes you in so many different ways it is not even possible to measure the change.

There is homesickness sometimes, and that can hurt like a physical pain. But there is something beyond homesickness is the real obstacle (for me, at least). That is the point when you come to terms with the fact that you are never going to be the same. OK change is a way of life, but this is more. You have pasted the point when you are ever going to "fit in" to either culture. You are too much a part of each culture to ever go completely back into the other culture. There is never going to be one home. You are never going to know all of the slang and the jokes and the cultural references. You will always be a little on the outside.

Some people handle this observation with grace and eagerness. I, however, have not. It is still something I struggle with. It is something that scares me down to the bone when I think about potentially moving to a third country and possibly learning a third langage. (Fit in even less!) If I let it, the fear could paralyze me. However, I am slowly coming to terms with this. I am finally beginning to make my peace with the fact that I am unique, and that is a good thing.

 Ok so back to why I am happier this year:
I am finally mastering the Spanish language (which is still as big struggle as most of my life is in English and I have to make time to practice). I am no longer in terror of going out to do day-to-day interactions. 

I finally live in an apartment with enough space that both my husband and I can work from home if we needed to. I can see tress from every window, and I have a little container garden started on my terraza that is big enough for more than a table and four chairs. This is very important to me, as living in such a big city is something I am not sure I will ever like. I have my oasis here.

For the first time in months I have hope for my business that I am trying to get off the ground, and hope that my husband can finally find a job (and a country to settle down in). I do not know how nomadic people do it (besides take their family and friends with them).

So spring is here and life is good.

1 comment:

  1. I know what being an expat means. I lived in Belgium for almost 6 years and I never completely adapted. I've moved to Madrid in January last year and unlike you, I seemed to have found my place. My boyfriend came with me. He's Belgian and I think he's adapting well. The only thing I miss from Brussels is my knitting group, where almost everybody was an expat.

    I've read that you work from home. I think sharing an office with some people helps to adapt to a country and its people.

    If you feel like, we can meet one day and just hang out. It's also easier to meet people who knows what being an expat means. Please let me know if I can be of any help!