People ask, “Are things as good for you in Spain as they appear on the computer?”
Meaning: Are you really that happy?
Well, yes. And no.
I am, by nature, a person who seeks connection. I like to chit-chat with the people that flit in and outof my day.
But here’s my reality: I spend four hours a day in the company of Americans. I drop off my oldest at his school, and my youngest at his preschool. I then go to the gym (a necessity for my mental health), take my Spanish class, and complete the errands one completes in a three hour window.
And it’s fine. Occasionally, I break things up by going to the Gypsy Market or grabbing a cafe with somebody. But, really? I’m mostly by myself.
Then, I pick up Joel, and on good days, we go on adventures—to the beach, or a fruit stand, or a playground. On other days, we go to the house. I hang up clothing on the clothesline, and listen to the rooster crow and the mopeds screech down the roadways. And there I am, in the middle of Spain, having a fairly mundane afternoon.
Do I get lonely? Of course. Sometimes, it’s exhausting. I don’t understand numbers very well….the sevens and the sixes sound the same to me, and I admit that I sometimes just swipe my card and buy carrots flown from Germany to the base grocery, instead of buying fresh, local carrots from the vegetable stand.
Why? Because sometimes, it’s just hard. I bought some flowers from the Gypsy Market last week. I didn’t understand how much the flowers cost, and I’m almost sure the lady overcharged me, taking advantage of my spotty Spanish. And you know what? It’s my own damn fault.
The right answer is that I keep trying, and eventually, I’ll know my numbers. But the real answer is that sometimes, I close the door, and escape.
So, am I happy here? Extraordinarily so. The weather is beautiful, and we are seeing things we would never see. Our dream landlords took us out to dinner, and then we went to a bar to hear traditional Zambombas (Christmas drums and singing). We were the only Americans in the bar, I’m guessing, and we felt so honored to be included in another world.
We ride our bikes, sitting at tables on the beach in December. Our children speak smigens of Spanish to each other. We hold hands, and just know how right this is.
But….I miss my friends, and big-ass cups of brewed coffee, and sometimes, I am lonely.
That’ s just how it is.