Six Months

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASix months. That’s the magic window, people say, when you start to feel at home in a new place.

And….they seem to be correct. I do.

It helps that the sun is finally out, and hopefully out to stay. We wear short sleeves and sandals. A gritty line of sand remains in the shower, after long afternoons at la playa. I have to remember my sunscreen, and my water, and I may even invest in a preposterous hat.

The Spanish is coming along. Paul and I take a lesson together once a week, and I take one additional lesson by myself. I talk to the fruit guy, and the waiters, and I’ve swallowed the bubble of panic down with each encounter. I can have a cafe, speaking entirely in Spanish, for almost an hour, and it just feels normal.

Yes, I am still in a strange, present-tense world where everything is happening right now, and I tend to overuse the verbs I do know. But people are kind, and I laugh at myself.

Friendships blossom. I am back to the place where I know people at the store, and at school, and walking down the streets. I need to know people, so that I feel anchored. Are all of these people my closest friends? Of course not. But I feel like I have people to call if I need a favor, and I have people who notice when I’m not smiling. There’s a safety net. And I hope that I provide a cushion for others, as well.

There is no drama in my life.

The days are longer, and the boys ride bikes in our backyard. We listen to the roosters crow, and hang our white sheets in the sunshine. My youngest and I lay out a blanket, and read stories under the weeping willow, and at times, I almost want to weep as well, for the sheer perfection of it all.

And terrible things happen back home, with bombs and bloodshed and rancor. I watch the news and see somebody at the London Marathon running with an American flag. I wave my hand in front of my face, trying to escape the tightening chill. I cannot breathe, I’m so proud.

What is the word for loving your country, and being grateful you’re not there? Besides guilty?

Six months in a new land. Eating later, and staying up later, and slowly becoming more of a resident and less of a visitor. Watching the sun set, knowing that we will see it rise tomorrow, knowing that the flowers will bloom, and the air will hum with bumblebees.

And knowing that we are still early in our journey, and that slowly, this land will become embedded in our bones.

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6 thoughts on “Six Months

  1. Spain is a great place place to live, I do miss the sunshine and the friends I made out there. I only lived there for 18 months but I felt healthier. Enjoy the pleasures it brings and keep telling us all about it x

  2. Oh Nancy! I’m so glad it’s soaking into you. And so incredibly jealous of your amazing experiences. Thank you for letting me lay under the willow in spirit.

  3. “What is the word for loving your country, and being grateful you’re not there? Besides guilty?”

    Expatriate?

    Nancy, I’ve said it before. I am proud to have you out there in the world being an American. God knows this country needs some redemption in the eyes of the world.

    I am so pleased for you and your family that life in Spain is embracing you, since I know you threw open your arms when you set out on this adventure.

  4. I am missing Spain already, and we do not expect to be there before January. Thank you for the updates and congratulations on your Spanish. I well remember how self conscious I was when I first attempted to speak in Spanish to the locals. Their smiles were most reassuring.

  5. I’m so glad to hear that you’re starting to feel at home. From an observer’s point of view, it seems that moving out of your comfort zone and going on this adventure has, in a way, caused a greater level of simplicity in your life?

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