They ask this because, well….I’m back in the US. For three weeks. The boys and I are visiting my parents, while my husband and dog stay behind in Spain.
So, does it feel weird? Yes. No. Maybe. Sometimes.
I’ll get the obvious out of the way: I’m living with my parents. Which means that while I still have the body of a 38 year old woman, I have the mentality of a whiny fourteen year old. My mother feels compelled to remind me to take a bottle of water to the gym, and I feel compelled to roll my eyes and tell my father he eats too loudly.
I am back in the states, but I’m not back home. I lived in Maryland for ten years, and that’s where I had the job, the house, the friends, and the separate life.
My parents moved to Colorado after I was married and working. I didn’t go to high school here, so when I visit, it’s like visiting that lovely vacation rental you return to each summer….it’s familiar, but it’s not yours.
God, it feels good to be understood. To walk into a store, and know the customs–how one parks, waits in line, or pays for a cup of coffee. In Spain, I have to remember the norms, sometimes rehearsing a script in my head. I feel so effortlessly integrated. Nobody calls me the American, because…..of course I’m the American.
The only thing that separates me from the average Colorado resident is that I am neither insanely physically fit nor wearing hiking boots when dining out–with my dog.
I walk into a Costco and I am overwhelmed. I think of Manolo and Maria at my fruit stand and bakery, with their hand-written signs, and free figs slipped into the bag. And I ache a little.
Sometimes, I wonder why I try so hard to make Spain work. It’s hard, and humbling. I have roots in the states, people who literally held me in their arms as a baby.
And in Spain? I’m a sunflower. Beautiful, growing, loving the light. But really? Not that rooted.
My kids are getting such a different life. And it’s a good life.
But sometimes, I know that there is a loss to our choice. And sometimes, I allow myself to feel it.
I watch the mountains as my parents drive me around, and they glow as the sun sets.
It’s a beautiful place. It feels so weird, and so right.