Yes, No, Maybe, Sometimes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Does it feel weird to be back?” people ask.

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.

Yes

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.

It’s awesome.

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.

No

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.

Maybe

Little things are weird. I reach for the top of the toilet to flush, and find red lights (vs roundabouts) to be irritating beyond all reason. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

But, yet? The tacos here? They make me weep with joy. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sometimes

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.

But so does Espana. So weird, and so right. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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3 thoughts on “Yes, No, Maybe, Sometimes

  1. I feel ya! Except that roundabouts still drive me nuts. I’d do some crazy things for a burrito bowl right about now though…

  2. I hear ya. I hardly ever drive outside the U.S., so driving when we visit the folks is all from memory. At least drivers don’t honk as much in the U.S. So many trendy new vegan restaurants in the U.S. It will be interesting to see if that is true in Europe as well.

  3. Love this! I love how you capture how our choices and experiences aren’t always so black and white. We just got home from spending 2 weeks in Colorado and seriously – the dog thing. What’s the deal? Buy some Purina and call it a day.

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