Exactly two years ago, this whole adventure began. It feels surreal, not only that two years later I’m STILL here, living out what was at once a mere dream, but that this even happened at all.
It’s funny looking back on this post I wrote just before I was set to take off. When I had no idea what I was getting myself into, and had no idea that the few Spanish words I knew would be of no help to me in the upcoming months. It’s been only two years, but I can see the naïveté shining through in my writing. I was so overcome with excitement at this huge leap of faith that I was taking that I didn’t even consider the potential down days. I had no idea how uprooting my life and starting all over again—this time on the other side of the world, would change me as a person:
- It made me realize that leaving to travel after graduating, instead of joining the rat race may have been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
- It made me realize that if you have friends and family on the other side of the world willing to pay a pretty penny and spend hours upon hours in a plane just to see you, then you’re a pretty damn lucky person.
- It made me realize that living long-term in a different culture and language is hard, and it isn’t for everyone. Whether I’m one of those people or not is still up for debate…but hey, I’ve lasted this long, haven’t I?!
- It made me realize that no matter how long I’m in Spain for, I’ll always be homesick—for my loves ones, as well as for all of the trivial things like central heating and fresh milk.
- It made me realize that the Spanish have got their sh*t figured out; with more agreeable work schedules, to a built-in daily nap-time, to longer vacations and a healthy appreciation of nightlife…they seriously have their priorities straight and this is a pretty amazing culture to be soaking up!
- It made me realize that learning a second language opens so many doors, and allows you to connect with just that many more people in the world. If you’ve ever considered learning a new language, what’s stopping you?!
- It made me realize I am so freakin’ LUCKY to have this life experience, even if it’s not perfect…and to have people who’ve supported my crazy idea of moving to Spain from the beginning, even though they all really wish I’d come home already :)
It’s been a difficult, beautiful, empowering experience. But I know my story isn’t anything special. I know lots of people all over the world start over again in new lands with new customs. I know I’m not the only 20-something who struck out for adventure and ended up staying. So instead of rambling on about how hard life is without a clothes-dryer or central heating (kidding) I’ll take you back through some of my favorite memories from the past two years:
Falling in love with Moorish Spain in Granada.
Exploring a completely different culture (Basque) in Bilbao.
Soaking up the sun in what would become a favorite beach-town; Nerja.
Making it to a city I always wanted to see in-person; Barcelona.
Admiring the Royal Garden in Madrid.
Discovering the old-world charm of Sevilla.
Exploring my own, new backyard.
So to my family and my friends, thank you for all of the weekend Skype sessions, care packages and trips to see me. Thank you for your support, your advice, and your love. You’re the reason why I’m homesick :) And to you, my lovely readers of christineinspain.net, thank you for following along on my journey and offering your kind words throughout. Here’s to the second blogversary to christineinspain.net and two year expatversary to me!
P.S. Are those even words?
P.P.S…Don’t answer that.
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