Going Back—Ready or Not

I don’t think of myself as a very strong person. I cry easily. I can turn against myself in a second, doubtful and drained of self-confidence. I prefer my own bed, my home, my comfort zone. I can’t sleep on airplanes or anywhere that isn’t a bed, basically. I get cranky when hungry. My pain tolerance is kind of low (a.k.a. nonexistent).

So maybe you won’t be surprised when I say that, even though I’m thrilled to be reunited with Mario, I’m also terrified of moving back. To Spain, that is. You see, the time I’ve spent in Spain hasn’t always been the happiest. If you read my posts from 2010–­2011, you might see this, lurking in the background, the truth I was trying so hard to avoid. It was through no fault of Spain’s own—not really. I was depressed, down in the dumps, and I did nothing to change it. My own worst enemy, if you will.

013 Silly Bands

But don’t get me wrong. I did find Silly Bands in Spain. So it wasn’t all bad.

And although I say it wasn’t Spain’s fault—and it wasn’t—with each passing day I think more and more about our future together. By marrying that Spaniard of mine, I’m tying myself to this place. Home is no longer a simple concept, a place I’ll be sure of. Instead, home will be here and there, Indiana and Zamora, the US and Spain. Am I ready for that? Can I handle a life full of comings and goings? Can I live in Spain again—and be happy about it?

Mario, my pick for world’s greatest future-husband/boyfriend/human, reassures me often that the future can and will be different than the past, that we’ll work together to find solutions, that we’ll endeavor to make our path a happy one. He knows what I went through; he endured it too, and for that I could never repay him. Because of him, I do feel comforted, more ready to face what’s coming.

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Yeah, he’s pretty awesome. A bad ass. Or as Google Translate translates “bad ass,” un culo mal.

I can feel your incredulity. After all, here I am, a twenty-five-year-old woman with her whole future ahead of her, ready to move to Spain, to Europe, to get married. Hello? Is this girl crazy? And I am, I admit; I’m crazy to feel scared about it. But that’s just me, I guess—as I said, I’ve never seen myself as that strong.

But in writing this, in thinking about it all, my opinion on my own strength has begun to shift. You see, what kind of weak person would get so very homesick in 2008, and yet turn right around and move back for another crack at it in 2009? What kind of weak person would be detained in an airport, but go back as soon as possible—three months later? What kind of weak person says, “Yes, I’ll go. Let’s move back. As long as we’re together”? Accordingly, I’ve begun to see that this kind of “weak person” is not weak at all. I am not weak, and I will make this time better than all the last times because I finally get it.

I’m strong.

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39 comments

  1. What you’re doing is inspiring, unique, and the total opposite of something a self-conscious person would do!

    Also – love the Silly Bandz picture – all of my kids were obsessed with those “pulseritas” last year :)

  2. This is so wonderful and exactly what I needed to hear right now. Living in France is incredibly hard for me too and I sometimes really hate the country…this is so normal among people who are moving to other countries. I just know that my life is grande and I have to follow my heart even if it leads me into difficult situations.

    1. Thanks, Laura. Sometimes when I read blogs I forget that blogs aren’t where you put the “real” you (sometimes). You can easily gloss over unhappiness, struggles, failures … I appreciate it :)

  3. Yes you are strong. And know, my having many more years than you I share my wisdom; the love you and Mario share is extraordinary, rare, to hold close. If I find the rich love you have, I would move anywhere but Akron.

    1. Agreed, and well put Nancy. Kaley, you have a whole bunch of us here who go throujgh the same emotions on the daily. I’m thinking about making a lot of big changes in my professional life for the upcoming year, and it will no doubt have an impact on just about everything else, too. I have my moments where Spain really wears on me and I think that seeing the Messi commercial in chicago is a sign that I should just pack up and go. Then, I realize that I have so, so much here that I couldn’t just skip out on. you’ll find a way to make it all work, and you have all of us to count on!

      1. Thanks Cat! :) I haven’t seen that commercial, by the way. I’m not as adventurous as you, and I’m sometimes envious of the way you seem to adjust so easily. But I know that what you see is not always what you get. I’m lucky that I get to experience life in a whole new way — and that I have people who are just like me (i.e., in relationships with Spaniards). To be doing this nowadays is a blessing.

        1. I have been in Madrid for 11 months now, and moved because of my great Spanish husband. There are times when I am so homesick I am almost ill. You are not alone, and I agree that it is nice to read a post that reflects that. My blog has gotten too fluffy. ;)

    2. Akron? Hahaha! You made me laugh out loud. Mario and I do have something special; he’s a great man. I would indeed move anywhere for him. Thanks Nancy!

    1. I know! It’s tough, right? I wish we could live in both, combine our worlds, and make Spain and the US only five minutes apart. But we can’t! So we’ll have to deal.

  4. It sounds like your attitude has shifted and you have a great support network. I’m sure there will be challenges, but it sounds like you have a wonderful adventure ahead with the right person. Suerte!

    1. Thanks Jessica! My attitude has indeed shifted quite a bit. I’m trying very hard to make my attitude align with my situation. It’s too easy to get frustrated with Spain and not with the individual person who upset you. That’s my goal this year — realize that Spain isn’t always the culprit when someone acts like an asshole. ;)

  5. Do you think maybe things will be better this time around? You’re older, you won’t be a student, and I think you said you and Mario are going to live together, right? Also, once you’re all legal and all that, you’ll have more job opportunities, so a more fulfilling job and also more money. We bloggers will be optimistic for ya on the days you’re not feelin’ it!

    1. I hope so. I think that life will be better for many reasons:

      1. Mario will not be a student anymore. He had to study 24/7 when he wasn’t in class, and that was hard. 2. We won’t have to live in a shitty fifth-floor walk-up apartment. Everything was breaking down, and I was actually less likely to go to the supermarket downstairs because it was five floors down. Lame, but true. 3. We know what it takes. Last time, we were blissfully unaware of the potential challenges. This time, we know what to look out for. We see triggers. We can anticipate problems. 4. I am trying to come into this with a good attitude. I love Spain; I do. I sometimes would blame Spain for problems, but it wasn’t always fair. This time around, I vow to remember that Spain is not always the problem; in fact, it’s usually just one person who’s an asshole. As stupid as that may sound …

      Thanks, Danielle. I really love being able to read fellow expat blogs like yours, even if they’re based in a completely different country like Brazil.

  6. Woo hoo!!!!! You go girl! You are strong! Life is an adventure, a roller coaster and even though change can be scary it can be awesome too. This is my mantra: Happiness is not something that happens to you. It is a decision you make in your mind about you and your life. You will be happy in Spain with Mario because that’s what you really want. Make every day fabulous just because it feels good to do so. :)

  7. Life is beautiful though scaring, so if we never dare we never find the beauty! I understand it’s hard, but it’s the right thing if you feel it is. I feel scared too when I think about the future and whether I’ll end up in France or who knows where? But if you have that special person with you, you are never lost :) Buena suerte!!

    1. Irene, thanks! :) I’m sorry I never got back with you re: the penpal. My cousin is very scared about her Spanish, so she was asking her teacher. However, you know how 16 year-olds are, right? I’ve heard nothing. I hope you found someone, though!

  8. If only these intercultural relationships came with a disclaimer! Sounds like you’re coming back with the right attitude and a great guy to lean on when you need to. If you ever have a bad day, just remember, you don”t live in Algeciras! ;)

    1. Hahaha, Christine! I know! I am very excited to live in Madrid, with its cultural opportunities, restaurants, museums, etc.! I am glad I don’t live in a small town anymore. I am very excited to live somewhere with a metro! How much longer will you be living in Algeciras? I know your SO is from the Basque country, so I figure he’s a transplant.

  9. Well said! (Oh Algeciras…)
    It will be a totally different experience this time around, and as for being crazy? Absolutely not! You do have your whole life ahead of you, and that you already know you want to spend it with the guy you love, exploring a new continent? Doesn’t sound like a bad plan to me :)
    And if you ever really get sick of Spain, just head to Scotland for a weekend and soak up all their hospitality and customer service.

  10. Animo, Kaley! I agree with all of the comments… si quieres, puedes :) I wish you all the best and that all of your desires come true!
    Melanie

  11. you go girl! You are amazing for moving back. It is scary and I think most people who haven’t really lived abroad don’t fully understand all the hardships that come with that. It’s not exactly living the dream a lot of the time. But I’m so happy for you and I know you’ll kick Spain’s ass!

  12. Kaley, good on you for realizing you are strong! Most people can’t just pack up their bags and move abroad and then do it repeatedly! Sure, leaving your comfort zone is scary. The unknown is always scary but this time around, you know Spain, spanish culture and you’re with the best guy you could ask for, Mario!

    Life will have it’s bumps no matter where you are!

    Great post!

  13. Your honesty is extremely refreshing – life is most certainly not a bed of roses living over here. But it sounds as though you have your eyes wide open. And a high level of “emotional intelligence”, if you know what I mean. It is hard, but with your media naranja it sounds like you’re in the best possible starting position!

    1. Thank you. I try to be honest on my blog — it’s not always easy, because it’s making myself pretty vulnerable. A lot of things are better now, so I’m happy.

  14. Ahh, when did you guys make this decision?!?!? I went back some entries to try to catch up (as I am doing right now) and I wasn’t able to figure out. Either way, OH MY GOSH exciting! You are moving to Spain to get married! How fantastic!

    And also, just because you cry or you feel things doesn’t make you weak… just because sometimes there’s a storm inside doesn’t make you any less brave… you are a VERY courageous person and I look forward to reading about your journey, Kaley! :)

    1. Hi, Erika! We made it a while ago. Like, if he got the job, we’d move. So, when he was offered the job in March, the decision was pretty much already made. :) Thank you for your kind words!

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