Well, I guess with this post it’s not so much a secret anymore.
J and I are settling in nicely to our new apartment. With a terrace worth every ounce of work and every penny we are putting into it, it’s starting to look and feel like home. In fact, we are going to be hosting our first BBQ tonight!
But with all the ups and downs of the move and renovating, it’s inevitable that at the tail end of it, my emotions are fried. Watching videos of my two-year-old niece, who now knows me as títa, but only via video chat, sometimes I’m filled with such longing to be home home, that I wonder if I made the right choice in moving to the other side of the world.
Am I wrong in choosing to live here in Spain, consequently leaving my family behind? My closest friends? Everything that shaped me into who I am?
These were the questions that ran through my mind yesterday as I sat outside watching the birds fly past. I now understand why they’re called swifts. They glide through the air without stopping, swooping in sporadic circles energized by what I can only imagine is the joy of flying free. Or maybe they were sleeping… Did you know they can spend 10 months in the air without landing once? They just sleep as they glide/free fall.
I couldn’t help but notice the contradiction between what I was feeling and what I was admiring. Feeling unsure of my decision to fully enjoy my freedom to travel and live abroad, but happily aware that I am free to take flight like the swift.
The inevitability of missing your home is not something to hide. So, I’m sharing my secret with you.
Living abroad is gratifying and terrifyingly thrilling and annoying. I can’t even tell you how much I miss Trader Joe’s and Celebrate Brooklyn concerts in Prospect Park. Or grocery stores that are open on Sundays.
But I can’t describe how much I love that I will be able to bike to work, making my commute a total of 10 minutes each way. Or how accepted it is to sit on a cafe terrace for two hours, just relaxing. And don’t even get me started on jamón. It´s gotten to the point where I now start regularly craving it.
Trade offs are a requisite for whatever decision you make in your life. And some days those trade offs are going to seem sucky, but you wake up the next morning, step out into the new world you’ve chosen, and realize, yea, this is worth it.
I have fought so long to always make the right decision in my pre-emptive battle to avoid regret and heartache. But what I’m learning is that no matter what decision you make, you can never be truly sure if it was better than another. All you can do is make the best of what you have, and be grateful for it.
So while I know that there will be those rough times when I´m yearning to be with my niece, I can only be grateful that I am showing her by example that some of us are fortunate enough to choose the paths we take, and I have chosen mine.
What struggles do you have with living abroad?