I came all the way to Spain to have what Americans always want. Granite countertops. Eat-in kitchen. The ability to walk one block and buy fresh fruit, grass-fed beef, and hand-crafted beer. Mariscos that cannot be defined in our American Spanglish.
I couldn’t begin to describe how much this feels like home. How, after four months of turmoil and doubt, I am completely relaxed. We can sit on our balcony all night, watch passersby go to the night club, head downtown… we can look into the courtyard, smell the marijuana, and watch as our new neighbor shows his friend the various pots where he grows it. Somehow, laundry hanging from wires in the place we all share, this feels like home to me.
Don’t get me wrong. It is still, after four days, a tiny bit surreal. I mean, are we driving in roundabouts and searching for two-way streets? Are we really walking on travertine tile sidewalks and watching Spaniards meander by in soccer shirts? Are we ordering tapas and Amstel because we’re on vacation, or are we going to accept that this. Is. Now. Our. Home?
After fourteen years of marriage and nine and a half years of parenthood, we have picked up our family and moved to a country none of us have ever seen. For the most part, we don’t speak the language, though my girls and I like to pretend we do. We disseminate labeling and nod, “Sí, sí,” even if we do not understand. I signed a lease whose specifications I cannot identify, and our plan for Monday is to register as citizens, open a bank account, buy a cell phone plan, and enroll our girls in school. Inestimable for five people sans car, but I think we can make it happen.
If we could, on a whim and a prayer, place ourselves in this city without much of a job, little hope on the horizon, and find ourselves an apartment within twenty-four hours, I think this view of the rising moon between palm trees and clouds, the Citroen cars speeding past and the endlessly open cafes—they will take us where we need to land.
All is well. ¡Viva España!