It’s been a great two weeks in Spain, but I’m ready to come home now…. please????

You knew it was coming sometime… the meltdown.  It was bound to happen sooner or later.  But let’s just note that it is not the reason why I haven’t written in the last few days.  Honestly, it’s been rather uneventful here.  Our movers came again at the end of the week with our last 500 lb air shipment so that meant another 2 days of unpacking.  But otherwise, all has been calm.  Saturday was spent doing the same walk I did with Brenda the other day but with Josh and the kids.  Of course we got down to the aquarium and it was closed at 11AM on a Sat – the hours in Barcelona are something to absolutely adjust to – it’s most definitely an afternoon/nighttime city.  Speaking of which, I was just out looking / hoping for an open grocery store on a Sun evening at 5 (knowing siesta is usually 2:30-4:30), but knowing that NOTHING is open on Sun, I knew it would be a crapshoot.  The streets are eerily quiet.  That might be normal in say a suburb or something, but we’re in the middle of a thriving city and nothing…the rare car, occassional person, but mostly silence.  And no, the grocery store was not open.  Sunday is truly a day for relaxation here in Spain and the Spaniards most definitely know how to relax.

So back to the meltdown.  It’s really the perfect storm of events – something I knew would happen at some point but was hoping that it wouldn’t.  I feel like this one wasn’t too bad which means there’s probably going to be another one at some point on the horizon that’s worse.  Why the meltdown?  Well, it started last night.  Realistically I’m sure it started before that, but the trigger was last night.  Josh, while having a good time, like the good time guy he is… came home a little tipsy.  From what I understand, he was in very good company and honestly it’s not the drinking that had me upset.

But this is not my concern, what and how much he drank.  It’s that now it’s late when he finally got home and my mind starts to race.  Does he have alcohol poisoning?  Should I go down and check on him (he went to sleep in the living room since he snores when he drinks)?  What do I do here in an emergency???

What was racing thru my head during this debate is, what if something happens to one of us and we need to go to the hospital – during the day or night.  THIS is where my meltdown begins essentially.  I have virtually no support system here.  In the case of an emergency, I have one friend right now who lives a good 20 mins away.  This would not be an issue if my children were older, but what do I do in a real emergency?  I know I would call 061 (the spanish 911) for an ambulance and probably have to send Josh (or vice versa) without me and then catch up… but just thinking about the fear of the unknown was enough to send me into a downward spiral last night.  I NEED my support system.  I NEED my family and friends.  Yes, I will make friends here.  It is only week 2.  But I can tell you right now it won’t be in my neighborhood (from what I can tell so far) and that makes a big difference as many of my readers are aware – at least when it comes to my kids.

I needed to get out of the house today to work off some of this frustration and worries and in addition to my less than one mile run (these hills are killer), I decided to head off on the metro to Passeig de Gracia on a hunt for this big grocery store I had seen, hoping for perhaps some more familiar brands.  Turns out that this store I was searching for was on La Rambla in the complete opposite direction that I had walked.  I didn’t realize this til I made it all the way to Diagonal which is where I had to turn towards the road that I live off of.  But it was a good walk nonetheless and more than likely it was closed today anyways.  It was also a walk where I realized the other trigger that set me off today (aside from it being rainy which never ever helps one mentally).

The other trigger is my paralyzing fear of going into stores other than those of the grocery variety.  I don’t know the protocol here and that quite honestly terrifies me like you would not even believe.  Sure, I’ve made HUGE progress when it comes to getting the lay of the land, finding my way around  but aside from the dry cleaner (who scares me), the grocery store, the Five and Dime, and the bakery, I have yet to go into a store on my own and manage to communicate my needs confidently, confident being the operative word, oh and in Spanish.  Mainly because I haven’t gone into any stores. And even fewer restaurants and cafes.  The cafes look adorable – and they terrify me.  Why I just don’t know.  Again it’s that protocol thing.  I don’t know the process of how things are done here.  Like that whole, don’t put money on the table thing – it’s offensive to the Spanish people.  What other things don’t I know that is going to either offend someone or put me in a situation that I can’t communicate my needs correctly?

In the midst of writing this, the dog just puked on our brand new rug.  It just gets better and better doesn’t it?

Now I’ve got this paralyzing, yes paralyzing fear of the stores and shops… and that only frustrates me.  Because that is not who I am.  I am not one to run and hide because I’m scared.  I believe in baptism by fire.  A true believer – I have never not done something because I’m scared.  And it makes me angry that I’m letting Barcelona win.  Even the stupid oven is winning.  I just tried to heat taco shells and 3 mins in the oven and they are now burnt.  I can’t even make goddamn tacos!!!  On a positive note, that funny smelling meat of last week, must not have been hamburger but another animal because this meat smells like hamburger.  Apparently I need to write down my grocery list in Spanish as well (using my friend google translate) because what appears to be something may in fact be something else.

Ok, so enough complaining for tonight.  Tomorrow is a new day and I’m determined to make it a better one.  I know I can’t come home.  It doesn’t mean I don’t want to because believe me, I do.  But if I can’t come home because I’m frustrated and angry then I have two choices – I can either let Spain win or I can kick Spain’s ass and find a way to make this work.  I’m going to do my best to make it the latter.  On the agenda for this week (notice they are very simple tasks but will hopefully give me a bit of confidence):

* practice my spanish (need to desperately do) – Josh is out MW and F this week – Spanish class two nights and an employee only holiday party on Fri. I figure those are good nights to focus on my Spanish without disruption and without disturbing him (remember it’s a small apartment!).
* get my dryer installed and heat fixed in the kids’ room (supposedly they are coming tomorrow, fingers crossed)
* get back on track with work (I made some significant progress last week on this – feels good and normal!)
* girls night on Tues (no throwing up this week)
* new parent orientation at the school (hoping to meet some more people)
* Tackle the bus and/or the commuter rail
* If I find out the scoop with the NIE and kids, I will take care of that as well – I’m waiting to hear back from VP on if Aidan needs to be there for fingerprinting when I get my foreign ID # or not.  I have to pull him from school that morning if I do it, so that may have to be next week depending on when I hear on that.
* Go into a cafe on my own and order something (yes, sounds simple I know… you try it- in Spanish).

Here’s to another 716 or so days left…

Julie

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