You are probably sick of hearing about many of our friends leaving but this blog is about our experiences and how they impact our lives here and this right now is a huge part of our lives here. But I feel like this moment, in August, when essentially everyone escapes town for the month, this is the precursor for what my life is going to be like come fall. Quiet. Eerily quiet. And it’s starting to freak me out. It’s lonely. I’m a social creature and having just 2 friends in town at the moment is indicative of what the future holds for me – or at least the future that I’m seeing at the moment.
With a major chunk of my social and support network leaving, I have actually been questioning what went thru my head when I agreed to stay 3 more years. I know I will survive it but will I love it the same? Or will it have lost some of it’s charm because those that were here in the beginning with me are now going to be gone? Yes, I have new friends, and while I adore each and every one of them, they haven’t been with me from the start of this adventure. To top things off, the other night Josh made an off handed joke about selling our house in the US, localizing here and setting up a residence more permanently here. So while I know this was said in jest, Josh always chooses the most inopportune times to bring up things like staying longer especially because I know that there is a kernel of hope in his words. The first time he did this was after we’d lived here for just 6 weeks and I was still crying every day. I cried that night at dinner too. And no, I didn’t cry when he said it the other night, but I will admit to telling him to bite his tongue, that I can’t possibly think that far into the future when my landscape is constantly evolving here right now.
So why is it rough seas ahead? Because like when we moved here, I have no way to predict what my immediate future looks like. And that scares me! Yes, I suppose that’s a bit of American style planning on my behalf, and maybe just maybe I need to think a little more Spanish-like about the future and let it happen a day at a time… but that’s not me. And as I sit here, I envision my fall looking like this… get up at 6:30, get kids ready for school, drop off at bus, go to gym, come home and work, get kids off bus at 4:40. Essentially holing up in my house leaving only for the gym, food shopping and to drop off/pick up the kids.
Now those that work a 9-5 job might think this is not so bad. After all, I’m incredibly lucky to have flexibility in my day… and I know that. And at home, my day was really not all that different than what I described only I had a child home part time for 5 years, once school aged, their day started at 8 and even 9 depending on the school and ended by 3 leaving not a lot of time for myself to sit and stew. By the time I’d get home from the gym, I’d only have about 3 hrs to do work and run errands before having to pick someone up. Here I will drop them off at 7:45 and not return to the bus stop til 4:40. That makes for a long day by myself.
And I think it’s not just the amount of “free” time I have because as I said, I can focus on work during this “extra” time. I think that it’s also in part because the routine of my life changed so significantly while living here. At home I had a few friends that stayed or worked at home, but for the most part, during the school day I didn’t see them, and then we’d socialize when the kids got home from school or at the end of the work day. I shopped a lot at home, which I think was my outlet to prevent loneliness. Here, the majority of my friends haven’t worked in my time living abroad. Which means a significant change in my social life. And while that social life has certainly interrupted my work life (which is not necessarily a good thing but not a bad thing either), it has also opened my eyes to a different lifestyle. A lifestyle that I’ve tried to balance with home and work, sometimes successfully, other times, not so much.
Am I heading for depression? Should everyone at home be worried like when we moved here and Josh kept getting emails and calls asking if I was going to make it even through one year, much less two? No, I can assure you, I’m not depressed nor am I heading that way. It’s just change and I’ve never been a fan of change and my way of dealing is to avoid it in the best way possible – to find a different focus, which right now, will be work and relative solitude. At least the bottom line of my business will be happier (as will hopefully, my customers!). Maybe I’ll learn to cook…ok, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves now!!!
Solitude is not necessarily a bad thing. And before we moved to Barcelona, thinking back, a chunk of my day was in solitude. That’s the tradeoff when you work from home. But in the last 2 1/2+ years, that has not been my life and so therefore, it’s another big change ahead for me. You would think by now I’d be accustomed to change, wouldn’t you? And the American in me feels the need to obsess about it before it all becomes a total reality. Maybe it will prep me for what is going to happen in the next few weeks or maybe it won’t, but my hope is that it doesn’t prevent me from enjoying these last bits of time with those I adore.
However as we all know, there might be rough seas ahead right now, but once we pass through the storm, it will be smooth sailing ahead, I’m sure. These next few weeks to months will be a test of my ability to cope, to try to go outside my comfort zone, and to not just bounce back but to flourish, embracing what the next 3 years has to offer.