When Days Become Normal

Today we went bowling. It’s not the first time we’ve done something “normal” but after 6 months, I’m finding days like today are starting to happen more frequently. I don’t remember exactly when that moment was in Spain but I’ve been thinking back on our last days there a lot recently and the routine that had become our lives. Barcelona had become our “normal”. 

The every day (and I mean EVERY day) challenges became a part of normal life. Speaking Spanish became normal. While it wasn’t completely natural, it was to a point where I instinctively spoke Spanish rather than fumbling as I do now when someone asks me a question in Dutch. Taking the kids to play dates, after school activities and sports all became normal. Our favorite restaurants to frequent. And the things we would do to fill our free time all, in time, became routine and “normal”. And so on…

From an expat standpoint, the word normal doesn’t often enter our vocabulary. But at some point, even the most unique of places can take on a sense of normalcy. And this is not a bad thing, at least I don’t think so. The days become routine again. School, sports, activities. Paying taxes. Working. Relaxing over the weekend. It begins to feel… Natural. 

Does that mean that I’m happy here yet?  No. But to me it signifies a contentment with our lives and a happiness, and even a sense of relief, that the hardest parts of transitioning to another new country are over and that we can now do our best to truly settle in and enjoy this opportunity we’ve been given. After all, our lives abroad are really anything but normal… But it still feels good on those rare days when today is just a good, normal day at “home”. 

Knuffels en kussen,

Julie

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