If I had to predict right now how well-written this post is going to be on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd probably give it a 3 or, generously, a 4 (but I'm guessing you don't come here for top-notch writing anyways, so nothing new on that front). It's probably going to be rather scattered and disorganized and maybe even confusing and you might think at some point, "Does she even know what she thinks about this topic?" (Answer: No. Kind of. Not really. Depends on the day.) If this post is wild, that's because my thoughts are wild. And scattered and confusing. Enough already.
If all goes according to plan, we're back in Spain in one month. Sometimes I'm really excited about that. About going for walks at the Río, about being out in the evening (any time, whether it's 7pm or 1am) and it being so alive and safe and people-filled, about being in Europe and just a short + cheap plane flight away from so much. I'm going to love being a 5-10 minute walk from multiple grocery stores (Día, Lidl, Carrefour, etc), and taking public transportation easily and cheaply. I just read an article saying that dogs are now allowed to ride on the Metro and I am dying over here. Is there a better Welcome-Back-to-Spain present? I think not.
But. (There's always a but isn't there?)
What about the fabulous meal group we joined this summer? And our families?! They don't live in Spain. And the public library system of Colorado Springs that I have been utilizing to the MAX this summer, well, it's got no match in Spain, I'm sorry to say. As much as I love public transit and all that jazz, sometimes I like a car. My car. And suburbia. City living can get old. Because all the people and all the noise (although I think Madrid is on the lower end of that spectrum, it still has quite a few people, think 3.2 million in the city and 6.5 million in the metropolitan area) + lack of sky and green space and just general SPACE. Oh and what about all the Spanish? Kind of a given since we'll be in Spain, but our Spanish level is still so low, making this whole living in Spain thing kind of challenging (but obviously still doable).
This coming year - and by year I mean from when we arrive in Spain sometime in early-ish September until when the school year wraps up and our lease ends at the end of June - I hope for a lot of things. I hope, I hope, I hope that we make great strides in our Spanish. Right now I feel like my vocabulary is decent and so is my reading/comprehension but everything else (especially speaking) is just pitiful. So, so bad. Also before 2016 passes I want to visit two more countries. I was hoping for three new ones this year and I've checked off one (Scotland!) so far, so looking to explore bits of two more. I want to see more of Spain too, including but not limited to, its beaches (although I wouldn't complain about just lots and lots of beach time...).
Do I hope we will stay in Spain beyond June 30th (when our lease is up)/are we staying in Spain longer than just this school year? Ah, one of our most frequently asked questions!! Well, the answer to that is, I don't know yet. We're taking it one year at a time. We've told some people that we plan to stay for two years but the truth is that we're going to figure out if we like our jobs this year, and when it's time to weigh our options and eventually, make a decision, we'll consider things like if we still feel like Spain is a good fit for us, do we (each of us individually) want to keep doing this, if living in Spain is still good for us as a couple, how does this work with our long term plan (which is so subject to change!), and so on.
I'll miss shopping in sizes I understand and stores I'm accustomed to, but, let's be real, I have plenty of clothes to last me (and probably 20 other people as well) for the rest of my life. I'll miss cheap and wholesome peanut butter and whole wheat bread and easy to find cans of black beans and quinoa and tortilla chips but I'll just appreciate those things more some day when we live here in the US on a more regular basis. I'll miss heating and air conditioning and carpet and showers that stay warm the whole time you're in them and dishwashers, and okay, the American way of living. There's no but with this one. I'll just miss it some days.
The truth of all this mumbo-jumbo is that some things I'm excited about and some things I'm not. Overall, I'm looking forward to just seeing how things go, what our apartment is like, how our new jobs turn out, what sort of trips we end up getting to take, and all the new friends we (hopefully!) end up meeting.
We have one really big thing coming up before we go back and that is visas. Our appointments are next Wednesday in Los Angeles, when we'll turn in all of the paperwork and such we've been working on all summer long (no joke - it's been quite the chore). We're really, really hoping that we have a quick turnaround on those because we've made the decision to not buy our plane tickets until we get those back and know for sure that we have the green light to spend 10+ months in Spain. So...watch this space :)