It has been awhile.
It has been two months since we moved. And, probably about that long since I posted on social media. It has been filled with new things, new routines, and new emotions. We have felt excitement. We have felt overwhelmed. We have felt grateful for the new adventure. And, we have felt homesick for family and friends.
Excitement // At first it was exciting, it felt like vacation, and all of the new experiences were exciting. Going to the new store to buy diapers was exciting, seriously. It was exciting to find the new, better nightly walks for the dogs. It was exciting to problem solve on how to get kids that are used to riding in a car around a walking city (answer, scooters!). It was exciting to stock the pantry with new foods from new stores. My husband can even attest that he thought it was exciting to buy batteries the other day. I feel the judgment from across the interwebs on that one.
Everything has felt new and novel. The first time I made a new friend here, I walked home at a quick clip with a pep in my step. You would think I had never had an adult conversation before by the way I explained my new friendship to my husband. My first friend in Spain. It was exciting!
Overwhelmed // It has also felt overwhelming. Moving abroad with 3 littles and 2 dogs is no joke. We were so accustomed to how things worked at home, which made it so overwhelming to realize that those rules don’t apply here. I think the first time I felt truly overwhelmed was when one of my daughters got sick. The reality that we weren’t at home anymore sunk in quickly.
Let me set the scene:
Teacher messages us that she is sick with a fever at school. Call a cab because we don’t have a car here. Google address to school and show the driver. Get home and take her temperature, 39 degree Celcius. “Hey Siri, what is 39 degrees celsius in fahrenheit?” (Sorry, dad, I don’t have that conversion committed to memory.) What doctor do you use? Where on the map is this doctor? Is there one walking distance? What is the country code here to call the doctor to make an appointment? Do we have medical insurance here? Enter, Taylor telling me that we do, in fact, have medical insurance here. How do you fill a prescription? Are the same medicines here? How do you say “fever” in Spanish? Go to Amazon to order a thermometer that reads in Fahrenheit only to realize that you went to Amazon.com and not Amazon.es. WTF? There are different Amazon websites for different countries. Mind blown.
This is just one of the firsts that felt overwhelming. Each of these overwhelming situations has had lessons at every turn. I quickly realized that I am not going to figure it all out. I realized I just needed to take it day by day, sure it can be really stressful, but it is also part of the fun, part of the growth, part of the perspective we are gaining.
Grateful // As for gratitude, I feel that daily. Even the walk to my son’s school in the mornings has that effect. We enrolled him in a true, Catalan school where they only speak Spanish and Catalan with him. Each morning we put him in his Spanish uniform. My husband and I grab his favorite cars for the 20 minute stroller ride. We stop for a coffee at a local spot, where Jack waves at the Barista and says “hola!”. She brings out a little cupcake for him because today is her birthday and wants him to have it. We walk, we talk. I stop for the occasional photo of a building. I feel gratitude for this slower pace of life.
The gratitude is endless, but ultimately it is for this experience. It is for the exposure for all of us. When I hear my son say “hola”, I am grateful that he is learning another language. It is for the architecture, for the long talks with my husband, for the constant sunshine, it is for this time in our life.
Homesick // The homesickness is all mixed up in this, too. Anytime one of my twins tells me they miss a friend from their old school, it is like a little dagger to the heart. Homesickness comes in a lot of different ways. It can be as simple as walking across the street and realizing that no one smiled back at you when you made eye contact. Is this an American thing? Someone please educate me. I learned quickly that homesickness can be as big as not going home for the holidays and just wanting to give your parents a hug. It can be for food. I can attest that Tex-Mex homesickness is real. Look it up and then Fedex queso!
I think that all of these emotions are normal. Any therapists out there, feel free to slide into my dm’s to confirm. It isn’t just being in a new place, it is learning a whole new way of life. All of the changes and newness were definitely overwhelming at first. But, a whole lot of things have been crossed off of the proverbial to-do list, and now I feel above the water just enough to catch a breath, finally catch up here, and go back to over-sharing on insta.