I burst into the home office where my parents were working and pushed my cell phone in front of my father’s face.
“What’s that?” he said, squinting his eyes at the picture on my phone.
“Our visas came!” I could hardly get the words out as I was trying not to cry.
“I know you’re excited about this,” he said, “but . . . ” He sighed. Dad isn’t happy it’s going to take an ocean-crossing flight to get to me. Neither is Mom. “I guess this mean’s you’re going,” Dad said. I couldn’t respond. I was waiving my hands on either side of my face trying to hold back my happy tears.
That was June 1. At 11:32 am. Nine hours later, Michael had booked our flights. The countdown had begun.
“Are you excited?” someone asked me the other day. I tried to figure out how to explain what I was feeling. “Excited” wasn’t the word I’d use. “Excited” is jumping up and down in elation. I wasn’t doing that. Maybe because, for more than twenty years, I’d been saying, “I want to live in Europe. Someday.” And it’s hard to change something you’ve been doing fairly consistently for twenty years. Namely, it’s hard to imagine/believe something that has been in the future (for so very long!) is, finally, now in the present.
“When I get there, I know I’ll be excited,” I said to my friend. “But right now, there are some logistical things we have to figure out that are making me a little nervous.” I won’t get into those details here because today I saw the following quote: “Stop worrying about what could go wrong and start getting excited about what could go right!”
So, without further ado, here’s what I’m excited about:
- Making the only regret I’ve ever had in my life disappear. (The regret that I didn’t live abroad for a year in college).
- Travel! On a plane! To another country! Seeing, experiencing, living in a culture different from my own.
- Sitting on a terraza with a (ridiculously cheap yet delicious) glass of Spanish wine and watching the people go by. With my husband beside me. Both of us taking turns saying, “Can you believe we live here?!”
- Camino. We’re spending our first few months living in a town on the Camino de Santiago. You may think this is something I forced upon my dear husband (who has yet to walk a Camino), but you would be mistaken. Michael politely insisted. “You need people. Socializing. You love the Camino.” He doesn’t want me to be bored or lonely. And the best way he knows to make me feel at home is to get me to anything associated with the Camino de Santiago. So voila. Oviedo, here we come.
- That both towns we have chosen to live in are not mentioned once in the Rick Steves guide to Spain. “There aren’t a lot of American tourists that come here,” someone told me. When friends wondered why this was, I thought, “Well, most Americans come for a week. Or two. They’re going to Madrid and Barcelona. Maybe see some other things around those cities.” Oviedo is five hours from Madrid. Most of my friends (except the Camino-philes) have never heard of Oviedo. Valencia, our second stop, it over two hours away from Barcelona.
- That I’ll be learning another language. Speaking another language. Surrounded by it.
- That I have managed to marry someone who has not only the ability to move abroad but also the desire and enthusiasm to do so.
- That, through a turn of events no one could have predicted, I now have an online business. Which means I can work from anywhere. The hours I’ll have to work while in Spain are a little nuts, but at 10 pm, the Spanish are just sitting down to dinner. So what’s nuts to us here in the U.S. might not be that crazy when we’re living in Spain.
I could go on. But it’s nearly 2 a.m. Maybe someday someone will do a study about why so many good ideas come into our heads just as we’re trying to sleep. Until then, I’ll be grateful I don’t have to get up and go to a job tomorrow morning, because if I did, I probably wouldn’t have dragged myself out of bed to write this.