The year was 2016, and I was on the plane returning from Spain. I had just finished my first Camino, el Camino de la Plata, from Sevilla to Santiago de Compostela. I remember the man sitting next to me on the plane asked quietly if I was okay. My eyes were red from crying. It was hard for me to leave el Camino, to leave Spain.
‘I’m fine’ I smiled in reply, lying through my tears.
When I returned to California and resumed teaching English and Spanish, translating for the courts, playing violin in my string duo, and being with my family and my little farm, I knew the winds of change had blown.
A few years later, I accepted a teaching position in Algemesí and was thrilled! I was to make the leap to live in Spain, possibly permanently.
As I look back on those days, I’m glad I didn’t realize the difficulties that those winds would push me through, nor the absolute adventure they would take me on!
Just to mention a few, while teaching in Cervantes, I bought an ancient house in Xativa which, on the deed, stated clearly: a house in ruins. I created and started a business in my unfamiliar country: an English, Spanish and Valencian Academy. I got a Spain driver’s license, which I thought would be easy since I had been driving for years in the US! I learned how to breathe deeper when dealing with and manoeuvring through Spanish bureaucracy. I went through COVID with my family far away. And we have to mention going through the classic reform-an-old-house experience which took a couple years. Good grief! What was I thinking!!
Now, sitting in my newly rebuilt home, I have mixed emotions: relief, joy, remaining stress, and gratitude. Was it worth it? Of course!
I am the only one in California that has an Academy and home with a gothic arch in the inner patio, and a reconstructed well that is said to have a dragon living in it. Nobody in California can use their Spanish driver’s license to go out and explore castles or go to the beach in Valencia for the afternoon.
Do I prefer Valencia to California? Heck no! I love and have both now! California, with its innovation, extreme beauty and diversity, is a place I am proud and honoured to be from.
Would I ever do this again? No, thank you! Please, winds of change, I shall stay put!