Now that we’re in Spain for the foreseeable future, it’s interesting how my mindset has changed. The whole time we’ve been here, I’ve known that we were going home within a year, and so it felt like a perpetual holiday. Like we were on some kind of long, grand vacation. It didn’t feel like real life.
There were lots of things I had planned for when we got home. Getting Hannah piano and martial arts lessons, for example. Getting regular haircuts. Joining a good church. Starting acupuncture again. Joining Weight Watchers and going to meetings. Lots of things that don’t really occur to me to do when I’m on holiday, but are more like “real life” sorts of things.
My perspective has changed drastically in the past week as we found out that we’re likely here for at least another 18 months. This whole thing has moved from being a nice long holiday into Real Life territory, and so I am now moving towards embracing what Real Life in Spain looks like.
The first thing that had to change was our home. We live in a rented house that is furnished, which is great, but there are a lot of things that I’ve just been putting up with in the house because I knew we weren’t here for that long. A lack of waste baskets (just use old grocery bags on the ground). Crappy bath towels (I’ll dry off in the sun). No sheets (ah look, this blanket can double as a sheet). Bad pillows (neck pain? I just need to do some yoga for that).
You get the point.
Yesterday I went to the Ikea in Malaga and loaded up with a giant cart of things that will allow me to feel more at home here, now that we know we’re not leaving for a good long while. A nice carpet and posters for my home office. A new bedspread for Hannah’s room, as well as a fun carpet, and toy chest, and picture for her wall. Fairy lights because I am a huge proponent of Interior Design Through Fairy Lights.
I also stocked up on scented candles and autumn-colored pillows and throws because hey, it’s almost time for the weather to turn chilly. And lovely mugs that make me feel cozy holding them. A lovely warm bath towel, and a nice rug for the bathroom floor. A new sheet set, and good pillow. Hannah got a sweet play kitchen which is now against the wall in our kitchen, so she can cook with me.
It might seem like a bunch of materialistic things that we don’t need. After all, I’ve been living for the past 15 months without them. But I always thought we’d be home by this time, so it was easy to overlook it. Now we have no idea when we’re leaving, and so having these creature comforts makes all the difference in the world to me.
The change in perspective meant that what seemed like rustic camping travel living suddenly seems like just putting up with a substandard home.
So now I am in Real Life Mode for the first time in 15 months. In September Hannah will go back to her preschool, and I am committing to finding her a good martial arts class. She’s old enough now, and she could use the discipline and physical outlet. I am also going to find a hairdresser in Marbella who speaks English. I’ve been hesitant to get my hair cut in Spain because I’m afraid that the person won’t understand me, and will cut all my hair off. I need to give that belief up, or else I’m going to have terrible roots and split ends. I’ve also heard that there’s an English speaking acupuncturist in my town, so I’m going to find her. We’re going to start going to the Anglican church in Malaga.
It’s amazing how things can change so quickly. Less than a month ago I was decluttering and getting rid of things in anticipation of our flight home at the end of August. Now I’m full on nesting, still in the same house. Hanging my winter clothes back up, unpacking the bags that had already been packed.
It’s a weird feeling, and it makes me sad, but it’s just one of the many side effects of this bizarre and surreal turn in our lives.