Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

So after much preparation, and absurd last minute drama, I finally embarked on my journey to Spain. In the year preceding my decision to move abroad [2011] and the last weeks leading up to my move, however, I felt incredibly lost. In both these instances it felt as my life was in endless turmoil. With respect to year preceding this decision, I felt that every decision I ever made was wrong, and despite my best laid plans, the world insisted on stomping them into oblivion. In the weeks leading up to the move, the significance of my departure started to weigh on me like a ton of bricks and there were three tearful breakdowns. The first at my going away party, the second and most physically significant being fueled by a massive amount of vodka, courtesy of table service at my favorite strip club, and the last was brought on by a series of unfortunate events, including, but not limited to Kona being incredibly sick the day of our departure. As I sat in the vet's office that morning, giving them my tearful permission to run whatever tests were necessary, it was in that moment I was convinced that packing up my life and moving to a new country was the WORST IDEA EVER.

Even after leaving the vets office $200 poorer, with a bag full o' medicine and poodle on the mend in tow, I wasn't so sure that the energy that I was expending to speed to my mom's house in New Jersey where I was supposed to have been the night before, was worth it at that point. What was supposed to be the most exciting experience of my life, had morphed into the nightmare that wouldn't end, that kept getting more expensive, and invited everyone in the WORLD to tell me I was going to meet  a Spanish man, fall in love and get pregnant. On the day of my departure, I wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed and stay there forever. But instead, I pressed on.

And then then the move happened. In spite of leaving South Jersey 2 hours behind schedule, we arrived at JFK ON TIME. I actually boarded the plane without too much trouble, and the plane actually took off without the flight attendants asking me and my noisy dog to de-plane. In fact, thanks to the more laid back attitude of the Spanish, the flight attendants didn't even bother me, and allowed me to keep Kona in his carrier on my lap, with my hand inside the bag to keep him quiet and calm [in addition to anti anxiety pills ]. Our flight was smooth, and my mental and physical exhaustion facilitated me to restfully sleep for the entire flight, save for the dinner, breakfast, and occasional crying Kona interruption.

Before I knew it, I was walking through Madrid's airport with a new stamp in my passport, my sister, my poodle who was in much better health, all 4 pieces of my checked luggage, and picking up the rental car. In the days to follow, I was still disoriented with jet lag and exhaustion, so I couldn't feel the it, the thing that drew me in here in the first place. But it's amazing what restful sleep can do for one's body and soul...

It wasn't until Saturday afternoon, as I sat in the square of the Catedral de Murcia, sipping on a cafè con leche, munching on a waffle drenched in a caramel syrup, and chatting with a returning language assistant that I began to take in what I had accomplished. I just moved to Spain, exactly 27 months after I set out on my 18-24 month "move to Spain" plan. I'm not here on vacation, I actually live here now. As the day went on, and I began piso [apartment] hunting with my new friend and now future roommate [more on that later] , the I began to feel it, and it on me that I would now have the time to explore my new city in the ways I longed for my last two trips to Spain. I will have the time to wander the squares, get lost in the maze of alleys, explore every damn shoe store in sight, sip coffees in the sun, and take in the beauty of another country and another culture,  and be blessed with the gift of learning a new language, AND with my precious poodle in tow.

Whether or not I'm a wanderer has yet to be seen, but I know for sure that I'm not lost, and starting to think I never was.

I think Kona and I are going to have a good two years en España. And I just got to cross off the most important item on my 30 before 30 list!



  1. I'm so happy that you arrived safely and that things are looking up.  You are so brave to follow your dream and move to Spain.  You are motivating me to follow my (much smaller) dreams.  :)

  2. I think you are totally crazy awesome and am so looking forward to following your journey. All the best to you and Kona in Espana!

  3. What a great picture of your pup with the backback!  I am also bringing my poodle with me to Spain in a week or so, and was wondering what your experience was like. Did you have trouble, either on the US side or the Spanish side? How did your pup do in the cabin on the long flight?? Thanks for sharing you're story, the blog is great! - K

  4. Hi Kalani, so sorry for my late reply. I still don´t have internet at home. But my experience flying with Kona was pretty smooth. For all the paperwork I had to get in the states, only the airline asked for copies of them when I checked in at JFK. When I got to Spain, nobody even glanced at the dog, and it wasn´t like he was inconspicous. Once we landed, he was making quite a racket and ready to get out of his travel carrier. I gave him anti-anxiety pills, plus some natrual calming treats, so he was mostly quiet for the flight. Whenever he started crying, I would put his bag on my lap, and put my hand in the bag until he feel asleep again.  All in all, it went way smoother than I couldn´ve imagined.

  5. Thanks Niecy! I don´t know about me all that awesome, but I am pretty proud of myself for making this happen. Each day it feels a little more real and I love it!

  6. Thank you Keeley! It´s funny, because I never can quite relate to feeling "brave" about this move. Completely insane for doing all of this with the dog? Yes. Brave, eh. I guess it never occured to me that this was a scary thing to do. And I wouldn´t call your dreams small at all. Being a mom, working, and starting a business, that requires real courage.



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