We made our way home. It was a long trip – of course. Over hill and dale. Or mountains and an ocean and the city of Amsterdam. Our goals for the trip were met. We saw family, did a little business and took care of some shopping. This trip was all about Jeff getting the things that someone who is exceptionally tall and has big feet needs to feel comfortable in a country where the population is a foot smaller.
I bought nothing. Seriously – I restrained myself through some sort of personality metamorphosis – and I bought not one article of clothing or shoes. My list was along the lines of allergy medicine and deodorant. My favorite deodorant lasts exactly 6 months. And my face cream and mascara was right there with it. So I bought that stuff, but that’s just a restock. Even explorers to the Antarctic would understand purchases like that.
We had stored some luggage at my parent’s house when we made the trip in January to drop off our bed and other things we wanted to keep but didn’t want to move to Spain. We just did carry on on the outbound, but it became very clear that the luggage we had at my Mom’s wasn’t going to cover all that Jeff had ordered in advance and purchased while we were there.
We went to purchase an additional suitcase, found out that they had a two for one situation going on, and purchased 4 suitcases for the price of 2. This meant donating our old luggage and heading home to Spain with some bright green (Seahawks colored – or ‘Soilent Green’, as I call them) suitcases that attracted so much attention in every airport, taxi and train, transcending language or culture. But no one in Valencia airport baggage claim wondered if these were their suitcases.
The temperature and the humidity has entirely changed since we were away. The mornings and nights are cool. The air feels more like Seattle did. During the day, it’s in the 70’s, just like back in the Northwest of the US, you need a jacket leaving home in the morning but by mid morning stripping layers off is the only way to make it through the day. And like ducks flying south for the winter, this weather has triggered my bi-annual closet flip. Home just in time to make it happen before the really chilly coat weather sets in.
In every home we’ve lived in for the last 15 years, I’ve had two closets and lots of storage. So the swapping closets was easy. I just rotated them like seasonal groceries on the shelves of my parent’s grocery store. Or on the floor of a department store. New stock in front. Old stock in the back. Simple approach. But here in El Compartimiento? Not so simple.
When our things arrived in July, I didn’t even bother unpacking our winter clothes. I stacked all those space bags in the top of the closet and forgot about them. I had other issues to deal with, like my overflowing emergency shoe situation. But our early morning walk trying to shake off jet lag had my brain thinking it was perhaps time to open the bags and perform the task of swapping things out.
Before I started the exercise, I had congratulated myself on how much I had given away before moving here. And my creativity on finding the secret storage for my greatly winnowed shoe collection. It was short lived.
How many coats did I needed here? Rain coats, from formal to others for camping or walking the moors. Over coats for every 5 degree Fahrenheit temperature variant possible before fading into full on arctic outwear. And my vest selection is impressive. Except I have no where to put them and I hadn’t even started on the fall and winter clothes yet.
‘Oh well’, I thought to myself, ‘Jeff will be in the same boat. He’s got loads of winter clothes and he loves coats too.’ Turns out, not as much as I do. Surprise! It’s all laid out in the living room now. Holy Moly! And a lot of it is work clothes. It’s like my closet is telling me to get a job.
Now I have to clean out the drawers and the hanging areas, and see how much room I can make. Spring and Summer will go into the space bags vacated by Fall and Winter. I wonder if I’ll be able to hear them cry out to me.
‘Hey! We don’t do bags. We just head into the second closet or under eave storage. What’s going on here?!’
To which I will reply.
‘Oh little tank tops and open backed dresses. We don’t have a second closet anymore. Our life isn’t like it used to be. We don’t live in a house where you could go for 24 hours without seeing the other inhabitants. We live in El Compartimiento. And The EC – as I call it now – doesn’t stand for wasted space. So hop into the space bags, enjoy the sucking sound and stay quiet until we see each other again next April.’
I am looking forward to a night when I can put on my favorite duffel coat, wrap a scarf around my neck and smell wood burning while we walk. Then it will feel like home.