It struck me a few months ago that I had gotten off track. Moving to a new country came with a lot of things to do. And meeting new friends and having new experiences – which was great. But I wasn’t myself. I felt like I was tagging along, too many times, with other people to where they wanted. Going places and doing actiities that aren’t me or why I, personally, wanted to move here.
It’s easy to do. You are immediately out of your comfort zone in new town, let alone a new continent. And since humans, usually, are tribal beings (although Jeff would dispute this, in his case) moving somewhere without good local language skills and connections can be isolating. So you tend to gravitate towards people you can communicate with easily. Even if those people aren’t your usual crowd. I did this. They’re perfectly nice folks, but their lifestyle and interests weren’t really aligned with why I wanted to live in Spain in the first place.
Then we had a bunch of guests for the month of October. It was great to see friends and I enjoyed every moment catching up. But winter is coming. Everyone we know from back home is in the US tucked snug in their houses. We’ll see them next year. So time to get back to it.
Jeff helped me get there in the end. He is an observant guy. He knew I was struggling with my inner compass and one day he said so. He’d been feeling it a bit himself, so he bought a new sewing machine to make all the bags for his recumbent trike. He had a machine back in the US but the electrics wouldn’t work here so it had to go. Our reorienting conversation was a good one and I had to recommit myself – finding a balance. My passions tend to be solo, more introverted pursuits. I can get social overload if I’m not careful. Hence my writing, and after our talk, I kicked it into high gear.
But I also wanted to start painting when we moved to Valencia – and so far, I’d done none of it. I’ve dabbled in it for awhile – off and on over the years. I’m no good but I love it, and like anything else you start doing, it takes time, focus and practice. I’ve found that Valencia is very artist friendly and there are amazing art supply places all over that are unpretentious and the opposite of intimidating. The one I love is near the Torres de Serrano and the owner and his family are so helpful and down to earth. They’ll encourage you go in and look, examining brushes and all the mediums you’re dreaming of – many times – before you decide to take the plunge. Reminded me of walking into the old hardware store in downtown Snoqualmie – sans the plumbing supplies. The selection is top notch and their service matches it.
So, this week, I bought myself a new easel (one I can easily take to the park, as it folds up small), and paint box with new paints and brushes. And I bought a few small (already gesso’d) canvases to start. Then, Jeff went to El Chino and got me an apron to protect my clothes from the paint. It’s pink and emblazoned with the phrase ‘Soy tu Unicornio’, with said animal emblazoned upon it. He thought it was appropriate and I agree. I will wear it with pride.
This next chapter of my life is about creative pursuits. I spent too many years chasing expectations and priorities that were not mine. It feels good to stand in front of a canvas, brush in hand, starting where all paintings start – after a little sketching. With the first brush stroke. And who knows. If I have any particularly inspired works, and am feeling brave, I’ll post pics here. Suddenly, finding that balance doesn’t seem so hard anymore.