Its Official

Today, we got our Spanish National Identity cards. It’s a big moment that took place in a humble building on the other side of the city, and they’re resting in our wallets now. So we’re good to go until we need to renew our visas in 11 months.

Everything here is a process of doing something, learning you did it wrong, correcting your mistake, then going back and completing it. Hopefully, this requires only one additional round trip. The only thing I’ve done right the first time is getting us our permanent Metro passes. I looked it up, actually had all the documents it said were required on the website, took them all to the Metro station offices and we got our cards then and there. I know the agent was surprised by my baffled look when he handed us our cards. Nothing is ever supposed to be that easy here – and yet it was.

I think it emboldened Jeff. He went online and signed us up for Valencsibi – the bike ride sharing service that is a whole 36 euros a year. In three weeks time, when our cards come, we’ll be able to ride bikes all over the city, like the locals. Valencia is the most bike friendly city I’ve ever encountered. Bank paths are down every major thoroughfare and soon we’ll be taking advantage of them. Riding to the river and down to the beach.

These small wins are starting to add up and it’s helping my peace of mind. Slowing down and cutting myself some slack has happened organically.  And has come just in time. Moving to another country is stressful. We aren’t surrounded by a big family that might insulate us from every single thing that is different or new starting right outside our front door.

Expectations I had before coming here are all gone. Now it’s just a matter of getting up and just experiencing things. We can’t anticipate or control. And letting go of the need for either of these things is starting to make for a happier life. For both of us.

Standing at the immigration building today, I realized it’s only been a month since we were in that line the last time. ONE MONTH.  In so many ways, it feels like a year. We’ve accomplished a lot since then. Things aren’t so foreign as they were before and going back to a place I had been before on that first day, helped me realize that we’re OK. It’s all going to be OK.

The lists are done. Now it’s time to live – just like we did back home. Real life starts today.

 

 

The Review

Today, I woke up bone tired. It could be the fact that we’re now sleeping on an air mattress, but we’ve been going for days, and I needed coffee. So I made a café con leche from the precious beans I have left, and I reviewed the list I made back in September of all the things we needed to do to move to Spain.

Back then, the list seemed like it was never ending. On a daily basis I was adding, rather than checking off. But the excitement was palpable. I was optimistic and, of course, we had 6 months to do it all. Plenty of time – Easy Peasy!Countdown

The review today revealed just how much we have gotten done since then. Something to celebrate! All the visa hoops, sure. But also, renting an apartment, getting a lawyer, etc. None of that was on the list when I started it – and all of it has been done. They’re painting our apartment in Valencia this week and the appliances are being ordered. Even our utilities are being hooked up in our name. Check, check, check.

And now the list has only 12 things left unchecked. Sure – they’re some big things, like our consulate appointment, doing our taxes and selling two cars. But 12 lines nonetheless. I added a calendar count down app to my phone and it’s just 42 days away. That’s 3.5 days per item. Of course, that means nothing. Things don’t get done that way, but it feels better reducing it all to math. I can touch and feel numbers, and the abstractions of ‘to-do’s’ starts to feel less nebulous.

This week, our international shipper will do a FaceTime inventory so we can get a realistic and final estimate. And I’ll try to work out how we’ll get rid of the odds and ends we have left in the house – maybe an old fashioned garage sale! Checking all my alerts, the cost of plane tickets for the 28th of February have plummeted, so I’m itching to book those after our consulate appointment February 5th. Today we paid our translator and by Monday of next week, all our translations will arrive. Then I’ll make photo copies of our packets and put them into snazzy folders. Tick tock.

I just sent the whittled down version of what we have left to do, to Jeff at work. I haven’t heard back from him yet, and I’m not sure he can see how far we’ve come in the last 6 months, but I thought it was important for him to have visibility into where we are. The final 42 days will not be a walk in the park, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I believe it’s not a freight train but will open up to a bright future!