With a bit over a week left in California, my wife and I have been busy saying our last goodbyes to people, setting up last minute dinners and parties, or fiestas I should say. It has been fun, but draining emotionally. Saying goodbye is difficult. But I try to look at the flipside to temper my emotions and see it more as "see you next time" or in a while. Perhaps that's not the healthiest thing to do, but now that I have two different places that pulls at me, it seems to be the most sane thing for me. I have one family here in California and another in Madrid, so what am I to feel?
Once I arrive in Madrid and am finally living there for at least a year or two, I think I would be in a better position to elaborate on my feelings. But for now, I'm quite anxious and ready to be in Madrid, soaking in the sun, walking on the streets, taking the train or bus to work, slowing down and hopefully enjoy more of my life. I've lived a long time in the States, more than I really should have as I've always felt, and I'm ready to dive into other things. Rather than walk through empty streets seeing nothing of interest in the buildings or obstacles I walk around, I will be flooded with an entirely different culture and place that will clearly overwhelm my senses, yet at the same time, fulfill what I've been needing. I feel richer just thinking of the possibilities and joy in my prospective day to day life.
Packing up and dreaming of Spanish food
With a simple one bedroom apartment, my wife and I thought it wouldn't be too difficult to pack all our things and send it straight to Spain. After all, we only have our books, clothes and a few other sentimental items that we would like to keep and ship abroad. But little did we know that the little that we did own turned out to fill over 3o boxes. We're dreading the idea of actually having to unpack all of this in Spain, but at least we have it done.
With less than 3 weeks left, we are dreaming of our new home, places and food, but mostly the latter. We love Vietnamese food and I've grown up with it all my life, but little did I realize how substantially good another cuisine can be and make it's way into my heart in the same degree as Vietnamese food. Both are quite different, but I can have a craving for "callos" as much as I can for a "bo kho." Obviously, I've been around enough of the Spanish cuisine from my mother-in-law's fabulous cooking to appreciate the diversity and richness of this excellent cuisine.
As our move draws nearer, we find ourselves imagining ourselves in certain areas throughout Madrid and we are completely content because we know it will be a reality. Our excitement grows every day we look at our calendar and the days in the month of May is almost filled up with all our X's.
Madrid on my mind
I don't think I've ever felt this anxious in my life. I'm about to live in another country which should appear exciting, stressful and wonderful to the casual observer. But the fact is that I've visited Spain about five times in the last five years. Nothing to diminish the exciting notion of living in Spain, but I'm accustomed to the culture, people, and way of life that lures thousands. The source of my anxiety rather stems from the great amount of time I've spent thinking, talking, dreaming, and hoping for my life to finally come together and exist in this wonderful capital.
Turning 30 this year and about to embark on another life elsewhere around the world has gotten me to think how strange and yet, amusing things can change in a person's life. I was born in Nha Trang, Vietnam thirty years ago and my family immigrated to the U.S only a few months after. To find myself going through another process of transplantation has certified my feelings of having a spirit without any roots. Although this may seem sad to some, I don’t think much of it and don’t feel like I’m missing anything.
Honestly, I can't wait to leave. I don't feel attached to the place I called home for the last thirty years of my life, and the reasons are beyond political and cultural disenchantment with the country. I need to move on, and I've felt this need even before I met my wife. I'm only lucky to be able to leave with someone from another country. And little did I ever think I would go back to Spain, the place where I enjoyed and identified with when I first visited and vowed to return. Spain was the country in Europe where I first felt alive, a substantial pulse that demanded a return.
So here I am with no more than a month left to tie up loose ends and say my goodbyes to the ones I love before I make my one-way departure with my wife to her native soil and my new home. I wonder about many things about being in Madrid, but I have no doubt that I will adjust easily to the Mediterranean way of life. Just like in Vietnam when I first visited with my wife just a few months ago, there is something to be said about southern countries and how life seems to breathe and relax. It’s as if the arteries of living that flow freely through these sectors in the world are never clogged or unmoving. With Madrid on my mind, I find myself already there with the familiar smells of Spanish cooking, streets abound with people and terraces filled throughout the country taking in a variety of drinks to enjoy with conversations and laughter.
Just a month left and I’ll be living in Madrid. It’s not a bad place or start to a new life, no?