A different language, missing home, questionable peanut butter, and outrageous inefficiencies. I can handle all of these expat gripes. In fact, I often think my living-abroad adjustment process has run its course, only to be seen in the rearview mirror. But the truth is, in some ways I think the worst part has yet to come.
You see, when I moved to Spain, I found it tremendously difficult to say goodbye to my friends and family back home. Over the years, it has, thankfully, gotten tremendously easier, especially as I’ve built my own family here (filled with friends, my husband and in-laws). What I didn’t anticipate, though, is that this family wouldn’t – even couldn’t – last forever. With so many of my friends being expats, my little circle would inevitably evolve as people moved on to the next stop, or even back home. Which brings me to this new lovely (*sigh*) phase in expat adjustment: when you don’t leave, but rather when people actually leave you.
In a couple of weeks, one of my very favorite people on the planet, Heather, will be leaving Spain to move back to the States. Have I told you about her? She’s kind of amazing. We met online prior to her moving to Spain, and instantly hit off due to our shared love for chocolate, festive socks, and often inappropriate silliness. That was three and a half years ago.
Since then, we’ve baked cupcakes, colored easter eggs, and celebrated Cinco de Mayo. Along the way, I got married, she was the best bridesmaid a girl could ask for, and now she’s engaged, and I’ll do my darnedest to return the favor….in LA….because that’s where she’s moving in a couple of weeks.
I get it: this is the bittersweet life of an expat. There are highs and lows, and at the end of the day I’m just incredibly grateful to have formed such an amazing family here in what really feels like my home away from home. But gosh, it just won’t be the same without my number one partner in crime. I’ll miss ya, Sox…and so will Spain.