I have been living in another country for well over a year now, and I find my life is fuller. To be honest, it’s mostly because nearly everything has been difficult. When you go through times when you have to strive in even the smallest task, a certain toughness gets built in your bones. However, this widening and filling of my life also comes from listening to stories I cannot relate to. I am immersed in a culture that thinks differently from what I was taught growing up. My conception of humanity and how we can relate to one another is a new frontier of ideas that I love exploring. I could stop here – expressing gratitude for my experiences, how they have changed my worldview and made me stronger. Really, though, life does that anyway, or it does if you let it. The greatest gift is that somehow in combination of these things, I learned to dream. Just like the best kind of freedom comes with fences, the best kind of dreaming comes with pruning shears and special glasses so the future stays blurry and the present focused. I have found dreaming to be far more like building a super complicated and awesome Lego® castle than Lisa Frank® folders. Focus and decision are important tools in my dreaming. It is so easy to get lost in the doubts and the small steps, but a phrase here is Spain is “poco a poco” or “little by little”. Little by little, I learned the language and earned friendships, but I had to move here first. After a year, I look back and I am astounded at the changes in my life and those around me. Dreaming is big, but the steps are small. When you learn this, everything is possible. And to know that is the greatest gift.




I once lived in an apartment with a ladybug infestation. That was weird. I’ve also dealt with ants, slugs, weird smells, bad pets and roommates of every sort. Living in Spain has been mostly normal considering the dozen or so other places I’ve called home. Our place doesn’t smell, I have great roommates, enough space and light. We have an excellent landlord and no pest problems. There is a portion of our hallway that has been broken since October. Although I enjoy complaining about it, ever since I applied duct tape to the foam covering, it’s stopped tripping me and I don’t really care anymore. Recently, though, we’ve had some unexpected visitors. Moths. It began a few weeks ago when I was pulling laundry off the line and my hand grabbed not a sock, but a large fuzzy insect. I was startled, but not scared. I see few bugs here, and I have found that I miss the tiny buzzing lives that are prolific in the South (except mosquitos, of course). Anyway, about five moths came in with my laundry. With the fair weather, we keep the windows open, so even more have fluttered their way into our lives since. I’m rather indifferent to their presence. I’d take moths over mosquitos or other biting bugs any day. My roommate from Syracuse, however, is terrified of them. In her defense, they also scuttle out at the most inconvenient times and places, and they are rather big. She calls them bats. I think if we had a bat problem, then I would be concerned.




(click the pic for your Goonies reference of the year). But for now, they just add to the list of small things that make life in Spain different.