“Dear Spain, Wow–it has been quite the year. I’m glad to know you much more now than I did a year ago. Here’s to many, many more years together. Love, Julie” Facebook status Monday, May 30, 2011
As Chad and I have thought about the year mark today, there’s a sense of relief that year one is over and that we’ve learned and experienced a lot of things this year. There have been wonderful parts of this year, but it has been difficult. We received such good training before coming to Spain, but it’s obvious to us that no matter what you’re told, you just have to experience a lot of the challenges for yourself. How many times this year did we look at each other and wonder, “Where is the person I married?” or, “I thought we worked through this five years ago!” Our ministry mentors have had to tell us many times that what we were feeling or experiencing was completely normal. One time this year, I accidentally asked a Spanish friend if she loved me (instead of, “Would you like me to do this?”). She touched my arm tenderly and said, “Yes, I love you.” Who knew that would stick out as one of the most powerful moments of the year? I didn’t know how much I missed having friends around me who tell me they love me and give me hugs.
We’re in a year in. We’ve learned where to buy deodorant. I can order meat at the butcher downstairs. We know that Madrid in the spring is gorgeous. We’ve discovered that the baseboard in our kitchen is incredibly annoying. We can get by in most situations with our current level of Spanish. We’ve been to doctors. We know what US holidays are easier and which ones are harder for us here. And, I could go on and on.
The bottom line is that we know thousands of things today that we had no clue about last year. We survived our first year and even enjoyed it at points. And, we can close this chapter and look forward to year two with a little bit clearer of an idea of what life will be like. That’s nice.