We finally found our new apartment (piso, in Spanish) last week and we signed the contract yesterday.
I am sad to be leaving our current apartment. It has been a beautiful home for us during these past two years. We have hosted a number of overnight guests, small groups from our church, team meetings, cooking club, holiday meals with friends, lunches with our pastor’s family, visits on the balcony, sleepovers with friends…etc. Our apartment with it’s large living/dining space, large guest room, large balcony (Don’t be fooled by how “large” everything is…we are talking about Europe and apartment life in a big city.), modern bathrooms and fully functional kitchen worked so well for our ministry needs. I can’t tell you how many hundreds of cookies I baked in that kitchen over the past two years.
It has also been a comforting refuge to us in the midst of a new life in a foreign culture as well as a great space to work from home. We have great memories of watching NFL football until 2am on Sunday nights, enjoying daily life together and especially many meals and good conversations both inside and outside on the balcony. Plus, we have made a lot of progress here. Chad wrote his first theological articles in Spanish, his first testimonies and devotionals in Spanish, and he has spent hours working on his Spanish over skype with his good friend, Fernando.
Amidst all of these “positives” and successes, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there is a lot we’re ready to leave behind. These first two years in Spain have brought a lot of changes, loss, culture shock, discouragement, and loneliness, and we have experienced much of that inside these walls. Although I love my home, there have been many days that I have left for a coffee shop simply because I couldn’t stand being by myself another moment, or Chad and I have left for the afternoon because I had to have a change of scenery to stop my tears. Needless to say, we are both hopeful to leave behind much of that list with the arrival of year three, and maybe a new apartment will help solidify the transition from insanity to a little more stability. We’re also happy to leave behind our landlord, which is the main reason for our departure. Although all three of us tried to make the relationship work, we simply couldn’t find a way amongst the legal issues, cultural issues, personality issues and the amount of stress the entire situation caused us. We really wanted to stay, but when we met with a lawyer in February and shared the story with her, our path was clear. I’m thankful God made it clear to us, because otherwise I would be kicking and screaming through this entire process. Finally, there isn’t much hot water in the showers during the winter and the baseboard in the kitchen is about the most annoying thing ever as it falls down every other day…we finally removed it, but still, it’s annoying.
So, with good memories and bad, we’re moving on.
After weeks of searching, we found a new place in a building next to ours. It has all but one thing we wanted, (We wanted to move to the neighborhood of our church.) which means we’ll be able to continue hosting most of the ministry activities I listed above. Chad will have a good space to continue pursuing his writing and speaking goals. We can continue developing relationships in this neighborhood. I am blessed with not one but two! little balconies to continue growing my flowers and plants. My new kitchen is huge and will allow for great opportunities to bless others through baking and hospitality. There is good storage, which can be hard to find as closets are not a given here. Finally, God threw in some extra special blessings for us in a garage spot that will be much easier to park in and another bathroom for us with two sinks! (I’m an only child, you know, and I drive Chad crazy with how long I take at the sink. 🙂
We get the keys to our new place at the end of next week and will have the month of June to paint, to move and make the transition to our new home.