New routines have now become normality. The morning bakery walk, round the outside of the village to the stunning views from the horse-trough. Squeezing fresh oranges for breakfast. Driving past the lake down to the coast for coffee and intercambio. A bit of writing. A bit of reading. A tapas or two. Planning an excursion. Pointy-hooded processions and olive-spitting competitions. Walks in the mountains. Catching up with friends in the UK via Facebook.
You become accustomed to what was new and exciting. It stops feeling like a holiday or a fantasy, starts being a way of life. Life in the Axarquía, life in paradise.
Facebook, Skype, emails and WhatsApp. Instant communication. Keeping in touch. Sharing photos, sharing news about the missing cat, the new baby, the ghastly first date, the holiday, the driving test, the dreadful choir rehearsal or the triumphant concert, and the birthday party you missed. It’s just like I’m there, with my friends. Most of the time.
Except I’m not. I can’t be in two places. I’ve made a choice. Home is here in Spain. New friends are here in Spain. Old friends are far away. Facebook and Skype keep me in contact, but only up to a point. Which is the real life? And which is just fantasy?
I think I’ve moved. I feel that this is home now. I think I’ve stretched the elastic, or even cut the ties. And then suddenly there’s a tug. Because actually, there are ties you cannot cut. Elastic stretches but then it pulls back.
Ryanair is great for planned visits, for a round of lunches and sleepovers, gossip and tea, for birthday parties and weddings. But it’s no good for unplanned coffee, a laugh or a spontaneous hug. And when you hear the word that can’t be spoken, fifteen hundred miles feels just too far. She’s braver than I am – she says the word. And it’ll all be OK. The scalpel will see to that. It will all be OK. So why am I sitting in paradise with tears running down my face? I couldn’t help if I was any nearer. I can’t make it go away. I’m useless here, but I couldn’t make a difference if I was there.
Suddenly this stops feeling like real life. Oranges or avocados straight from the trees, sand between the toes, paella, fiestas, and the Saturday morning seaside photo for Facebook. That’s the life I moved here for. None of it has changed, none of it is less than wonderful. It is the paradise I had imagined. Except that because I’m here, I can’t be there when all you need is an unplanned coffee, a laugh or a spontaneous hug. I’m sorry.
© Tamara Essex 2014
So sorry Tamara – it is hard having abandoned England decades ago for a life of adventure, but just like you the elastic pulls and I rebound for family “occasions” good and bad and sometimes unbelievably sad. I feel for you.
I have been following your blog from the start and so know how you feel. We have been here in a small village outside of Granada where we are the only English for 9 years,we have 2 children and 3 grandchildren back in the UK along with elderly parents ( my mother in law died suddenly after a 3 year illness 2 years ago, we were told by my father in law to wait to come back until he thought we needed to come over, so we had to make a last minute dash back to UK and unfortunately it was too late by the time we got there so we ended up staying there for 2 weeks whilst funeral arrangements were made ) but we are acutely aware that there are times when we should be there to give family and friends a hug and kiss to sort out problems or just chat over a glass of wine, or when the kids have problems it would be lovely to be there for them but like you we love our life here and would not change it for the world. We constantly speak to all our family on Skype and Whats app and they all come to visit us ,and as they say life goes on, and what a life.Would I change it ? No. Do I regret the move ? No. Life is an adventure that should be lived to the fullest and each experience enriches us and those around us.
We are also still learning Spanish like you although we both spoke very little before we moved here but as time goes on we improve and we have very tolerant neighbors who have completely accepted us as part of the village so like you we now feel this is our home and it would take something drastic to make us return to the UK for good.
The poignancy of the choice is beautifully evoked here.
Oh Tamara. Thank you for that x
Segunda parte (o tercera) de “Going Home”…
Is that you are so clever with your words I think not, it is because they are truthful and heartfelt, I this blog very nearly had me in tears you bugger !! x
Nice one Tamara.Rings true/familiar.Life has it easy moments and difficult moments and it doesnt matter where you live .You will still have them. Better to have them living where you’re happy.Both my parents died some years back and it wasn’t easy living that experience from a distance…guilt,frustration,missing the last moments,words etc etc but we live where you choose to and with that comes a rough and smooth,Animo.
Oops I meant where we choose to 🙂
I hovered over the share button and then pulled back – a personal piece, and a beautiful bit of poignancy well written Ms Essex. ❤
Thanks Carol – happy for it to be shared, as I know I’m not the first to go through this dilemma. It is a universal experience for immigrants all over the world.
Hello Tamara, what a lovely heartstring pulling post, you have put down so eloquently how you are feeling. I sincerely hope this is just a blip in yourlife adventure – meanwhile I pray for serenity for you, regards Margaret
Reblogged this on Chronicles of Serbia and commented:
I have thought this same thing so many times. Queen’s lyrics fit perfectly!