June 29th "Expats
Just where they hell
have I been? Good question. The last month has been a long one due to
planning for various events, getting engaged, launching a portion of a
new website - sevilla5.com hotels section - and finally a trip back to
my "native land", where I am now. Living abroad often means
visiting home unless you've decided to cut everyone off in your former
life. I might add moving abroad and cutting off everyone in your previous
life is probably not a good idea. I add this as I type from a desk at
my former employer, who was so kind and let me use their broadband connection.
Ok, back to the trip...There exist a number of common phenomena for that
trip back home once you've established yourself in your new country:
How many people have you not seen in the last year? DId you keep up with
the people from your old job? What about relatives? I came with a long
list of people to see and I started the very first day. The more you get
out of the way - no offense to my good friends out there - the easier
it is in the end. Along with this comes...
Did you have a good time the first night out? Why not set up another time
to get together just to make your schedule a little harder. The good friends
fall into this category so there is always the most pressure to see them
It's been so long since I've seen you - how about another beer? How about
another? What about a shot or a copa? Reunions are dangerous - everyone
wants to celebrate including you. But you have to continue on with this
while they get to recover. Maybe I'm getting old but I can't continue
at the pace I did in my college years.
Did you know a pair of jeans costs about 1/4 or 1/3 of the price in the
U.S. as in Spain? What about those $5 t-shirts which are better than anything
else I'll find in Seville for $10 and up? Oh, I need a new compact flash
card which is much cheaper here. And the exchange rate isn't helping,
either. It was good enough for me to buy a laptop this time!
I missed NC bbq, a good steak, a very good hamburger, Dr Pepper, Root
Beer and various other things. Most I didn't know I missed until I saw
them again. This leads to a lot of eating and of course putting on a few
Keeping up with work has been a difficult prospect. Buying a new laptop
doesn't mean an instant start. Mail accounts must be configured, large
files and other items need restoring, virus and anti-spyware programs
must be installed. Communication on a 6 hour time difference is always
fun. Trying not to drop the ball on a few projects is also an issue.
Of them many appointments like: doctor, eye doctor, dentist, accountant,
lawyer, two banks. Bills and random mail must be sorted through, tax items
and real estate issues.
With all the appointments, visits to friends, the necessities, the food
the travel what seems like a large amount of time becomes smaller by the
minute. Last week I realized the impossibility of several items on my
list. Now just a few days away from return I have crossed even more off
the list. All the work I thought I would get done, well, it's getting
done but not as much as I would like.
So you're home, right? Well, it's not exactly home anymore. If you are
spending a lot of time you may want to get out and visit others. Soon
you're shuffling off to apartments and houses of friends and family. You
came with your bags and now it's several smaller trips later and you're
just carrying around less stuff each time. Meanwhile you leave a trail,
your bags become more disorganized and you begin to dread the day you
have to pack it all up again and go back to your new home. In between
all this you feel like a perpetual guest - never really able to kick off
your shoes, sit on the couch and watch whatever you want to watch on tv
tonight. You're home alright, but your not in your own home.
I miss Granada - not the city, but my girlfriend - whoops, I did mention
we got engaged so she is my fiance (no accent written) here. Not all trips
can be taken together and this should be the last one I take alone. I
miss my home where I have more control over my surroundings! I miss tapas,
Cruzcampo, pedestrian streets, friends. I do not miss the heat.