So you might be wondering, why am I here? What brought me to leave my job and family in San Diego, my culture and my friends? Well, I’m here on a student visa, but I would be lying if I said that studying was my primary motive for coming to Madrid. The real story is that I fell in love, and I didn’t want the story to end with a heart wrenching goodbye at the airport.
It seems like many times in my life I’ve thought to myself, “I never imagined I would be in this situation”. When I packed up my life and moved across the country in 2011, when I started living with wolves in 2014, when I moved to New Orleans the same year. And I found myself there again when the question entered in my mind: could I ever move to Spain to be with the man I love?
We met through an online dating site, our first date at a rooftop bar on the beach in San Diego. He showed me his motorcycle and I thought “I’m never getting on that thing!” and declined his offer for a ride. Well…until the second date, when I worked up the courage to go for a ride–IF he agreed to drive very slowly, and only for a short distance. It was a very cold November night and the wind cut through every layer of clothing I was wearing, but between the excitement of the ride and his overly cautious driving, he won my trust and my intrigue to do it again. We still look back now on that night and wonder how I could ever trust a man with my life like that, whom I had only met once. I’m not sure I’ll ever know the answer to THAT question, although he does have that “you can trust me” aura about him. And then there’s the whole “he’s an exotic Spaniard with a motorcycle who seems to like you, what are you waiting for?” thing.
And that’s why I’m here. Ha, okay, it’s a little more complicated than that. We had been dating for 8 months when his visa expired and he had to go back home (and besides, he wanted to, missed his family, etc). I was thinking that was the end of our relationship, dropping him off at the airport at 4 am. I had a few nice long talks with my family at a reunion, and decided that I should just go to visit him in Spain–what did I have to lose? It would be a beautiful trip, a vacation to a place I’ve always wanted to visit. Even after those 2 weeks of experiencing Spain, I still didn’t think I would move here. But again I was at an airport, saying goodbye to him. The whole trip back home I was on the verge of crying (if not crying), probably making the girl next to me on the plane wonder what the hell was wrong with me. After that second unbearable goodbye, I started to contemplate how I could make a move to Spain work. We threw a few ideas around–go back to school? Take a 3 month vacation (no visa needed)? Get married? No, we weren’t ready for that. So school it was, because I wanted to be able to work while here, which you can’t do without a visa.
Then the process started–to tell work, to apply for the visa, to prepare for the move. I was excited and anxious at the same time. I knew this would be the next big chapter and turning point in my life.