We’re entering the third week of our summer in Spain and groggily waking up from another late night with friends. Spain’s timetable of late dinners and slow mornings suit Chris and I perfectly, but our kids are still waking earlier than we hoped. We usually send them upstairs to turn on the tv and pour themselves some cereal so we can squeeze in a few more moments of rest. Then its coffee, croissants, and setting a loose plan for our day.
Deciding to spend our summer in Spain has been years in the making. Chris and I lived here back in 2011 before we had kids. When we left, we started working on our visas to return for a longer period of time, but I got pregnant. Impending motherhood made me long to be close to my own mother, so we scrapped our plans and settled in Denver instead.
A few years later, one of my best friends fell in love and got engaged to a girl from Spain. We’d met Victoria on one of their trips out to California and I remember telling my husband, “Sean’s an idiot if he doesn’t marry her.”
Leaving the kids with Papa and Didi, we snuck off to their wedding in Mijas, just the two of us. It had been six years since we’d been there and being back felt a bit like rediscovering a missing piece of ourselves. We were totally surprised by this feeling as we didn’t expect to ever return. But both of us, at separate times, felt very strongly that Spain still held something for us.
Sean and Victoria’s wedding was everything you’d imagine: stunningly beautiful, delicious, and late. Once dinner finished and the speeches wrapped up, dancing began at 2am. We busted as many moves as we could before our bus took us back to the village for the night.
Seeing my best friend get married to a girl I somehow knew would become my sister was incredible. We left that whirlwind of a trip full of wine, Manchego, and a sense of wonder of what the future might hold.
The very next year we flew out to visit Sean and Victoria back in Mijas. At the time, our kids were 2 ½, 4, and 5 years old. They handled the long travel days like champs and if I remember right, slept most of the plane rides. Though we’d taken them on quite a few trips in the States, this was their first trip overseas. (I still carry their cute little passport photos in my wallet).
That trip, we visited a fantastic Port Bar in Malaga, road tripped to Portugal where we surfed and ate amazing risotto, then hiked in the Sierra Nevadas where we met wild donkeys. Jordyn, our oldest, fell in love with the donkeys and for sure wanted to bring one home. As for me, I was nervous they would kick us over the cliff edge or accidentally nudge us off with their wide bellies.
Sean and Victoria took us to all their favorite spots and we soaked up every minute of it. I was really encouraged to see how adaptable our kids were with travel as its something we’d dreamed of doing with them since before they were born. This trip once again cemented that deeper knowing that Spain still held something for us. Though we didn’t know what it was, we just knew it was there.
Fast forward a few months and I’m driving my kids to preschool on the 5 in North County San Diego. I don’t remember what or if I was thinking about anything in particular, but suddenly this knowing came over me that, once again, Spain was in our future. It was so clear; I just knew. Then, maybe 30 seconds later, my daughter speaks up from the back: “Mom, what if we live in Spain someday?”
Of course when we’re with Sean and Victoria, we’re always hatching plans on how we can live life together. Chris and I have floated the idea of spending a whole summer in Spain since their wedding and were waiting for the timing to be right.
Sometime last Fall I said to Chris, “What if next summer we try to go to Spain?”
We let that idea simmer in the back of our minds as we continued to navigate another year of ever-changing rules and regulations due to Covid. When the new year came, we started getting more serious about making it happen.
To be continued…
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