How did it come to be that we would pack up our comfortable life in Sydney leaving behind a wonderful community of family and friends, to live for a year in a country where we know nobody?
THE BACK STORY
The pre-amble to this story occurred more than a dozen years ago as I contemplated the type of man I might like to share my life with.
Top of the “pre-requisite list” was that he probably wouldn’t be Australian and he definitely couldn’t be French or Italian because, as great as they are for some ego-boosting romance, they are definitely not marriage material (that’s another story!).
Also on the list was that he had to want to live in Australia and have established his own life here. It all sounded very specific and unlikely but alas, in 1999 such a man did find his way to me. He was a Mexican/Finn who had spent four years in Sydney as an international student and had a working visa to stay for another year – tick, tick and tick – Eureka!!!
What followed was…we moved in together, he became an Australian resident, we got a dog to see if we could jointly keep it alive! The dog survived as did our relationship and we decided to get married. We proceeded to make, bake and pop out a pigeon pair of Finnish-looking kids and spent the next years on the seemingly endless mouse wheel of sleepless nights, dirty nappies, settling, bathing and spooning mush into unyielding mouths. These were not unhappy times but the dominant feature of that period was utter exhaustion.
During a moment of inspiration in the midst of the child-rearing blur, my Finnexican husband (as he was nicknamed) suggested we move overseas for a year to gain some perspective on the relentlessness of having two very young children and a dog. I can’t tell you exactly what I said or did but it was along the lines of: “Are you f&*#ing crazy? You are asking me to move overseas with a toddler and baby when I can barely get out of the house each day to go to the park? Ask me again in 5 years but not before!”
BACK TO THE PRESENT
And here we are in 2012, 5 years later… the clouds of sleep deprivation have parted, as has the financial strain of daycare fees and living on one income. Our son and daughter both attend the local primary school, my husband and I enjoy our respective work, we have enough time to be adults together as well as enjoying time with the kids. The balance has come back to our lives and we have decided it’s time to shake it all up and spend a year living in a country where we know not a soul: SPAIN.
We have been dreaming of visiting Europe together since we first met and yet the trip has always eluded us for one reason or another. I have never met my husband’s Finnish family and our kids have not yet met their Finnish cousins so a visit seems overdue.
The main reason for going to Spain specifically is that we want the children to be fluent in Spanish, the language of their grandfather, uncles, aunts and cousins in Mexico. Spain is also a warmer part of Europe and culturally it seems more relaxed than the north. My husband and I spent time in Spain in our early twenties (prior to meeting each other) and we both felt it was a place in which we wanted to spend more time.