I had a small breakdown the other night. It involved tears, closed bathroom doors and small voices so that Luisa, David’s mom, wouldn’t hear. Maybe it was from the physical exhaustion of moving the boxes, maybe it was the permanency that the arrival of the boxes symbolized, maybe it was frustration from yet another day fighting to understand the simplest of sentences, maybe it was feelings of self doubt about whether I was doing my best to be the best daughter-in-law possible, maybe it was feeling far from home and the fact that being with David’s family makes me miss my own. And most likely it was the combination of all of that that made me surrender to a small moment of complete self pity.
It came like a wave and I couldn’t keep my head above the crashing water. I’ve only just recently understood what a big decision it was to move to Spain. The whole time leading up to the move, I couldn’t even imagine what life would be like on the other side. Having never lived in Spain, having never spent so much time with David’s dad and stepmom, having never been without a full time job to keep me occupied and my account replenished, the idea of moving to Spain was an exciting one but the actual reality of it was hard to grasp.
Now, two months in and with a second room full of boxes, the reality of it all is setting in. We’re not visiting, we’re here to stay. Learning Spanish is not an extracurricular activity, it’s a necessity. The number of times I’ll see my family will be reduced drastically. Being near in-laws is great but it’s different when it’s on a more full time basis than simply one week once a year.
And as the wave crashed over me that night, the tears came. And David listened. And he consoled me that he too had had some of the same feelings at times when he first came to California. He reminded me of the time that he got upset after we asked him to take a family photo for that year’s Christmas card. He wasn’t upset about doing it, but it did make him feel apart and far from his own family. And suddenly I saw things so differently because it gave me such a different understanding of that moment as well as all of the special holidays when I had been so happy to be with family and he must have been so missing his own. He had acted weird at times and I could never understand it… until now. Sometimes it’s not until you live through the same experience to truly understand the feelings and reactions of others.
And he was ready to pack the bags, put the boxes back on the boat and get out of here, but I assured him that it was a passing moment of weakness and that it’s completely normal. Moving to another country is bound to have its ups and downs. Being out of my comfort zone is certain to have its moments of difficulty. It’s experiences, challenges and moments like this when you grow as a person. I’m just in the middle of some growing pains. That’s all.