On November 16th, David and I will be moving and we’ll be taking our two cats and our 22 boxes with us. Torrevieja, with its close proximity to David’s family and its cheap rent, has been a good transition place for us. But it isn’t our home, and we’ve known for a while that we don’t want to stay. We just didn’t know where we wanted to go. But now we do. And I’m excited for what lies ahead.
But the decision didn’t come easy. In fact, it was only after days and days of talking and examining our lives including our past, present and future that we were finally able to come to a decision. The two contending locations? Altea, Spain or Paris, France. Both charming. Both wonderful. And both completely the opposite of the other.
We fell in love with Altea the moment we saw it. It was love at first sight for us both. It lured us in with the promise of an idyllic lifestyle in a beautiful setting right on the water. We were so in love with it that we had decided to move there as soon as we returned from our trip to Paris. We even gave our present landlord the one month required notice to let him know that we would be vacating the apartment on the 15th. And the day before we left for Paris, we spent the day in Altea, visiting apartments for rent. We found one that day that felt like it could be home. It was a cozy 2-bedroom with a fireplace, brand new kitchen appliances, and it exited out on to a cute little street in the old part of Altea.
However, when we arrived in Paris and reunited with our friends and family, met our new niece and got immersed in the bustle and activity of Paris, we fell in love all over again. But it was a different kind of love – the type reserved for an old flame. Paris is a city that both David and I were familiar with and already had roots in. I already speak French, I already have friends there. Chouchou, my creperie friend, was offering to help us if we came to live in Paris. He could help us find a location, he could offer a guiding hand, and he could help us navigate the ins and outs of doing business in Paris. Farid, my old roommate was offering us my old room. Nathalie, my old student, was offering to help us find jobs if we needed. The familiarity of Paris was comforting, and it was tempting to hold on to that and never let it go.
We were torn between two choices, and, while we agonized over the decision, we tried to remember how fortunate we were to even have such choices. Many people don’t. We had choices, but we had to pick one in order to stop living life as if on a tightrope, walking straight down the middle.
The day we left Paris, it was rainy and cold. The clouds covered the sky and offered a glimpse of the Winter that was to come. We boarded the plane bound for Spain. And, as we started the descent to Alicante, we looked through the window and spotted El Peñón de Ifach, the tallest rock along the Mediterranean that identifies Calpe, a small city just North of Altea. We followed the Costa Blanca coastline South and found Benidorm with its skyscrapers, and we knew that Altea was tucked somewhere in the middle between the two. We took in the mountain ranges and the clear, blue skies and appreciated Spain for its natural beauty and warm temperatures – even in the month of November.
And, once we arrived and got our cats back from their 10 euros a day hotel (Oh, how we miss our old neighbors who used to give Sushi so much TLC when we couldn’t!), we continued to question what it was that we really want in our lives, what would really make us happy.
And, surprisingly, I found that I wasn’t clinging to the idea of living in Paris – the dream of many and my own dream a mere two years ago. Instead, I was questioning whether city life would really make us happy, I was thinking about our future kids and wondering about the quality of their childhood in a place such as Paris. And, after weighing the pros and cons of each place over and over again, we finally came to a decision together. And it felt right.
So, on November 15th, we will be, once again, hauling our boxes into David’s aunt and uncle’s fruit and vegetable van and heading 1.5 hours up North to Altea, a small village that feels just like Paradise. David already called to reserve the apartment and we’ve arranged with our present landlord to give him the keys. We have made our decision and are moving forward. It’s a decision that, in the past, I might never have taken. But I’ve arrived at a different stage of my life, and, together, David and I are looking forward and making decisions based on what we want – for our future.