On family, and second families

When I decided not to go home this summer I had no second thoughts. I wanted a Spanish summer. A few months ago when most other English teachers started packing bags to go home, I was overjoyed to not be participating. I smiled at the thought of not boarding planes, not sitting in tiny seats for upwards of ten hours, and not eating airline food.

Not missing this at all this summer

Fast forward to two days ago and I was on the verge of buying a plane ticket home. I love Spain, but I also love my family, and I needed to see them. I’ve lived here for two years, but going home both years for Christmas and last summer means I’ve never spent more than six months away from home. Now I’m going on eight. I think I have some sort of internal clock, and its alarm was going off telling me to go home and recharge my batteries. I only wanted to visit for a week or two. My heart and soul are here in Andalucía, but there comes a point when Skype conversations just aren’t enough to satisfy the need for family. I want to hug my dad. I want to play soccer with my brothers. I want to go out to lunch with my mom and exchange stories about our students. And I really want to walk my dog.

Sad because I’m gone, or just pretending to be an alligator

But I slept on it. I mulled over the idea, and in the end my reasons for not going, for staying here, go beyond just the price tag. This month I have a roof over my head thanks to the Spaniard’s family. From day one with him, his family has been nothing but wonderful. They have accepted me with open arms. I have family here in Spain. I have his parents, sister, and countless cousins, aunts, and uncles. (We tallied the other day and I’ve now met all of his cousins except one). I might not be blood-related to anyone here, but I definitely have family. Running home now, I feel, would be unappreciative of everything they’ve done for me. Instead, I’m going to stay here, and I’m going to bake a birthday cake for my suegra (mother-in-law).

As for my own family, I’ll see them at Christmas. That flight, I already have booked.

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3 Responses to On family, and second families

  1. Alisa says:

    I absolutely know what you mean about that internal alarm clock. I'm staying in Spain this summer too, and mine's ringing! But I'm powering through, because soon I'll have some visitors from home that will hopefully make me feel better. Hope you're feeling better too!

  2. Ahh I so identify. I'm nervous because I just my one-way ticket for September, to start our married life and all … and when will I come back?? I don't know yet. Beware these international relationships. You might end up married to him! 😉

  3. Pingback: Two Thanksgivings in six kitchens | Teach, Learn, Run

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