We’ve had a few weeks of anniversaries just now: first we were married for 1 year, then we celebrated living on the finca for 3 months, and today we’ve been in Spain for 1 year. We’ve not really spent a year in Spain yet (there were too many trips to Holland & Belgium for that), but it’s a start! First we’ve rented a house in the tiny village of Lledo for almost 9 months, now we’ve been living on the finca (for 3 months, as I said), next month we’ll be moving to a house closer to the village for the winter… and we really hope we’ll be back living on the finca (maybe already in our new house?) in April.
In that year, we’ve learned so much. We’ve been able to watch our finca – see how the weather and the seasons affected it, what grew (or didn’t grow) where, find the nicest spots and realise where it would still need a lot of work… We’ve learned how to harvest olives & almonds and care for the trees, we’ve successfully grown zucchini, squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, beans, chick peas, and several kinds of herbs and flowers. We’ve been very unsuccessful at lots of other things (like sunflowers, corn, peas, peppers and lots more) – but the failure will help us learn.
We’ve also gotten to know many people – fellow adventurers who brainstorm with us and help us and whom we’ve been able to help as well (I hope), and locals who help us improve our beginners’ Spanish, teach us all about the customs and habits of the region and show us how things are gone (stone-masonry with stones from our land, olive oil pressing and so much more).
We’ve learned how to clip chicken wings, how to reverse drive a trailer (Axel, not me), how to make seitan, how to cook and bake and do everything with a barbecue, how to build a dry toilet, and basically how to live comfortably off the grid. We’ve failed more than we would have liked to – I had a point where I could no longer juggle work, work, more (unexpected) work and the rest of my life for a while; we also notice how our world has become so small – we tend to forget birthdays more often than usual, and don’t always keep track of our friends’ love life, health and work issues. We also made tough choices sometimes; it broke my heart that I wasn’t able to attend the weddings of 2 dear friends (4 friends actually, as I do like their husbands a lot as well), but my heart was with them on those days. We’re missing most of the parties and fun activities back home; some friends still make the effort of inviting us to every single one of them (and we love them for that, you never know if we might accidentally be back north at that time).
Did we at any point regret coming here? No, not for a second. We are still very focussed on our goal of living self-sustainably on our own land, and sharing that with our bed & breakfast guests; we also know we are way more happy than if we would have stayed up north. Waking up with the chickens (Sanchez and his Sanchitas will be the subject of another post some other time) and going to sleep with the sun every day, and doing things that make sense to us most of days; this is a way of life we definitely have been born to live.