Today, it has been 2 years since we arrived here with our animals and things. True, in the beginning we still spent a lot of time in the North; only in the last few months have we truly been able to say that we live here. Our business (the bed & breakfast) is now up and running which means we’re paying taxes, we’re in the process of applying for residency, we’ll need a Spanish driver’s license, and then there’s the registration of the house (like everything here, it’s a process, not just a form to fill in).
Yesterday, I re-read the blog post I wrote last year, when we had been here 1 year. That first year, we learned so many practical skills! And boy, did we love living in that tiny maset… Since then, we’ve lived in our friends’ John & Roz’ house for winter (Mas del Caballero – it’s a lovely, big and comfortable house, and available for rent all summer); after that we spent some time in the maset again, waiting for the big house to be finished. Then we moved into that big house way before it was finished… and we’ve still got a long way to go.
Yesterday, I wrote a first version of this “2 year anniversary” blog post – and I didn’t like it one bit. It read like a terribly bad review: the lack of rain, the veggie garden not producing much and the olive trees without a single olive (both due to the lack of rain), the financial circus and paperwork processes we’re going through at the moment, the chicken massacres, our craving for some alone time, and for quality time with friends at the same time – and did I mention the lack of rain?
Truth is, we’ve got so much to be thankful for.
We’ve got great friends around here, a few people we can really count on. And as we’re getting to know more people around here, I feel more comfortable “moving around”: when we arrive at some village fiesta we’re no longer being stared at while we awkwardly stand by ourselves until we catch some familiar face – as soon as we get somewhere there’s kisses and hugs, beer changing hands and news being relayed.
Our big-ass house was built in no time, and is almost exactly like we thought it would be – big, beautiful and not-quite-finished-yet 🙂 Although the ground floor is all ready (just lacking a few details, we’ll get those sorted this winter), so we’re able to offer guests everything they need: a comfortable bed and a cosy lounge / breakfast area; a tour of the finca and some stories if our guests seem interested; a fresh and tasty meal (my bread-making experiments haven’t all turned out great, but thankfully there’s always some backup); and our advice on where to go for the day – sometimes we book an activity for our guests, or even go with them to translate. In short, we’re enjoying having a bed & breakfast and we’re even getting into some kind of routine. The season is now as good as over, which will give us the chance to make some changes and additions that will make the next season go even smoother. That, and of course tackling the paperwork and regulations stuff.
Somehow we managed to keep our far-away friends as well. The friendships are different; to start with, there’s no regular birthday parties and poker nights anymore, and we’re often the last ones to hear what’s going on in their lives. But then again, when we see them we get to stay over (or they come here for a holiday) and we’ve got all the time in the world to catch up. And sometimes, I get an out-of-the-blue phone call from the lowlands or a bunch of pictures from my nieces and nephews growing up, and those just make my day!
A friend asked me last week if we were ever homesick… no, not ever. We do miss some events and big things – my nephews Remy and Amaury being born, big (birthday) parties, weekends away with friends, people moving house, Queens day in Amsterdam – but never for a moment have we regretted making the move here. Whatever happens, I believe we’re living in one of the most beautiful places we could possible live, we’ve got each other and the future is looking bright. What more could we wish for?