How did I end up here again? I was sure (positive, definitive, absolute) that I would never come back to Spain for a period of more than a month. I promised myself (announced, declared, swore) and the world that Spain was fine, but that once was enough, thank you, and that from now on I was going to stick to Germany, that beautiful, bread-laden efficient country, or somewhere else where yogurt was not considered a dessert.
And yet here I am. Let me be clear– it’s not that I hated Spain last time (fall 2010); it’s just that I hated my time there. And, to be even clearer, I didn’t actually hate most of it. I loved the host mom I stayed with, loved travelling constantly, loved passing a glorious cathedral every day on my way to class, loved marinating in European history, loved some of the friends and professors I got to meet. It was just that Spain, in all its appreciation for family and the savored life, never does anything, a fact that deeply grates at the superproductive part of me that was undoubtedly cultured by a father with a military background. On top of that, a city with no community of believers is a very difficult city indeed, and such a city was Sevilla.
Which brings us back to the first question: Madrid, say what? Let’s just say it’s all Rachel Moore’s fault (aren’t most things?). A dear potluck friend, she goes to Poland for missions and friends every summer, and one night I asked her– Poland? How on earth? And she proceeded to describe the very situation that had been going on in me: that all of a sudden she knew she had to go somewhere, and all of a sudden Poland (Madrid) was everywhere she looked, in movies and conversations, and could not be avoided. So she went. As far as my story goes, add this constant prodding/poking/cattle-branding to a line from a song by Jillian Edwards (“Suitcase”), that may as well as have swung me across the face with a steel pole for all its effect on me: “You know I love this same old town, but there are places I need to be.”
Suffice it to say I was done in. I get it, Lord. Go. And to be honest, this works out in terms of convenience as well: I finished my (worthless) graduate certificate in December and my master’s doesn’t start till August. My gorgeous roommate got married last weekend, and there was no way I could adjust to a new roommate so quickly– how do you replace a friend you love? Six months was too short to devote to a full-time job, but too long to keep occasionally nannying. I love that the Lord knows my heart so well that he appeals first to the type A, planning side of me. So, after some soul-searching, wrestling, and late nights spent trolling au pair websites, I found a family that needed a nanny to teach their two twin girls English, who would house and feed me and give me a stipend. I fought with just about every Spanish consulate in the United States and discovered that there wasn’t a visa to fit my needs and I needed to just go– so I bought a ticket and started dreading my departure date.
It’s not that I’m not glad to be here (sitting in the attic on my bed [their bed?] very late at night), because I am. It’s where I am supposed to be, and I know that. I have an internship opportunity with a church here that I am excited about, and throughout this whole process the Lord has constantly reassured me. It’s just that I, Emily Westerhof, hate change. Hate it like I hate snow and Asian food, open cabinet doors and people who don’t call me back. I hate it a lot, and I handle it poorly. And what a season of change this is, with moving out, a simultaneously welcomed and dreaded wedding for the best roommate ever, and no potluck, Friday morning Bible study at Sweet’s, or the three kids I’ve grown to love more than I ever imagined. It’s more than I care to handle. But fear not friends, I will adjust, and not all blog posts will be so long. The Lord is good.
In short: I’ve moved to Spain. I’ll be back in a bit. I miss everything/everyone, and will continue to do so. Stay tuned for some crazy adventures, whining (the peanut M&Ms are no good here, and they don’t even sell peanut butter M&Ms), and sharing of growth. It’s going to be good, y’all.