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olivia’s other half – month eleven

February 23, 2011

thanks for your patience, let’s start wrapping up…

Olivia says:

‘Sta Luego

I keep telling myself I’m prepared, knowing full well that I’m not.  It’s time to leave Europe and return home.

My husband and I were able to avoid separation for most of the year, but we’ll have to do this home stretch on different continents. Them’s the rules of immigration.

I could have stayed longer, all told. In the end, though, the lack of purpose took its toll. We dream of doing nothing until there’s nothing to do, because doing nothing is a perfect ideal until it ceases to be temporary. That’s the kicker. Most people enjoy their vacations because they know exactly when they’ll be going home. And when they do, the life they’re used to will be waiting for them. It’s more comforting than you think. Firm footing is just one of those things we take for granted, and it’s terribly disorienting when it’s taken away.

Despite this year of discovery and travel, I’ve also felt like a vagrant. None of the houses we stayed in were a home. I wouldn’t be living in any of them long enough to make myself at home. Or maybe I just didn’t want to be at home in those places, because early on in the year, I realized how much I missed the only home I’ve ever really made for myself: Montreal.

The homesickness didn’t get in the way of enjoying this year. Spain made for some lovely memories and experiences. I’ll especially miss the food; you don’t know what tomatoes are missing until you have one in Spain. I can’t get Barcelona’s donut-shaped urban blocks out of my head. And I know I’m going to want to get that Madrid feeling back some day.

I’m not quite done with Spain. I’m just done with this year.

I keep making promises to myself to do certain things one last time. But I never make it to the beach, or the seaside bistro that makes the meanest patatas alioli, or the pub in the mountains. I spend most of my last moments in Spain planning my husband’s surprise birthday party, which is the only thing I really care about right now. I’m leaving just two days after his birthday. I don’t know when he’ll be allowed to return to Canada, so I want these last few moments together to be all about the reasons we chose each other to begin with.

So for one last time until…hopefully just a few months from now…we enjoy a few too many pints, lots of good food, and the company of the friends we’ve made in this strange little British colony on Costa Blanca.

My husband keeps reminding people that I’m leaving soon. He wants the night to be all about me, but I keep fighting it. That’s another reason we’re together: we neither one of us really care about birthdays, Christmas or general anniversaries. We’ll take any excuse to have a party and refuse to exchange gifts. It’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely us.

I wish I could leave Spain without leaving him. Most temporary arrangements have a deadline. Ours doesn’t. It’s a “whenever” with no clear expiry date. This is one of those moments when I wish I were a Buddhist.

There’s silver lining. I get to have one last night in London before returning to Montreal. I couldn’t have planned a better segue myself, which is why my husband did.

What I’ll miss most about Spain are the bits he’s in.

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