July 9

Eight Months

Gentle readers, please forgive my lack of posts. While there are many things occurring here in the fair city of Valencia, my attention has been drawn to two alternate tasks: working and dissertation development. Both require me to be attached to my computer for long hours, and when I am done with work for the day, I am anxious to put the keyboard down and do something outside.

This month marks eight months since arriving in Valencia, and there are some significant achievements to note. I have travelled to Paris to see a dear friend, I have been to several festivals here to celebrate food, religious holidays, and oddly, an annual pottery market going on since the 13th century. I have gone to Sunday lunch in a Spanish family, which is a joyful affair. I’ve gone to the beach, made new friends, and spent time with people from all over the world.

During the last two months, something strange has happened. First, my Spanish is getting much better, and what that really means is that I am more comfortable speaking Spanish. That has changed my perception of my surroundings significantly, making me more comfortable in various situations. Perhaps that is the most significant change… I am settling into my life here.

I like it here. I have come to expect new adventures that stretch and grow me. I have begun to accept a daily dose of “unexpected” thrown at me, but even that is happening less and less. I greet people when I walk into stores and restaurants. I talk to the folks I see at the laundromat, neighborhood bars, and where I shop for vegetables. I order food para compartir, or to share, for the group. (I look forward to the day when I am comfortable talking on the phone with strangers… hopefully that is the next step!)

Throughout all this, I miss people from home, my family and friends, my coworkers, and my comfortable environments. I miss my daughters. I miss being able to find exactly what I want in many different stores. I miss the things I am comfortable seeing and doing, but I also appreciate the opportunities to experience new things here. Since I work at home, I miss people from work that I would see on a daily basis who have become part of my life.

To be honest, I do not know what happens next. I am working on getting my next visa for the upcoming year, so that should be an adventure in bureaucracy. I am working every chance I can with an education company in the states, and writing diligently on my final paper and dissertation. I have several trips planned to visit friends from the states and with new friends here from Spain. As with every adventure, both hope and fear are present. Currently, hope is winning out over fear!

“You must bring every particle of your energy, unanswerable resolution, your best efforts, your persistent industry to your task or the best will not come out of you. You must back up your ambition by your whole nature, by unbounded enthusiasm and a determination to win which knows no failure.”
– Orison Swett Marden

Finally, some additional pictures from Corpus 2014. These are from my phone camera, but I was walking through the city and was able to snap a few pictures during the procession!

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Corpus Christi, Paris, Rocas, travel

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  1. We just wanted to say thanks for taking time out of your busy day to post your thoughts, experiences, and passion for what you are doing in Valencia. After finding your blog a few months ago, we have been faithful followers and look forward to every post!

    Our daughter is going to study abroad in France for a semester this fall and we especially enjoyed the wisdom you shared on getting a visa. We just returned from the French Consulate in Houston last week and your perspective and the humorous U-tube link you shared in that section really paid off!

    I am eligible to retire from teaching (Gifted and Talented in Frisco, TX) at the end of next year and my husband and I are considering an extended stay on the west coast of Spain for our first adventure. We loved our trip to Barcelona 3 years ago and can’t wait to return!
    Thanks Christopher, for sharing your adventures!

    1. Marcia, I am glad you are enjoying these! Getting a visa is a trial, but I have really felt that this move is such a powerful change in my life! Let’s keep in touch… I would like to hear about your adventures, too!

    1. We did bring a small pocket size stapler just in case! LOL!

      We also wore professional business attire and the officials there couldn’t have been nicer. (to us – not however, to the 5 people waiting there before us. In fact, we were waited on before 3 of them (20 min. before our appointment time!). The other people were all wearing shorts or scruffy jeans and the French officials were nit picky and rude to everyone of them.

      Maybe it was because my daughter, Stephanie had the same first name as the daughter of the French official. She made a big deal about them both being “Stephanies”.

      Anyway her visa arrived today!


      1. ALWAYS bring a pocket stapler. That video is a scream, but very, very, very true in some situations. Dressing appropriately, making a connection with the people who work there, and being calm and patient tend to make everyone take a deep breath. I have experienced the same kind of pressure and treatment here, and when I explain that I don’t speak Spanish very rapidly and would they please speak slowly, most folks take a moment and treat me with a great deal of respect. Names are extremely important in the European cultures, and connecting in that way is indeed a nice way to work through stressful paperwork. At least you didn’t have to go from Atlanta to Miami three times to get your daughter’s visa!

  2. So interesting to read your posts and commentaries from Valencia. You seem to be much more integrated into the culture and life there. It would probably seem strange to you at this point to hear everyone speaking English! Miss you and glad you are doing great!

  3. I love keeping up with your adventures. At the end of the day, all of life is an adventure with all the associated fears and rewards. L’Chaim!!

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