Four months ago, I arrived in Spain jet-lagged and overwhelmed. While the exhaustion from the jet lag has passed, being overwhelmed will continue to be a part of the expat life I have created for myself here in Valencia. It is amazing what a month can bring when I am open to the challenge of an adventure!

As I write this post, I can hear the fireworks in the city center. We’ll have them every day at 2:00 PM until 19 March as part of the Fallas celebration. That is one of the treats of living in a new place: I am learning the rhythm of a different culture. What that really means is that I am often clueless or lost when cultural references are used, but I am learning, slowly but surely.

This past month has been an interesting one. I have gone to my first Spanish barbecue, as well as attended an incredible birthday party that was filled with new friends. I have had conversations in Spanish, gone to an amazing weekend event in Teruel, met people from other places in the world, eaten some amazing food, and bumped into people that I know in restaurants and on the street. I did not realize I knew that many people!

In a few days, I will be celebrating my 47th birthday, and I am having a Mexican fiesta with some of my new friends to celebrate. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to be here, and I believe I made the right choice for me.

And, gentle reader, if you think that such a choice is easy to make, I would have to correct you. It has been hard as hell at times, and I have had my fair share of loneliness to accept. I miss family and friends terribly, and wish I had more regular communications with some folks. There are strange little creature comforts that I miss, such as knowing what to call most of the products in the grocery store, or having the vocabulary to buy a pair of shoes or pants that fit well. I have no problem learning and asking, but sometimes, being different is bit of a pain.

Usually, I can overlook the negative experiences and get back to a positive frame of mind very quickly, which is a definite key to success when living anywhere new, or in another country. After all, a positive experience is what I am looking for in my life, and that is what I will find!