Gentle readers, I periodically reflect on the changes in my life since moving to Valencia, Spain. While this has been a great adventure, I find myself thinking of home a little bit differently nowadays. I’m not sure what caused this change, although the intellectual part of me suggests that I have a much better idea about what to expect. That allows me to trust my new home and the experiences that arrive a little more normally than I did in the past.

So, in the last few months, I have been on vacation, seen some new sights, and have been very much about the business of living my new life here. I have made new friends, both American and Spanish, met new people, and connected with people back at home. Technology makes my life soooooo much easier, and I can only imagine the way it felt to move across the world without being able to connect to folks that care about me. Ten months has flown by quickly, although it also feels like an entire lifetime. Very strange!

Now that I have been an official resident for ten months, I can renew my residency for the upcoming year for two more years. Since I have been receiving fairly regular work from my contractor job, I think I will be able to declare an income that is amenable to the residency-renewal process. And, gentle readers, remember that the paperwork process here is more than a little overwhelming. While my Spanish is getting much better, I am still not sure it is up to the task, and I will definitely need some help to get all of my materials in order!

In terms of my PhD process, I am pleased to say that I am only a few steps away from submitting my proposal, and then there are a few more hoops to go. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel… and I have to say that it has taken me longer than I thought it would. I had hoped that I would be finished by now, but instead, there have been many days where I was unable to cohesively order my thoughts to make the progress I wanted to make. To improve the speed of my writing and my results, I have enlisted the aid of others to help keep me accountable to the goals I have set.

On the work front, I am still really enjoying the kind of work I do for the educational company that hires me as a contractor. It is extremely varied: research projects, instructional design, grant development, and competency correlations for Common Core implementations are all part of the mix. The work is a little crazy at times due to tight deadlines, but I am not complaining; the variety allows me to stretch some mental muscles that I haven’t used that often in the last few years.

On family and friends, I have to admit that I miss them terribly back home. My daughters are each embarking on their own grand adventures, and I am very proud of them. My parents keep me in touch with their own busy lives. Through a variety of technologies, I am able to keep in touch with many people in the States, but the contact still isn’t as robust as I would like. Long-distance friendships are hard, and I am very grateful for the folks who have stayed in touch with me as the months have rolled by.

People have asked me how long I would be in Spain, or what my plans are for visiting, and I really can’t answer that question with much more than “I don’t know.” I am happy here, and learning so much about this culture and especially about myself. These new experiences are why I moved to another country in the first place. I’m not the only one…

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” -Augustine of Hippo

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” -Marcel Proust

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” -Mark Twain, Mark Twain: The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It

Here’s to more exploring, broadening, terrifying, meaningful, engaging, and learning adventures.