Monday, September 7, 2009

2nd week, 2nd year by k

i write blog posts in my head at night when i can't sleep. they're always brilliant and then when i sit down to write in the light of day the brilliance seems a distant memory. but i'm going to write anyway.

it's monday. the second week of school. we got dorian there on time for the first time since the first day. we can do it! they moved the start time for elementary school ten minutes earlier and that ten minutes has felt like a huge obstacle. dorian hates getting woken up, but he also hates being late to school, so mornings have been painful. now we're on our way.

year two. why are we here? back in june when karen visited us, she observed how slowly things seem to move here, so we joked that it takes two years of living in spain to do one year abroad. that's one reason. another: both arel and dorian are really happy at their school. there is something to be said for a very small school with an outgoing community. all the coming and going of families seems to bring people closer rather than push them apart. still waiting for the other reasons...

i try to imagine what it would have been like if we had stayed in the same apartment this year. not that apartment exactly because we didn't want to stay there, but rather having the experience of not needing to move and get reestablished and negotiate a lease and figure out groceries, etc. i think the return would have been easier. and yet, we are so far ahead of where we were this time last year.

i told people all summer that we were moving because we like to make things as hard as possible. it was a joke, but part of me has felt a bit stupid for putting us through this again. and yet i am trying to embrace the perspective that we are trying to improve our situation (a good and brave thing) and that a little more pain at the beginning will make our overall experience better. i actually believe that will be the case, but during the transition, it's hard not to wonder why we couldn't just stay where we were because, obviously, nothing is perfect. our new place has some things that we really wanted, but it's not perfect.

we can now walk to school in just over ten minutes. amazing! no more relying on unreliable buses. we get to walk on the mountain and look over the entire city of barcelona every morning! we are also right next to a metro station. and it's the "right" metro; the one that goes to the center of town in ten minutes and the one that goes out to the suburbs where we know many families. this is a great improvement, and i am thankful for it every day.

on the downside ( i have yet to truly grasp whether these are downsides or just states of mind), the apartment is small...only two bedrooms. it would be nice to have that third bedroom to be able to spread out a little, but last year we had five bedrooms and really only used two (except when we had guests). so maybe now we actually have what we need and not more.

another thing that is getting to me is the wealth we are surrounded by. last year we were in a more middle class neighborhood. now we are surrounded by wealth (or apparent wealth...i don't know anyone's financial situation). we are in one of the two small apartments in this complex. the rest are large homes with yards and pools. honestly, i wouldn't even want one of those places, but being next to them brings me a certain feeling of inadequacy. it's my own stuff and i'm trying to remind myself that i'm living my values and don't need to compare myself to others.

maybe part of the problem is that i don't feel like our place is representative of us or who we are. it's almost like we don't have an identity. our house in san francisco feels like an expression of who we are and this feels more like a hotel. which is a choice we made for a lot of different reasons, so really it does say things about us. maybe that's what i'm trying to figure out. what do i want it to say? i want it to say that we are not attached to things, we are adventurous and flexible, we care about the environment (taking public transportation and walking). what are we not saying? our love of art and creating a comfortable, warm space and having people in our home.

okay, i'm starting to ramble, but i have to write about one more thing. i love walking to school...truly. but when other families drive by in their big luxury cars i feel like a pauper. i know this is only a small segment of society here. most people in barcelona walk and take public transportation, but we are surrounded by those who don't. what is this tug in my stomach? why does it bug me? if we had a car, i would still walk to school.

i guess i'm just having a big attack of insecurity. this too shall pass.

now off to figure out grocery deliveries!