I did it again. Almost a decade later, I sold my car and moved across the Atlantic. But this time, I was not alone.
“What are your goals?” He asked me over our first beer in Amsterdam.
I responded the way I knew how, talking about flying lessons, earning my ratings, and promoting within the airline.
“I want a family,” he shared his intentions, “and to stay in Madrid.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. It was the first time I heard a response about family to a question about goals, from someone who makes a living doing what he loves and makes time to continue to fall in love with life. I had been programmed to talk about careers and education, from the time my parents drilled me for spelling tests through young adulthood where the media jockeyed images of women executives with small children with equal numbers of generation-x women as perpetual bachelorettes of their own accord.
Since I was a young teenager, I thought I wanted to live out of a suitcase. But after a year of commuting between Ohio and New York, multiple times a week, and sleeping in the airport terminal for five consecutive Saturday nights during winter irregular operations in order to catch the first flight back to Columbus for a flight lesson on Monday morning, I was exhausted. I learned I enjoyed being home for dinner.
My commutes between Ohio and New York then turned into commutes between Madrid and Detroit.
“Moving to Madrid will be the easy part,” I told him early on. In 2008, I graduated university, sold my car, and moved to Egypt for work. But I knew it was temporary, because my prospective employer in the U.S. could only hold my application for four months. Madrid, contrarily and to my mother’s anxiety, would be permanent.
After taking a three-month leave of absence to test the waters, or perhaps taste the wine, in Spain, I resigned, last November, from a well-paying job with great benefits and a flexible schedule at a Fortune-500 company. I sold my car to my youngest cousin, finished the visa process, and moved to Madrid, just in time for the holidays.
I awake, every morning, with a hand to hold and an espresso that puts any American coffee to shame. I love and am loved. I am learning my third foreign language, Spanish. I look forward to building a business together, rather than having the perpetual internal debate of loss aversion in leaving a good job for a chance at something even greater. I spend more time sleeping in my own bed than on airplanes. I know that our shared happiness and health will allow us to be more productive to work on our business, creating something to support our desired family and to give back to our community. With a mutual vulnerability, there are now opportunities that were previously both unknown and impossible.
Christine is a fitness coach, writer, and traveler. She traveled alone, until she met Angel. Now, together, she realizes, with stronger faith, that she was never actually alone. When not training clients, Christine is cooking, at home, in Spain, or she is seeking empty seats on airplanes in search of new adventures or donuts.