‘Twas the night before Christmas, or not really. More like the night before my flight to Belgium where I instantly turned into a snow coated Christmas tree. There is about a twenty degrees difference between Belgium and Valencia at the moment. Anyway, I was in my little apartment packing my bag full of presents thinking of the cosy times ahead in the company of family, blood and chosen. I could almost taste the Christmas feasts as I was feasting on my noodle soup. The perks of living above a ramen place.
I’m not sure when it started, but all of a sudden flying makes me nervous. So seeing my friend at the airport was a treat! We both got an entire row of seats to ourselves on the plane and for two hours my forehead was stuck to the window looking over all that beauty seen from above. The blue of sea and skies turned grey as we neared Belgium. Landing in the rain is just a way of my homeland greeting me, forever reminding me where I’m from. I tucked away my sunglasses, wrapped my scarf around my face and hugged mom and dad hello.
It’s been ten months now of me living in Spain and my parents have visited me five times. The advantage of not living on the opposite side of the globe anymore! 2022 has definitely been the year of visits. Of the sweetest couch surfing friends staying over, sharing quality time I’ll cherish forever.
I started the year dreaming of travels, now covid was becoming a thing of the past and borders were opening up. Moving to Valencia, I waited to decorate my apartment, didn’t really dare to make it my home. It would be another stopover, a resting place for a little while in between faraway travels. But then things happened and I met a group of friends, found concert halls to spend nights in, took dancing classes and fell in love with a Spanish boy.
My calendar started filling up with friends and family from all corners of the world planning Valencian visits. Before I knew it, I had nearly a year full of reasons to stay exactly where I was. So I started doing things I imagine people do when they live somewhere and know they’re going to be living there… For a long while. Without an end date or something? This is new for me. Usually there are visas lingering, expiry dates constantly in the back of my mind. Or big travel plans. Not this time. This time was different.
I had been daydreaming of moving to Spain while working in kitchens in New Zealand when I was missing some kind of deliciously rich food culture. When my Argentinian friend told me stories in Spanish and I nearly melted with such fiery goodness those words were to my ears. Spain… What if? One year later I found myself calling Valencia home sweet home, guiding friends through its dreamy streets, getting lost in the nights carrying my lover's hand in mine.
The change of one year to the next always asks for a moment of reflection. For a nostalgic soul like mine, this moment can easily be dragged along for days. I love to wallow in this stuff. No better place to do so than rainy Belgium. Afternoons of going through pictures and poems, finding forgotten words and practising gratitude for everything the past year has taught me and for the great unknown the next year still is and what it will unfold into. Wishing you abundance and love, always.