Sorry, World. I Left My Heart in Spain
In a recent post, I detailed seven of my favorite things about life in Australia, but I’ll give you the plain, honest truth: although I like it here, I don’t love it. But, well, I can’t exactly blame Australia for that. Because, you see, I already gave my heart to another, and when I’m in love, there’s not a lot you can do to pull me away.
I’ve been head over heels in love for over eight years now with a lovely little place called Spain. Bet you couldn’t guess that from the fact that I bring it up every two seconds. And, in fact, this post comes exactly eight years after my first trip to Spain, a life-changing month studying in Granada, came to an end. Has it really been that long?
See, there are two kinds of great love you encounter: there’s the love you are compatible and comfortable with and will likely end up marrying and having kids with and staying beside until you’re one hundred and two. And then there’s the other kind. The fiery, passionate love that touches a part of your heart you never even knew you had. Despite the fact that you were destined to love one another, at the end of the day, the two of you are incompatible in every practical way, and you’ll never actually make it together, leaving only memories of and longing for a time when you were truly alive. And that’s Spain for me. How’s that for dramatic?
Simply put, I could never see myself living in Spain for the rest of my life. I’ll still visit as much as I can, and it will likely be my favorite place in the whole world for as long as I live, but it’s just not meant to be my permanent home. So Spain ends up being that torrid summer fling that you build no future with. And I’m okay with that.
But the side effect of that is, as much as I enjoy my life in Australia, I constantly long for Spain and the life I led there. Seeing photos of Madrid’s streets, hearing a few notes of flamenco music, clicking through my old Facebook albums, trying Australia’s misguided attempts at Spanish food, thinking about sunset swims in Croatia or all-nighters in Budapest results in a strong physical sensation in the pit of my stomach. And I am happy here; I truly am. But that life I led there? What a life!
So when I tell people I like Australia but don’t love it, that’s why. It’s hard to compare anything to the fantasy-like life I lived in Spain. Although I’m still living abroad, seeing new places, and meeting new people, I am now truly in the real world. A full-time job, looking forward to going to bed at 10pm some nights, saving money, and doing real adult things. It had to come eventually, and, if I do say so myself, I’m doing it with quite some finesse, but it’s still a big transition.
And that compatible, long-term geographical love? There’s plenty of room in my heart for those, and, no matter where my travels take me in the coming years, Australia’s shaping up to be one of the greats.