For all of our readers, I believe its only fair to share the back-story of how living in Madrid happened. A few years ago, shortly after my father in law passed away, my wife, Jean began talking about how much she wanted to travel the world, go new places and explore new things. We both realized that life is too short to put off these adventures, and if we waited until it was the “right time” or until we had “enough money” then we might never achieve our dream. The world is such a great big place to explore.
Needless to say, Jean and I had many conversations about how to make our dream of seeing the world possible. We discussed how much money to save, where to go first, what our goals will be, and of course the fun experience of doing it together. Our travel plans were going to start in Latin America somewhere since Jean had studied in central Mexico and truly wanted to explore more of the Latin American culture. She began making budgets, fantasy itineraries, and planning our “escape”. We were going to see how much money we could save for one full year and go from there. We even discussed the date when we were both going to quit our jobs so we could travel full time for a while!
However, the only worrisome problems for me were that I love my job, its super flexible, and I work with great people. The thought of me quitting was taking a huge toll on me mentally and emotionally. Do I put my career first or do I put my relationship first? This was a very difficult decision as you can imagine. With the economy tanking, and the job market taking a nosedive, the very idea of quitting a GOOD SOLID position was just not happening for me. Of course on the flip side, the idea of being single again was also just not happening. I finally had a beautiful girlfriend (at the time) who is smart as hell with a great sense of humor, why would I ever give that up?
As time passed on, I realized that I had to have both, the awesome job with the awesome girl, no matter what! I couldn’t take it anymore, so I had to explain to Jean. The next time we talked about it, I made it obvious that I was becoming more and more uncomfortable with the whole plan. Clearly, Jean was unhappy, but we have an honest relationship and telling her was the best thing I could have done for the both of us! We needed to find a different plan and although we did save a good amount of money, it was crucial for us to start thinking out of the box.
Remember earlier how I said Jean is smart as hell?
It was 100% her idea for me to ask my work if there was any chance of opportunities to live and work in a Spanish speaking country. Opportunely, I asked the CEO about it on March 17th, 2011 at a St. Patrick’s Day work event and almost exactly one year later, Jean and I were living in Madrid!!
Now, yes I want to fill in our readers with the back-story, but there is a funny twist! We came to Madrid on March 12th, 2012 on our tourist visa (passport only) which is only good for 90 days. As a result, we needed to be out of Spain (do the math) by June 12th more or less. Naturally, on May 28th (my 33rd birthday) we leave the country and fly back to California to finish up my work visa and continue Jean’s resident visa process (not fun in the least bit)!
On July 5th, my work visa was ready for pick at the Los Angeles consulate. Wow, a success for me, I can now officially work in the country of Spain for at least 2yrs. YAY, my dreams to have both the great job and the great girl are coming true, holy snap fish!! Just one more requirement left, shouldn’t be too difficult as we’ve come this far.
Nope, Jean’s resident visa paperwork has now been submitted for about three months now, which means she is stuck in the USA while I am here in Spain. Keep in mind, remember how I told you earlier, this was 100% her idea? Well, here I am, by myself and it’s been oh maybe 35 days or so. Damn, I’ve never been all by myself before; it’s a bit scary, but surprisingly I kind of like it, kind of. I guess, in hindsight, I forgot this was also part of the challenge I was asking for. The good news, I am on my way to starting Spanish classes and I also joined a meetup for expats (meetup.com). Life is certainly interesting and this is really our life, circa 2012…….Jean stuck in California while I’m here working and living our dreams. Go figure! EsCrazy!