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I cannot believe it has been 4 months exactly since we took off from the USA to Spain! We have loved every minute of our time here and the past few months have taught my husband and I both contentment.
We truly was excited to start this next chapter of our military life, but honestly didn’t know that it would exceed our wildest expectations! Living in a foreign country has taught us to rely on others more, rely on God more and open our hearts to living just a little bit differently. We are so thankful for this opportunity!
Now that my husband is home for a few months, we have started an afternoon tradition of exploring our neighborhood and just relaxing together. The environment here in Spain creates many opportunities for adventure and relaxation so we have been trying to seize both!
The weather is just perfect with hints of sea breeze and endless rays of sunshine and we try to get outside each afternoon. Although we currently are huddled indoors in the midst of a sandstorm! Often we walk around our neighborhood with the pup eying all the blooming bougainvillea or sit in a local cafe sipping on sparkling water and nibbling on olives. I make my sweet husband stop far too often to snap of photo of flowers or colorful walls!
4 Lessons Learned from Living in Spain
Food is just food
Food here is simply food—no need for endless labeling like organic, non-gmo or gluten free. Most everything you will find in the markets or grocery stores is local, fresh and most often naturally grass-fed and pasture raised. My local butcher and egg man laughed at me when I asked if the meat was grass-fed saying, “Cows are supposed to eat grass and run around in the fields!” AMEN!
My eggs are dirty and usually come home with a few feathers and then proceed to sit on my counter for the week, because fresh eggs need no refrigerator! The yolks are huge and so orange, seriously, scrambled eggs look they they belong in a comic book because they are so orange!
Going out to eat has been far easier here than anywhere else as most dishes are just some sort of meat, potato and vegetable. Food isn’t drizzled with endless sauces full of sugar, soy and flour, but rather just grilled or sautéed and drizzled with flaky sea salt and olive oil. With the exception of the bread that comes before your meal, I would say most everything is naturally gluten free and sugar free! It has been so nice to be able to go out without stressing about my blood sugar!
And the chicharrones (pictured above) are warm crispy bits of thick cut bacon served in a cone and available on my street corners. They are just amazing and the perfect afternoon snack!
Rest is a priority
The Spanish love their siestas, lazy afternoons and family time on the weekend. I love watching entire families of multiple generations sit in cafes on the weekends for hours on end (yes even the little ones entertain themselves)! Sometimes the fact that everything closes from 1:30-5 pm is a bit frustrating, but it truly has been a beautiful learning process to slow down and rest. Meals are enjoyed slowly and we often find ourselves sitting for hours in a restaurant. On Sundays, everything is closed—and I really mean that! Whether you are religious or not, I think we can all agree that we DO need a day off to truly rest. So, if I forget to buy cream and eggs the day before, well, such is life!
Stuff is just stuff
When you don’t really speak the language and stores are completely different here, you quickly realize how non-important a lot of “stuff” is. Now, I have been doing a lot of online shopping and thank goodness for Amazon prime, but after a while you realize that all the “stuff” you thought you needed isn’t really all that important. Packages take about 10 days to get to my FPO address and often I even forget what I ordered, and that is a beautiful picture of how stuff really just doesn’t matter all that much!
Honestly, I have a lovely home filled with joy, a husband to cherish and a puppy to snuggle. That truly is all I need!
Contentment is a beautiful process
When you are away from your “normal” aka life as we are used to it in America, you find yourself having to practice patience and contentment. We are away from our comfort zone of drive through coffee, being able to walk into Anthropologie to try on clothes and knowing how to set up wi-fi in our house. We laugh, make mistakes, order meat that turns out to not be steak and get endlessly lost. But most importantly we have found contentment in the little things. Slowing down truly allows you to focus on what really matters in life and have the time to intentionally pursue those priorities. It has been a journey for me especially, but I have found so much contentment in being, living and adventuring.
Tomorrow’s to-do list will take care of itself, but today is meant to be lived!