Three

In a year where everything feels abnormal, it was refreshing to do something as normal as celebrate our anniversary. We marked the occasion with a long weekend to Cádiz, a gorgeous port city in southwest Spain. It was a joy spend that time together and to go on a vacation, and a relief to escape the Madrid heat.

I’m an oddball

This is a list of odd things about me that I fully embrace.

  1. I always go out of my way to step on a crunchy-looking leaf. There is nothing quite like a satisfactory leaf crunch.
  2. I am unsure of myself 90% of the time. I’m good at hiding that, asking lots of questions, and figuring out action items.
  3. I mutter to myself when I walk around alone. It’s because I’m trying to practice saying something in a different language, or I’m trying to commit something to memory. This becomes especially pronounced as I get closer to some public talk, as I add in hand gestures.
  4. I regularly question whether I am self aware. Take that to mean what you will.
  5. I fidget like there is no tomorrow. I don’t know why, I just cannot sit still, and I watch how everyone else sits still and I just don’t get it.
  6. I always wake up before my first alarm. I don’t always get up with my first alarm, however, even though the alarm is labeled: “Get your lazy a** out of bed already.”
  7. I always hate my hair.
  8. Like Monica Geller, I balance a clean home with a secret closet. Maybe two. And a drawer.
  9. I love design and style. I love it all to the point where my personal design and style simply doesn’t feel cohesive.
  10. Every time I publish a post, I read it and make an edit. And then I think about email subscribers and how they may never see that edit.

Two

I’d like to amend the adage “Time flies when you are having fun” to simply:

Time flies.

Many people, everywhere

In the two years that we’ve been married, we’ve circumnavigated the world, on top of numerous trips for business and pleasure. We each picked up a significant promotion, and each made a major job change. We undertook a move from one hemisphere to the other. And those are just the big things.

Each moment felt forever, but when I look back, it feels like no time at all.

It feels silly to have a hard time summarizing two years of marriage. After all, it’s only been two years. In trying to do so, what bubbles to the surface is all the feelings around all the attempts to move life forward.

I suppose it could be surmised as a potent cocktail of elation and stress, with a grenadine-sweet layer of love that oddly brings it all together. Not typically my cocktail of choice, but I suppose that the chaos of life can only aspire to be as complexly cohesive as good whisky.

We celebrated with a weekend trip to San Sebastián, a picturesque town in Basque Country. It was our first “local” trip since moving to Madrid, and oh-so-perfect. We spent a day wandering around the city and lounging on the beach, and a day hiking from Donostia to Pasaia, over Monte Ulia. Dane and I looked into theories on the origin of the Basque language and made up a few of our own, and debated the best way to eat the particularly laden (and delectable!) pintxos.

I’m ready for whatever adventure year three holds.

Want to see photos of our trip? Check some out here!

Things left unsaid

I talk to strangers. Regularly. Especially when I travel.

I suppose it is poetic that our lives touch in brief glimpses, and that we walk away having learned something about the other, most likely to never see each other again. In these moments, when we don’t have a comfortable familiarity, I sometimes leave wishing that I had said that one thing.

To the person sitting behind me on that flight, it’s a touchscreen, not a poke-aggressively-screen.

To the Mexican-American woman from Houston, in discussing politics with you, and was simultaneously unsurprised and disappointed that you’ve experienced such an increased level of racism in your own community.

To the Lyft driver who said that your favorite doughnuts were from a specific store, and had I been there before? I was honest when I said that yes, I’d been there before, but I lied, I’ve had better doughnuts. You were just so excited and I didn’t want to put a damper on your happiness.

To the person who kept speaking to me and everyone else around you, no one wanted to speak to you because you had very bad travel breath. We’ve all been there. Next time, take the piece of gum I offer you, please? You seemed like fun otherwise. 

To the person who somehow managed to take and check approximately 10 million selfies during the course of a 1.5 hour flight, I hope you found the right one to post on social media. 

To the Lyft driver who listened to 1999 on repeat, you know it is 2019 right? Also, that was a terrible cover!

To the very sassy flight attendant, your safety demonstration was the best I’d ever seen, and I wish that more people enjoyed their jobs the way you seemed to enjoy yours. Seriously, better than Britney in Toxic.

To the airport bartender who thought it was “cute” that a woman liked to drink whiskey, you’re a sexist jerk, and I didn’t appreciate that you gave me a light pour because you didn’t think I could handle it. I was fully sober, and I get to be the judge of what I can handle. 

To the person who sat next to me on the bumpiest flight ever, I didn’t mind that you grabbed my hand. I was nervous and missed my loved ones too.

To the Lyft driver who was watching a movie while driving, just stop it. Please? No seriously, STOP!

To the person who tried your very best to stay within the confines of your airline seat, I leaned away to try to give you extra space. You looked very uncomfortable and I hope my leaning in the opposite direction didn’t give you any negative feels.

To my Lyft driver who shared numerous, lurid details about your many health issues, that all sounds terrible, and oh my gosh you massively over share. 

To the person who laughed really, really loudly while watching Wreck It Ralph, you laughed so hard, I planned on watching it on my next flight. But then they took it off, and I was so sad that ensuing flight. 

To the Lyft driver who encouraged me to sing along, I’ll always think of you every time I hear Low Rider

Photo credit courtesy of https://unsplash.com/ unsplash-logoKristina Flour

We’ve moved 😳

Cross #27 off the 40 before 40 list: we’ve officially moved from Seattle to Madrid.

On our very first date, way back in May 2014, Dane and I talked about travel. It was the first date, so we didn’t make any plans together, but we shared where we wanted to go and why. Admittedly, it was essentially a list of countries and food we wanted to try, but it was excellent first date conversation. At one point we even talked about our desires to live in a different country. Little did we know then!

Dane and I are planners at heart. Seriously: we had our wedding venue booked before Dane proposed. This transatlantic move was planned out and executed across two years, and was not without a healthy amount of headaches, frenzied excitement, and luck.

Step 1: Get our jobs in place. For me, that meant finding a new job entirely. Mentally, I was already there – while I loved the firm I was working for, I wanted to be doing more community building work, preferably in the tech industry. I didn’t know if it was possible to take this international, and I knew I wouldn’t be happy taking a “just because I want to move” job. My career is deeply important to me, and wasn’t something I was willing to sacrifice so that I could live in a foreign country. I lucked out, and found the perfect job with Automattic as a sponsored volunteer for the WordPress Open Source Project as a Community Wrangler. Automattic, a fully distributed company, has made it seamless for me to pursue both career and life goals, and my team has been super supportive of my move.

For Dane, that meant getting a promotion, and then finding the right job overseas. He worked hard to get that promotion, and it was very well deserved, in my totally, completely unbiased opinion. Amazon has tons of positions internationally, and Dane, like me, didn’t want to take any role just so we could move. Luckily we were in no rush, and he was able to find a role in Madrid that fit his career interests and goals. He interviewed, and was offered the job.

Step 2: All the paperwork. Seriously. Even with Amazon’s help, which made our move infinitely easier, applying for and obtaining a visa requires reams of very official paperwork. This required patience, diligence, and a good amount of fist shaking at nothing in particular. It also required a trip to San Francisco to visit the Spanish Consulate. We entered with our armloads of paperwork and relinquished our passports (well, because I had to travel internationally for WordCamp Nordic soon after, I had to mail my passport the following week, but that was a whole different story and headache) so that we could get our visas. A nail-bitting five weeks later, our passports and visas are mailed to the unofficial consulate in Bellevue. Needless to say, Dane and I were absolutely relieved to have our passports back in hand.

Step 3: Celebrate! Panic. Rejoice! Panic again. Celebrate again! I don’t know if the fact that we were moving to Madrid ever really settled in while we were in Seattle. Sure, we looked at each other with broad smiles on our faces, exclaiming, “We’re moving to Madrid!” But then there was a seemingly endless, daunting list of tasks to do in order to move. Why the heck didn’t we plan for this?! Note to self for the next time: write up the damn list of things to do before getting to Step 3. Top of that list? Go through all your stuff and donate everything you’re not taking as soon as possible, and not the week before the move. Set up a mailbox and mail forwarding. Give everyone ample notice of your going away party.

Note on the going away party: it sucks. I mean, it’s heartwarming to see all of your friends and family gather together, and amazing to have them send you off with all the well wishes in the world. But parting ways is hard and painful, and the first goodbye is just as gut wrenching as the last one. It’s not for forever, and thankfully technology makes it much easier to stay in touch, but that was a particularly trying day that made me cry many tears.

Step 4: The Move. Honestly, I don’t even know how this all happened. The past few days have been a blur, and thank goodness we had a full plan for the physical move that we followed closely clung onto for dear life. When we landed and got checked into our hotel, we slept for 15 hours. Thus went our first day in Madrid! 😂

Which brings us to Step 5: Figure out which way is up. It is now day 2, I have wifi, I have a place I plan to cowork from, I went grocery shopping, and I’ve attempted lots of Spanish successfully-ish.

Er, stay tuned for how Step 5 pans out. I’m optimistic.