After the crazy month that was August, it would have been really nice to come back and have a week or two before school to just relax and prepare. But that’s not what happened. Instead, I had to move across Spain from Zaragoza to Cartagena.
So yeah – it sounds a little dramatic to say “across country” when the ride was really just 5 hours. That being said, I’ve never driven in Europe. I’m not completely sure of all the specific traffic laws that aren’t explicitly stated on signs. All the logistics of this move stressed me out for months before. Sure – I’m all about living minimally but I’m also about living. I’m not a short term Erasmus or study abroad student. Living abroad is something that I really hope to be my long term plan. So I have things to make my life more comfortable and cozy – from bedding to art supplies to organization – I do have a fair amount of stuff.
Before I took my trips to Barcelona and the States in August, I had started packing. I had a few totes full of various bits and bobs from my life – everything except clothes and shoes. When I got back in early September, I had to finish the process and get everything else ready to go. I packed up the rental car early on a Friday morning and I drove from my old city to my new one.
Five hours later, I was smack in the middle of Cartagena with no where to go. Parking isn’t quite as easy to come by as in the states. However, I managed to find a big supermarket, park my car and eat lunch before viewing an apartment immediately. Turns out, the apartment I viewed was full of light, cozy and fairly well equipped. So far, I’ve been renting rooms rather than full apartments to save money and the hassle of utility bills. While this room is significantly smaller than my previous, it’s totally comfortable and I knew I could make it work.
I spent one day unpacking. Everything is now in it’s semi-permanent place. I find it really stressful to live in a disorganized place, especially if it’s a small one. I just couldn’t let myself live with boxes for another few days or weeks. Plus, it made it really apparent what I needed to buy to make the apartment a home for me. I needed a fan, a small table lamp and hangers. A short list all things considered.
So reflecting back: should I have been so stressed out? No. I was extremely lucky to have friends help me load the car in Zaragoza. My roommates helped me carry boxes and Tetris all my shit into fitting into a mid-sized station wagon. Much like my last move, the first apartment I looked at was completely livable. Unlike my last move, it was (for me) an outrageously low price for the space. I’m paying a little over half of my Zaragoza rent. Sure – the unloading the car and moving into the apartment on my own was a little intimidating but instead of doing it all at once – I spread it over a weekend while I stayed at a hotel.
This experience gave me a little boost of confidence for the new school year. It required a decent amount of negotiation in Spanish. It required coordination, organization and a level head. It required driving and navigating skills (Just saying, I’ve won several road rallies). But the fact of the matter is – I did it. I’m not saying I want to, but if it was necessary, I could absolutely do it again. That bit of self assurance makes me feel a little less trapped here than I did in Zaragoza.
Now that I’ve made myself a little home, bought a bike and met with my school. I feel really physically, emotionally, and professionally prepared to start the new school year. I have a tremendous amount of hope that I won’t have to move again any time soon.