PREPARING OURSELVES TO MOVE 4,000 MILES AWAY +tips we’ve tried to help us cope

the pros

Obviously this is a big change, but that doesn’t always mean it’s a bad thing. As my family and I prepare to move to Madrid, Spain next summer, these are the things going through our heads, trying to remember the life-changing experience that this is.

  • The experience that we will gain as we move to a foreign place is huge.
  • My sisters and I will be able to travel at such a young age and see things that most people won’t ever see or experience in their lifetime.
  • For me, if I don’t try this out now, I may never. I don’t want to miss such an amazing opportunity.
  • Social media and technology is so advanced.
    • Although phone calls aren’t as comforting as talking to people face-to-face, we are still going to be able to communicate with loved ones across the world.
  • We will be practicing Spanish daily and will most likely be fluent after awhile.
  • For me personally, I will be able to come back to the states if I find that Madrid is not a good fit for me.
  • We will meet many new people from Spain, and any other countries we explore while living in Europe.

the cons

  • Leaving friends and family.
    • My brother and his new wife just got married two months ago. It will be really hard to be away when they start a family of their own.
  • Leaving the town we were raised in.
  • Moving into a completely new culture. (Culture shock)
  • We have lots and lots of memories in this small town we call home.
    • As an Enneagram type 6, it’s hard for me to move on from good memories and to leave them behind. Looking through old pictures/videos is a hobby of mine, but it absolutely crushes me at the same time to know that we can never relive that moment.
  • Missing out on friend/family get-togethers.
    • I have major FOMO (fear of missing out). I have some theories of where it came from, but seeing the people I love spending quality time together (one of my top love languages), knowing I couldn’t join them even if I wanted, is honestly painful.
  • We won’t be able to spend holidays or big events with friends or family.
    • Thanksgiving isn’t even a thing is Spain !! 😦
  • Financial/emotional security.
    • Being so far away from family and friends, we can’t run to them when our emotional stability is at an all-time low. If I can’t find a job, I can’t go back to one of my high school employers to be able to pay the bills. Finding jobs is HARD in Spain.

tips to cope

  • Trust in Jesus.
    • This may seem simple, but is actually really hard to remember when lost in the weight of the world.
  • Pray. Pray. Pray.
    • Spending time talking to the Creator of the universe…there is nothing more powerful.
  • Remember why we said “YES” in the first place.
  • Research more about Madrid.
    • Finding cafes, landmarks, or other places we will likely visit when we get there. Getting ourselves excited!
  • Remember, this is such a great opportunity that we are so blessed to have.
  • Connect with someone that has previously moved to another country/culture.
    • Ask for some encouragement, share your thoughts. They could give some reassurance.

Change is hard. No matter who you are, I think that most everybody would agree that change is somewhat difficult. But even though it’s hard, you won’t ever be able to grow without it. Even though it can shake you to your core, make you break down mentally, emotionally, and even physically, it’s change that will help you become a better, more experienced individual. Through change and the support of Jesus Christ, we can change and grow physically, mentally, and emotionally.

LIFE UPDATE…*a lot has happened*

I know it’s been quite awhile since the last time I wrote here but dang life has been crazy! A few very major things have happened in my life recently, and although they’re exciting, I’m kinda freaking out !!! So here’s a short synopsis of the past several months in my life:

1. I graduated high school !!!

A new stage of life, how fun !!!! Don’t get me wrong though, I enjoyed high school a lot and I’m definitely going to miss spending 5 days of the week with my friends and teachers. I attended the same small private school for my entire life, which made saying goodbye a lot harder. Most of my 38 classmates I’ve known for many, many years and although I’ve known some for only a few years, they all are like family.

2. I have decided to take a gap year and earn my TESOL certification

I know that going to school and earning a degree is important, but taking some time off to make money, travel, get a new perspective on life, or whatever you need to do to pursue your life calling – that is okay too (and I hope other high school or college grads understand that too). I have decided that it is best for me to take a year off of school to work, get my TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification, and get ready for the next life-changing stage of my life.

3.  I have decided to attend university in MADRID !! (and my family is going with me :D)

Around 2015, I decided that I wanted to study at a university somewhere abroad, and most likely in Europe. While on a trip with my dad to Germany, we visited a few universities that actually offered FREE tuition to foreigners !! I was super stoked to check them out and actually liked one of the universities a lot. However, the more I thought about that particular city and the criteria to be a student there, it didn’t seem like a great fit for me.

As I processed many opportunities and locations, I thought about my love for the Spanish language and European cultures, which led me to look further into universities in Spain! Eventually, I landed on St. Louis University.

St. Louis University’s Madrid Campus (SLU-Madrid) is an American-accredited school. The classes are taught in English, it’s located in Madrid, and students come in from around 60 other countries to study there !!! Honestly, the thing that really sold me on this particular place is their love and opportunities for traveling around Europe and building community between many cultures. After sending in my application, I got an acceptance email and letter, which immediately brought me to tears. After reading lots of articles written by SLU-Madrid alumni and current students about the campus and community, I was confident in my answer and decision to move to Spain.

THE REALLY COOL PART is that my parents were offered missionary positions in Europe !! With the position they were offered, they have the opportunity to also move to Madrid and work with many of our missionary friends located in other European countries !!! OBVIOUSLY this was a huge decision to make, but also a dream come true for our family.

As a whole, our family is pretty adventurous and struggles to say no to the Lord. That being said, when my family noticed the many, many details that God aligned for us to move to Spain together, we knew it was all in His hands.

I’m SO excited for the new journey but also so stinkin nervous to leave everyone and everything behind.

Since my younger sisters are originally from Costa Rica, my family knows a fair amount of Spanish. However, the dialect is different in Spain and we haven’t practiced our Spanish a whole lot in the past 4 years since they’ve been here.

Adjusting to a new culture and somewhat of a new language is going to be a rollercoaster, but I’m pretty excited and ready for it !!

4. Future blog posts

Since I’m only working 3 days a week right now, I am planning on creating blog posts on Wednesdays. I know that there will definitely be weeks I miss, so sorry in advance bout that. But I will try my best !!!

If ya wanna be notified when I put up a new blog, you can follow me here, or follow me on Instagram @aubrygrace_  where I’ll let you guys know when a new blog is up !!!