After 10 Weeks Abroad, Re-entry is Hard

k-on-pikes-peak

K and her new photo-face on Pikes Peak, Colorado

Well, we just got back to Spain a couple weeks ago after spending the summer in the USA. The last time we were home – in 2013 – Pilgrim House wasn’t open yet. This time around it was, so it was great to see so many supporters and friends and actually share what Pilgrim House looked like now and stories of pilgrims we’d met over the past two years.

One surprising thing was how hard it was for me to leave the US this time. During this visit, I realized how sad it was to not regularly share life with our parents, relatives, and good friends. When we only see them every couple years, it’s great and we make special memories, but the more that time goes by (9 years now!), the more I feel the loss of being able to share milestones and go deeper with each other on a regular basis.

And then while we were home we had to update our wills, since the last wills we did were ten years old and only included two kids instead of four. Our lawyer in Maryland looked at our old wills and said, “Well, if one of you outlived the other one, this would be fine, but if both of you ever died at the same time this would be a disaster!!” Then his office rushed and put together a new will and estate plan (not that we have tons of stuff, but of course whatever is there we want to go to all the kids, not just two). All of this serious thinking about what would happen to the kids if we both died, how things would go in Spanish court and US court, and what life would look like for them and how they would be provided for was a bit emotionally crazy!

We signed the papers for the new wills on a Friday, and then we flew back to Spain the following Monday. I had death on the brain that entire weekend. The kids surviving without parents and needing to live with their guardians seemed so immediate those few days. It was a nice relief to land on the tarmac in Santiago without any mishaps and know that the plan we had so carefully executed with our lawyer wouldn’t have to be enacted in September of 2016.

Then, 8 days after we landed, I got into a car accident. Thankfully, K, M, and I were fine, and the other driver was fine. But our car’s whole left side was damaged when the Correos truck slid into and then stuck completely to our car:

Correos

The truck sheared off our side mirror as it dented in both doors on the driver’s side. Shortly afterward, when the police came and had the truck pull away so the two of us weren’t blocking traffic anymore, the truck couldn’t break away cleanly and ended up tearing off our front bumper with an enormous ripping sound and crash. It was nuts. And also a little hilarious because, as you know, all Correos vehicles are painted yellow and now our black car was all yellow on one side. But I was grateful for kind police officers and then our insurance company who literally took care of everything.

So our goodbye to America and re-entry into Spain over the last month has encompassed a range of emotions, complications, and good things. As always, though, seeing everyone in the US, catching up, sharing about Pilgrim House, and enjoying some of our favorite American things was worth it. It will be interesting to see how our next US trip and re-entry into Spain will be. After all, you can only get hit by a Correos truck once, right?

 

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  • Sandy Thompson

    I totally related to how you feel. After we returned from our service for 15 years oversees I began to realize how much of peoples lives we had missed. When Mark’s parents both passed away it was my job to divide the contents of all the scrap books and photo albums his mom had made over the years. I had to allow myself the space to grieve the events and milestones we missed and often knew nothing about during those years. It was important step for me to grieve that loss.