Choosing The Right Path

It’s hard to go back and forth between who I was and who I want to be.  As I have discussed time and time again, this year has been a huge transformation year for me, and it’s not over yet.  Last night, I hit a bump in the road.  After spending a good part of my day running around to different places I needed to go to get forms I needed to apply for my Visa, I came home exhausted but confident I was heading in the right direction.  Then, I made the mistake of researching Visa application processes for other people and after reading some of their stories, I was rather dejected.  For some, the application took over a year and that was only after waiting months for approval to work in Spain.  I absolutely will not wait a year or more to see Veronica again.  If I get everything in order by the end of this month, or at least before Christmas, I believe we can do this, but obtaining permission to work looks like it is going to be harder than I thought.  I have tried getting in contact with members of McDonald’s Spain, and I have actually been in contact with a gentleman who says he is going to send my resume out to owner/operators in Spain, but there is no guarantee they will show any interest, and even if they do, I have no idea how long the process of obtaining permission to work will take.  I was feeling rather down over the entire process last night and I was sure Veronica was feeling the same, although I didn’t want to tell her about what I had read.  I called my mother, who has been super supportive of all of this from the beginning and she tried to be reassuring, but really there was nothing she could offer that could speed up the process.  I had gone to the leasing office of my apartment earlier in the afternoon and notified them I am moving out on December 31st.  Come January, I would have no permanent residence and no idea when I would be going back to Spain.  I was frustrated, anxious, and honestly terrified of things to come.

When I look into Veronica’s eyes, I know with all my heart that she and I are meant to be together, so after pacing around my apartment for another hour or so, I came to a decision.  Many times in my life when I am anxious or worried about my future, giving myself time to think everything over as logically as possible while pacing around my place helps.  I used to do it at my mother’s house, and I have been doing it here ever since I have lived here. I am surprised I haven’t worn out the carpet yet.  In any case, this is what I decided.  I can go to Spain as a visitor for up to 90 days.  After that, I have to leave for at least 180 days before I can return again, unless I have a Visa of course.  My plan now, while still doing everything possible to obtain a Visa, is to go to Spain in February with or without a Visa and work with Veronica to do everything we possibly can to get this all straightened out.  Without a Visa, I will have to return to the US, but I will still have all the paperwork I need to apply, and hopefully by then, I will have gathered all I need to obtain official permission to work.  While the cost of travelling back and forth is going to be high, Veronica can typically work out deals on flights and ideally it will only be a short stay in the US while I come to get the Visa.

I don’t know how well this plan is going to work, but I know I can not go months and months without seeing her in person.  She and I are both tired of messaging through Skype and not being able to hold each others hand or give one another a kiss good night.  I know years from now we may look back on the time we had to wait and say it wasn’t really all that long, but right now, it feels like an eternity and I hate to see her upset.  It is not going to be easy to do this, I know that, but when I think back to the person I was a year ago, a year and a half ago, I realize how incredible this all is.  I never would have been able to do all this back then.  I always found excuses, reasons to back out of things.  I always had big dreams, but I always found ways to destroy them.  This is totally different.  Unlike dreams of the past, where I talked a good game but never followed through on anything, this is real.  My friends and family know about this and are fully supporting me on this.  Veronica is very real.  She is not some internet fantasy I only hope to meet someday, she is a living breathing, remarkable woman who I have held in my arms, and I swear I will again.

I have two paths I can follow.  The one I had been on, the path I was taking long before I went to Madrid, lead me to nowhere.  Sure, I could continue on working here, living day to day as I had been doing.  I got a raise so I could probably live a little more comfortably, which is to say I could go to the movies or buy a pizza for dinner a little more often.  I could go to Starbucks alone and read whenever I wanted and on the weekends, well, on Saturday, I could hang out with my friends until I had to run home to go to bed early because I would have to open at work Sunday morning.  Sure, I could pretend I was happy with that life, I could pretend I didn’t mind coming home to an empty home every night, and I could pretend I found happiness in seeing my family on the holidays, when inside I was really dying of loneliness, but is that the life I want to live until I die?  Absolutely not.  I’ve gone to Spain.  I went to Chicago this summer.  I spent a week with Veronica and we went to New York and Massachusetts.  We have talked about not only living together, but starting a family together.  I can take the path to her, the path that will bring a smile to my face each and every morning, and not just a fake smile to show to the world, but a genuine smile of true happiness and fulfillment.  It’s a path that has no set direction.  The first path had an endpoint, and I could see it.  This path twists and turns, and quite honestly, it scares me, but that’s because I have never dared to take a path like this before.  It’s a risk.  All of this is a risk, and for the first time in my life I feel confident I can take a risk without a safety net.  Well, in truth, I have a safety net.  It’s my family.  It’s my friends.  It’s Veronica.  She is going to be there with me, by my side through this entire journey along this new path I have created for myself.  It won’t be easy, and there will be struggles, but I will not fail her, and I will not fail myself.  For far too long I let myself believe I had limitations.  The only limitations I have are the ones I set for myself.

I used to hear all these stories of people who found the love of their lives through some magical twist of fate and they went on to live fairy tale lives.  I was always envious of those people, and I always believed that would never be my story to tell, but since the beginning of all of this, I keep thinking of how incredible it truly is.  The sheer odds of coming across Veronica that night in Madrid are astronomical.  I could have spoken to anyone from any part of the globe that night, but we found each other and we talked for hours.  It could have all ended there.  We could have never spoken again, but instead, we chatted every night, and by the time we were ready to meet for coffee the following Saturday, I knew I already had a crush on her.  I suppose a part of me wanted things to go bad, as I knew I had to return home in a week, but we spent a beautiful day together and I felt totally comfortable with her.  I kissed her.  I have never had the guts to kiss anyone on a first date, and yet I told myself, “I have to kiss her.  She has to know I am interested.”

Flying home that Thursday, all I could do was check my phone to see if she messaged me.  Obviously I could not use my phone on the plane, but as soon as I was on the ground, I was eager to see if she had messaged me.  We have talked every single day since that first online encounter on that Sunday night in May.  Every day, without fail, we talk, even if only for a short while.  I love her, I know this.  I am convinced of this.  I hate seeing her upset, and I absolutely adore seeing her smile.  I am not embarrassed to act silly with her and I am not shy about telling people I love her.  It’s the truth.  We will have disagreements and we will have moments when things are not perfect, but we both accept this as a part of life and know that we are going to work together to solve any problems we come across.  She is a part of me and I am a part of her.  For the first time in my life, I have someone who loves me just as much as I love her.  We are a pair and I feel wonderful to know I am no longer on my own in this life.

Sure, it’s going to be tricky getting through all this, but I am confident once again we can do this! Thankfully, I managed to bring out the new me and push the doubts of the old me aside.  As always, I’ll keep you posted.

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~ by James on November 13, 2015.

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