Today is the anniversary of one of the biggest – if not the biggest – decisions I ever made in my life.
Twenty-two years ago, I married a Spaniard in a simple ceremony at the Registry Office in Glasgow. And I had not the slightest idea of what was in store for me.
Perhaps if I had, I´d have turned tail and run away into the Scottish cold!
Looking back, what strikes me as very strange is that I thought I did know!
I´d already spent time in Zaragoza and was well-versed in Spanish customs. I spoke the language reasonably well (to be going on with). We´d even lived together in Oviedo for two years.
Though it had been a bumpy journey to that wedding day – insecure teaching jobs, the loss of my mother, opposition from my future husband´s family, studies to finish, not to mention the normal teething problems in any relationship – it seemed the worst was over.
How wrong can you be?
Illness, unemployment and a move to Spain that has turned out to be permanent were to follow. It didn´t take me long to realise that, in fact, I knew nothing at all about Spain. Though I´d spent time here as a student, now I had to integrate.
I resisted. I hadn´t come to Spain to spend the rest of my life. I didn´t want to be a permanent expat. I wanted a decent job. I wanted public libraries. I wanted customer services.
The result was friction because of my one, simple oversight.
On the day I married my Spaniard, I failed to see I was wedding myself to Spain too. And twenty-two years later here I am. Here we are, all three of us.
Because it had to be him.
Ramón, it had to be you.