Waiting for things to happen when they should and when the timing is right is truly difficult for me. I tend to try to force things. The idea of sitting back to let fate take over is generally out of my wheelhouse. Don’t get me wrong, I can do it and have done it many times but it’s like chewing gum without blowing bubbles; it’s a conscious effort.
On the other hand, I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. For instance, if my flight is delayed or I miss a connection I trust that the timing for my route needed to be altered that way. And when I didn’t make the Olympic Team in 1996, I knew it was the right thing. I knew it even before it happened.
But, let’s get back to the conversation of fate. I want to tell you about a couple of things we left up to fate, both consciously and subconsciously. Skye’s horse was a big purchase in March of 2017. I never EVER thought that our family would be horse owners. In fact, we fought it for quite a while. But Skye saved up her money. Every birthday and Christmas she would ask for money to go towards buying a horse. She earned enough to pay for half of it and we agreed to pay the other half. This was a year and a half ago and I knew the timing was tough. I knew we would be living abroad and that this horse would be yet another thing on our list of things to deal with. But, if you know horse girls, then you know why we went through with buying George Costanza.
A girl and her horse.
Fast forward a year and a half and finding someone to lease George was high on my list of things to do before our adventure abroad. In my brain, I wanted it done months before our departure. Enter Skye’s trainer, Kim. She has this awesome way about her. She kept saying to Skye, “You have to let it happen. Even if I found someone to lease George now, it might not be the ‘right’ person as time gets closer.” Basically she was saying, “Trust the process, it will all work out.” And so we did.
I got good at putting that huge part of my “to-do” list aside. I stopped worrying about it until about 8 days before our departure. I woke up in the middle of the night. Sat straight up and thought, “OMG what are we going to do with Skye’s horse.” That day, about 6 hours after I started stressing, Kim texted me and said, “I think I found someone to lease George!” It would be a full lease where George would move a few miles away to a new pasture with someone who Kim knows well and who rides at the barn. It couldn’t have been more perfect and it happened just in time. Trust in fate.
The second big-ticket item on our to-do list was to secure a car for the year. Although buying a selling a car may seem/sound easy depending on the price, it is not. It is complicated when you are not from Spain. The purchasing is complicated and the insurance is even more complicated. We didn’t really know this until Erik got a milkshake.
Yes, you read that correctly, Erik got a chocolate milkshake one afternoon while we were busting our butts packing up our lives in Park City. He loves his milkshakes but learned early into his 40’s that it was a dangerous every day or even every week habit. So, he hadn’t stopped to get a milkshake, by himself, in probably 10 years. He had a hankering, so he stopped. And that is when he ran into a friend whom he had not seen in 25 years. In that conversation with his buddy, he learned that his friend had just done what we are doing, LIVED ABROAD. He confidently offered up his advice on how to deal with a car in Spain. He had lived in France for two years with his wife and two kids. He looked straight at Erik and said, “Don’t screw around. Just do a year-long lease. It is so worth it.” He gave us a company who leases cars for a year to families just like us. Everything is included in one lump-sum price, including full insurance!” Erik came back home and with a look of pure “you are never gonna believe this” on his face, told me about his awesome, random encounter and knew found “golden” information. Two lessons learned on this one, trusting in fate can be amazing and we all need milkshakes every now and then.
Living abroad is complicated. Ridiculously complicated. (Sorry if I am repeating myself with this point) Especially when you are doing it on a reasonable budget. We rented our house and therefore needed to clear out ever drawer, every piece of clothing, and every knick-knack and put it in storage or gave it away. We rented our house to help support our year abroad. Paying for Skye’s horse while away would have been a huge expense, but now not only is that expense taken care of, he is, most importantly, cared for and being worked to remain healthy. And we have secured a great car (big enough for some surfboards), at a reasonable price with all of the proper documentation.
Nothing about what we are doing is perfect. We have made mistakes. I made a huge mistake with our rental car and signed up for insurance that I didn’t need, nor did I realize I did it. I am learning to let go of my mistakes. (Erik is very good at reminding me not to be so hard on myself) At every step, this journey is teaching us something about life, about living and about what truly matters. In this environment I have no choice but to listen and learn.