First of all, I'm not dying. Yet. But eventually I will. And I know Steve Jobs was onto something when he said this. And what he said is relevant to me right now as my family and I just made the major life decision to head back to the U.S.A. in a few months. This is bittersweet because Barcelona is truly the best place - hands down - we've ever lived. It is about as perfect as perfect can get.
I know my last ranting post didn't make it sound like I'm in love with Spain or Catalunya, but really I am, and always will be. Barcelona is mine - it's ours - now, and forever. Despite the cultural differences, despite the economy, despite the little things that sometimes drive me nuts, it is a fantastic place and the past two years here have honestly been the very best of my entire life. I can feel tears forming in my eyes as I write this and think about really leaving. And yet I'm smiling, because I know when it's time to move on, it's time to move on.
The job that allows us to live here involves travel. Lots of glorious, amazing travel to incredible places I never dreamed I'd ever see, to meet and work with amazing people I never thought I'd ever meet. On the flip side though, it's exhausting and means I miss a lot of time with my husband and kids. We've all adapted very well and the latter issue really isn't so much of an issue. And lest you think it must be awful for me to be away from my kids a lot, recall that executive working dads are away from their kids just as much or more and no one gives this a second thought. Right now, my husband "holds down the fort" and my family is quite happy.
But I'm no longer enthusiastic about the travel. Work travel is far from glamorous and I am convinced it is aging me prematurely! When I came back from holiday vacation in the U.S. I realized I'm done. I returned on a Friday and had the first work trip of 2013 to the Netherlands. The trip that resulted in my ranting about the striking taxi drivers in my last post. When I finally got home that night It became crystal clear to me that this is el fin (the end). I am no longer willing or interested to travel for work the next year or more. And that's OK. We knew this would be a temporary overseas assignment and that eventually we would move on. The time has come.
The very next day I found out a good friend and colleague back in the states announced she was leaving for another opportunity. This opened and opportunity for me, and after talking with my family, a day later I had made the arrangements to take a position back home. I know I'm making the right decision as I have a sense of relief I wasn't expecting to feel. Before the holidays we thought we would be staying here another year as we have so enjoyed our time here.
Soooo, now everything it took to move overseas has now to be done in reverse, minus one cat (R.I.P. Audrey, who died during our stay here), plus one Russian tortoise (Lumpy) and a PRE horse (Altivo), and amazing experiences and memories that no one outside of my family will possibly begin to appreciate as much as we do.
So, as I transition out of my role here, there's lots of work to be done over the next few months. I've already initiated the steps to get both Ebro and Altivo home. Ebro will earn double platinum Frequent Flyer status as this will be his third overseas flight. Altivo, will be a first time flyer. I have chosen John Parker International to transport my precious equines as they did a fantastic job getting Ebro to Barcelona from Amsterdam when he first arrived in Europe. They have years of experience moving some of the most expensive race and competition horses in the world. My horses are just my pride and joy and not worth millions of dollars. I really liked that I read in an article about John Parker that they treat all their customer's horses the same, whether they are dealing with a syndicated international racehorse or a backyard pet pony. I know my boys will be in good hands.
I'll definitely keep My Horse is a Frequent Flyer up and running through our move back to the U.S. After that, who knows? For sure, the blog will serve as a scrap book to remind us of all the great times we had here.
Many thanks for reading. I hope you have enjoyed the blog as much as I've enjoyed writing it.
Note: Race and competition horses are flown all over the planet every day and horses handle flying very well. It is a myth that they all have to be tranquilized and they go nuts while in the air. Keep in mind that some horses have to be tranquilized to even travel in a horse trailer for ground transport. This is no different. Of course there will be some horses that don't travel well, but most do just fine. They are accompanied by very experienced, professional grooms and have hay and water available. The grooms are experienced and trained how to deal with emergencies. The horses are shipped on cargo planes in large, bedded crates that can accommodate three horses side by side. If they're lucky enough to fly "first class", they get an entire crate to themselves. Ebro and Altivo will be flying "coach".