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the clock at the girona train station

“Meet us under the big clock at the railroad station.”

When our friend Simone suggested that meeting place, we knew exactly where that clock was. We knew how long it would take to walk there. We even knew that at that time of day, the clock would be in the shade. We have lived here three months, and three months is long enough to know things like this.

And now we’re about to leave.

How long is three months?

  • It’s long enough to learn nearly all of the geographic landmarks in town – how much of a walk is required to get to each one, and even minutiae like their orientation to the sun – like the big clock.
  • It’s long enough to lose stuff in the apartment: under the bed, in corners blocked off by furniture, in the cupboards under the kitchen counters.
  • It’s long enough to learn how to successfully operate the remotes for the TV and the satellite receiver.
  • It’s long enough to require cleaning of the microwave and refrigerator.
  • It’s long enough to experience an occasional day with no particular desire to get out and see or do anything.
  • It’s long enough to see the trees in the park fully leaf out.
  • It’s long enough for a light bulb in the living room to burn out.
  • It’s long enough to make good friends – and to know we’ll regretfully miss them when we leave.

We’re packing up. We’re searching under the bed, under the counters, and in the corners for those lost socks. We’re walking the streets of Girona and seeing familiar sights for what may be the last time. We’re sad. We’re excited. We’re anxious.

Such is the plight of the serial expat: stay long enough to live (and if you’re lucky, love) the life, then run off to discover another. During moments like this, pulling up stakes can seem mistaken, when friendships have been made and the dust bunnies have taken up residence.

Perhaps adventure is just that way.