Four months ago we made the decision to leave our life in Oregon, USA and move to a finca on a hillside in the Sierra Nevada Natural Park in Andalucia, southern Spain. The decision was made a bit suddenly after fate put the property in front of us, and after saying "Yes!" we landed back home in Oregon and faced the daunting task of sorting through, and packing up 30 years of life and memories.
But look at this view! The photo was taken from our property and shows the village of Capileira and in the distance the peak of Mulhacen, the highest mountain in Spain. Throughout the process we have wondered, "Are we crazy?" or "What have we done?" But then we would think of this view and know that we had made a solid decision and that once we got back to Spain all of our doubts would fade.
There were many hours of lost sleep as we worried about whether or not our house would sell, or how would we manage to get health insurance in Spain, or what do we do with all of our stuff; what happens to our mail - how do we manage extra luggage on shuttle buses and in taxis; how do we buy a car in Spain and arrange for a PO box since our new place doesn't even have an address?!
So many questions, but we moved ahead, truly one-day-at-a-time and before we knew it we were on the other side of each concern. Our home in Oregon sold in 24 hours, for an amount above the asking price. We easily found private health insurance that costs a small fraction of what we were paying in the U.S.. We wandered into a car dealer in Granada and negotiated the purchase of a car, with much reliance on Google Translate by both the salesman and by Sam! And yesterday we opened a PO box in Orgiva. We have encountered numerous kind and helpful people along the way; from the previous owners of our finca to the Correos employee who patiently worked with us to complete the paperwork needed for a PO box. Many times we have looked at each other and marveled at the unexpected kindness of strangers.
Our first trip to Andalucia was in 2008 and, previously unfamiliar with the area, we had come because I read about a B&B where I wanted to stay. That first drive up the narrow, twisting, mountain road from Orgiva to Ferreirola was tense as I inched around the corners and Sam looked over the side to the valley below; way below! But once we arrived at Sierra Y Mar we were already in love with the area.
Two years later we were back and the driving was less intimidating but the hiking and the views were even better than we had remembered. We hiked up the Poqueira gorge and as we returned towards our car we popped out above Capileira. I sat on a rock and felt the most content that I had ever felt. I looked across the village towards the Mediterranean Sea; it turns out that I was looking at the property where we now live!
And this morning we woke up for the first time in our cortijo on the mountainside!
I hope to use this blog to share about our life here. I will include the bitter-with-the-better as we struggle to learn the language and the culture of the local people while also learning the ins and outs of living off the grid in the Sierra Nevada Natural Park.