I didn't mean for this to become a series. And then I had to come back up and change the title to "a door" once I realized that this had become so much more than simply another window into my past, offering clues for what makes me, well--me.
Sorting through an old notebook last night I came across this. It is a return ticket from Spain to the US, dated October 1998. And as you can see, it wasn't used.
August 1998. I cleared out my savings account, dropped out of classes at the University of Richmond--the day before classes started--put everything I owned in storage, purchased a round trip ticket to Madrid and got on a plane.
I did not sleep the entire flight. (For those who know me, you know that's odd--to say the least! I can fall asleep any where, any time, any how--it's a gift, I know.) I had $40 in my pocket--that was it. My nerves were raw. I was excited. I was petrified. Then, coming around the bend out of customs, there He was. My heart thumped, and in an instant, I knew I had made the right decision.
I had separated from the US Navy that April. I went through all of the paperwork to separate locally there in Spain. Then, after spending another month together with then Boyfriend, we decided that a long distance relationship wouldn't work and we went our separate ways. He remained in Spain and I flew back to the US to begin my post-military life. That arrangement lasted all of three months! E-mails back and forth. Intoxicated 4am phone calls--all from his end, never from mine! At some point we figured out that we needed to be on the same continent and since I was the one in a position to move--I bought the plane ticket and arrived back in Spain September 5th.
The next several months weren't without drama. Legal issues, waiting on my birth certificate-- waiting on the marriage proposal itself--all held up the process. Held it up to the point where I was this close to being deported. Fortunately, thankfully, we had good local friends who were able to walk me through the police red tape--visa pictures, proof of health insurance (I actually had to purchase local insurance), proof of hospitalization insurance (since I was a veteran I did have access to the base hospital), a letter of my intentions (I was there to get married) and a bank statement showing I had adequate funds to support myself for the duration of my stay (we transfered all of Boyfriend's paycheck into my account, printed off a statement and transfered-most-of if back). Once all of the above was completed, translated and summited I was granted a three month visa extension and allowed to remain in the country.
December 20th, 1998...we were married here. In the Plaza Naranjos in the Cathedral of Seville. Just the two of us, huddled there in the cold, with my parents as my dad married us. It was beautiful and perfect and I can't imagine being married any other way.