Well, it’s official. I’m staying. But I’m also moving.
I’ve known for a while that I needed to make my mind up. I was due to return to my job in the UK in mid-December and I was due to leave the flat here in the centre of Valencia at the end of November. Due to the way the rental agency seems to work, I knew I needed to decide whether I was leaving or staying before someone else booked the room for December.
In the end, my decision was expedited by two factors. Firstly, the agency contacted me to ask whether I wanted to extend my stay. Around the same time, my friend told me she was going to be leaving Valencia for the winter and asked me whether I wanted to rent a room in her flat. It’s a lot smaller than my room here but it’s cheaper, I’d only be sharing the flat with two other people and there is a living room. It’s also much quieter than my room here (which is right next to the station) and it’s nearer to where I work. But of course it would mean moving, and it would mean leaving the friends I’ve made here.
It wasn’t an easy decision to make. I’ve had some really good times in this flat, but there have also been a few ups and downs (as tends to be the case with flat-shares). What to do?
In the end, I sat down and made a list of pros and cons. It still wasn’t decisive, but ultimately I thought that maybe now was the time to take a chance and to make a change.
Almost immediately afterwards, I started to question my decision but the agency have both emailed and phoned me to confirm it and I haven’t told them otherwise, so perhaps deep down I know that it’s the right thing to do.
Having got that decision out of the way – and having accepted some extra hours at work without giving too much thought to the consequences – I realised that I really didn’t have a decision to make about whether or not to stay in Valencia. I feel at home here. This is my place in the world. This is where I belong right now. If I’m honest, I think I’ve known for a long time that when it came to the crunch I wouldn’t be going back.
Of course, the whole Brexit situation does still throw some doubt on how long I’ll be able to stay but in the absence of confirmation either way, I had to take a positive view. And so, last week, I sat down and typed out the email to confirm my decision not to return to work in the UK. Despite my absolute conviction that it’s the right decision, I found this surprisingly difficult to do. I have some really fond memories of working there – and especially of the people I used to work with. But people move on. Things change.
And let’s be honest, I’ve moved on. Perhaps I’ve changed too. Or perhaps I’m still the same as I always was.
Either way, the decision is made. And despite my wobbles about changing flat, and despite the ongoing challenges of working with children, I have absolutely no doubt that the decision to stay in Valencia is the right one.