Since 2014, January has been “get ready to leave for Spain” month in our household. Some years a few of us didn’t go until later, but because El Guapo has classes that begin around January 20th each year, his departure has been a constant.
This year, things are not going according to plan. When he brought all of his documents to the Spanish Consulate (now that we live in Utah, that means a trip to Los Angeles), the folks there said that the visa process was taking two to three weeks. We’re long past three times three weeks at this point, and powerless is a good word for how we feel.
“Don’t call us; we’ll call you,” is the instruction issued by officials, but El Guapo did check in at the end of last week to ask if everyone’s visas were being delayed, or was he just special. An agent told him that the office in Madrid had contacted them to ask for a copy of his passport and work contract, which they’d received three months ago, but another copy was sent. (I’ve wondered just where the first set of documents is currently located—tucked as a bookmark in someone’s weekend reading? Lining the bottom of a birdcage? Holding up a rickety table leg?)
Last Friday I saw this request for copies of documents as a good sign: at least someone in an office somewhere had been looking at his case. As each additional day passes, my optimism is challenged further. Here we are, sitting with the plan we’ve had, not sure how best to proceed.
With such matters on my mind, I ran into this little quote from novelist E.M. Forster:
We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
All well and good, I guess, but what is that likely to mean in the near term? El Guapo can make arrangements for someone else to teach the first week or two of classes, think about video-conferencing, etc., but if tomorrow he gets a call that his visa has arrived, then the next day he’s likely to be on a plane to pick it up.
It feels a little bit like our current situation isn’t quite the one that Forster was speaking to. But maybe people who are stuck don’t tend to view themselves as the ideal candidates for a lecture on letting go and moving on.
There certainly are circumstances that fit this maxim, or it wouldn’t have become a maxim. Perhaps while we occupy ourselves with filler tasks, we can give some thought to our willingness to let go, and wonder about the life that might be waiting for us.
[Images: El Guapo, pinterest.ca]