Friday, September 15, 2006

What are we doing in Spain?

So the news of our trip to Madrid came as a surprise to many of our friends, especially those of you who haven't seen us for awhile. The simple explanation for the unexpected news is that it was a fairly spontaneous decision on our part to relocate our family here. Given that we sprung this blog on our friends with little explanation of our reasons for being in Madrid, I figured an explanation was due for why we are here and how long we will be staying.

In mid-June while I was studying for the Bar, we were simultaneously in the process of trying to buy a house in Westchester County near where we were currently living. A wonderful family in our ward was moving back to Utah and they were going to great lengths to make a deal possible so that we could rent to own, as necessitated by my lack of work experience (i.e. a paycheck). Unfortunately, due to unexpected circumstances on both sides, the house didn't work out. Fortunately that relieved some significant stress for me right in the midst of my Bar studies.

At this point however, we were in limbo, given that we were already packing up for our move and had made arrangements to get out of our lease. It turns out around this same time, the law firm for which I would be working beginning in the Fall sent out an e-mail requesting starting associates to consider working in one of the foreign offices, Madrid being one of the options. I contacted the recruiting department, and spoke with the Partner who runs the Madrid office and in short order I was offered the chance to join the small, and very busy corporate legal team in Spain. After a weekend of fasting and prayer, Eryka and I decided to displace our family, drag our little kids halfway around the world, and expose all of us to a new language and new culture (I do speak some Spanish, but since I served my mission in Brazil and have never lived in a Spanish speaking country, I'm still developing my ear for the language - Eryka is having a similar experience, except in reverse - she can understand a lot, but doesn't quite know what to say). Anyway, the fact is, our decision was well-thought and meticulously planned, but only over the space of a couple of days.

Well, shortly after telling our landlord we wanted to break our lease, and then renew our lease, we told him again we wanted to break our lease. Thankfully, we were able to find renters, and the firm came and packed up our stuff, and we took a three day drive across the country to visit with family in Utah and Las Vegas before making the journey to Spain.

The plan, according to me, and to the firm, is to have me work here for two years, after which time we'll be going back to New York where I will rejoin the office there. My experience here should certainly be different from what I would be getting in New York, since there are only four attorneys here as compared to 400 in Manhattan. But I'm looking forward to it, as I should get good exposure to clients and have the opportunity for increased responsibility aka gruntwork.

As far as living in Madrid is concerned, we're really excited for all of the opportunities. While certain costs of living seem to be much higher here, like food and basic necessities such as diapers and clothes, the cost of housing is much lower than in New York. That means we get to live in a posh place just one block away from my office. That is, we get to live there if the contract works out - hopefully everything is in order so that we can sign on Monday.

We really like being back in city-style living. We like not having to rely on a car, and we really enjoy all the parks and cultural opportunities that are close by. We're also very excited to begin exploring Europe once we get settled in. This is the first we've ever been to Europe, and we're glad we have two years to be here, because with kids, we'll need that much time to be able to visit the places we want to on a timetable that works for everyone.

Anyway, I hope that explains the unexpected news of our arrival in Spain, and some of our plans for while we're here. But as you can tell, our plans are constantly changing, so remember to check back often to see the new flavor of the week.


Anonymous said...

This is Tim and Nancy.
We love the blog and we are so happy to hear you are doing good. Just wanted to let you know that we do read your blog.

Aaron & Debbie said...

Ok, that makes sense. Thanks for this post. I love checking your site, it makes me feel like I have traveled for the day:)