We sat in a bar during ‘las navidades’ sipping on glasses of red wine and nibbling on a selection of pintxos as we talked about being away from our families over the holidays to the meaning of the word brave.
Julie is one of the few American woman I’ve met here in San Sebastian and we are kindred souls, despite the 35 year age difference. She’s adventurous and, as some would say, brave. To us, this is a silly word, but we hear it often. She recently dropped her life in the United States to move to San Sebastian and better her Spanish. Even though she doesn’t plan on staying here as long as I do, I did the same exact thing just a few months ago.
Many friends back home and many new friends here have told us the same thing: you’re brave for packing your bags and taking off. We’re always humbled when people compliment us on our decision to move, travel, and leave our own country, however, we would never consider ourselves brave. Adventurous, yes. Free-spirited, maybe. But brave? We don’t feel brave.
Brave is one of my friends moms sticking her finger up at breast cancer and fighting it head on. Brave are the soldiers packing up their gear at home and stepping off the plane into war-zones. Brave are the people who stand up to terriorists, rapists, and politcal leaders abusing their power. Brave are the people who stand up for women’s rights, gay rights, and everything in between.
…But me? Brave? I don’t think so.
I’ve moved to a new country, sure. I had to battle the paperwork to obtain my visa, but that’s just part of the process. I’m learning the language. I’m earning enough money to live (& possibly save soon!) and that’s all I need. I’ve made wonderful friends. I’ve found great flatmates. To me, this is life as I know it. This is my normal.
There are different paths for every person and it’s just a matter of figuring out what’s right for you – whether if you feel like it’s normal or you’re making a brave decision to follow your dream – you have to go after it. No matter how you look at it you’ll only make yourself happy by following your path. So whatever makes you you, what makes you happy – follow it.