Although plans to emigrate usually aren’t made overnight, there is always a moment when the tone of the conversation changes. From vague plans, beautiful daydreams and alcohol-influenced talks to the point where someone actually slams their fist on the table and says: “We’re just going to do it. Tomorrow I will book a flight to Spain and we will view some houses.” I remember who it was. My mother. I remember when it was. Just before my thirty-third birthday. And I remember where it was. In wine bar Vicini in Geleen. Where we were enjoying some tapas and wine. And although I believe that the best plans are not always made under the influence of (too much) alcohol, that wasn’t the case in this case.

Because that’s the reason why we flew to Málaga, about five and a half years ago, on my birthday. To look at an old olive mill just outside Álora. That particular day in Vicini I could never have imagined that in less than a year we would view at least twenty other properties in almost as many different villages and/or cities. Nor that our Andalusian dream soon would become a Valencian reality. Because Álora and Antequera were soon followed by Pinoso and Cañada del Trigo. Crevillent. Novelda. Busot. Altea. Benissa. Benigembla. Sagra. Rafelcofer. Agres and Muro de Alcoy. Monserrat. Even Náquera. And I am one hundred percent certain that we would have bought the house in Náquera if we had been allowed to legally renovate the ruins on the property. Just like we would have bought the house in Agres. If the municipality had not had permission to build a highway over it (if desired). Or the house in Muro de Alcoy that, after further inspection, turned out to be just outside the urbanization. Something that would make obtaining a permit for a Casa Rural unnecessarily complicated.

And although I sincerely believe that we could have turned all those houses into something beautiful, it was not meant to be. Good thing, too. Because otherwise we would not have flown to Spain for another viewing, exactly a year after our first flight from Eindhoven to Málaga. To view the house that I can now confidently call home. I readily admit that our current house is not the most beautiful one we have seen during our search. But thát house may be buried under a beautiful pile of asphalt in the (near) future. It will undoubtedly shine there. And as soon as that happens, our current house, the runner-up, will of course be ready to (rightly) claim first place. I was therefore a bit sorry that I was forced to screw the Casa Rural sign with only two stars (damned bidets!) onto the front of the house just last week. Cest la vie. Nothing to be done about it. It’s not the end of the world. At least not for this house…