Living on an island, especially one like Tenerife, can make one feel like an insect fixed in amber. Time seems to move slowly here, if at all. The weather has a distinct pattern in Puerto de la Cruz. The mornings are bright and sunny, while the afternoons are usually cloudy as the cool air crawls in from over the mountains. All the days move forward lazily like sap dripping from a tree. Cars and tourists blur by, but even they seem to have certain circular rhythms to them.
But the gray strands in my hair now beg to differ, as do the crows feet around my eyes. So is my growing belly. They are evidence that time has continued forward as stubbornly as ever.
Coming to Tenerife
I came to Spain in 2016, at 28 years old. I had decided it was finally time to make my goals happen, as I had an “it’s now or never” moment. Before making the trip, I went on several dates, perhaps subconsciously trying to find love and excuses to stay in Oklahoma, even though living in Spain had been my dream since I was about 20 years old. I had finally found a career with OKDHS (Oklahoma Department of Human Services), and it was one that could have led to owning a house and adopting a dog. However, I dreamed of seeing the world, and not just for vacation. I half- expected to only stay a year, but I couldn’t have foreseen making a life here in Tenerife.
I met my media naranja, Esteban, and we moved from Madrid to the Canary Islands mid-pandemic in 2020. Now, we are in Tenerife, expecting our first child. Even though I have been the arbiter of my own destiny, I sometimes suspect that I was set on a winding path that I was definitely meant to follow. I felt so incredibly certain that I needed to come to Spain, and then later to Tenerife, that it wasn’t until I was actually on the plane that reality set in.
I packed my bags to start over once more, putting everything I could into two large suitcases. I had a fuzzy outline of a plan that included becoming officially self-employed and teaching online classes, as soon as I l secured an apartment. When I finally was on the plane, though, a sudden panic broke through my haze of perpetual blind faith and confidence in myself, shouting at me, “Oh my God! What are we doing???” I can answer that question now. Mostly we are trucking along through each day, working and enjoying the small moments of bliss that life in Tenerife can bring.
Embracing the Pregnancy
I have to admit that the pregnancy was unplanned. I’d like to say that it brought me joy from the very first moment that I suspected it,but the honest truth is that I rather liked my life how it was before. I wasn’t making a lot of money, but it was enough for a child-free lifestyle in Tenerife. My apartment isn’t huge, but it’s quite perfect for two people. I hadn’t been traveling much recently but the option to be spontaneous was always there (well, after the pandemic lockdowns calmed down a bit).
I liked my body. I had been working out and eating healthy for a couple of years in a row. I had become a certified scuba diver and was looking forward to doing more scuba trips and adding on extra certifications. Pregnancy definitely threw a wrench into all of those things. I always liked the idea of having a traditional family, but it had never been my number one priority. I always thought that if I aged out, maybe adoption could be an option.
There were a lot of feelings and impressions, some of which feel rather silly to write “out loud”, to process surrounding choices and options. I thought about how I might feel if I saw children around the would-be former due date if I decided that I didn’t deserve to be, couldn’t be, or shouldn’t be a mom at all . I thought about my age and wondered if it was actually a miracle that I was pregnant in the first place, since I had never had a pregnancy scare in my life. Also, I considered how many times I remarked to Esteban that we were in the perfect place to raise a family. Children run around in groups here, playing soccer in the plazas and laughing, safe and carefree.
The climate in Tenerife is perfect. Parents make outings to Playa Jardin and introduce their little ones to the ocean for the first time. Their little screams of joy and wonder had been filling my heart with longing for a while. Right before I got the news, a white dove landed on our terrace and seemingly stared at us in such a way that it felt like some kind of sign. Esteban and I are very stable as a couple, and have had so much time to get to know each other and grow in our adoration for and commitment to each other. I considered that the child, which I now know to be a boy, would grow up feeling secure and loved immensely. When someone said to me, “Where two can eat, three can eat as well,” that was that.
Life in Tenerife Now
I’m enjoying my life: watching the misty mountains, observing the snow on Teide, swimming throughout the year( even February), painting in my free time, feeling my baby’s kicks, which startle me with happiness every once in a while. The physical kicks may wake me up a bit day to day or night to night, but impending motherhood has awakened me in other ways.
I have finally put in motion things that I had been putting off for years (again, where did the time go?). For example, I bought some resin because I’d like to try my hand at making jewelry with flower blossoms. I framed a couple of paintings and found a store that let me put them up for sale. I also found some online print-on-demand stores and was able to set up online businesses through Etsy and Redbubble. I hope that, with any luck, they take off.
Some things have had to go on the back burner, of course. Esteban and I planned to see all of the Canary Islands at some point, especially El Hierro and La Gomera, and one day we will. Traveling will just take a bit of extra planning now, whereas before we could be much more spontaneous. I wanted to finally get my masters in art therapy, since I finally had my ducks in a row in that regard after I completed the necessary psychology courses for the prerequisites to apply to a master’s program. Oh, well. Hopefully, time and money will allow me to follow that particular dream when it’s the right time.
What’s Next for Us?
Only time will tell, but as far as I can predict, the next several months, or even years in Tenerife, will be filled with sleepless nights and even sleepier eyes. They will also be filled with joy and giggles and burbling and coos. What I know for sure is that we’re really excited for the next chapter in our lives and our next adventure.
Curious to delve deeper into Amanda’s captivating journeys in Tenerife? Check out one of her first experiences and prepare to be inspired.