“I want to spend the rest of my life in a small town in Spain in a quaint house with a green door,” said Caroline confidently to her class during her first day of freshman year in high school. A few of the students laughed and her teacher’s face revealed the doubts within of her student’s life goal.
Caroline proudly told her mother about her goal. Her mother nodded but remained silent. After a few minutes, she responded, “That’s miles and miles away from Ohio, Caroline. How are you going to get there?” Caroline looked down and shrugged. For having such an ambitious goal, the freshman teenager had no concrete plans of making it happen. “Hmm…” replied her mother.
After speaking to her mother, Caroline quietly told her father about her goal. Her father said, “Okay, great.” They didn’t speak of it again.
But the next day, Caroline’s mother took her to the bank and opened up a savings account in Caroline’s name. “If you’re going to live in Spain, you better start saving now. The old lady K down the road is looking for someone to trim her plants and pick her a fresh bouquet of flowers every week from her garden. You can start there. Just make sure you wear gloves.” Caroline couldn’t have felt more loved than in that moment from her mother.
Her mother was never a woman of many words, but a woman of productive action. She helped get Caroline a few more jobs after that and took Caroline to the bank once a week to put money into her savings. Caroline’s mother allowed her to earn money at home to pay for bills by cooking dinner, washing the cars, and taking care of the chickens. And when Caroline left for college, her mother had tears rolling down her cheeks. A calm cry from a strong woman. It was the first time Caroline had ever seen her cry. “Don’t give up on Spain. Remember that.” Caroline nodded, hugged her parents, and drove away to college.
Caroline majored in Spanish, fell in love with a few boys, was heartbroken by all of them, made great friends, made worse enemies, and spent her last year traveling abroad in Spain where she found herself standing in front of a quaint house in a small Spanish town with a yellow door. “C’mon!” called her friends waiting for her to jump in the van. They were passing through and grabbed a bite to eat when she saw it. Cobblestone walkway leading up to a small, bright white house that was recently painted. Whether by coincidence or fate, her life dream in front of her. Others rushing and her standing still. Her heart pounded, her head rushed, her insides tumbled. Could this be it? she thought. She hesitantly walked up to the door and slowly gave it a few knocks, half hoping that no one would answer. But an old, short Spanish woman with deep wrinkles around her eyes and sucked in cheeks opened the door. Words weren’t necessary; the old woman’s eyes kindly greeted Caroline and the house smelled of garlic, saffron, rosemary, and bread. Caroline spoke to her in Spanish, introducing herself and politely asking how much the house was worth and how long the woman had been there. The old woman listened intently with her brown eyes locked on Caroline. Finally, she nodded, closed the door for a moment, opened the door, handed Caroline a piece of paper, and closed the door. Caroline stared at the paper, too focused to hear the van honking behind her. She must have read it a dozen times.
“Veo tu pasión. Soy dueño de la casa. Mi hija heredará la casa. Hablar con ella.”
Caroline laughed the more she read it, tears welling in her eyes. “I see your passion. I own the house. My daughter will inherit the house. Talk to her,” Caroline spoke the words slowly and loudly in English. At the bottom was a few numbers scribbled, which was the old woman’s daughter’s address.
Fifteen years ago, Caroline told her dream to her teacher and her parents. Five years ago, she met an old Spanish woman who lived in her dream house and was willing to sell it. A year ago she moved into her dream house – a quaint house in a small Spanish town. And the first thing she did was paint the door green.