Can you believe we have been expats in Spain for 18 months?! It is absolutely amazing how fast the time has flown by. We are in “just normal life” here and for us Almuñécar has been the best place to live in Spain. No matter where we travel, upon return, our choice is validated with that comfortable feeling of home.
When it was just a dream
A few years ago, when a life of living overseas was just a dream, we felt we were lacking culture and good quality family time. We wanted the kids to study Spanish more than what they were getting in their public school. They would learn Spanish songs for kids, like colors in Spanish for kids, similar to learning our ABC’s. We all remember those songs as adults as well, but it doesn’t help with conversation and to speak in Spanish in their daily life.
In addition, our travel was limited to the few weeks of vacation we received each year. We would usually break it up into 1 week segments, so we could travel to more locations. Of course, by doing this we also limited our time in each place. It seemed we would just be getting into a routine and beginning to de-stress from the daily grind and then it was time to pack up from our vacation and return to work. This just wasn’t enough for us, so we had to get pretty creative to make our dreams of living abroad with the kids come true.
Making the dream a reality
We scoured the web and found other families traveling full-time and realized the possibilities were there for the taking. Our dreams were just within our reach. After several in-depth family conversations and gleaning inspiration from others, we decided to commit to living the international life. With this decision we had to dig deep to solidify why we wanted to do this and make clear goals. Of course we wanted the kids to learn Spanish, so we chose from countries that speak Spanish.
Here is more info on our selection process:
- How we chose to live in Spain.
- Moving Abroad? How To Select The Country, Town &
Make The Move
- Where are we going to live?
Our original plan for living abroad was to live in Spain for 12 – 24 months and we are just about there. As with any plan, things can change and we have delayed the “return to the USA” bullet in our original goals. Check out our new plans!
Time to speak in Spanish
One of our options was to enroll the kids in one of the international schools in Spain. There is a great international school here in Almuñécar, but they teach in English. We wanted full Spanish immersion and felt it was best for the kids to have school in Spanish. We have interviewed the kids along the way to let you hear their progress with Spanish. Sometimes they were a little gun-shy and would freeze up a bit for the camera. After 18 months, I hope you can see and hear the difference in their confidence when they speak in Spanish. It turns out it isn’t actually limited to Spanish-speaking, they are far more confident in general. The life of travel and culture has really just become part of their life and they now crave learning and experiencing new things.
For them Spanish is just like English, they can just think in Spanish and it is now second nature. I am not saying there weren’t some frustrating moments along the way and of course, they are still learning. In school they are right on par or above the rest of the class in their subjects.
Let the emotions run wild
I have to admit, I am overwhelmed with emotion when I hear them speak in Spanish. Even as I type this, sitting in one of my favorite heladerias, sipping a coffee, surrounded by locals, I have tears running down my face. I don’t care what they think or how I look, I am so proud of our children, our family and our accomplishments. It is an amazing feeling to have a collective family dream and see it to fruition and beyond.
Here’s to 18 months living in Spain and to our future plans!
Check out our past interviews with Lars and Anya,
hear them speak in Spanish, and compare the difference.
- 6 Months Living in Spain – What were we thinking?
- 6 Months Living in Spain – What do the Kids Think?
- Nearly 10 Months Living in Spain – What do the Kids Think?
- 1 Year Living In Spain – Interview With Lars & Anya
- How Much Did It Cost To Live In Spain For 1 Year?
More info on our Public School in Spain
- Kids 1st trimester grades Fall of 2012 (1 year ago) –
- This wouldn’t happen in US, or at least not in our school in North Carolina.
- General Comparison Our Spanish School compared to our North Carolina School
- The school provided us a free Spanish tutor and most of the books.
- 1 year summary of school
Do you speak Spanish? Do you want to learn to speak in Spanish? Here are the tools we have used in addition to immersion.