Well it’s official! This family of self-made expats, on a “Career Break”, left the U.S. six months ago to embark on our Living in Spain adventure. As with anything in life you have a plan and then let it evolve. Our original Plan for Living in Spain isn’t too far off from where we still are, but we would love to delay the last point. We will see how that goes over time.
Remember we did have “reasons” for moving to Spain. Feel free to refresh your memory with our original post: What are we trying to gain from living in Spain?. I thought it was only appropriate to summarize the past 6 months for you. Are we on the right path to reach our goals? Was this the right thing to do? Did we make a mistake? What were we thinking?
Our first 6 months Living in Spain:
The kids are Superstars! It is amazing how much they have learned. Here is a video where the kids show off their Spanish (Last minute or two). As far as Alan and I…we have made great progress as well, but at a much slower pace. We are able to communicate fairly well on most topics and can understand most as well. We are having conversations with other parents and chit-chat with strangers as well. I think we are doing well. Not fluent by any means, but we are focusing on several things while living in Spain and not just the language.
School is going very well for the kids. They both have loads of friends and are getting grades that are topping the class. I really don’t know how they do it. We told them coming into this, we didn’t care about their grades. Hello! Free pass from the parents to slack! I guess it just isn’t in their nature. The have a special “tutor” class for Spanish, so that is helping quite a bit. It has been an interesting and occasionally rough path, but they want to go to school here again next year. We will see.
We are all learning so much about the history and in most cases are actually able to see the history. The kid’s knowledge of geography has gone “off the map”. 🙂 Okay, I know Alan is the funny one, but I had to try. We have had countless meaningful discussions about life, nature, social cultures, adapting to change, and the list is miles long. I think the kids are learning far more than would have ever crossed their plate otherwise.
Believe it or not, this has been one of the biggest challenges. If you recall from some of Alan’s posts, he isn’t really the foodie (Little Differences, Big Differences). The kids are exploring a little more now compared to when we arrived. I guess you can say the family is taking baby steps in this area. I am sure over time, we will love Spanish food. The kids dig on the tapas and are now big olive fans. We are venturing into the eating fish world now and again. As you can see from any of our pictures, we aren’t starving so I am sure it will all work out.
This is a No Brainer! We are loving the culture. There is a fiesta for just about anything you can think of. We live, on a daily basis, near things that are 1000-2000+ years old! We all have a good understanding of the social norms in Spain vs U.S. We are even fortunate enough to be exposed to many French, British and German as well. The kids are understanding how small the world really is and embracing it with great curiosity. We have adapted to smaller spaces as well as Different Appliances. (I will have to update you on the appliances soon).
We have been exploring our little hearts out. It is difficult to be so close to so many different cultures and just waiting to go explore them. We have covered most of Southern Spain, as well as the full Eastern Coast.
The big tomato fight “La Tomatina“, near Valencia and the beautiful city of Barcelona. We celebrated the kick off of Carnaval in Cádiz. We managed a long weekend to Portugal (Algarve and Lisbon) and even made a few scenic detours on the way home. How many of you have stayed in a Cave house in the Sierra Nevada’s? You should give it a try. We experienced a Running of the Bulls. We spent a glorious week in Paris, France for Christmas. We have enjoyed much more, but you gotta dig through the blog to find it.
We were slightly above budget the first couple of months, but are now on track for our $100/day max for a family of four. We will be exploring more of Europe over the summer, so that will impact our budget for a couple of months as well. Overall, we are very pleased and will try to cut corners where we can to make up for upcoming travel.
What were we thinking?
We were thinking we had a dream and no one was handing it to us on a silver platter. We were thinking that you can’t be afraid to make our own dreams come true. We were thinking this is crazy. We were thinking clearly and are so happy we made this choice in our lives. We are thinking our options are endless, if we just put our minds to it.