Today a friend asked how we are feeling about our move. I can only speak for myself and the rest of the family can chime in on this post or their own, when they are ready. We have been in Spain for just 3 1/2 weeks (1 week on vacation, 1 and 1/2 weeks in Almuñecar looking and waiting for a place to live. As of tomorrow, we will have been in our apartment for 1 week and we are still getting settled.
The kids are in school and in a routine in that respect, so that has been helpful. We are about a 10-12 min leisurely walk to school and they attend from 9am-2pm. Often we pick them up in the car, as Alan and I are usually out running around and racing to get them at 2pm. Lars has quite a bit of homework each day, even on the weekends. He feels that because the school day is shorter, there is more homework. I bet that is true, what a smart kid. It takes a couple of hours for him to get through his homework as he needs to translate to English answer in English and then translate the final answer into Spanish in his workbooks. This is not required by the school, but all of the translation and use of the dictionary is helping us all with our Spanish vocabulary. Hey we know all there is to know about Plant and Animal tissues in Spanish now!
Anya hasn’t had much homework yet, in 3rd grade, but she seems to love school. The school paid for our books, but all of Anya’s needed to be ordered. We just picked up most of them yesterday, so I am sure homework is soon to come. She has made several friends, but of course misses her friends in NC. I honestly think she has grown an inch or two since we have been here. I have noticed it that past two days. She is my little Spanish weed, give her water food and the Mediterranean sun and off she goes.
Alan and I have been busy with getting our infrastructure in place. We have the roof over our heads, food on the table and a routine the kids are happy with. We have all of our legal paperwork complete as well. The final “administrative” type tasks are to buy a car and order internet. We have been car shopping and apparently it is no big deal to have dings all over your car around here. The roads are so narrow, it is almost a given. We have looked high and low and of course cars are tiny here. With Alan 6’5″, it has been a challenge just to get his knees under the steering wheel. I am sure he will do a post just on that topic.
The final task we are anxiously awaiting is internet in our apartment. We rented a TEP or mobile wifi access point for our 1st month. That is soon to run out and there is a limit on the data usage. We wanted to order last week when we moved in, but the internet place is “on vacation” Sept 8-20th. So they are closed, doors shut and we wait. Don’t you love Spain? They are open for business in the morning and Alan already has his alarm set (not that he needs it, the kids will get us up to go to school). From what we have heard it is about a 2 week wait once you order. Knowing that, we went ahead and extended our TEP, so we can continue with light usage of the internet.
I know all of this sounds very mundane and it is, but then layer on the foreign language and ta da! You have far more stress, frustration and energy expended. Other than being really excited and pretty tired, we are still loving it here. We still have a little to unpack and really be settled. Also a few odds and ends to buy to make things a little more comfy for us around the house (bath mats, paper towel holder, etc). We explore town little by little and enjoy the local markets. It is great fun just feeling the energy of the town.
I am having a few more conversations exclusively in Spanish. Nothing to extensive, but hey it is working! Every day I have a proud moment where I walk out of a place or a conversation and think to myself “wow, I just did that! There is no way I could have a month ago”. We are finally at a point where we will have some free time during the day. With that time, we will likely take some group Spanish lessons. This will not only help us with Spanish, but give us a social outlet as well.
We have met so many wonderful and helpful people. Everyone has been so kind and we remark on it daily. The kids and I went for a long walk last night to check out language schools around town (with stops at every park along the way). We stopped into the amazing Moorish building, because it looked cool and others were just walking in. Turns out it was the Tourist information office. We had a ball there. The grounds were incredible and the Dutch lady working there was so very helpful. Lars asked her how many languages she spoke and she replied that she can speak 8 languages fluently. The kids were in awe! They have several friends that are either tri lingual or multi lingual. They desire to learn as many languages as they can. I say go for it, but let’s get through Spanish 1st! I love that the magic dust of travel is already impacting them. It is a shame that in the USA we settle for English alone and expect everyone else to speak our language. They are now beginning to understand the bigger picture and how communication is the key to many things. 🙂 I am a very happy mom!
I must admit keeping up with the blog is a job in itself. 🙂 It is fun, but difficult to know what everyone is interested in reading about. Send us your questions or requests for into and we will gladly post.