It does feel a little easier to recover from culture stress here.
Friday, October 28, 2016
They celebrated fall at Silas's school today. There was dancing, a lot of scarves and little girls in aprons. A friend showed us a picture of last year to ensure Silas was properly attired. We didn't understand a single word, and neither did he. I can't even spell the name of the holiday. But it was very cute.
Go hug a foreign mom at your next PTA meeting and ask her if she needs any help. Seriously.
Jude told us that those hard sought pine nut balls stayed in his backpack during the party. He preferred to eat his leftover peanuts from the morning snack.
Apparently, we have quite a long way to go before we have moderately adjusted to our new culture.
Thankfully, we have a long weekend ahead of us.
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Hubs turns 36 today. I think that's considered the peak of your prime, right? The boys bought him a ninja turtle cake to celebrate. We had a morning meeting, that took us past the seriously beautiful B@rcelona Cathedral. This city is amazing.
Then hubs was off to language class, home for dinner and the reading of Narnia before bed. This guy is unbelievable. He just gets kinder, wiser, and more in love with the Bible every year. Christ in him is a glorious display in our home, and this world around us.
Happy Birthday to my favorite 1980s baby!
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
It is autumn. We finally live in a country with four seasons. We bought coats for the boys this weekend. They are wearing sweatpants now to school. And apparently, clementines are this seaon's delight.
Jude brought home a note today saying that they are celebrating with roasted chestnuts on Friday at school. (At least, that's what we think after a round with Google translate.) We've been informed that we can purchase them on the street this week. I love culture. Roasting chestnuts?! I can definitely embrace that.
To everything there is a season. A time for every purpose under heaven. It is a new season for us. And gifts abound.
Monday, October 24, 2016
One of the things that caught us off guard in Europe is the enormous amount of graffiti. It's everywhere! In the nice neighborhoods, in the declining areas. On churches and monuments. It's startling.
And then every once in a while, you run into a wall that's a lot more than just graffiti. It's art.
See that window? When you peek inside, there's an abandoned building that is full of amazing art. I love finding jewels like this....just walking down the street!
Friday, October 21, 2016
This was our elevator exit stand off, right after he threw himself down in the aisle of a shop, and then sat down in the middle of the side walk on the way home. I had a large box in my hand. (And don't worry, the elevator hate was open so it doesn't move.)
Have I mentioned this is not my favorite stage.
But then I rocked him to sleep and kissed his face while he cuddled me tight. And I loved this stage all over again.
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
I have reached the non-essential stage of household set up. (Let me acknowledge heartily that that is relatively speaking as a family living in the modern first world.) Our internet which I suppose is non-essential...has not taken the hint. I am typing on my tiny phone screen. And if you've sent me an email lately you're aware....its just not conducive to correspondence.
I have begun framing things though, a sure sign that the end is near. Of course, the actual hanging could take some weeks yet.
I pulled out one of my favorite prints of all time and put it in a frame tonight. A friend gave this to me years ago when in lives in Southern Africa. I've always loved it, perhaps because of the title: "I am a wanderer no more."
I seriously think I have shopper's fatigue.
I'm glad there is a budget for this, and that I'm coming to the end of it. I like living among beautiful things a lot more than I like picking them out.
In light of this, I took a language test today and attempted to enroll for Monday morning. I admit that I'm a bit relieved they want me to wait for the start of the session in November. I could use a week to breath. Hubs, who is planning to attend another school, will most likely start sooner. Round 2 of language, here we come.
Home tour coming soon. Ok. As soon as we actually have Internet!
Monday, October 17, 2016
This is a twenty minute walk from our new house. We definitely upgraded in scenery this year. There is a lot to explore.
Let me add, to give you a bit of reality at the end of this wild Monday, that European birth rates are steadily declining. This, after just a few weeks in metropolitan life, makes perfect sense to me. Three children is a big handful in the city. People walk everywhere. And currently, we are like a moving circus. People do generally stop and stare, in a friendly way.
I love these boys and their big souls. And though I have been tempted of late, I wouldn't trade them in for all the peace, quiet and cafe time in the world.
Happy Monday to you!
Friday, October 14, 2016
It's Friday. This has been one seriously long week. We celebrated the completion of the first week of school with Happy Meals. We've had a few tears, a couple learning curves....but all in all, it was a good week. This is not going to be easy though. I may have underestimated the language-factor.
In other news, the house is fully functional. The boxes are few. The furniture is no longer in pieces. The living room is almost done, sans curtains and wall frames. (we are having some drilling issues;( We are currently celebrating our couch. It's seriously a luxury to have a couch to relax on. I have that for granted. Fresh appreciation now.
Last night I walked a mile with a clothes drying rack on my head in the pouring rain. It was still wrapped in plastic and made a very good cover for me. The clothes needed to be dried and the lines are out our rainy window. Why did no one tell me it rains every day in October? We needed a drying rack. I walked past the Plaza de Catalunya, and the famous Gaudi apartment building and the Concepcio Market. I had a clothes rack on my head. And I felt like a local. Because what tourist would see those things with a drying rack in hand on her way home?
Here we are, learning to live in a big European city.
(And just for the record, I haven't actually seen any locals with drying racks on their heads...but I'm sure they would if they found themselves walking in the rain without an umbrella with a basketful of wet clothes at home.)
It's Friday. I'm very glad.
Monday, October 10, 2016
We are about a month behind on the actual start of school. But you do need an address to actually register, so we've been moving as fast as we could.
Today was our "first" day.
Jude seemed to get along pretty well. He said he had Catalan class this morning with a few other kids. (Yep, school is taught in not one, but two foreign languages.) He has an Irish boy in his class, and they are seated together. That seemed to be a bonus for him. It's a big deal to have an English-speaking friend in these parts. Tomorrow is an all-day field trip to a farm.
It seems likely that it will either go really well and be a super fun class bonding time or it could be a pretty rough day. I'm holding back my inclination to say...woah, too much for Day 2! Immersion. They call this language immersion. And it is hard, but effective.
Silas, my little extrovert, was completely shy and serious. It was a hard day for him but he took it like a champ. His teacher is precious and her attempts at broken English totally won my heart. She seems very empathetic. He went half day today, and came home to sit on the porch and read himself a story. He may take a bit longer to go a full day than I anticipated.
As for the rest of us, David accomplished a crazy long list of appointments and set ups, helped me with Asher and cleaned the guest house for check out. I unpacked 9 of the 10 suitcases, put together our kitchen, cooked a real dinner and measured for yet another IKEA run tomorrow.
We are tired. In a good way.
Thursday, October 6, 2016
Nine years ago we married. I still can't wrap my mind around how gracious God has been to give me this husband. We are knee deep in IKEA parts, and I wouldn't trade it in for the most romantic dinner in the world. I love being with this guy!
That said, I'm hinting strongly that the big 10 might be a good time for a Mediterranean cruise, since we did just move to a port city and all;)
Happy 9th Anniversary to us!
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
The painters are in. They seem to be moving along with that fresh coat of paint.
We’ve had some desperate moments at Ikea this week. Decisions are hard. But the list of big items is complete and with all the call numbers in hand, hubs made the run today for the final order. The delivery of most of our furniture should arrive tomorrow. In boxes. We will, at that point, be surrounded by paint cans, screws, bed pieces, suitcases and drills. The hopeful move in date is Monday. (Though we are anticipating most of the furniture will still be in pieces at that point.) The boys are scheduled to start school that day too. I’m not sure they really understand that they really do not speak the same language. Silas looks at me with a big smile and says, “Hola,” followed by, “Hey, Mom! I know Spanish now!” Yep. Could be a long week next week.
To be honest, despite the beach pictures I keep posting, this has been one of the most stressful seasons I can remember. I’ve considered a trip to the airport more than once. It is hard to set up house, schools, residency status, parking, etc in a foreign country. It’s hard just to feed these children every day. But it is getting easier. And we are on our way to a more normal routine here. That said, this place is really amazingly beautiful and I still can’t believe we get to actually live here.
We are currently staying at a little guest house in a beach town about 45 minutes away from the city. It’s really a gift. We could be in a tiny hotel room right now. Since the apartment hunts is over though, David is doing most of the work in the city this week and I am staying back with the kids. It is somewhere around 450 square feet inside this little “casita.” (The Spanish word for little house.)
There are precarious ledges above that everyone likes to dance around so that I can hyperventilate. Laundry time is a favorite for Asher now. He hurls laundry pins from the roof while I chase him. The beach is a mile away. At first that seemed too far to walk by myself with the boys. Wee bit of mom-desperation going on. I feel like I have about 12 children right now. I am aware that the reality is that I have three. But it feels like so much more in this midst of all this chaos. This week though, we’ve been hitting the sand every day. The open skies are doing us good. But I’m going to honest: I need someone to give me a pep talk on “teaching your children with kindness on your lips” this week.
Not my best season of mothering. We are surviving though and for the most part, with smiles on our faces and laughter in our “casita."