August 2014 Vignettes

Performers from around the globe converge on Edinburgh in August for Fringe Festival

Performers from around the globe converge on Edinburgh in August for Fringe Festival

August was vacation month.  The locals clear out of town to various locales, usually to either the beach or more northern climates.  The neighborhood gets really quiet with the exception of the tourists.  Lucky for us, we had planned to do the same.

Continue reading

Spanish Residence Permit – Approval and Visa Pickup

Visa

This post is long-overdue and the second part of rounding out the non-lucrative visa process for Spain while still in your home country of the U.S.

In my mind, there are four (4) main steps to obtaining a Residence Permit for Spain via a non-lucrative visa.  They are:

Step 1.  The Application (from the U.S.)

Step 2.  The Approval and Visa pickup (from the U.S.)

Step 3.  The Arrival (to Spain)

Step 4.  The Card Pickup (in Spain)

Continue reading

July 2014 Vignettes

IMG_9043

There is an argument to be made that we are very much turning Spanish.

Like many of the Granadinos around us, we too have taken the month of August off (at least where this blog is concerned).  I do appreciate the handful of emails from complete strangers seeing if everything is all right and asking how we are carrying on.  It’s flattering to know that some folks are trying to keep up with us.  Some sound rather disappointed there haven’t been posts lately.

We have subjects of numerous posts planned, but life has been so busy traveling for 3 weeks in the UK, meeting new friends, opening bank accounts, procuring phones, and all the other tasks needed to settle a family in a new town that I’m so exhausted by night’s end to be able to muster up a blog post.

With that said, here are some snippets from my wife’s personal Facebook account that you may enjoy.  In a nutshell, we’re getting along stupendously (a popular word here in Spain – estupendamente!).

Continue reading

What they didn’t tell me…surprises living in Granada Spain

Son's drawing of the view of the Alhambra from our rooftop deck.

Son’s drawing of the view of the Alhambra from our rooftop deck.

For those of you that know me, you know I’m a planner and don’t like surprises.  During the last year of organizing and prepping for our move, I can’t even guess as to the number of hours I’ve spent online.  As dozens of bloggers and online expat forum users can attest, I haven’t been shy about pelting the overly kind and responsive with question after question.

That, and having visited and lived in different parts of Spain a couple of times prior, I didn’t think there would be many surprises.  With that said, below is a list of new realizations after living here for the last 3 weeks.

Continue reading

How to get Passport Photos for $0.35

Bad Passport Photo2

What’s that you say?  You need an abundance of cheap passport photos?

Please, for the love of Pete, do not make my mistake.  Do not go down to your local Walgreens or CVS store and get them done there.  It may seem like it is convenient, but here’s why it is a bad idea:

  • That kid working the photo counter was just trained yesterday on how to use the equipment and you’ll be his/her first customer.
  • Oh, and they’ll be able to get to you right after they checkout those 8 people in line in front of you.
  • You only get one try at your photo so you’d better make it a good one!
  • It’ll cost you over $10 per person for two (2) lousy photos of the proper size.

If you only need a couple of photos every 10 years for your passport renewal, this may be acceptable.  If you are moving to new country, applying for visas, international driving permits, and to foreign schools, you will need umpteen numbers of passport photos.  All potentially in different sizes, so…

Here’s what to do instead

Continue reading

Sweating the little things (or little people) – Part 1 – US departure

IMG_8005

One of the biggest challenges logistically and emotionally for our adventure is taking on this trip with our twin eight year-old sons.  Jed and I have always wanted to live abroad and it is only in the past few years that we realized that this was an experience that we wanted to share as a family.

Adding kids to the scenario meant that we had to think through things like access to good schools and a safe neighborhood as we determined where to take our sabbatical.  As we dug deeper we looked for a welcoming school community so the kids would feel at home.  We also looked for a city with other sports and creative activities that would be available to the whole family to round out our experience.

Continue reading