Our experience with schooling in Andalusia, Spain


Picture of my son’s classroom from the local paper. Source.

I thought I’d use this post to talk about our experience with schooling in Andalusia, Spain.  Before I do, however, I’d like to throw out a word of perspective.

This is merely a reflection on our experience and my specific interpretation of things at our neighborhood primary school.  It is not meant to be representative of all schooling in Spain.  Heck, if you were to query some of the other expat families attending the same school, they would probably have a different take as well.

We’ve also only passed the first trimester of the first year (about 4 months in).

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Favorite Florence


(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Over the extended winter break from school, our family made a visit to three of Italy’s most prominent cities:  Rome, Florence (with a side trip to Pisa), and Venice.  I realize that these photo journal posts aren’t the most riveting, but I feel obligated to save off some of the better pictures in case my hard drive crashes!

This was my fourth time to Florence and it gets better with every visit.  The sights and food available in this relatively small town are second to none.  It really wasn’t hard to improve on my first visit when I was pick pocketed by some kids decades ago.  Florence was recently added to our new list of “places to which we’d consider moving for a summer or longer”.

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Our $1,300 3-bedroom house in Granada, Spain

Where's Waldo? A view of our neighborhood as seen from the Alhambra. Our balcony has the U.S. and Spain flags as identifiers.

Where’s Waldo? A view of the neighborhood as seen from the Alhambra. Our balcony has the U.S. and Spain flags as identifiers (roughly in the middle of the photo).

Inspired by a couple of Go Curry Cracker’s posts outlining their digs while traveling to different continents, I thought I’d show you what ~$1,300 per month (1,000€) looks like in Granada, Spain.

Fortunately for us, the U.S. Dollar has strengthened against the Euro quite a bit since we first arrived a mere six months ago.  Back in July, our rent equated to about $1,430 per month.  Now that figure is down to $1,240.

So what do you get for that kind of money?

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Holiday Images in Granada


Reyes Magos – Three Kings

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Starting in early December, downtown Granada dresses up nicely in the holiday spirit.  Major streets are lined with lights and there is a festive mood that permeates the air.  It all comes to a head the evening of January 5 for the Cabalgata de Reyes Magos (Cavalcade of Magi) parade.

Note:  Santa Claus (Papa Noel) is a bit of an afterthought around here.  The real stars are the three kings and it is the morning of January 6 that kids receive their presents.

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La Maroma


“Hike tomorrow morning.  Room for 2 more.  Interested?”

This was a text I received from my expat buddy, Willie, who seems to always be in the know on such things.

Never mind that it was received at 8pm on Friday while out to dinner.

Or that my wife and I had just completed planning our busy Saturday – much of it separated ushering the boys from one activity to another.

Or that they were to depart in about 12 hours time.

Such is life in southern Spain.  You learn pretty quickly to just go with the flow.

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How to Obtain your Residence Visa once in Spain


To review, 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 Residence Card Pickup (in Spain)

If you are reading with great intent, it is probably because you’ve managed to get by Steps 1 and 2 and are preparing for (or recently started) your trip to Spain on some kind of long-term residence visa.  This post will cover Steps 3 and 4.

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Enchanting Córdoba


(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

We’ve had our fair share of family visitors lately.  When they spend several days with us, we tend to exhaust all of the most touristy things there is to see in Granada.  When that happens, we usually elect a day trip to our next favorite destination:  Córdoba.

Home to the Mezquita (Mosque) now turned Catholic Church, this remains one of my most favorite sites in all of Europe – right up there with the Alhambra and Sistine Chapel.

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Trompo Magic

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“Sorry guys.  We can’t buy that because we’ll be moving to Spain soon and don’t want to pay to put it in storage.  Why don’t you save your money for when we get there?”

I must have said these words every month for the year leading up to our move abroad.  Every time our boys received money for a birthday or holiday we’d go through the routine of establishing how much they would put to savings, how much to donate, and their remaining spending money.  Much to their chagrin, their savings and spending buckets had become one for the better part of a year.

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