The stress of our US departure was behind us. We were on our way to Spain. Weeks of purging, packing and cleaning our house were at an end. Jed and I were certainly very relieved when we boarded our flight. As to be expected with any big move, the calm was short lived.
The 7-hour time zone difference hit everyone hard when we first arrived. Thankfully it is summer break and the kids have no activities planned in the morning, plus Spaniards eat meals much later than we did in the US. In the end, we decided to let the jet lag help us shift our boys’ (A&V) daily schedule about 4 hours. They wake up at about 10 am, eat dinner at 10pm and go to bed at midnight. We all use the siesta hours from about 3-6pm to stay indoors and relax. We nap occasionally but similar to Spaniards, not every day.
When we first arrived to the house in Granada, I found that I was anxious to get the house stocked with groceries. To me nothing feels more like home than being able to eat all of your meals there. I was prepared but still surprised by the intense walking nature of our neighborhood. We live 1000 steps either uphill or downhill on cobblestone lanes from the closest mini-market. And much further from larger grocery stores. I was thankful to find out that the main grocery stores have delivery services for a reasonable price. Our first grocery order was placed online the very night we arrived and delivery was set for 2 days later. Having a full pantry improved everyone’s tired and jet-lagged dispositions. It also bought us some time to figure out the best grocery routine for us. Three weeks later, we find that it includes a combination of fruit stands, bakeries, mini-markets and large grocery stores.
Part of settling into a city is finding our neighborhood park. A&V were very excited to find this park just a 5-minute walk from our house. The park has standard playground equipment for kids as well as outdoor exercise equipment for adults. We’ve become regulars and find ourselves there most days in the evening.
For the past year we convinced A&V to save their money in lieu of buying new toys in the US because of our planned move out of the country. All of their US toys would have to go into storage therefore it didn’t make sense to buy more toys. Better to save their money and buy toys in Spain. The boys did a great job saving, and we made sure that we got them to the local toy store within the first week of our arrival. A&V seemed overwhelmed with choices when they first walked into the store, but not surprisingly they ended up right in front of the Lego display. It wasn’t until later when we were home and they had their Lego pieces arranged on the floor that I realized that this was a huge step towards making the kids feel more at home in our new house. A&V are big Lego fans. There was always a huge pile of Legos waiting for them in our family room in Wisconsin. A&V would often listen to music and play for hours with those Legos. Here they were, listening to music and playing for hours with their Legos in our new family room in Granada.
It is summer break in Spain and school it out so it’s a bit tricky to find new friends. We’ve been quite lucky that they hit it off well with our neighbor’s two sons. During our toy store trip we picked up 4 water soakers in the hope that A&V would have friends to play with soon enough. The weather has been hot and perfect for a good water fight.
Additionally we were able to get A&V into a weeklong soccer clinic. A&V not only got a few hours to play with some other kids but also some practice listening to native Spanish from their coaches.
It also turned into an excellent exercise in making our way around town via the city bus.
We found that even a few hours spent at the soccer clinic with other kids really improved A&V’s dispositions with each other.
Our time in Spain is guaranteed to expose our family to new adventures and routines. I’m also finding that there is a place for old routines. The old routines are familiar, known and comfortable like hours of playing Legos in the family room. The new routines provide rhythm to life in our new city like evening trips to the park on the hill, or bus trips home from a soccer clinic. As parents we are learning to shift our rules for our boys to suit the Spanish lifestyle. It’s a work in progress but we’re enjoying it so far.