Today (Sunday) is the day…the big day. Moving day. The day we have been waiting months for. It’s here. It’s still a bit surreal and I think the chaos of the day is making it a little easier. We started the morning just finishing up our packing – more suitcases than we anticipated…really only one more. But Josh wasn’t thrilled by that. I think he forgets we have small children sometimes. But overall, a rather low key morning.
The afternoon brought more goodbyes. Like the ones before, they were filled with tears and hugs and promises to stay in touch. Do I really need to say more on this topic? Probably not – I cried as we pulled out of the driveway knowing it’s the last time we would see our house for a long long time. Aidan asked why I was crying. I just told him how much I would miss our home and our friends and that it’s ok to cry.
Once we were on our way, I felt a little better. Slightly carsick (I don’t do well in the backseat of the car) but better. That was, until we hit 93 in the Braintree area. I happened to mention something about Liam’s stroller and Josh said “I forgot it”. I will say, I probably did not handle that situation with much maturity and I may have called him an idiot which was probably not the most mature or appropriate thing to say in front of Aidan (Liam was fast asleep). Especially since I always tell Aidan what a bad word that is. Oh well… I still say, how could you forget the stroller!!!
So I asked the driver if he could please swing off 93 and head down Rte 3 because I knew there was a Babies R Us down there. I ran in like a woman gone mad and scrambled down to the stroller aisle. There was a sales person helping a very pregnant couple. In my mad woman craziness, I said “excuse me, I’m on my way to the airport to move overseas and my idiot husband forgot the stroller – can I borrow your sales guy for a moment PLEASE??”. I don’t think they knew how to handle me. So I asked the guy about the Maclaren stroller (that I just bought 2 months ago) and he was all out. The best I could do for one in stock since I didn’t exactly have time to do any stroller testing. He had one floor model on sale for $200. I’ll take it!!! It’s already assembled, red and black so masculine (there was a lime green that I just didn’t think was Liam’s color) and we are good to go. “thanks so much” I yell as I run to the front of the store to pay. I told the cashier about my plight as well and she wished me luck. I think that was the fastest Babies R Us / Toys R Us trip EVER.
Now that we’ve started our journey with a tiny bump, we make it to the airport. Other than the very very long line to check in (we waited about ½ hr for check in), I have to say I really saw no new airport regulations. Because we had carseats, a stroller and a diaper bag, we actually ended up with 9 bags for check in. Hmmm…. So much for one bag each and then one extra for the DS. I think we were at the check in for 15 mins just trying to get thru the check in. I forgot how much harder and time consuming it is to check in with children and all their gear. This is Liam’s first time flying so I guess I should have expected it. Oh and we were also trying to prevent them from killing each other as we waited for the check in guy to finish up already!
So now we are on to the security checkpoint. Again, not really seeing much difference from before and the line was MUCH shorter too. But that doesn’t really matter because I’d like to see you with a stroller, 2 children, 2 stuffed animals, a laptop bag, a pocketbook, 2 backpacks and Josh’s computer – take off everyone’s shoes and jackets, remove the laptops from their bags, keep the kids close because you don’t want them wandering in security and see how fast you move!!
We had less than an hour from there to get on our plane which was perfect – just enough time to grab a snack before our long flight to Dublin. We got on the plane without issue though Liam was most definitely not thrilled. So Josh and I took turns holding him until we had to take off. The look on his face was precious – so very serious! And he was gripping both armrests for dear life – something I would expect an adult to do, not a 2 ½ year old child. You couldn’t even talk to him, he was just that focused on what was going on. We were in center seats on an AirBus and it was dark out so he really couldn’t see what was going on.
I have to say though – the kids were beyond amazing! Kudos to both of them but I have to give special props to Liam who’s never flown before and whom I never thought in a million years could sit in a seat for 6 hrs straight (other than a diaper change). The crying from both was minimal on a 6 hr flight to Dublin – I’d say less than 10 mins each. Hell, I wanted to cry I was so bored to tears and uncomfortable!!
Our flight was late leaving Boston since we had to wait in line to be de-iced (that makes me feel good about flying in the cold weather). Speaking of not so great things about flying, damn if my kids didn’t reference dying in the air like 50 times each. Aidan was fascinated with the engines and kept asking me what happens if one doesn’t work? And two? And would we just land in the ocean? Yup…that’s it Aidan…we’d land in the ocean nicely. No need to freak him out. But it’s one of those things like, ok, is he getting some kind of weird vibe that I should know about? And Liam kept saying CRASH!! CRASH!! CRASH!! And die! I was like please don’t say those things… please!!
But as always, I’m digressing from my topic. So we were late leaving Boston and therefore late arriving to Dublin. Our original time between connections was one hour and 20 mins. We now had 20 mins to get off the plane, race across the airport, go thru customs, go thru security (again with the shoes, jackets, computers – fun times!). They claimed they were holding our flight for us and so we raced as fast as we could carrying Liam and all our gear. Oh did I mention I accidentally checked the $200 new stroller at the gate to go all the way thru to Barcelona??? Yeah, that was a good time. Josh had his backpack with his computer, carried 30 lb Liam and I had 2 backpacks (the kids), my pocketbook which weighed about 20 lbs full of stuff to entertain the kids during the flight (did not need one single item by the way, rather annoying), and my computer bag which also probably weighed a good 20 lbs. We made it though! They actually held the plane for us. Actually they claimed they were holding it for a number of passengers that were coming from trans-Atlantic flights…but no matter, we made the connection!
We had a slight meltdown from Aidan during this flight. He was determined to believe we weren’t moving. He was just so exhausted he couldn’t understand why were on the plane that wasn’t moving and why can’t we just go home? Poor little guy! It’s hard to explain to a very tired little boy that the plane is actually moving around 600 mph and that we have travelled something like 3000 miles today. He slept 90% of the flight from Dublin to Barcelona (a 2 hr flight). I was exhausted by now and Josh, of course, was sleeping. I kept dozing off even though I knew I needed to keep an eye on Liam who was in an aisle seat. I figured he was so good on the first leg of the flight. I woke up a few times and realized that the little bugger undid his seatbelt and was playing the floor in front of his seat. Ooops!! At least he stayed by us. We won’t win parents of the year awards for that one.
Finally after a VERY long day in the air and a long day at home before that, we landed safely in Barcelona. Once again, we had a small issue upon landing. All of our luggage made it (thankfully) except we couldn’t find the stroller (oh yes, the new stroller) or one half of a booster seat. We stood in line to make a claim for about 15 mins before I spotted something red that looked like it could be one of those things – over on an empty baggage claim lane. One that was 3 or 4 baggage lanes over from where we were. Oh and when we arrived in Barcelona, ours was the only flight using that baggage claim area the entire time we were there so not sure how it was that those items ended up on the other one, but we avoided what probably was going to be another ½ hr in the claims line. Whew!! That stroller was almost our downfall!
I was disappointed to see it was very cloudy out given that there are only approximately 40 days of rain the whole year. I would have liked the kids first impressions to be that of a beautiful sunny day in our new city. Aidan did, however, point out the palm trees and he liked those right away. He also liked the tree lined streets. He did not seem to notice the language as of yet – the cabbie didn’t speak English and we speak broken, very broken, Spanish. I’ll give it a few days and he’ll realize it. All he wanted to do was to get home (yes we have a home in Attleboro but we are determined to make this feel like home while we are away) and get to his legos that he hasn’t seen in 6 weeks. Simple pleasures!
We were very lucky to have Josh’s co-worker’s wife Cristy meet the movers today. They had wanted to arrive at 9 and we knew we weren’t getting here any earlier than 11:30. We were determined to get everything in today even if it’s not unpacked. We haven’t seen our stuff in a good 6 weeks and the best way to get settled is to jump right in. So thank you again Cristy! We both really appreciated your help.
When we arrived at the house I was astonished at all the boxes – you couldn’t even walk thru the house anywhere. Hmm… I may have packed too much stuff. And to think, I still have another 500 lbs coming. I’ll post the pictures of some of it tomorrow. I didn’t get any of the actual boxes blocking all the halls but Cristy said she did so I’ll get those. But I do have some of the stages of unpacking we did today. We were very lucky that the movers not only unpacked many things – mainly emptying the boxes in the appropriate room – but they also assembled all our IKEA furniture that we bought and shipped from the States. YES!!!! Divorce avoided!! That would have been a messy one. So we were able to get that much more done today because the movers took care of that. Thanks moving guys!!
Once we got semi-settled this afternoon, Josh suggested that Cristy and I go out for lunch. Thanks Joshy – awesome idea!! And it was! Cristy and I definitely have a lot in common and I think we’ll become good friends here. It’s a nice feeling to know that on my first day here I’ve met someone I’ve clicked with. She and her husband Shawn just moved here 2 weeks ago so they’re old pros now! And it showed – she did the ordering in the restaurant, interpreted the menu via IPhone app (I would have done the same thing), and got the check for us.
In Spain, they don’t like you to hurry even though lunch tends to be a much quicker meal than dinner. For the most part, they just don’t believe you when you ask for the check. You have to ask several times. I also learned today that you never put money or a credit card on the table. It’s like bad ju ju or something – the Spainards just don’t like that so don’t do it. You either hand them the cash/card or you put it on their little check holder. But not on the table. Good thing to know since often when we are ready for the check we place our card on the table!! I avoided a near disaster there!! All I need to do is offend someone that works at my neighborhood Italian place on my first day in town.
So our meal was a very good one. For 9.95 Euros (about $15), we got bread (apparently not always included), a drink and a 3 course meal. We had the tortellini, a chicken dish and a dessert. Cristy’s looked like ricotta in the shape of a cheesecake. I didn’t even dare to try it after seeing her face. Mine was decent though by then after an appetizer of tortellini (enough that I could have had that for the meal) and chicken, I was about done! We chatted thru the entire meal and probably could have gone on all day but Josh called a few times and I didn’t get good reception in there and probably should get back to unpacking.
While spending time with Cristy I also learned that many places expect you to pay to use the bathroom. Often around 1 euro. Interesting. In Spain, or at least Barcelona, you RARELY tip someone. Waiters, cabbies (unless they unload luggage and then you tip them), hair salons, you name it… you don’t tip. So my guess is that they make their money elsewhere, like charging you to use the facilities. I guess not all places do this but a good majority do. Cristy told me that she went to Starbucks and they have a code to the bathroom on the receipt. And she went to another Starbucks and they had the same code – so it must be universal. Of course I’ve already forgotten the code she told me, but good to know that once I have a code, I can probably use it anywhere and won’t need to make a purchase to use the potty!!
It’s nearing 10PM here and I’ve been up for something like 36 hrs now so I’m going to wrap up our first day in Barcelona. This evening I heard the doorbell ring. I’m not sure how to use the buzzer but I went downstairs and it was the building cleaning lady. She spoke NO English at all…not even broken English. We introduced ourselves and were stuck. She said something to me that I could not interpret. I tried to tell her I’d love to hire her once every few weeks. No hablo ingles. Hmmm… So I said, un momento and rushed inside to get my cell phone. Google translate to the rescue! No luck. I had no internet access on my phone for some reason. Finally she said something that sounded like if I need her to clean… I hear necesito and something else. So I said, si, necesito!! We finally communicated for her to leave her phone number. What I will say to her when the time comes to call is way beyond me but I think that’s a project for next week.
On a final note, Josh went out to the store tonight after the kids went to bed and when he returned he told me that there was a parade going on at the end of our street! I heard noise out there but just chalked it up to city noise, never having lived in the city. Hope! A parade… for us???? Awwww… so sweet! No such luck! It was a parade to celebrate Three Kings Day which I believe is this Wed. I’ll look up info about it tomorrow but I’m too tired to do it tonight. Regardless, my understanding and I’ll double check this, is that Three Kings Day is actually more important to the children here than Christmas. Christmas here is not like Christmas in the US from what I’ve been told. It is much lower key when it comes to things like gift giving. The kids really don’t get much. But on Three Kings Day there are parades and candy is given out! Tonight they were throwing candy off floats like beads at Mardi Gras. It totally reminded me of a much smaller scale Mardi Gras. I think this was just a neighborhood parade as I believe there is a larger city wide one on Wed (Josh has yet another holiday from work). I’ll let you know what I find out about the holiday and if we make it to the parade with the kids.
Ok, I’m beyond exhausted now… more tomorrow from Spain!!!