We’ve now lived in Barcelona for 2 1/2 months. I can’t say that it’s been the easiest 2 1/2 months but at the same time if I had to gauge where I would be at this stage of transition, I’m not disappointed by how far we have all come. That’s not to say I hadn’t hoped we’d be further along in some areas than others but overall, I’m pretty happy with how we are all adjusting. And it wasn’t like I had an official timeline of where we should be at this point either. The breakdowns are getting further and further apart, Aidan no longer tells me “I hate this world” when he gets off the bus, and in general, we’re getting into a new groove in our lives full of new routines, new friends (though we miss all our “old” friends) and new places.
I’ve come to the conclusion that while for the moment I’m not as intimidated by as much as I was a matter of weeks ago, that doesn’t mean things are easy here. At home I go to one grocery store to get everything I need – hell, I may even go to super Walmart and get not just my groceries but also all my errands done. That’s not the way you do it here. My shopping which I do almost every day, requires me to go to at least 3 stores, all by foot. Playdates do not happen the moment you get off the bus – they are scheduled, often a week in advance. Leaving the city requires planning when you don’t have a car. We have yet to do it but making our first trip this weekend to go a half hour outside the city and I’m honestly a bit of a nervous wreck. That’s like going from Attleboro to Easton and yet it’s cause to make me panic. But it’s all a part of the adjustment – we’ll do it once, get over the hump and the next time it will be even easier. And that’s the way I’m looking at it – we just need to do things once and then it will be easier. Going to the grocery store is 10x easier now than it was a month ago. I know what brands are in what store and what the process is for leaving your cart, packing up your groceries, etc. I know who takes credit cards and who only takes cash. So while everything here is a process and time consuming, it’s no longer something that causes me complete and utter paralyzing panic. And it’s things like this that I look forward to showing everyone when they come to visit. I want everyone to see the differences of life here compared to home, not just the beauty of the city and the history – life here is completely different than my life in the US.
So last week, to me was a sign that things are starting to fall into place. Life was complete chaos and other than one small breakdown I made it thru relatively unscathed. That’s progress to me. At home those barriers – a snowstorm and sick kids – not a big deal. And really other than some panicking about how to get the kids home last Monday when the trains stopped running, I was in complete control and did not have a meltdown upon my arrival home.
No, no meltdown with the snowstorm or the puking kids. Want to know what brought on my one small meltdown? The Food Network. Yes, you read it right. I was watching the Food Network on our slingbox and hadn’t had dinner (because I’ll be honest, I don’t really like the food here in Spain but that should be no surprise) and all I saw was all this super yummy looking stuff that honestly I probably wouldn’t have eaten at home but the point was that it was American food and I wanted it. And it was a catalyst for many tears that night – for at least an hour of just sobbing. But I got over and moved on and now try not to watch the Food Network when hungry.
So one minor meltdown in a week? Not so bad. AND we had a great weekend. Things are starting to happen with that too – our weekends are starting to fill up. I’ll be the first one to admit that I often overscheduled us at home and it was kind of nice to not have a lot going on for a while here, but I think we were all getting a little stir crazy and looking to have some company for at least a few hrs here and there on the weekends. And the best part of this weekend is we actually ended up with spontaneous plans with several people along with plans we already had – that means we’re starting to make friends!!!
We hit the zoo on Saturday (again… going to become a regular place for us I can see) but this time met up with new friends Cal and Leigh and their little munchkin, Emma. Then my friend Kara met up with us as well with her son Oliver who is the same age as Liam! The kids had a great day and while we didn’t see many animals everyone played and relaxed. While at the zoo we also met a family from the US that has a playgroup not far from Josh’s work with kids ages 0-8 that are English speaking. We gave them our email address and I’ve already received an email about their weekly group – not sure if we’ll do it, but it’s nice to have an option.
Saturday night was date night! Great way to end a fabulous day! We had no particular destination in mind and just walked around Gracia. We found ourselves in this fantastic jazz bar in a hotel not far from us. And the best part for me is that they had martinis!! Martinis are hard to find here – mostly wine and cava (cava is like a champagne). I’m rather sick of wine and cava these days. So a martini was a welcome sight! Our favorite restaurant Da Greco (see our discovery trip notes from Nov) was about 3 doors down from the jazz club (good to know as I had no idea it was that close). Unfortunately it was booked for the night so we went to our other standby Italian place and the best part was that they knew who we were! Second time there and we are regulars. Yup, falling into place. Haven’t been a regular anywhere since before the kids came along…
And we even had plans on Sunday! A playdate for Aidan – he was so excited!!! We had his friend, Isa, over. She’s in his class at school and they have become fast friends. She wasn’t here quite 2 hours but they had a great time and we look forward to more playdates with her in the future. Bonus is that she lives relatively close to us too.
This week has been ho hum too – no breakdowns and it’s Wednesday night. Wouldn’t it be so nice if I could get thru a whole week? Aidan and I have been intensely playing Super Mario Wii – we’re on the last castle and trying in vain to beat Bowser. We’ll get the job done this week – we’re determined! I took a bike ride down to the Mediterranean today and rode along the bike path. Nice ride – windy, but good exercise! I even got a few photos in before heading home (have yet to download). There is no doubt that this is a beautiful city.
Another sign that things are starting to get back to “normal” is that I’m able to focus on Liam and his potty training. In just two days we’ve made a huge amount of progress and I’m excited that we are very close to being diaper free!
We’re really looking forward to the next few weeks and I think that helps keep us with a positive outlook. Josh’s birthday is this weekend and we’re heading to Sitges for the day/evening on Saturday to celebrate. We’ve got a sitter for the kids and it will be our first trip outside the city. It’s only a 1/2 hr train ride and yet I’m a little intimidated by leaving the boundries of the city. But I’m really looking forward to it too – hopefully so is Josh! Sunday we have another playdate for Aidan with his classmate Ashay (who also has a sibling Liam’s age). And then next weekend we’re off for our trip to Valencia!! Finally we’re trying to find somewhere to go over Easter – we figure if we’re going to be here, let’s explore Europe as much as we can!