The Brits "Invade" Barcelona…. The Cousins Come to Visit!

The last 6 1/2 months have been anything but easy for our family.  But for the next few months, we have a lot to look forward to.  Aside from spring having made it’s arrival in Barcelona, and there is little better than spring in Barcelona, we have a lot of visitors lined up for the next 6 weeks.  And while it means less travel for us, after traveling at the pace we have been for the last 4 1/2 years, it’s a welcome relief to have visitors coming our way.  First up, our cousins from England!

For a family who hasn’t been able to get our shit together to visit each other during the first four years of our time living in Europe, we’ve now managed to see our British cousins, not once, not twice, but now three Continue reading

Surprise Trip to Paris!

I know I shouldn’t complain, but I’m tired… every year there seems to be a lot of long weekends in the fall and we try to take advantage of every single one of them.  It’s exhausting… fun, but exhausting. When planning out the fall, Josh and I were trying to figure out where to go for this particular weekend. Knowing we may be going home in the summer has made us fast track some plans, one of which was Paris. Continue reading

Mom and Dad’s Visit to Barcelona

With only about 10 days to work with and a lot of territory to cover, and being the uptight person that I am, I came up with a schedule for my parents and I for their visit.  However, given this was their first real vacation in more years than I can count, I also wanted to keep things relatively low key and fun without feeling the pressure of going from one place immediately to another.  Plus, my dad had surgery on his knee this spring and has had a difficult recovery from the surgery and so we had his limited mobility to work with. Continue reading

The Reverse of the Curse of Collioure!

So my last 2 attempts to go to Collioure have not gone so well.  Last year when Meghan was visiting, the one day we had to go up to France, it was downpouring rain – I’d even go as far as calling it torrential.  The normal 2 hour journey took us closer to 4.  And it was pouring when we got there and somehow NOT ONE THING was open.  We had to opt for pizza and a quick run thru the rain and then less than an hour after we had arrived, we headed back to Barcelona.  Total fail.  But at least I was able to say that I took Meghan to France. Continue reading

Managing the Unexpected

Anyone who has ever lived abroad will agree that there is always something challenging, some times on a daily basis.  It’s not to say that things at home aren’t challenging too, just differently so.   The unexpected can come in all different forms – medical emergencies, stolen wallets, towed cars… and car accidents.  Take my car accident in France 2 weeks ago.  It wasn’t just the accident that had me freaked, it was that here I am in France, I don’t speak French and I have no idea what the process is for European insurance.

The Curse of Collioure

Collioure, France is one of my favorite “go to” places when we have company.  With France only about a 2 hour drive, it’s kind of like going to New Hampshire or Maine for us but at the same time… it’s France.  Really, can you beat that?

And so for the last 2 years (once we discovered it), it has been on the list of must see places when we have company for more than a few days.  We’ve taken Josh’s sister and brother-in-law Continue reading

College Reunion, Barcelona Style

About a year ago, one of my best friends from college, Ursula, and I had started talking about her doing a trip out here to visit us with her family.  The plan was for them to go to France for a week to visit her host family and then a week here. We talked about it… a lot.  We researched flights.  But it was hard to pull the trigger and figure out what made more sense – fly into Barcelona and then take a local carrier to France or vice versa?  And we had to pin down the dates.  Before you know it, it was only a few months before the planned trip and the prices had gone up significantly.  The hopes for a visit seemed to be going down the drain. Continue reading

Our (Non) Christmas Market Day in France

Josh’s parents arrived in Barcelona in time to celebrate the holidays with us.  It’s a visit we’ve been very much looking forward to, especially the kids.  While the holidays here have been great in the last 2 years, there is something to be said about having extended family with you to join in the celebrations.  It’s one of the things we’ve missed about being home.

Continue reading

Meghan Visits Barcelona!!

There is no rest for the weary… less than 12 hours after my return to Barcelona I was off and running again to pick up my cousin Meghan from the airport.  This is a visit that I’ve been looking forward to for more than 6 months and it’s hard to believe that she was finally arriving!  Now under normal circumstances this would be a piece of cake picking her up.  But I was already running on empty from the previous few days of little sleep and lots of travel.  And I had hit the ground running early that morning to take the kids to their parent/teacher conferences so that I wouldn’t need to disrupt our time together to have to run to school for them.  Continue reading

All Good Things Must Come to an End… Vacation is Over :(

All good things must come to an end.  It’s hard to believe that in the course of 3 weeks we have been to France, Switzerland and Germany to visit the Christmas markets, then flown back to Barcelona for 5 days for Christmas and then drove back up to France for 11 days to go skiing.  The time has flown by for sure.  But now is the time to get back into our grooves, the kids must go back to school and Josh and I to work.  I for one, have been neglecting my work and it’s not a good way to start off the new y ear, so I’m eager to get back and get ramped up for 2012.  I’m also eager to sleep in my own bed! Continue reading