The Spanish do it right. Unlike Americans, they still consider Sundays (domingos) as the day of rest, literally. It is as if the entire day is siesta; everything is closed, no one is walking the streets (and I mean no one), and it sounds like the only outing is saved for church. What happened to that tradition in the States? I remember, as a child, all the stores were closed on Sundays but no longer. Sundays have become equally an errand or sports day as Saturdays and if store or business owners are lucky, they’ll open at 11:00am. We no longer take one full day per week to recover from our busy working and family lives; we just keep going. However, the Spanish still honor that important routine. Much to be admired.
It is official! We are now approved residences of Almuñécar! We bused to Motril yesterday, a nearby town, to get our visa approvals and extensions for the year. Our appointments went more quickly than expected so we spent the rest of the day walking around, exploring the old town of Motril as well as the shopping “mall” to satisfy the kids, where they dressed in Spanish style. We visited the sugar mill museum (Spain is home of one of the first sugar mill industries that started in the 1500’s). Unfortunately, they didn’t have tastings at the end of the exhibit like Theo’s chocolate museum in Seattle. Then, in full disclosure, George and I left the kids to relax with their screens (!) in McDonalds (!!) while we continued to explore and walk the streets. How terribly American but desperate of us. Finally, before we returned to Almuñécar, we happened to pass by Elefante Azul, the blue elephant car wash (clearly, the brother car wash of Seattle’s Pink Elephant).
Last week we visited Hadley and Davis’ school, and met some of the staff. Turns out they are expected to be the only two native English speakers in the school this year. We decided to separate them to help minimize the amount of English they speak but they will share a 45 minute recess/snack period in the middle of the day. Hadley’s teacher greeted her with a hug and kisses on each cheek (no waivers necessary) and Davis’ teacher, Paco, reminded me so much of my own father, standing there with his hands in his pockets, his rounded belly, rattling off some humorous, intellectual Spanish comments to Davis.
We also learned last week that Quinton was finally admitted to his school (we had to wait to see which school had room for him). He will be part of a bilingual group that moves around classes together integrating some English, mostly for the benefit of Spanish kids wanting to learn more English, while still getting lots of exposure to Spanish. This will surely all be an experiment to see how the kids do among these different approaches to learning.
Our sense of connection has increased as we befriended a British family with three kids (ages 14, 11, and 9, two boys and a girl). The kids have instantly bonded over their English backgrounds and happen to share much in common in the areas of sports and Fortnite as well as their introductions to Spanish schools and the language. They have moved here for two years to take a break from the hard working lifestyle outside London and to learn about a new culture and language. Despite our enjoyment with each other, we will have to balance our time between them and new Spanish friends in order not to default to speaking English too much.
Today we are experiencing our very first stormy day; constant thunder rumbling in the distance. We have welcomed the weather realizing how much we miss our Seattle rainy days. How nice it is to have a day of rest.