Amazingly, we have reached our 6th month here in Spain and as George pointed out in his Facebook post, the day has come when our kids have officially surpassed us in their Spanish skills as they are now translating for us and correcting our pronunciation. In fact, most days I hear “Mom, nobody says it that way!” Not only do I have my language corrected regularly but I am also quickly learning the correct Spanish social cues from my American children. How awesome! The differences in language never cease to amaze me though. We recently learned in Spanish class how the Spanish version for “they lived happily ever after” is translated as “they happily ate partridge.” So much history and culture ties into language that not everything can be directly translated which is fascinating to me.
Progressions seem to be taking place in other areas of our lives here as well. A significant change that has recently taken place is Quinton’s school. Unfortunately, he was not learning enough at the Spanish secondary school. In fact, he was left to his own devices in some classes if he didn’t understand enough and the teacher didn’t understand him. His mood was going downhill and he was becoming more reclusive, so we visited the international school and within days, he was enrolled. George and I are both sad that the Spanish school didn’t work out as we had hoped for him but the international school has high standards, caring teachers, and the majority of students are still Spanish and the cost is a tiny fraction of what private school costs in the US. Quinton’s mood quickly shifted and he seems more motivated around learning. We are crossing our fingers! Meanwhile, Hadley and Davis are having more and more positive experiences at their Spanish school, working hard at their studies and feeling more courageous to talk in Spanish to their peers and teachers which is a great relief.
On the sports side of life, Davis was recently invited to play on the more competitive soccer team. This requires much bureaucracy to make him official, especially as an American, but the coaches are encouraging us to go through the process and Davis is quite excited. Both Hadley and Davis’ basketball team was undefeated so they were recently presented with medals. Unfortunately, only two other players were there to receive the medals, along with Hadley and Davis, and this occurred after playing two soccer games. Cross training at its best! In addition, the schools selected certain students to participate in an athletic event. Both Hadley and Davis were selected from their school and Hadley finished first in both her individual running event as well as the girls’ relay event, running around the track in the local stadium. Apparently, she is a runner! Now if we can only get her to run some more.
We left the coast last weekend and headed for the snowy mountains where we skied for a day in the Sierra Nevadas. The crowds were crazy but we managed to find and ski on the more remote parts of the mountain so we didn’t have to wait in lift lines. The biggest difference was the absence of trees as we were at an elevation of about 11,000 feet. We felt quite at home though, driving back in bumper to bumper traffic, as we have often experienced leaving Crystal Mountain in Washington State.
More and more of my time has been devoted to painting, I have found a fantastic yoga class and our international community here is slowly growing. We have recently connected with folks from Sweden and Ireland in addition to more Brits and Spaniards. We also had coffee recently with another couple from Seattle who is moving permanently to Almuñécar, reminding ourselves, once again, how it’s such a small world. This perspective has helped shift my beliefs about community. In the past, I have always thought that I needed to live near my closest friends and feared that if I moved away or spent time away, I would lose them or my surrounding community would have to substitute or match friendships from afar. I now have much more trust in the reliability and sustainability of my community at large. I feel just as devoted to and close to my Seattle and American friends, despite not seeing them in person or talking as often, and I feel more confident that my community is my community wherever I decide to live in the world. And as the kids continue to miss their friends and family members back in the US, we are trying to instill the same confidence in them.