Where do I even start? This is my first official blog post for our upcoming move to Barcelona. This will be our way of sharing what we’re doing for those who want to follow along. It will also serve as a giant journal when we look back on our grand adventure! We will all be posting on the blog so you’ll get everyone’s perspective on our crazy year. I’ve held off on typing anything until now for fear of jinxing the application process for our residence visas…they arrived last week and I cried with relief. We can now officially enter Spain as residents. Our flights have been booked for weeks and our departure date of Sunday, August 16 (THIS SUNDAY) is within sight. I am filled with mixed emotions – thankfully more excitement than trepidation. The hoops we have jumped through, the hard work, all the planning, the countless sleepless nights will all have been worth it when we wake up that first morning in our new place. Our wonderful realtor has been invaluable in helping us secure our first overseas apartment. It’s smack dab in the middle of all the action, right where we want to be. The address is Carrer de la Diputació 249 if you want to google it. We can reach nearly anywhere in the city on foot. There’s a market on our block, a Michelin rated restaurant with wine bar below our balcony (could be good trouble), the metro is a block away (for when it’s safe to ride). We have clicked around on google maps and it seems that anything we could possibly need or want is within a short walk.
Covid has definitely changed our outlook for travel. Having originally planned to criss-cross Europe and Africa by plane we will now plan road trips and explore the great outdoors of Spain and France. As things open back up and air travel seems safe, hopefully we can hit some of the far away spots we’ve got on our long, long wish list. I’ll be posting from time to time where we are headed in hopes of getting some tips and pointers from those of you who have been to these spots.
I’ve been brushing up on my Spanish. Having once been fluent I think it will come back quickly once I’m on the ground and using it daily. I’ve been listening to Spanish podcasts, using more challenging apps, reading the news in Spanish. Speaking of the news – reports of outbreaks in Barcelona and Spain abound. Luckily as we dig into the numbers we see that the infection rates are WAY lower than anything we see here in the US. They are doing a lot of testing and contact tracing and we are far more comfortable with the idea of living in an urban, Spanish city with mask mandates than we are staying put. Obviously we will keep wearing our masks and do our part to keep everyone safe and healthy. As part of our requirements for the visa we obtained we had to secure private health insurance – something new and interesting to navigate in a foreign land.
Lilly and Cameron are both pumped about living overseas and the opportunities it will present. We have had lots of great discussions about what the coming year might look like. They have been using apps to learn more Spanish. They are excited to live in an urban setting with the world just outside their door. Lilly is hoping to join up with the Barcelona Dracs, a local lacrosse team made up of women from around the world – which sounds awesome. I worked with Cameron to select his coursework and curriculum for 6th grade – it will be engaging and challenging. With all the ups and downs in the US school systems our timing couldn’t be better to give the online learning/homeschooling a try. I didn’t do such a great job (ok, I did a really bad job) finishing out the year with Cameron at home last spring. I’ve got a new outlook and am pretty jazzed about the material we will work on side by side. Lilly, as a 10th grader, has more work ahead but took yet another summer course so she has a “lighter” load this year. We’ve found a couple of amazing AP class instructors who will both challenge her and keep her energized about European History and Statistics. Our goal is to show her first hand some of what she is learning about! She is also getting help from a former teacher for whom we are very grateful. Let’s hope everyone’s Spanish gets better as time moves on. Honestly, I don’t want to be the only one able to ask for directions!
Everyone asks about David and his work schedule and how we will all manage. Depending on daylight saving time, Barcelona is either 5 or 6 hours ahead of EST. That means that while the east coast and the entire US are fast asleep we can be up and hanging out as a family. We will explore together in the mornings and after lunch David can get to work while the kids and I tackle the schoolwork. We can meet up again with David for a late dinner (well, dinner is always late in Spain) and he can work into the night. He’s a night owl so it should work pretty well!
We have packed up our personal belongings and stored them in our attic and around town in the basements and closets of family. A lovely family has rented our furnished house for the year. They are already making themselves at home. You’ll likely run into them around town.
Our plan was always to go for about a year. Realizing that might not be enough time to see all we want to see and do all we want to do and eat all we want to eat, we might just extend our time in Barcelona. No telling just yet. So many friends and family were planning to come see us and until Americans can travel we might just stay put so we can get everyone over for a visit. Saying goodbye is strange in the time of Covid. No big hugs. No grand send off. No big friend gatherings for the kids. The hardest part for me is that no one is booked to come see us. Yet. In a “my glass is half full” way – we will be able to experience countless places without so many tourists for a while. And that does seem pretty appealing.
My mind has been on overdrive for months. I have been making list after list and now have but a couple things to check off before I can feel completely ready to go. I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few things….oh, well! I realize this post is all over the place but just wanted to get this blog thing started and fill you in on the plans. Once we hit the ground in Spain we will update everyone. I’ll try to be funny next time. Sign up to follow along if you like… it’s going to be a wild year. We wish for all of you to stay safe and healthy. Be well. – Kate