I’m totally behind on posts so this is from a few days ago and trying to catch up to today…
MONDAY: We seem to have trouble getting the kids up and moving in the mornings here so David set off to a nearby coffee shop to get some emails sent and gear up for the week. I was not long behind since the kids were zonked out. I had the most delicious açaí bowl at Juice Dudes across from the university (a block or so from our apartment). What I really needed to do was set a lesson plan for Cameron – school is starting for us. Sure, those veteran homeschool parents already have their weeks, months or even year planned out. Not me. I’m like a day by day person. Time for me to dig in and get to work so I can make it a great year for the kids academically.
Let’s back up a little bit. Remember those sleepyhead kiddos? Yeah, had to get them moving because we were hoping to show them the beach. We ambled our way down to the water after taking a little pitstop in the marina to gawk at the luxury yachts. I pulled one up online to see what the story was – on sale for 4.1 million euro. Outside our budget but fun to look. Cameron was loving it all. Anyway….to the beach. We weren’t dressed for a dip or basking in the sun but we did pack the frisbee. Cameron and David played for a while, Lilly read and I watched the people go by. It is quite pleasant, yet at the same time sort of eerie, how few people are out and about. We did notice a large police presence – huge pick pocket and petty theft area. We always have our guard up. David and Cameron dipped their toes in the water and on the way Cameron saw more topless old ladies than he wanted. I guess one was too many. Welcome to Spain, kid. Found a delightful little beach shack and sat a spell to enjoy a cold drink and a few tapas. We could not ask for a better view. Pinch me. This is just a Monday in Barcelona.
Because of the way David’s work day is arranged we spend the morning doing the fun exploring and family time and then follow it up with school/work. It’s totally flip-flopped from our routine back home but it is working out really well. Once we got back home it was high time to dig in. Lilly is pretty much on her own – too smart for me. Cameron on the other hand is stuck with Mrs. Petsolt for his first year. I would say it’s a hybrid of some online lessons and other curriculum we picked out together. English and grammar lessons were fun and easy. Math, Cameron’s long suit, was up next. I had a lesson plan and everything – remember that “extensive” planning from this morning? He took a couple shortcuts, did all the problems in his head and made 3 silly mistakes. Lilly was sitting across the table as I so wisely stated, “Cameron, you won’t get it right if you do it wrong.” The kids starting laughing hysterically at my pearl of wisdom and Captain Obvious statement. They wrote it down, put my initials by it as its author, and date stamped it. Maybe you had to be there, but I guess I need to work on my catchphrases and quips in the weeks to come. Tough crowd.
Charcuterie board for the grownups and Cameron’s lemon chicken, a crowd favorite, for the kids again outside. One thing we are finding a little strange – we have yet to see one other person in our neighborhood or within our view use their balcony. I don’t know why that is the case but we are on ours every day. There are many shuttered hotels around the city – one directly across from our place which explains a few of the empty balconies. In other, more dense areas of the city folks definitely take advantage of their outdoor spaces.
Lilly and I went in a used book store down the street and fortuitously found an English copy of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night which she needs to read. We also found some of Cam’s favorite graphic novels and left with 5 books for 10 euro, a good little find. Cameron ended the night catching up with a friend back home. Love that.
TUESDAY: I am embarrassed to say I am already forgetting what we have done day by day. We seem to be settling into an exploring routine and then schoolwork/work. Guessing day 2 of school was fine. Honestly, I already don’t know which end is up. Well, we did get our first delivery of groceries. The delivery man made his way up (the doorman buzzed our apartment and all of a sudden we learned our phone has a screen and it works!).
Dinner with David’s former UNC professor was the highlight – we got to meet her family and catch up on so many things. Dinner started at 9:30 and we were kicked off the sidewalk at 12:00 – no one allowed in bars and restaurants after midnight. Happy to oblige, but we could have chatted for hours longer. Grateful to have a familiar and very friendly face here in our new city.
WEDNESDAY: Oh, right. I brought the kids to the Egyptian Museum (10 minute walk). Cameron had a world history lesson on Egypt and Mrs. Petsolt (that’s me) thought to tie it all together with a hands-on visit. Don’t panic – the place is not crowded on a normal day. There were a sum total 8 people. Pandemic safe. Sort of felt like I was crushing the home-school thing until the kids seemed utterly bored with all the plaques I was reading. Late night movie choice was The Imitation Game in honor of Lilly starting a heavy stats class. Again, David and I thought we were being pretty clever.
THURSDAY: What a treat to meet up with Ashraf and Ayaan to play tennis. They met us at our apartment and we grabbed a bus to the courts – straight shot down Gran Via to a great little club. Cameron and I vs. Ashraf and Ayaan. We tied our set at 6-6. Awesome!! Pretty pumped to have found courts and a place we can take lessons. They also offer paddle ball which we might just try that as a family. I mean, why not, right? We are up for just about anything and outside sports are safe.
Tonight the kids wanted to show David the cafeteria at El Corte Inglés department store. Oh, now I remember. I brought the kids there on Tuesday for lunch. I’ll post those pictures because it was pretty epic. The view was amazing overlooking the city and they pour a VERY LARGE GLASS OF WINE for a very low price. And they serve chocolate y churros. What could be better? You could also catch a glimpse of the water. This is a beautiful city. Reminder – this is a 7 minute walk form our apartment. And we learned tonight they have sangria on tap. Have I said it before? I love this town!
Unrelated to anything – but this cracked me up – check out the picture of all the navy uniform shoes at the department store (there were two more full racks not in the frame). You really get an idea of how many Catholic kids are wearing uniforms. I had the option of like 2 pair that fit the bill for the kids when we chose back in NC – BLACK ONLINE. We opted this year to forgo the uniform – anything goes at BCN Academy.
THURSDAY PM: We are packing up for a quick getaway to Provence & the French Riviera. If all goes according to plan we shove off around 7:00 am in our rental car…. a short 4.5 hour drive and we will be in Aix-en-Provence, a first for three of us. Stay tuned for more on that. Putting to good use a book gifted to David from Sue – Epic Drives of the World. We are going to enjoy the views….
The bottom line at this point – we love all things Barcelona. We love the urban setting, the proximity to markets and items we need (oh, I didn’t even mention that a brand new Aldi opened up YESTERDAY three blocks from us). I mean, could we get any luckier? There is much to see and do safely here. Finding our groove on the cadence of school will take a little bit of time but we are able to knock through a lot of material everyday. Cameron is attentive and good company. I might think differently in a month but for now I’m pretty damn content sitting next to my guy for several hours each day, learning together.