Here is a super long story I just can’t rehash, made short: We had to move to Tucson.
This post is going to be all about our two kids. It’s my prerogative as a parent to brag a bit and I feel like I haven’t done enough of it lately. These two young people I’m helping to prepare for the world impress me daily and fill me with such joy and hope for the future. We’ve been given some pretty crazy drastic news recently, and yet the kids are resilient and hopeful. It’s really the simple beautiful things that make Zoe and Avi wonderful people.
So many things in central Spain go unnoticed; nothing more so than the small sleepy towns and their tourist sights. I can’t blame tourists from outside Spain for blitzing through Castilla-La Mancha. I mean, there are cathedrals to see, museums to explores, tapas to be had, and beaches to worship the sun from. I suppose some may stop in Toledo. And, really, I’m OK being one of the few foreigners visiting these parts, except that I want to set the record straight. Central Spain is a vast place, and one worth visiting. Continue reading “3 Highlights on the plains of La Mancha”
The fam has been fighting colds this week. Seems we caught the Norwegian crud on our final day of spring break up north, and the spring weather and pollen in Spain arent helping the healing process. It’s been kinda crazy – warm, almost hot, one day and then cold and rainy the next. The rain has been great for the garden though, and the bulbs we planted last fall have come up; my daffodils, Avi’s flower bed of purple hyacinths and a special red tulip, and Zoe’s white flowers and colorful panseys are all filling the yard with fragrance. Her raspberries and blueberry bushes are sprouting again as well! I’m hoping for an afternoon soon to get my veggies in the soil and our compost laid out. Continue reading “Primavera”
It’s been a quick holiday season here since we got back from our Germany adventure. The kids have been watching holiday videos, bryan and I dressed up for the holiday work party, we’ve been shopping and making cookies, crafting gingerbread houses, seeing the lights downtown, the kids are diligent with the advent calendars and stories, but still it hasn’t seemed exactly like Christmas with the warm sunny weather. Continue reading “Santa came to spain”
We made it. This move has been one of the smoothest ever in our military experience. It’s really incredible; either our perspective has changed or things are simply sunny this go around.
On our final day in Korea we woke around 0430, got into our travel clothes, woke the kids, and we all dragged our bags a block over to the Osan lodging to catch the base shuttle bus to Incheon. My friend Sarah showed up as we were loading up the bags, and it hit me then that this was for good. Not coming back. It was a tearful goodbye, but happy. I think it all hit Avi at that time as well, because he started crying and saying we were moving. He sat with me on the bus and we waved at Sarah….which made him feel a lot better. The have really gotten to love hanging out with her.
As the bus pulled out of the base we saw another friend as well! Steve was on his way into base to do a shift at the animal shelter. Avi recognized the car and we frantically waved. Steve saw us and waved back! It was a great send off. We even waved at our house on the way past and saw the new tenant out in the backyard with his dog…. life had already continued without us in Korea.
The bus ride was fast, I snoozed, both kids slept, and we had hours at the airport to spare. Baggage check was easy and we were glad to get ride of all 6! We each had a rolly suitcase, plus a duffle with camping stuff, and one with the kids’ car seats. Way more than we are used too. Flying Korean airlines had it’s perks at Incheon, and we were given a special pass for the express security screening – a separate security line just for people with kids or special needs. Breezed through there and customs, then we wandered into the terminal and found the Korean Tourism Office where they offer traditional crafts to make for free. We spent a long time working hard at creating a pretty laquerware mother of pearl mirror. We then went upstairs to the rest and relax area where the kids played a while in the playland before we all got hungry and had lunch in the cafeteria. The three hours went quickly, and before we knew it we were boarding our flight; first again, as we had kids, and for once we took advantage of that because we had more carryons than usual.
We had two window seats; Bryan and Avi sat behind me and Zoe, but no one was in the third seat beside us, so we each got a row of three and spread out. It made for a really comfy and enjoyable 13 hour flight. Every seat has its own TV, too, with games and movies and radio. I got hooked on a caveman puzzle game and spent hours getting to the next to last stage. Didn’t watch a single movie: just a show about bug eating plants. Zoe watched a few movies, but also got hooked on a tetris-style game that occupied her time. Avi watched a ton of movies back there, too. We all napped and ate the two dinners that came: loved my last spicy octopus bibimbop. The seats were comfy, the flight attendants nice, and we had real silverware. It was snazzy. It was also nice to complete the flight and not need to take another one!
Madrid was instantly hot. Our plane taxiied around the airport forever. Zoe felt uck because the landing was bumpy, and I was obsessed with trying to complete caveman game. It felt like we were trying to find a parking space at the Osan BX. Ended up parking at Terminal 1, and let me just say the Madrid airport is in no way vying for awards like Seouls’ airport. It was basic, had stairs instead of escalators and the customs agents were pretty casual. In fact, they seemed to care less about our military status; we weren’t sure which passport we should stamp (offical or tourist) and he kind of just laughed and said it mattered not to him, what do we want? No computers, no picture, no finger scan like in Asia. we laughed, too, when an agent saw us in line off the Korea flight and started speaking to us in Spanish like we were in the wrong (foreigner) line. We said we spoke English and he laughed too. I think he thought we were Spanish. No more standing out in the crowd as foreigners, here! Baggage took a bit to arrive, but all showed up just fine and loaded onto two carts. We had to get directions from the info counter to the other terminal. Bryan rode the bus over, while the kids and I waited for him out at the curb. It ended up being pretty far away! No matter. We were in Spain.
The new unit had sponsored us as a little group, it seems, and one guy in particular helped a ton with our transit. He and his family left from Madrid on vacation a few days prior and left there car for us. Bryan found it just fine and came around to load me and the kids….who were getting cranky. We spun up the GPS in the car and hit ‘home’. We are also staying at the guys house! Watching his doggy and watering the plants. It’s incredible, convenient, and such a nice way to be welcomed into the little family of US people stationed at this detachment.
The drive was gorgeous with arid landscape, big topography, miles of visibility, and wheat and sunflower fields stretching all around. At the house we were exhausted and quickly unloaded, found some beds, and crashed out. Some other members of our new unit had the table loaded with food for us and a lasagna in the fridge! What a welcome!
Our first few days have been productive. Got Spanish ID numbers, signed our lease at the new house, walked by Zoe’s new school, walked into downtown for tourist and trail maps, shopped at some gigantic stores, and took siesta every day. This is going to be an amazing assignment. There are incredible grocery stores; bigger and better stocked than we have experienced at our last 3 assignments (Korea, Georgia, Korea), there are big jardin centers with lots of plants to create an oasis in our new backyard, and there is a Home Depot style enormous home store that makes this place feel like we moved to the states, save for the Spanish. There are also incredible parks and bike trails and history. I’m excited to explore more.
Yesterday, the detachment had a little get together to farewell a guy and welcome us. It was wonderful to meet everyone (except the family whose house we are using =) and have the kids play. They have made fast friends with the other kiddos and super enjoyed having a little doggy to watch. They have loved walking to all the parks, loathed going shopping, and already gotten used to the sun and swimming.