I haven’t posted here since May!! And since May, we’ve flown Boo home. Flown home ourselves. Spent an amazing summer in my most favorite place in the world, on the Georgian Bay in Ontario, Canada WITH BOTH of my doggies and my parents and my sister.. saw friends from the cottage and friends from Cincinnati.. and now we are back in BCN. It was fast and beautiful. The only downside was not seeing more of Doug’s part of the family. That’s the hardest part for me about living here. I love family. I love being close or at least a quick flight away or a quick drive. I love having my parents sitting on the sidelines of my kids’ basketball or soccer games. I love the ease of the US…
BUT.. here I’m watching Emma take the subway to meet up with friends to go to a movie and the beach. I’m watching her independently navigate through Barcelona.. figuring out which trains to take where. What to do when you bought a ticket that only gets you so far and you can’t get out of the subway station… I’m watching her fly. I’m watching her problem solve.
I’m reading a book now about how we protect our kids from everything and give them very little wiggle room to be problem solvers. Here, my kids, every day have to be problem solvers. Sure, they have cell phones and have to call me every step of the way (and certainly Emma is getting more freedom then her brother). But it’s amazing to watch. And Emma especially, is loving it. And that’s my fear a bit. She’s loving it a bit too much.. she’s worried about needing me to take her places when we move home. She likes her independence here. I guess it’s a major difference between city living and living out in the suburbs. And, in my mind, its’ a major difference between living in a US city and a European city. It feels just a little bit safer.
We shed tears when we boarded the plane to come back here. Things are just so easy at home. It’s the known versus the unknown. But I have to say, it was so much easier coming back our second year than it was arriving our first! So much easier! And just like summer camp, there’s a whole new crew of ex-pats that have arrived that bring a fun new mix to the experience. We know how to drive around BCN. We know where to get our groceries. We even managed a move here! We literally moved a balcony over. New building, same floor, smaller apartment. And all of our stuff (furniture and all) was passed from one balcony to the next!
While Emma isn’t playing basketball this year (which is opening up a ton of time for us to travel and her to navigate the city with her friends), Emma is playing volleyball at school and Owen is playing tennis. But all in all, we are taking it slowly. We aren’t trying to fill in our life the way it was in the US. We are trying to slow down and enjoy living.
I had lunch with Roser, my Catalan friend (and mother of one of the basketball players from last year), last week. She speaks little to no English.. and I was able able to have a two hour lunch with her.. with conversation! She was my friend from last year who would always wait for me when the parents would be heading to a bar while the girls had their basketball practice. She’d wave me over to indicate I was sitting in the wrong part of the gym. She friended me on facebook and chats with me or comments on my posts. She’s warm-hearted and lovely. And my goal for this year is to be fluent enough to talk with her where I’m not driving the conversation based on my limited vocabulary. I miss her. I miss Hector too. He’s a basketball dad who spoke a little bit of English, but always with a smile on his face, would reach out to us. In fact, when my parents were here, my dad would go to every basketball practice Emma had. Hector and my dad would drink beers together. And Hector always insisted on treating. My dad speaks no Spanish, and Hector very little English.. but he is so wonderful too. So I’m a bit sad, baloncesta is not in our cards for this year. I’m going to miss that.
It’s easy to surround yourself with safe. There are plenty of great ex-pats here that all speak English, and having basketball last year threw us in to the unknown. So I hope this year I maintain and build my Spanish friendships which will take more effort on my part. While also, for sure, having a great time with the new friends we make that are ex-pats.
I realize I’m rambling a bit here… anyways, we are back!