Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Winter (Invierno)

Time flies, whether you're having fun or not
We’ve been in Spain over 5 months now but it seems much longer with all we have learned, done and experienced. So many new challenges, learnings, changes in scenery….. I’ve learned a lot about myself and my serious need for companionship, particularly in the area of friendship. I’m growing closer to my ever pessimistic son although not without its difficulties. We are having loads of family time – more than we are used to and not always fun, but am sure it will be so very memorable someday. I’ve also been sick, tweaked my back (in yoga) and have been preoccupied worrying about the boys. It’s very cold at the moment (below freezing at night), with snow predicted in the coming week, but the sun that comes out every day makes the afternoons enjoyable and warm enough that not even a coat is necessary.
Struggles at School
The last few weeks have been very difficult, with the kids readjusting to school after the long winter break and the realization that school just isn’t getting any easier for Clark with the challenges of his dyslexia. We’ve also had some more “bullying” incidents, although somewhat harmless kid stuff, are particularly frustrating when you don’t yet speak the language. We just discovered that the fact that Clark is dyslexic was not shared with others at the school and that much of the work that Clark has been doing (script handwriting) has not at all been helpful for his prognosis. Hopefully we have found a private tutor to help out at home. Other adventures include....
The white town of Ronda
Help me Ronda
We took a fun (albeit long) day trip to the white town of Ronda a few weeks ago, a lovely place with a famous bridge and amazing vistas. The boys enjoyed the ipod time in the car while Nat and I savored the delicious lunch and outstanding views from the town center. Only downside was the weather as we actually had, dare I saw, R-A-I-N.  
Grass head Chia pet
Girl’s Night Out(s)
On the social side of things I had my best week yet with 3 (count em’ 1-2-3) GNO’s!! Saw my first movie in Spain, “The Artist” (mostly silent), had dinner with a friend and went bar/tapa hopping with a MOB group I have been trying to organize (MOB = Mothers of Boys). I also attended my first book club with a small group of Americans who meet monthly to discuss books, drink wine and socialize. All fun.
Pizza party with our neighbors
Pizza, Cycling, Hiking and Cross-Country Skiing
Weekends was typically very active. We had a fun pizza party with the neighbors on Friday night and then road our bikes out to our friends place in the “Vega” for a large Spanish family meal which was very enjoyable (note: still sitting outside for lunch in January!) Then on Sunday, Nat, Clark and a friend had a lovely cross-country skiing outing with a group of 30 or so others from the kids’ school. The weather was lovely and the area only 1 ¼ hours away, with a small café and sledding hill included. We’ve also discovered a wonderful national park only a 15 minute drive from the house where one can hike all day and then stop at the café near the parking lot for a long, leisurely late afternoon lunch (in the sunshine!)

Biggest paella yet
We have also ventured to the nearby town of Piñar, with some close friends, in hopes of exploring a famous cave, but unfortunately when we arrived we found it was closed. Instead we enjoyed a lovely Spanish lunch at a nearby restaurant. And some neighbors invited us to accompany them to the San Cecilio fiesta, a big, Catholic festival in nearby Sacromonte that included flamenco dancing, paella, and free grab bags (which interestingly included beans, salted cod and bread rolls).  
Watching the Stupidbowl in Spain

Full Sail all the way
from Seattle
And this past Sunday, the boys just had to watch the Superbowl, as Nat (and thus Colin's) favorite team the New England Patriot's was competing in the game. In order to watch it live we got up at 1am in the morning and stayed up until 5. (The next day the boys missed school but we walked over to the Alhambra on a cultural outing to make up for it). Sadly, the Patriot's lost but it was an exciting game nonetheless (and I don't even like football). Of particular note is the fact that my American kids have no idea who Madonna is (who performed the halftime show) and keep referring to her as the Mercadona lady (Mercadona is a supermarket chain here in Southern Spain).