Friday, June 15, 2012

Winding down

Clean fish tank
Colin in the pool at friend's
abuelos (grandparents)
Well, our year in Spain is winding down as we only have a month left in our adopted country. After our week in Concord, we'll return for the last week of school and spend our final week in Spain relaxing, heading back to the beach, packing up the remainder of our things. Then it's on to northern Europe for few more adventures before heading back to the Pacific Northwest.

We'll fly to Paris on June 30th where we'll spend 4 nights before heading to Switzerland with some Seattle buddies to hike in the Alps near Zermatt for 5 days in "hut-to-hut" style which means hiking between mountain accomodations. Hopefully having friends along for the boys will motivate them to keep walking. Although we haven't done any formal training, as we have spent the entire year walking all around our hilly neighborhood I am hoping that we are in fine shape. After that, we'll take an overnight train to Amsterdam where Nat's brother Colin has lived for the past 25 years. I'm excited to spend some quality time in such a lovely city as we have a full week to get out and explore. We haven't been to these locations since I was pregnant with Clark and it will no doubt be a different experience with 2 energetic boys in tow.

Boys enjoyed the piscina (pool)
Hacienda de Hans
Fun in Pinos Genil
We enjoyed some lovely tapas and pool time this past weekend at the gorgeous hacienda of a friend who lives in nearby pueblo of Pinos Genil. He happens to be the grandfather of Colin's buddy Nelson who lives in Hood River and we met him last summer while we prepared to move to Spain. Turns out he lives in the same area that we were about to move to and also eerily coincidental, he works in Geology and knew Bill Brace (Nat's dad) thru work and reputation. A small world indeed.

Jardin de Nat
Overabundant cherry tree

Early crops
Nat now puts countless hours in to his blooming garden and the hard work is starting to payoff. We eat fresh lettuce nightly and have also sampled basil, chard and will soon have cauliflower and pumpkins. The enormous crop of potaoes might drive our landlord crazy later this year...

Buen amigos
Xavi and Colin
It's going to be very hard for the boys to say adios to their new best friends. Clark bonded from the beginning with Kylian, whose mother is French, Dad is German and who at age 11 already speaks 4 lanugage fluently. Their family reached out to us early on as new arrivals and have continued to be wonderful weekend companions ever since. And Colin gravitates towards our next door neighbor, Xavi, whose family is Spanish and who goes to the same bi-lingual school so is already fluent in English. They have spent countless hours playing video games, collecting InviZimals trading cards and sharing books.

Eurovision 2012
Another fun learning was the (some say tacky) annual Eurovision music contest which just took place in Baku, Azerbaijan a few weeks ago. Colin and I were captivated watching the semi-finals together and we both preferred Cyprus to the winner Sweden. And we even learned some geography along the way. Must admit, I had never even heard of San Moreno, which is a tiny country within Italy's borders.

In many ways, I have finally adopted to the Spanish lifestyle and culture - I have been known to leave the house at 11:15 (PM!) to go out for the evening, am more relaxed about not getting to places on time (Spaniards are not known for their punctuality) and can now easily drive in our crazy Albayzin neighborhood with no problem. But in other ways, I doubt I will ever adapt, no matter how much time we spend here.

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