Tag: kids

Birthday Weekend

We celebrated birthday’s last weekend!  My baby, baby, baby girl is now 9 years old!  And my last baby turned 5 years old!  Exciting…but also how did this happen!  Amelia looks so much older in the last year.

To celebrate we went horseback riding, had cake and opened presents.

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Happy Birthday my wonderful, sweet children!

Drinks

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Buitrago del Lozoya

It’s a different experience having the kids sit at the bar with you (the guy behind us has a kid in a stroller). Most of the time, we sit in the bar and they run around in the street until some food comes that they might try and we summon them in.  It’s really cute when the girls order their own waters in Spanish.  And even nicer that the bartender serves tap water in a glass rather than a bottle of water we must purchase!

“Pisses Day by Day”

Clara only began speaking the English language at most 2 years ago.  And truthfully she is still quite hard to understand so I´m not sure it really phases her much that she is attending school where no one (ok, very few) people speak English.  She was SO excited to be heading off for school!  No tears or sadness, just smiles and waves.  Yesterday, she ran into a boy in her class on the way to school and he wanted to hold her hand.  It was cute and they proceeded off to school hand and hand with me trailing far behind with the other two.  When they got to the gate the boy´s mom suggested that Clara might want to say good-bye to me.  Otherwise, she´d have just gone right in without looking back.  She came back that day with a braclet and pronounced that it was from her boyfriend.

Amelia was pretty hesitant at first.  And I don´t blame her.  She was being encircled by students speaking to her in Spanish wanting to know where she was from, what was her name, how old she was.  I watched her through the school yard gate and at one point she just covered her ears with her hands and closed her eyes.  Yeah, my heart was breaking.  But the bell rang and off she went into the classroom and out she came at lunch pick-up smiling and saying how everyone wanted to know about her and HOW big the group of kids circling around her was.  In the days since she has commented how “all day, everyday school” isn´t so bad.  So that´s positive.

Violet had tears and was shy.  And even now she cries and tries to hold onto me so I don´t leave.  But when pick-up comes she tells me with a smiling face how her day went and what she enjoyed.  The first day she told me all about how she had her own desk and how she was friends with everyone in her class, except the one boy who has “some problems following directions and getting along.”  Ah – yes, there is always at least one.

I had a meeting with Clara´s teacher to go over the rules and recommendations for the class.  I also had Amelia¨s teacher give me a list of things she needs and Amelia has come home and told us what everyone else has.  Which does include a spinning top, the toy she purchased on her own from the China shop, and is very popular among the kids.  I haven´t heard much from Violet`s teacher about what she may need.  But Violet did tell me this morning she needs a towel, soap, and spray in a bag for gym class.  When gym class is, I have no idea.  All of these documents are given to me in Spanish.  I try to translate with my little english/spanish dictionary but some of it makes no sense.  Now that I know some shopkeepers that speak English, I take my list there to get the supplies.  The paperwork I received from Clara´s teacher was the most descriptive and they even had a copy in English!  As always there are some parts that get lost in translation or maybe not as much lost in translation but rather the choice of words is hilarious.  Here is one of bullet points for Clara´s paperwork:

“Nobody is taking care of the others when the teacher is changing a child.  So, if a child pisses day by day, we will call the parents so that they come to school for changing him/her.”

I about died laughing.  Luckily, I was not in the classroom as I read this.  But Amelia really wanted to know why I was laughing so hard.  I tried to explain; but I think it was lost in translation.

Being that we´ve not been in public school I really have no idea how common these things are to have or what kids are expected to bring or not bring and will be provided for them.  As I said before, the purchasing of the books and their cost was a BIG surprise.  It would have been nearly $600 U.S. for all three kids plus the additional material fee´s paid to the classroom.  The school does have a textbook assistance program and we were lucky enough to have the school decide to provide all the books for our kids.   Clara needed a smock to wear with her name on it and a ribbon for hanging it; which I finally got yesterday but you remember how each success creates two other problems?  Point proven.  She also has to have $35 euros and two passport pictures.  Amelia needs a tracksuit, trainers, soap and a towel for gym.  I´m not sure I can visit 1983 to get her a tracksuit.  Shorts and a t-shirt will have to suffice.  A “flute” and $7 euros for music class.  The flute is a recorder.  Four notebooks, three pens (black, blue, red), pencils (which by the way have no erasers here), a see-through folder type thing, ruler, eraser and $8 euro for classroom supplies.  Like I said, I have no list for Violet but have heard there is a classroom supply fee.

Yes, getting a smock should be easy.  I was told the store to purchase it at.  Which after three attempts the store was open.  I don´t think I mentioned that most stores here open from 10am – 2pm, close and then reopen from 5:30 or 6pm to 8-10pm.  As is standard and expected by now, no one there spoke English.  I think I did a fairly good job of asking for what I needed and the shopkeep was very friendly.  I browsed as well.  And then it was time to pay.  And I wanted to use my credit card.  Which is not the norm here in this little town but I also can´t just keep paying cash either.  The shopkeeper had an issue with the machine.  She told me about it in Spanish.  I smiled and shrugged.  Offered to pay in cash.  She shoke her head and told me about the problem with the “paper”.  I assumed she was telling me the transaction when through but she was out of paper to print a receipt for me.  Okay, fine.  But then she tries the machine again and again.  I pull out my dictionary to try to ask “Paid?”  No go.  I eventually figure out that I do indeed need to pay in cash, so I do so and she gives me the little paper that my dictionary translates into “locked.”  Now, I assume my account has been locked.  Maybe I forgot to tell the credit card company that I moved to Spain.  oops.  I go about my day, figuring I will call the credt card company with Jeff´s new cell phone later.  Meanwhile, the shopkeeper has decided maybe the transaction DID go through and has called Jeff´s school (since it´s a small town and everyone now knows the American is working at the school).  To which she speaks with the front office, who then tells Hema (my spelling not hers) who then tells Maria Hose who is working with Jeff that there was a problem with a purchase I had made in town.  I don´t find out about all this until I meet Jeff after school.  And then I try to call the credit card company but of course I can´t.  I either don´t know how to call internationally or there is a problem with the “collect call” number on the back of the card.  And I can´t look it up on the internet….because I HAVE NO INTERNET!!!

All and all the kids seem to be doing fine in school.  Violet is learning her letters — while at home when we do our American homework she is learning to read, subtract and add.  I have no idea what Clara does during the day.  She did have music yesterday which she thought was great.  And she´s rode some bicycles down a hill and had a fire drill.  Amelia just tells me they had gym…again!  Then they went for a walk outside to look at trees and then they just sit in the class.  I asked her if they did math.  She said she wasn´t sure.  Hhmm….numbers are numbers?!?  The school did start pulling Violet & Amelia out for personalized Spanish lessons.  I guess that would be considered special services in the U.S.

I’m leaving on a Jet Plane…

Tomorrow we leave for Spain.  We’ve got most of our bags packed (and weighed), the girls and us are slumbering tonight on the floor in their room and I’ve got a detailed list of what needs to happen tomorrow.  I never got around to getting Euro’s but do believe I returned all our library books.  I’ll know for sure after it’s too late.  I made a late night run to the post office and donation…well, leaving my stuff under the large semi parked outside Value Village is still considered a donation, right??  Our storage is almost all packed and dried!  We have a few more boxes to add tomorrow.  We have to drop off our little red car.  I need to call and see if I can reserve our seats.  I had NO idea I was booking a budget airline and had to pay $30 a seat to reserve our seats ahead of time.  A bit problematic while traveling with small children.  But maybe my loss is my win!  Think of the poor person that gets stuck sitting next to Clara for a 10 hour flight!  The kids carry-on bags are all packed with extra clothes, their blankie, their stuffie’s, snacks and their updated (and age-appropriate) tablets.  Oh – and with headphones.

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At this point, I am much more anxious than excited.  I was excited months ago.  Long before, the drawn out visa process and the reality of moving out and renting our home.  Now, it’s just nervousness and anxiousness.   Violet & Amelia are nervous about attending school in Spain.  They realize that they will spend the day in a place where they don’t speak the language.  I was excited long ago when I figured our visa’s would be in hand at least a week before our plane trip….not 2 days before.  I was excited long ago when I didn’t know that the visa I was applying for was going to be a student visa valid for 90 days.  To which now there will be more paperwork when we arrive (I’m told this is just part of the process).  And before the reality of a 10 hour flight to Frankfurt, Germany followed by a 6 hour lay-over and then another 2.5 hour flight to Madrid.

*Sigh*.  It will be a grand adventure.  I am excited to see the countryside.  I am looking forward to not having a car.  I am looking forward to sightseeing Castles and Museums in cities that are much older than any we have here in the U.S.  I am looking forward to hiking.  I am looking forward to many things.  I’ve just lost my excitement for the moment while I instead spend my time being anxious and nervous about the nuts and bolts.  Wish me luck!

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