Tag Archives: children

how our first work/study week went

Standard

blog1

So we survived another week…a very important week it was!

Joop has (officially) worked for 2 weeks at his new office, Sky has finished her very first week at her new Spanish/Catalans international school, and I have completed 2 (out of 10) days of basic Catalans course. Oh woww…sounds impressive right?!

The week went well. Of course, all of us have some ups and downs moments, but so far so good. Joop has tried his best only to speak Spanish at work, and he feels he is progressing. More vocabulary learnt and if the context is right he can quite follow the big line of the conversation (I’m trying to be very careful here…because just don’t think we can have a great conversation. Only the basic things so far!) 😀

And miraculously I could also quite follow my Catalans lessons, with my very little knowledge of Spanish! The teacher is just great, she speaks very slowly and tries her best to help all of us (no Spanish nationality in the class, almost all come from Latin America). Concerning the Catalans language, I will only follow the 10-days basic course. Simply because my Spanish course will also start next week (2 days a week), and it collides with the next level of Catalans course. Pity!

blog3

And how about Sky… Well, she is fine!!! She liked her first week at school, much to our delight!! If you remember my post a few weeks ago about how much my worry is…none of them turns real, because she comes home everyday full of stories to tell and she really seems to enjoy it all. I asked her if she could understand when the teachers speak in English (one third of the time). She could a bit, and mostly it’s enough. The lessons spoken in Spanish (sport and math) and Catalans (music) luckily contain many universal words. But, she also recognized that she could hardly speak back, even worse if she wanted to explain things. It’s frustrating. We all know that feeling!

The funny thing is about the lunch and the afternoon snack. We know Sky loves food. And it’s also the first thing we discuss everytime I pick her up at school. I can access the monthly menu at the school internal website so I know what she got or will get, but she just loves to explain what she has eaten, and that she always finishes them all… Well that’s at least one less issue for us. 😀 She also doesn’t have issues having lunch an hour later than what we do at home. Again, my worry just disappears in the air….

So once again, so far so good. We are getting into our daily rhythm and doing things we are planning to do. Everyone is healthy and happy… and this adventure has started to get its shape.  🙂

blog2

Advertisements

first day of school in Spain

Standard

For many Spanish parents it’s a big relieve to walk their children to school again this morning, after 11 weeks (!!!) of summer holiday (compared to 6 weeks in the Netherlands). But for me, it feels so unreal how fast the past weeks gone by. We now live 6 weeks here in Spain, have been busy with so many things and have passed through many milestones in such a short period of time… but today marks a very important milestone in our life: The first day Sky goes to school in our new homeland. First time wearing a school uniform! She is really looking forward into it:

blog1

This month the children are allowed to wear their sport uniforms because the weather is just still too warm for the “official” uniform, which is made of thick material. The ‘problem’ with uniforms is, that you have to put names on all of them, from the backpack to the swimming suit. That’s the advice I got from another mom and also from school. So we ordered a name-sticker which you can iron on the clothes (or sew on the bags). Like this:

blog2

The school starts at 08.50 and will end at 16.35, all the same from Monday till Friday. Again, very different compared to her school in the Netherlands (08.30 – 15.00, and on Wednesday till 12.30). The long hours are compensated by having 2 hours long afternoon break (in NL 1 hour), including having lunch together at the big dining room. Sky is so curious what kind of meal she would get today! Actually I can check the monthly menu on the internal school website, but we have made an agreement that I will only check it when she has gone to school, haha…. (pstt, I have just take a look and all the menu seems delicious!! I think she will like most of them). This is the school dining room:

blog4

Last week we had a parent’s meeting at school, where presentations were given both in general (we had a special English version in a different room) and in the children’s own classroom by the teachers themselves. Children were not allowed to join this meeting, so we had to arrange a sitter for Sky. The first time in her life she stayed at home with a sitter! (talking about milestones….) We’re lucky to find a Dutch sitter, an 18 years old girl who has lived here for about 5 years. Sky was all happy and enthousiast about her! This is a picture during the presentation in the class (which was all in Spanish, with occasionally some English summaries afterwards). As long as I know there are 3 non-Spanish children in the class, out of 23.

blog5

And the last Friday before the school starts was an Open Day. Parents and children are allowed to come in the class and met the teachers. We got explanations and guided tour around the school. Such a good idea, especially for new students and parents like us. At least now Sky knows where the nearest toilet is and where she should go to fill in her water bottle. We also got to see the classes, the library, the dining room, the gym, the playground, the computer room and the music room:

blog3

I have to admit I’m quite nervous today. I try to keep myself busy (like by writing this blog), but still I kept looking at the clock and thinking ‘What is she doing right now? Is she happy, not getting a headache from all the foreign languages spoken and the new children around her?” Oh my, I can’t wait to hear all her stories when I pick her up (or not, maybe she doesn’t feel like sharing them today. All okay). Tomorrow is a Catalonian Public Holiday (Diada Nacional de Catalunya), so happy with that. Then we have one day to take a rest from this impressive ‘first day’.

blog6

 

worry

Standard

blog5

Mothers are made to worry, especially when it comes to their little ones.

I’m worry if Sky would be okay with our big move. If she would like our new house here in Spain, with us busy settling things down and learning the language and everything new around us…

I’m worry, because she will soon enter a new school and learn 3 new languages at once. Three!!! Which means she will be in a new environment, with all new teachers and kids who all speak languages she does not understand yet. We try our best to teach her some English the past half year, but that’s so far from enough. At least, that’s my worry…

And she is such an observant girl. Not shy, like some people might think at first sight. She would not jump into anything before she’s comfortable enough with it. She needs to watch and understand the situation first, and it might take some times. Maybe she would not easily make friends in her new class… At least, that’s my worry…

I was reading her new school schedule and oh what a long day they will make at school. Much longer than the school days in the Netherlands, almost 2 hours longer! Wouldn’t she be too tired? And their lunch start at 13.20!! Oh my, that’s so late! At her previous school the kids would have lunch at 12 (and at home also)! And she’s such an eater, will get cranky when her tummy rumbles. Poor little girl… At least, that’s my worry…

blog2

But then,

She has never complained ever since we’re here. She always has a big smile on her face, and keep telling me what a beautiful house (with a big garden!) and a pretty green surrounding we now have in Spain. She is so sweet and helpful (what have I done to deserve this kid!)

We take her everywhere, from arranging some legal things (city hall, police office, parking office, other offices…) till shopping for the necessary home appliances (internet/tv/phone office, car dealers, electronics, diy-stores, garden and plants, water filter, outdoor furnitures, more diy stuff…) and she enjoys it all. Everything. Each of them is an adventure, and every single one is just as exciting. Whether it’s about finding a delicious dessert in the supermarket or to get our health insurance done at the bank. Whether it’s about wandering around the weekly city market or to register ourself in the city hall.

blog8
blog1And then,

We got our first playdate. With two other mothers with their daughters (in total 5 girls together with Sky, all about the same age and all will go to the same school). We met at the park, and the girls immediately played together like they have known each other for years. The moms had a blast too. But for me it’s so special to see how Sky seemed to be at her ease. How much fun she had although she might not understand all words said (almost all in English). How children can easily play together without having to worry.

blog6

And moms like me…well, we are made to worry. It’s in our nature, I guess. But with all things happening these weeks, to watch and see how Sky smoothly and joyfully enjoying her days…it relieves my worries a bit. The big move still has to happen, when she really goes to school, in 10 days. But I believe we have set a solid base to hop on. Let’s continue from that. 🙂

blog7

first weeks in Spain – our new house

Standard

A friend of mine said: “All the ‘last-times’ in the Netherlands will soon be replaced with many ‘first-times’ in Spain.”
And how!
We are now 2 weeks and 2 days here in our new home in Spain.
Hectic weeks full of formality and official things, but also filled with lots of fun and adventures…and so many ‘first-times’!!

In short: We like it here. 🙂
Sant Cugat is a beautiful city. We have (rent) a nice ground-floor appartment in a green and peaceful area. Our house has two terraces and a backyard which is in total 6 times bigger than our last home. Barcelona and the beach is only 20 minutes away and the green area “Collserola” between Barcelona and our city is only 10 minutes by car. There are plenty bike routes around the city, however till now I have only tried to bike once, because last week was really, and I mean really hot (even the locals chose to stay inside!). Biking is a challenge though, now we’re used to the flat landscape in the Netherlands. This country is hilly!

Now we have a yard, someone has to mow the lawn (but he does it with pleasure!):

blog1

And just like many other apartment complex in Spain, there is a swimming pool behind our building. Sky would ask to go to swim every single day!

blog2

And we take a walk around the block every day after dinner. Sky would walk or step on her scooter or bike:

blog3

 

Many more stories to tell and photo’s to share…I hope I will find the time to update this blog regularly. Especially now the 115 moving-boxes are quite sorted out and many of them have found their places in and around our new house. 🙂

‘last-time’ blues

Standard

blog 2


I think I start to get some ‘last-time’ blues. Now the moving date is getting closer (somewhere in August), I start to think about every last-time I still want to do in the Netherlands. Everytime I visit a place I don’t often visit or do things I don’t often do, my mind jumps into conclusion: “This could be the last-time I visit this place, or do this thing”. And maybe not only for me, but mainly for my daughter. I keep thinking: “Has she seen enough from this land? Enough to give her memories of her birthland?”

Ridiculous of course. We make memories all the time and we will keep making it, wherever we will live. But still…that feeling… It’s not necessarily a negative feeling, nor a positive one. But it does give some boost into action. For example, I have lived almost 16 years in the Netherlands and I have never visited the Keukenhof; “the most beautiful spring garden in the world” as their website promised… until this spring! Well I have to, and so I showed it to my daughter too. First foto above is from Keukenhof (and despite all the tourists, it was super pretty!). And next to that we have visited a windmill, watched a flower parade, visited a castle and some musea, experienced the yearly military parade on the liberation day, and for the last-time (there we go again) visited the safari park we have been members for 3 years.

So we start to end some journeys here in this country. But where a door closes, another one will open. And we will keep writing the memories in our life book, closing a chapter and ready for a new one. 🙂

blog 2f

blog 2g

 

how she deals with the big news

Standard

blog 1a

I got questions how Sky reacted when we first told her that we’re going to move to Spain.
Well, she cried. Long and harrowing.
And we hugged her, without words. We have kept the news for about one month for ourselves before telling her. To make sure about the situation first, to think of the best way to tell her and to prepare our words. But not many words were required. When she regained herself she had a very interesting reaction: she didn’t want to talk about it until she’s ready for it. Then she would come to us and we could talk.

And she did. Days went by and we were getting nervous. What to do? What could we do?
But we respected her will. And after some days (maybe a week or two), she started the conversation. And asking questions. From serious stuff like ‘how’s life there’ and ‘what will her school look like’ to funny things like ‘do they have lice-mothers?’

She had probably settled the idea in her mind and got ready to change thoughts with us, which we think is a very mature way of dealing with such a big news. In the weeks after that she still has some difficult moments sometime. Her teacher promised her not to talk or ask questions whatsoever in the class if she’s not yet comfortable with it.

But she moved forward. Slowly but sure we can talk about it. She gets used to it. We have discussion and share our fantasies, search for information we want to know, learn the (fun)facts and the languages. Not easy for her, she still gets teary eyes whenever we’re digging into it, given how delicate her soul is. Not easy, but it gets a bit easier. And we’re so relieved to see it happening. What a process… so thankful to experience this as a family!

And the crown of it all: She is now preparing a presentation (in Dutch we call it a “spreekbeurt”) to be shown and told in front of her class, about Spain! Oh we’re so proud she wants to do it, such a brave girl!

blog 1

our trip – the first impressions

Standard

blog 1

We spent 8 days in Barcelona and Girona. First time in Spain for Sky. Not the first time for us definitely, but this one felt so different. We looked differently at places and things. blog 1dNot as just a tourist, but with the awareness of “we will be living here soon”. So we paid more attention, tried to listen to conversations, absorbed the daily life… That awareness has come to Sky too. When we could not get any closer to Sagrada Familia (just use the metro in Barcelona, it’s ridiculous to try to park your car anywhere…) she said: “It’s okay, we’ve caught a glimpse of it. Next time we live here we can visit it anytime we want.” That’s right dear, we will explore this city for sure. 🙂

This trip is such a great coincidence. We booked it in November, when we didn’t have any slight idea yet that we will not be visitors, but citizens-to-be. We grabbed the chance blog 1fand made use of it, and we were able to make an appointment with an international school we think will be nice for Sky. So we visited the school and had a guided tour around its facilities. I think it’s an important step for her, to see and feel her future school in real life, not just from the website. It seems like she approves it and she has more confidence in this whole “moving” thing afterwards.

So we spent one day around the school area and its neighbourhood, and visited some villages between the route of Joop’s future office and this school, just to get an impression of where to live (and where not!). Because the next important step, after getting our NIE-numbers (to be able to live in Spain for more than 3 months) is of course: find a house!

blog 1a

The rest of the trip was filled with real ‘holiday stuff’: wandering around La Ramblas, playing at Parc de la Ciutadella and Parc de Diagonal Mar, admiring Gaudi’s and other artists’ works in the city. After 4 days we moved the base to Vidreres, about half an hour under Girona. We did a children-quest in Girona (that was really fun!), explored the coast line: Lloret de Mar, a small beach in-between (probably Platja de Canyelles) and even visited Tossa de Mar twice…such a beautiful place! And food…lots of delicious food! We often eat “menu del dia” as lunch and I will cook for dinner (as usually we rented houses from AirBnB, allowing us to cook our meal). One reason is to reduce the expenses, other is having a child makes it difficult to have dinner at 9 p.m.

blog 1c

And now one funny thing I learned during this trip:
If you want to have “normal” eggs (I mean like the one you need to make an omelet for breakfast), don’t buy one with “cocidos” on it, because it means “cooked”!! It was a funny surprise though when I broke one and nothing came out of it…haha…

blog 0

blog 1b

blog 1e