Almost 3 months after leaving San Jose and now that summer is nearly over, our family is starting to settle into routines. We’re adjusting well to our new European and Spanish ways of life. We’ve learned some survival Spanish, no longer need maps to get around, are drying our clothes on the line, using the 24 hour clock, the metric system, celsius, and managing to get by just fine without a car.
We’re slowly but surely starting to find the better ethnic restaurants in town so we can get our Mexican, Thai, Chinese, and middle eastern food fixes. We still haven’t discovered any Vietnamese food, and really miss our Sunday tradition of eating Pho. Thanks to Meetup, InterNations, and Facebook, we’ve made some new local friends, and we just joined a nearby gym.
Our weekdays are pretty routine, mostly built around TJ’s school schedule. One of us walks him to the bus stop in the morning (he gets embarrassed if we both walk him). School starts at 9:30, and he’s back by 17:30 (5:30pm). As soon as he has a snack, it’s homework and reading time. Everything is shifted about an hour later than his school in San Jose, including bedtime, so he still gets some downtime to relax. We’ve started to venture outside of Valencia and have been doing some fun weekend excursions to beaches, hiking, and national parks.
Establishing routines is hard to do unless you’ve cleared all of the big challenges, and we finally have. Since we first started to seriously consider moving to Valencia nearly a year ago, we’ve leaned on our good friends Daniel and Andrea, who have helped us so much, and in so many ways. Whether it was providing information, translation, advice, or sharing their home here in Valencia, they have been generous and gracious. Thanks guys – we really appreciate it!
Cooking dinners at home is becoming our routine too. I love shopping at the Mercat Central which is just a five minute walk from home, and we have three other good supermarkets within a 10 minute walk. We’ve stopped shopping for a week at a time, instead buying small amounts several times a week. We’re cooking seasonally with the freshest ingredients from the Mercat. We still have our weekly breakfast for dinner night, and have added a tapas night. It’s so easy and convenient to shop, that we barely miss Amazon Fresh and Gobble.
To me, among other things autumn means Football season and Baseball playoffs which I always look forward to. We’re ready – stream all the things! NFL Game Pass, MLB.tv premium, Netflix, HBO Now, and Spotify satisfy our music and TV viewing needs. No need for routines here, since everything is available live and on demand. With AppleTV and AirPlay, we’ve finally cut the cable, and may never go back. It would have been hard to miss out on NFL and MLB – now I have a better understanding of why the expats in the US are always at the pubs at odd hours to see their home countries’ sports.
Next week Heather and I start Spanish school. We’ve identified about a dozen schools in the area, and three schools that stood out because of style, location, price, etc. and visited all three. We liked them all, and intend to try each of them for a week at a time before we settle on one. The programs are intensive, 4-5 hours a day Mon – Fri, with optional social excursions in the afternoons and evenings. We’re looking forward to being students again, are eager to learn more Spanish, and hope to meet some new friends along the way.
We’ve had 3 visitors so far, and good reviews on our guest accommodations. Heather traveled to connect with some friends in Barcelona for a couple of days. We’re hoping to see a lot more of our friends and family. If you’re going to be anywhere in Europe, let us know and we might come visit you, or, come visit us in Valencia. And to our friends that brought Opus One to share, and brought us the good Adam’s peanut butter, thank you!!