Time is starting to fly by, so I’ve been trying to keep notes of what we are doing each day, just so I can remember to add them to our journal. This month I’m so glad I did, as I think I would have forgotten some really fun events otherwise.
This month, with the help of some of Matthew and Gabi’s friends, Robbie made his first short film in Granada. He chose to create a film about a young girl moving to Spain, her difficulty communicating with her classmates, and how she and a friend eventually solve that problem. You can view the film here. Robbie has another project in the works and is hoping to complete it before we leave Granada.
Winter in Granada means skiing in the Sierra Nevada mountains, and Jason has taken advantage of that. His last trip was a little more adventurous than usual, beginning with the drive up the mountain. He and six friends somehow managed to fit into a five-seater European sedan, and then when they got to the pistes, conditions were so bad that they ended up skiing in a white out. Incredibly, on this particular trip, no one actually got hurt, which unfortunately has not been the norm for our friends this winter (one shoulder injury, some broken glasses, a pretty serious concussion and some mild internal bleeding). We’ve been wondering if there isn’t some ancient gypsy curse on the mountain, but it hasn’t stopped anyone from taking advantage of its proximity.
Speaking of painful, Jason and I are still plugging along in our Spanish classes and intercambios. Three classes a week with language exchanges at least once a week is actually starting to show us some progress. Jason is reading Harry Potter in Spanish and I am re-watching LOST on Netflix in Spanish. (I love that I can use español homework as an excuse for watching TV!) Robbie has been struggling a bit in some of his classes, and the Spanish help he gets two days per week at his school didn’t seem like enough, so we just recently started him in private lessons with our teacher Susana, at Delengua. We figure if ANYONE can get Robbie speaking in Spanish, it will be Susana.
Listening to music is also helping us figure out the Spanish language a bit better. Gabi and Matthew introduced us to the pop singer Álvaro Soler, that apparently all the “tweens” are listening to these days, so we are constantly playing his music in the background (and admittedly dancing around the house). Jason discovered the Sidecars and he and I went to see them live here in Granada. Fun music and a really engaged audience. Now that the weather is starting to warm up a bit, I’m also hoping to see more of my favorite “street band” Elsa Bhör on Plaza Nueva or Plaza Trinidad this Spring. Music is the one thing that will be easy to take back home with us unlike say, a rug or piece of pottery.
We are appreciating life here in Spain so much. In particular, it has been wonderful to experience the area with other families, and this month we enjoyed quite a few highlights. One was a day trip with the Mckendry family to explore the city of Ronda, a two hour drive from Granada. The fascinating thing about Ronda is that it is built over a river gorge and the views and architecture are just amazing. It is also home to the oldest bull ring in Spain, and while we didn’t see a bull fight, we did spend some time at a nature reserve that breeds and raises bulls and Andalusian horses. It was definitely a learning experience. Another stop on our Spanish cultural tour was a morning spent visiting an olive oil cooperative very close to Granada (Andalusia, the Spanish province in which Granada is located, is the largest olive oil producing region in the world), learning about how olive oil was made in the 15th century, and how it is made today. We were able to taste a variety of olive oils, and then wash them down with some wine, cheese and Iberian pork. A Sunday afternoon pick-up game of American football in the local park and visiting different restaurants like Aljibe 1664, built in an underground cistern from the 17th century, have been other fun experiences with our expat friends this month.
As much as we are enjoying life in Granada, we are all agreed that come August, it will be time to return to our home in Seattle. Actually, Robbie is quite adamant about this. The rest of us, I think, are a bit more conflicted. That said, we have started discussing the logistics of our return trip. The emotions are quite interesting…sadness and excitement at the same time…fear of feeling regretful when we leave because we weren’t able to do everything we wanted to do in Spain but also satisfaction just thinking about the amazing experiences we’ve already enjoyed as a family. Our coping mechanism for these emotions is to plan a circuitous itinerary that will take us on several bonus adventures before we finally arrive home in Seattle in early August. Before then however, we have a couple birthdays to celebrate and a few house guests to entertain in the coming months that we are very much looking forward to introducing to our beloved Granada. Hasta el próximo mes…