Sunday, August 30, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
After spending over an hour in the campus post office this afternoon, I think it sounds like fun too. Husband and I packed up about eight boxes to mail to Spain before we leave Norfolk tomorrow. He had some last minute errands to do, so after unloading all the packages, he left me fill out all the labels and paperwork. This seemed like a pretty easy task. I mean, I know my addresses and I'd written some notes about the contents on the outside of each box, but ugh...filling out those customs forms is such a pain! Thank goodness that I did make notes for myself on the boxes. You have to write down the contents of the package and the monetary value on the forms. Who can really put a value on dentist erasers, Eye of the Tiger lyrics, and your kids' favorite old t-shirts??? Of course, there were other items that were easier to put a price on, but still. It took me over an hour to get all the forms filled out and everything rung up. That was a half an hour past closing time. Thank you, Cheryl M. Postal Worker, for getting all our "crap" on the truck and on its way to Spain. Cheryl and I are in agreement that the building's air conditioning system turned off at closing time! It was roasting in there! If we had a couple of tomatoes to throw at each other, it might have cooled us off a bit.
I might be tempted to attend the La Tomatina Festival once in Spain once we're there. It's still pretty hot in Spain this time of year. I'd only go, however, if I could be guaranteed that I would not take a shot to the face! I don't think I'd find that too refreshing!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Barefoot in Barcelona
Can You Tapas This?
Give Me Moor!
No Spain No Gain
Ate Berries in the Canaries
Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees
Here Today… Aragon Tomorrow
Manicurist of Seville
Bullish on OPI
As for me, I went with the Manicurist of Seville. What sounds good to you? See the colors at http://www.temptalia.com/opis-spain-collection-for-fall-2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
I couldn't believe it! It looked like any other Saturday at Virginia Beach. We go to the North End beaches and I thought we'd have no trouble finding parking, what with the warnings and all. We had to park a block off the beach, just like usual. Like I said, busy as ever. We parked, walked down to the beach, and saw tons of people in the water. The waves were bigger than usual, but people were surfing, and boogie boarding, and jumping the waves, and playing in the surf. The red flags were up, warning people not to go in the water. A lifeguard even drove by on his ATV, whistle in his mouth, ready to blow at any moment, but he never did. He just cruised right on by like the beach was empty. I guess it takes a lot to scare off Virginia Beachers. Maybe the warnings were just a way for the local government to limit their liability. That way, if anyone dies, they'd been warned. As for us, we'd still rather be safe than sorry. We have a lot of adventures ahead of us and we all want to be around to experience them!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Only two negatives for the day...I knew we'd be walking on concrete from ride to ride, so I wore my Birkenstocks, apparently forgetting we were at a WATER park. Bought some $5.99 one-size-fits-all pink flop flops to combat that issue. The second negative came at the end of the day when the lines for the rides started thinning out. Husband and Eleven were in line at the Death Drop slide, I mean, the Rampage, while Seven and I went back to our first slide where they was absolutely no line. As I was huffing and puffing at the top of the three story slide for the fourth time in a row, it was quite apparent that I really need to get serious about my present state of fitness. With no lines, you get zero breaks when it comes to hauling your double-seater inner tube up the step (really shows the weaknesses in your workout plan). They walk and bike a lot in Europe, right? Think it will be enough to offset the occasional tapas crawl? I sure hope so...
Thursday, August 20, 2009
We left Texas on May 30th and have been on the road, more or less, since then. Three months is a long time to rough it out of a couple of suitcases...torture, as my sons, "Seven" and "Eleven" would tell it. No xbox, no legos, no art supplies, no webkinz....So, of course, we brought "things" for them to play with. Of course, we added to their stash a bit as we traveled around the country this summer. Plus, we've had to stock up on some items we'll need in Spain that are either too expensive or simply not available there. There were also items the movers wouldn't pack, that we didn't want to be without or to have to re-purchase in Spain. The result...one 55 pound trunk down and at least five boxes of various sizes to go. The 55 pound trunk made it to Spain in about a week. So it's crunch time now with only ten days left to go to get the rest of the boxes packed and in the mail...Wish me luck!
Photo courtesy of yahoo's flicker photo sharing site
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
From my friend, Angela, I learned:
- Moving is fun, you get to take a nap
- You get the satisfaction of vacuuming sans furniture. Great vacuuming lines!
- Your friends will even go get you and your movers lunch. Thanks, Ang!
From my friend, Jennifer, I learned:
- To call the housing office whenever you have a question about clearing, just to be sure!
- How to help our kids transition to a new school. Thanks for going with me to Parent2Parent.
From my friend, Julia, I learned:
- You can always cry in front of your friends about your problems, even if they are dealing with problems too. Thanks, friend!
From my friend, Yvette, I learned:
- To say "no" (and not feel guilty) to last minute performances that would stress me out while I was getting ready to move. Thanks, girl!
From my new friend, Amy, I learned:
- To google search the local paper's "Best of" edition for goods and services in a new area
- You never have to worry about finding great new friends in a new place. Looking forward to being in Spain with you and your family.
From my trusted friend, Tracy, I learned:
- No matter how long it's been since you've talked, a true friend never judges, they are just happy to hear from you.
- Several great phrases and philosophies I use to get through life's little problems. Water truly does seek it's own level.
From my friend, Tiffani, I learned:
- There is nothing a true friend won't do to keep you from making the same mistakes they did or keep you from going through the same trials they went through! Tiff, you've made this move so much smoother for us. You and Bill rock!
- A BFF will you a fabulous house in Spain right in their own neighborhood. Good friends keep you close to them! See you soon! Less than two weeks, aaaaaah!
Anyone who knows me, knows I'm always filing good ideas away in the little card catalog in my brain! I'm always looking for a way to do things better and make things run a little more smoothly. There are countless others who helped with lessons, suggestions or advice over the years. I hope I've done the same! After all, it's like I told my friend, Angela...Ya know, together, we make a really smart person!
Share some of the things you've learned from your friends...Photo credit goes to Mary Kate Denny. Find this pic at http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/89191761/Photographers-Choice
DK Eyewitness books first caught my eye in the children's section of the book store. I used to get them for my kids when they were little. They are so vivid and so real. When we were kids, all those picture books were just that...pictures, renderings of animals, fruit, vegetables, and vehicles. DK Eyewitness books bring these objects to life through the power of photography. They have brought that same reality to travel books! They're like picture books for grown-ups.
What's your favorite travel book, guide book or otherwise? Share with us...Everyone needs a good escape...
Monday, August 17, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
- Make sure my family gets me all my vaccinations for Spain
- Make sure they get me my USDA certificate (kind of makes me nervous, ya know, like USDA Grade A beef...yikes)
- Make sure they get me my international travel certificate so I can get on the plane
- Make sure they send my dog bed and some food ahead of us to Miss Tiffani in Spain
- Practice being back "behind bars" again in the kennel
- Work on my sad puppy dog expressions so the TSA, airline workers, and Spanish customs agents will take pity on me
- Work on being quiet, the hardest task for me, because I really feel the need to bark at people I don't know when I'm nervous
- Finally, follow my family members all around the house, and lick them as much as possible, especially on the face. They really like that...well, I do, at least.
Any other pets out there have any advice for a pet traveling abroad? Share your thoughts...
Friday, August 14, 2009
We bit the bullet and decided to buy all three levels of Rosetta Stone. Not a cheap proposition, but considering learning Spanish is our #1 goal while in Spain, we thought it was a good purchase. It lets you set up 5 independent profiles, so all of us, including Sammy, can learn Spanish. He looks so cute with his little headphones on, but he does have trouble with the written/oral sections...That's a joke, son, that's a joke. Seriously though, all of us including the 7 year-old, are working through the Rosetta Stone curriculum. I'm not a paid endorser of the software or anything, but I'm happy to say that we are learning Spanish. How often we'll have a chance to use the phrase, "The cat is on top of the television," I'm not sure, but we are learning Spanish, or "Spain"ish as my friend, Angela, likes to call it. There is a Castilian version of Rosetta Stone and we are using it.
It was hard, at first, to use the Castilian accent after so many years of studying Latin American Spanish. The sound substitutions seemed rather random to me, as I'm sure English idiosyncrasies do to non-English speakers, but I really wanted to get a handle on the Castilian accent. "When in Spain..." after all. So I began to make mental notes about when the substitutions occurred. Well, I think, I may have finally figured out a way to know if it's the "sss" or the "th" sound I need to be making. Any Spaniards or Castilian speakers out there, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. Here goes, Z's are always pronounced with the "th," C's are said with the "th" sound when they proceed an "i" or an "e," S's at the beginning of words, ending of words, or in front of consonants don't seem to be switched at all. Beyond that I just use the "th" sound to show I'm trying to be a good sport about it.
We are trying to be more mindful of all the Spanish words we've learned and are remembering to speak "Spanglish" more regularly. There's no way we'll make it through all the lessons before we get to Spain. I think that's good though, really. It will keep us Spanish focused. The kids will take it in school everyday and will probably pick it up more quickly than we do. After all, their brains don't have as much clutter!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
After all this time, I can hardly believe we are so close to moving to Spain. We found out about the possibility of a new job in Madrid back in October. We started looking into it, then pursuing it, trying not to get our hopes up. We talked as cryptically as possible around the kids. We didn't want them getting their hopes up either. It was inevitable, however, the little eavesdroppers would catch wind of it. While walking to school one day, my oldest asked me, "Mom, do you really think we'll get to move to Spain?" I replied, "No, son, those jobs are for other people, but we're going to try."
Fast forward about five months, we find out we are actually going, and the reality of it started setting in...with everyone. Exhilaration and panic seemed to be my two alternating states of being. Family members began to fret over the distance. We had so much to do to get us and all our stuff across the great big ocean, and we had approximately two months to do most of the preparations. My husband had to attend training in Virginia for most of the summer, so we had to be packed up and moved out of our house in Texas by the end of May.
Now here we are, 17 days from boarding the plane and just about all of "To Do" list entries have been crossed off. Our furniture is awaiting us in Spain, our van is on crossing the ocean as we speak, and my youngest is feeling better about the trans-Atlantic flight. Once we received confirmation on Spain, my youngest started obsessing over what we would do if our plane crashed into the ocean because, and I quote, "it was a really long way to swim." After some fast thinking, I assured him that letting your planes run out of gas was not part of a good business model. I also reminded him that in the event of an emergency, his seat could be used as a flotation device. He seemed ready to go again until he heard about the required immunizations. Now that all of his shots are over, he's back on board, just like the rest of us.