Two days ago, we woke up before the sun rose over our apartment. We dragged the kids out of bed and ordered a taxi to drive us up the mountain a little bit to Esplugues. The road winded a bit and we all kept quiet until we recognized the school gates on our right. Beyond the gates parents and children searched for a familiar face. It was orientation day for new families, not only for the kids, but for us too. 190 new families from 30 different countries. Elliot and Amelia were whisked away by student ambassadors. Asher accompanied us to a part of the playground set aside with wooden folding chairs which we sat upon while listening eagerly to the school’s director, principals and parent liaisons to provide answers to so many questions. We sought out other Americans and suddenly a family from San Francisco seems like a next door neighbor. Soon after the initial speeches Asher joined his peers on a tour too. Two and a half hours later we reunited all with the same kind of confused kind of excited and kind of defeated faces. Change landed at our feet that morning. I recognized the challenges we experienced getting us all to Spain and I recognize the challenges that lie ahead. All the while, acknowledging that these challenges create the experience we seek, the one that will enrich our lives, the one lined with excitement.
The following day, the kids met the school bus on the city street and climbed aboard. Jeffrey and I spent our fist day alone in our apartment and at the grocery store , while waiting eagerly for the return of our three little ninos. Grocery shopping takes a long time here, everything does when translating labels and signs all day. They did it. They climbed off the bus looking a bit exhausted, so many teachers speaking so much Spanish. The American School of Barcelona teaches academics in English, but with Spanish being the native tongue, it’s omnipresent. They all mentioned new names and new classes, but as we sat around the dinner table eating American hamburgers, things felt no different than they do at home.