School; it’s a different world!

Since the Dandelions started school over here we have come across several significant differences that have taken a bit of getting used to. When your children are in school in Spain you have no real choice but to embrace the Spanish routine. You could fight it and attempt to carry on as you would in the UK, it’s not easy, but it is just about doable. We found its easier in the long run if you simply give in and accept your new daily routine.

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The school day starts at 9.30am. This is not the same for all schools in Spain, the majority still begin at 9am, so not a major game changer there.

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At 10am (as with most Spanish timescales, this is a vast one and can fall anywhere between 10 and 11.30 am, but the schools tend to stick to a specific time) the Spanish have desayuno segundo, or second breakfast (first breakfast for them is generally around 7-8am and just coffee for adults and a glass of milk with fruit or a biscuit for children). Desayuno segundo is their main breakfast of the day- usually pastry, bread or cake based. So, in an attempt to not give in and fill the Dandelions up on processed junk (of which the supermarket shelves are full), the control freak who needs to know whats in their food has dug out her baking mojo (yes, that’s me).

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At 1pm the children come home for lunch/siesta. This is when the Spanish eat their main meal of the day, often three courses. That paella we all eat when on holiday? This is the time to eat it, not in the evening as we would. Lunch can last anywhere from 2pm right up to around 5pm when siesta finishes and everyone goes back to work. In bigger schools the children can stay at school, ours is tiny so the Dandelions come home. We did try for a while to do the good old English sandwich for lunch, but you will see as the rest of the day pans out, it fits better to cook at lunchtime. At 3pm the Dandelions go back to school until 4.30pm. Unless it’s Friday; then they start at 9am and finish at 2pm for the day. Most schools do this one day a week, I’m pretty glad ours chose Fridays!

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That’s when we begin to factor in after school activities, playdates (yes at that time and they can go on until 7/8pm), birthday parties (yes, they have those after school too) an evening meal of some kind, chill out time and a half hearted, completely exhausting attempt at a bedtime routine. Cooking a family meal just doesn’t work at this time of day and makes those few hours between school and bedtime chaotic and at times unpleasant. So in order to calm our evenings, we embraced the Spanish way. And you know what? it works. And it works well. The entire day is calm and relaxed and we have found ourselves adapting that laid back attitude that the Spanish do so well.

Of course, it all changes again on 1st June when the schools switch to 9am-1pm every day because it’s considered too hot to have the children in school after 1pm.

And then we bring on the 12 week summer holiday. Yes, that’s 3 months! In the UK I know I would dread anything as long as that. Not here, I am more excited than the Dandelions!

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So far so good!

I know, I know, I have been away from the blog and really not been updating about our move at all. The truth is, it’s been hectic!

Life has basically involved settling into a routine that fits around the Dandelion’s new school hours. The whole siesta and two hour lunch break thing and the school day not finishing until 4.30pm has taken some getting used to.

The Dandelions have now been in school for about a month and although it hasn’t all been plain sailing for them, Zoom in particular, they all seem happy. Making friends wasn’t an issue for any of them and with it being a tiny school (only 40 pupils) they haven’t been lost in the system (which was a concern for me) and have all begun to pick up both the Spanish and Valencian languages.

Hubs and I have been busy unpacking and making our own mark on the house, lots of ideas and plans for the garden in particular. And the pool is up and running!

The SFD has taken to Spanish life well and is loving the warmer weather on his old bones. He is very suited to the more relaxed Spanish life.

The fact is, so much has happened in the last few weeks that it would be impossible (not to mention long winded) to document it all here. What I will say is so far so good!

And, thanks to my new found smart phone status (the hubster dragged me into this century where mobile phones are concerned) I have an instagram account on which you can see a sort of diary of how the last few weeks have been for us. So here’s the linkage if you’re interested; Dandelions on Instagram

 

 

Living the dream

So this happened…

Hanging up the Dyson

Dear Dyson,

I know we have only been together a short time, but I feel as though we have grown apart over the last few weeks.

To begin with, you were everything I had ever needed. The strong silent type who satisfied all my needs and then went on your way. Now things are changing. I have tried to keep you happy and the SFD has done his best to keep you in work by shedding his coat on a constant loop. But, your whining and needy behaviour (I mean, who needs to be emptied after every use, really?) has begun to wear thin.

The fact is, and I’m sorry if it sounds harsh, I just don’t need you in my life anymore.

Goodbye sweet Dyson, it’s not you it’s me!

 

 

Seven days until removals!

The bear necessities.

I am so over this packing thing! So incredibly over it, that today I have had to adopt a theme tune to keep me going. Can you guess what it is?

Over the last few days our walls and shelves have become bare, while our sheds become crammed with boxes. Only the essentials are left to pack. We’re almost there, but I may lose the plot long before that!

Eleven days until removals!

And for those of you who guessed right and started humming a certain song on reading the title of this post, you’re welcome. Bear Necessities!

The travelling SFD!

The boxes are building up and the face on the SFD says it all;

“Again, with the boxes, really?”

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This old boy has been with us since a few months after we got married, 14 years ago and he must be one of the most well travelled dogs alive. Where we go, he goes! The boxes come out, he gives a big old “Hmmph!” and resigns himself to yet another move. However, this time will benefit him massively. He will have no more steps for his old, arthritic legs to contend with and he will be able to spend his days lying on the terrace in the beautiful, warm sunshine. I can’t wait to get him to Spain, he deserves this as much as any of us.

Twelve days until removals!

The countdown continues…

 

I despised it when I was at school and now that I live in a constant cycle of wash, dry, iron, repeat I despise it even more. What am I talking about? The dreaded school uniform.

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Each evening, no matter how prepared I am on a Sunday with the whole wash, dry blah, blah, bleurgh, I still seem to end up rushing around trying to get different parts of the Dandelion’s uniforms ready for the following day.

Well, that pile of ever increasing school uniform in my kitchen will soon be a thing of the past. Five more school days until they break up for Easter and that will be the end of my school uniform woes forever. Espana and no uniform here we come!

Sixteen days until removals.

 

 

Kicking Monday’s butt!

Monday, feared by so many. That bitch comes along every week and knocks us clean off our feet when we really aren’t ready for it. Well, not this week Monday.

Monday butt kicking tools at the ready…

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Eighteen, count them, EIGHTEEN (!) days until removals.

So many questions.

Since we set a date to make our move to Spain I have been inundated with questions about the whole process, mainly regarding the Dandelions and how they are coping with the idea. It seems folks just can’t seem to grasp that the Dandelions are as excited about this as we are. It doesn’t make sense to people that the children would be happy with moving to another country.

Of course, we have to first bear in mind that our children were born into the forces world and although they may no longer be part of that world, some things have stuck with them. One of the main things being the ability to adapt to and embrace change, to see every new situation as an adventure. They have moved several times in their short lives and each time they have moved into the new life with something that forces children carry in abundance- flexibility.

I’m not for a minute suggesting that it isn’t difficult for them, I would be a pretty clueless Mum if I thought it didn’t affect them at all. And yes, we do second guess ourselves and whether we are doing the right thing for them. Yet, as soon as we see their faces light up when they are talking about the move, everything falls into place.

I suppose the most important thing that has kept them on board throughout this whole process is that they have been involved from the very beginning. All discussion, planning, five years worth of house hunting, endless hours driving around all the different villages to see what facilities they have, boring paper work meetings where they have waited (not always) patiently for hours etc have been done as a family. They have witnessed and had their say in even the minutest of details. We have listened to them and taken their opinions into consideration at every turn.

Nothing has been sugar coated, we have been up front and honest with them every step of the way. We sat them down and explained to them that school is going to be a lot of hard work for a while, but that we will be there to help them through it. We have told them about the things we will be able to do for them in Spain that we can’t afford to do here- things such as horse riding lessons and summer sports camps that cost the Earth in this country. They have spent time in the area we are moving to and already have friends there.

So yes, they are obviously going to miss their friends and family and it’s not going to be all plain sailing. We are in for some tough times ahead, but we will take the rough with the smooth. We have made this decision as a family and we are all confident that it is the right decision for us.

8th March 2011

My memories today on Facebook took me back to this day five years ago when the Hubster left for Afghanistan on the tour that changed our lives forever. Little did we know that we would only get just about half way through before an injury brought him home.

Every major event in our lives since has revolved around the fact that this day happened. For so long we were coasting through a long and very dark tunnel. Huge changes and too many ups and downs to count. The biggest change of course was the Hubster’s injury, the effects of which will be with us forever. There are other things however, that we now control ourselves and it may have taken a period of adjustment, but not being in the army bubble anymore is now one of the most positive parts of our lives, because it means that we are finally realising our Spanish Dream.

Yesterday we booked flights for the journey. Twenty five days to go!

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