Sacar el mayor partido de este año

DSC_0490When we told people that we were moving to Granada for a year, they often asked “What are you going to do?” It’s an excellent question and we’re getting to the point where we can give it the attention it deserves.

Right now, a typical day for me looks like this:

7:15 am       drag myself out of bed after nine hours of sleep (what can I say? sunrise isn’t until 8:21 am!); check email and otherwise lose an hour in front of the computer
8:55 am       run out the door wondering why we’re always late getting Lou to school, which is 10 minutes uphill
9:05 am       whew! kids are still getting sorted out in the classroom
9:10 am       chat with some American moms about where they traveled on the three-day weekend; meet new mom from San Francisco and accept her invitation to get coffee
9:15 am       enjoy easy conversation in English about shared interests and experiences
10:30 am     pass Mónica, Argentine owner of the pizza place on the corner of our street, and we agree on Monday for our next English lesson; she and her son want to learn English for interacting with customers who don’t speak Spanish, and it’s good for me because I have to communicate with Mónica and Sebastian in Spanish
10:35 am     home with plans to sit down and study Spanish; WhatsApp message from Pete says our Spanish ID cards are ready and I have to pick mine up myself
11:00am     rendezvous with Pete to get my passport, debrief the morning, and agree that we are totally unoriginal (there are 20 English-speaking families and counting at Lou’s small school?)
11:15am     pin location of self-service laundry in my phone; I washed piles of clothes, sheets and towels yesterday, something that was only possible because I dedicated my day to it and because we had sufficient sun and invested in a third drying rack
noon           arrive at Foreigners Office; no line at reception, but I have to wait 30 minutes because other people have appointments
12:30 pm    I get the lady who looks crabby, and I can’t blame her; she takes digital fingerprints two times, and even though she used a wet wipe on my fingers she can’t get them to match my prints from three weeks ago (dios mío); she calls over the fussy guy who did my original prints; he takes my prints again and can’t get them to match—he reminds me that I have bad fingerprints; crabby lady and fussy guy involve a guy just back from his break (expert finger printer?); I try the “hot breath on finger trick” I learned three weeks ago from fussy guy, and it works; with our DNI cards Pete and I can now open a joint bank account and finally pay down Lou’s lunch and after school activities tab
1:15 pm        stop at dry cleaners/laundry to pick up bedspreads (we switched to down comforters last week); I ask if credit cards are accepted and the guy says “Of course,” but his card reader can’t connect to the Wi-Fi signal so I run to a cash machine; he is pleased when I pay in exact change and I’m pleased to have said everything correctly (I think)
1:30 pm     leave grocery store with the few ítems I can carry up the hill in addition to the two bedspreads; this does not include a bag of oranges Pete wanted for his new electric juicer
2:15 pm     cook myself lunch, which is more involved than putting an Annie’s frozen meal in the microwave
3:00 pm    work on the blog knowing that I should be working on my Spanish, especially since I have a conversation exchange at 7 pm with Ignacio, an agronomist and officer in a deux chevaux car club I met through
5 pm         get Lou from his after school activity

If you’re thinking “Oh, you’ve become a Spanish house wife who doesn’t speak Spanish,” you’re right. And since that’s not what I intended, I have some things to figure out. Pete is doing better (he’s going to a gym and he joined an informal soccer team and he got us invited to a party), but he’s also trying to figure out how we can look back on this time and say we made the most of it.

2 thoughts on “Sacar el mayor partido de este año

  1. merediemartinez

    It’s fun to hear more about the details of your days there in Grenada. I am grappling with a similar question: how do I know if we are getting enough out of this experience? Should we be doing more? If so, what? And then I think back to one of my original desires when planning the trip, which was to slow down, and take time to just be. I’m trying to let that thought guide me.

  2. ellentveit Post author

    When I say “make the most of it” it’s code for “come out on the other side speaking Spanish.” And given the age at which I started studying Spanish and the fact that I live with English speakers makes learning conversational Spanish a lofty goal. Why do I want to learn Spanish? To have the possibility of seeing true Spanish life and, honestly, to compete with Pete. Also, we are surrounded by very accomplished people, and that ruffles my insecurities about looking like a slacker. The exercise goals and slowing down – I share those goals too – are taking care of themselves thanks to our hilly neighborhood and my unemployment. : )


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