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Monday, September 6, 2010

No Carefree Tourists

How different it is to move to a city than to visit as a tourist. Finding a place to live, getting cell phones to work, finding places to buy lunch boxes and power cords, figuring out how to make an appointment in Spanish with a Doctor -- this is what fills our thoughts. The museums and ancient monasteries that intrigue me are not even in my peripheral vision (Thank God, says Adele).
13th century monastery north of Madrid, that we are NOT visiting

Where to Live?

When we were sorting, rather rapidly, through our possessions in Concord, designating items to store or send to Spain, we were imaging moving, almost directly, into an unfurnished house of about the same size where we would reside for 2 years.

One of many Spanish houses that we are definitely NOT living in

Shortly before the moving van arrived we learned that it would all remain in storage until we had our residency visas, which could take until sometime in October. So, we quickly pulled out some more clothes, some documents and, most importantly as far as I was concerned, lots of art supplies for an air shipment.
We thought that, while awaiting our furniture, we would move right into a lovely, furnished apartment near the girls’ schools.
NOT the apartment building that we are staying at
That plan, like so many, evaporated on the trail between Spanish realtors and the many bureaucratic links of Matt’s American company, Oracle. What actually happened is, we stayed at an average sort of hotel the first night. The next day, while the children read and slept off jet lag

Matt and I drove around looking at for a decent “aparthotel” to stay in, we hoped, very temporarily.

Here is Matt coming out of the first aparthotel. It had the look and feel of a state mental institution after severe budget cuts. The one we have ended up in, while nothing close to the lovely, well located apartment of our imaginations, is not too bad.
Margot doing dishes and laundry
in our kitchen

One of my secret fears about getting married was that I would end up looking like a character from a George Booth cartoon. What do you think?

George Booth character
Here are Matt and I in the lobby of the hotel. The girls found the name of the hotel amusing as it seems to be a confusion of several distant locations in the States. I would have more photos of the Adele and Iris, who are obviously a good deal cuter than us, but they are quite squirrelly about photos.

Since arriving in Spain we have learned that the process of getting our visas, and therefore all our furniture etc., is more unpredictable, and probably a good bit lengthier than we thought. As a result, we will either be in this hotel for 2 to 4 months (possibly longer) or get a house and rent a smattering of furniture to get us by till the shipment arrives.

Settling into a new country with a new language can be pretty exhausting. Here is how we have been quite content to spend our evenings in this exotic new land:

Till next time!


  1. Hello Everyone,
    Reading these three entries at one sitting is almost too much! It's amazing you are still sane and somewhat cheerful. Love the George Booth cartoon! It's you! Thanks for putting this together - it makes our local dramas seem more manageable. I can't decide whether it makes me feel that you are closer or further away, but I'm really glad to read and see what you are all doing and dealing with. We had dinner with Michael and Pina on their crazy moving day and talked about the irony of their move to town at this time. It's great having them here but I miss you and yours a lot. Keep up the commentary, and we'll keep reading!
    Love to everyone, Sabrina

  2. Dear Margot,
    thanks so much for putting this blog together - it helps make your life so far away seem real - or at least I know it will after I stop being in denial that you have still seems a terrible shock.

    I loved the pictures of things you're not seeing and places you're not staying! That is so much the essence of travel at times...

    But I love even more the photo of your domestic evenings in your new home - almost as exotic as our evenings at home here in Indian Valley...

    News here is that the sacred eco-puppet theater project is coming along swimmingly. I've constructed a miniature puppet-theatre in my oratory using one of the amazing cookie-cutters you left with me here. I think of you - well - constantly, as you know. It's possible that I'm forgiving you for leaving. The blog helps!

    I can't wait to read more of your adventures.
    Love to you all,

  3. Hola! I get such a laugh from your blog. Margot, this visa could take much longer than you are predicting - I never got mine when living in Spain even though I had a job offer. It might be easier to just rent a furnished house for the 2 years.
    The spanish are very helpful - I got all my apartments from word of mouth.
    I sent you an email - keep in touch.
    Enjoy your great adventure! Michelle

  4. Yikes, you never got a visa at all? I have been hearing some similar stories here, such as a family that rented furniture for 3 years. When I think of the things we put on the shipment to Spain -- winter clothes, the television, my favorite cheese grater! But worst of all, my art supplies. Ah well.
    Thanks for posting a comment

  5. Eberle,
    Thanks for posting a comment. It is such a thrill to think my beloveds are out there enjoying my postings and feeling a bit closer than 3,000, or, in your case, 5,500 miles away. I actually think of you and John frequently when working on a post. Come to think of it, I don't know that I would be doing it at all if I hadn't seen you two at work on yours. It gave me the idea that a blog could actually be an enjoyable and satisfying creative outlet, as well as a way to stay in contact with folks.
    It is totally killing me not to be able to see your divine eco-theatre. Please, send photos!

  6. Hey there, Margot, Matt, Iris and Adele,
    Good first pictures and tales. I remember when I first arrived in Belgium with Bill 6 months old, I found myself with dictionary, writing whole paragraphs in French and memorizing them before going out shopping for food.
    It's an adventure, for sure.
    Love, Granna

  7. Wow. I'm reading through these posts, and it's sinking in. What an adventure. What a leap of faith. Miss you.