Saturday was a see saw of emotions. The similar kind of the past two weeks, but this day represented some of the most extremes that we had. Our vague plan the night before was to wake up and drive to a beach that was about 15 miles away called Gava. It is suppose to be chill unlike the touristy, busy beach located in Barcelona. We had the plan set, I would go to the gym, then stop by Hertz and rent a car, drive home and start the day.
After the gym, I arrived at Hertz only to learn the obvious – it was much more expensive to rent without a reservation. Almost double the price. While still cheaper then taking a taxi there and back, I could not get myself to do it knowing I could have gotten it cheaper if I did it a few hours before online. Apparently there is a 3 hour black out period. After some waffling back and forth of what seemed liked hours (prob only 5 minutes), I decided to abort and I went to reserve a car for tomorrow.
I called Kelli to share the news and it did not sound good. It was one of those situations where no one was listening unless she repeated herself 10 times and then started screaming. She said, “we need to do our frantic family exercise this morning instead of Sunday night.” As I said in a previous post, it is something we did several years ago which really helped with creating more respect with each other and we desperately needed that again.
I arrived home to the boys cleaning the place and making it spick and span. They were actually having a great time doing it. “Dad, can we start a cleaning service around Turo Park to clean apartments?” my older son asked. “Sure,” I said, “How much are you going to charge?” He confidently responded, “$100 per hour.” They next wanted to work on their logo. All I can say is my boys do not love cleaning this much, they must have known they were in big trouble to be so focused on it. The apartment did look great though.
We all finally sat at the table and started the exercises. The main thing we were trying to determine is what is the most important thing the family should focus on achieving together for the next 3 months. Also, we shared what makes each one of us upset. They both said for Kelli, it was screaming at them and for me it was grabbing stuff out of their hands. They felt we were too strict. And of course, we felt like they forced us to be strict by not listening or being respectful. Open dialogue, this is good.
Long story short, after about 30 minutes we decided the two main things we wanted to accomplish as a family was a certain amount of alone time with each kid each month, and bedtime by 9:30 during the week and leaving for school by 8:00am. It went okay, they were drawing throughout and felt like they were in school, but it was a start. Ok done, now where do we go?
Remembering supermarkets are closed on Sundays and the fact we had no food in our house, we knew we had to do a food shopping. We recently found a higher end, organic market by the house and made it a family event to shop and bring all the food home and have lunch.
Kel then found a small park near the zoo that we could bring a picnic blanket and relax while the kids ran around and got out their energy. The taxi driver convinced us to go to Parc de la Ciutadella next to the zoo instead, as it was much bigger. We did and it was not what we were looking for. Packed with tourists, hackers of sun glasses and other stuff, and what seemed like no shade anywhere.
After walking for a while we found the famous steps called Cascada Monumental and it was just what the kids needed. The boys found a guy blowing bubbles there and spent 30 minutes chasing them around, Kel found a shaded spot to watch them and I played soccer with Leila. Then we all went up and down the steps a few times.
Finally, ready to do what we set out to do. We walked the few blocks to the original park, Parc de l’Estacio del Nord, and it hit the spot. It was shaded and very relaxing. There was a huge, cool architectural monument type thing that the kids spent the entire time climbing while we sat on the blanket. I always love to see them get their energy out and that they certainly did all day.
We got back home around 7pm and I took my next step to being a local. Downloaded the app called Glovo which is like Uber Eats for food deliveries. We were invited to a 50th birthday party so we were ordering in food for the kids. In fact, we realized it was our first night out without the kids since we arrived. We were lucky enough to have the daughter of one of the parents attending the party babysit our kids. Such a nice community here.
The party was awesome. It is really great to meet so many people from all over the world who were drawn to Barcelona for their own reasons. Lots of retired entrepreneurs, consultants, or people on sabbatical. I met the doctor who recently opened the local clinic that specialized in Expats. Of course we had already been there and loved it. Her husband and I sat next to each other at dinner and I interviewed him on his interesting life. All night I felt like I was a kid in a candy store with all the great convos and people to talk to.
I looked at my watch and it was 12:45am and 2/3 of the party was still there. That’s how you know we were in Barcelona. We decided it was time to end the lovely night. We walked home smiling, knowing how low we were early in the day and now how high we felt.
In this blog it is important to share our range of emotions, this is our real experience. We all go through it. We all relate to it. Living in Barcelona is amazing. Yet we have the same daily challenges we faced in NY, now even more so being in a new country. That is part of the journey that we love and will grow from!