Adjusting to Life Back in Barcelona (Day 136 to 143)

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Sunday Jan 5th – Going Back to Barcelona  & The Three Kings Parade – (Day 136)

The flight coming back was easy. Before we knew it, we were sitting in our apartment in Barcelona. We all just hung and relaxed reflecting on an amazing vacation. In Spain, Jan 6th is a big Holiday called Three Kings Day. Many kids in Spain receive their presents on Three Kings Day, rather than on Christmas. As an added bonus, the night before there are parades all over the city where kids receive candy. 

Love the site of Barcelona from the air.

In Barcelona, there is a huge parade in the downtown area where hundreds of thousands of people attend. The size and scope of it seems akin to the Thanksgiving parade in NYC. While it certainly seemed like it could be an interesting experience, none of us were in that mode. Luckily, there was a much smaller parade near us for locals in this area and we attended that. 

As we walked over to the street it was on, we still had 45 minutes. Kelli found a sushi restaurant to order food and drinks while we waited for the streets to fill, and our friend met us with her daughter. The small parade came through and our kids left much richer in candy. Gotta love Spain. 

One of the Three Kings in the parade.
Kids walking in the parade and throwing candy.
Josh got a lot of candy in the Three Kings Day Parade.

Monday, Jan 6th – Three Kings Day (Day 137)

Almost everything was closed for the Holiday. I had several work conference calls, so my lovely wife set up playdates for the twins and then took all 5 kids to the movies. Everyone came back to our place for pizza and then Leila’s friend slept over.  

Tuesday, Jan 7th – Last Day of School Vacation (Day 138)

Adjusting to a normal slower life is always hard after vacation, but this time it felt especially tough for me. After being on the road for two weeks, and going to a new place almost every 2 days, I was finding it weird to have no plan. In fact, I was finding it hard to prioritize what to do at all. And that inability to prioritize started giving me stress. Bills, emails, strategy, writing, reading, exercise, friends…..Where to start and in what order?   Can you relate to this feeling? 

When we finally got out with the kids, we went to Turo Park so they could run around and we could grab a late lunch. We met some friends. I came back earlier than the rest, as I had some more work calls. None of us were used to the school schedule and kids went to bed closer to midnight than I would like to admit. 

Wednesday, Jan 8th – First Day of School – It Is Time for Chapter 2 (Day 139)

Back into the routine, I dropped the kids off to school and headed to Spanish class. Only 3 of us made it on the first day back to class. However, we started to learn past tense which I will need to use a lot. After class, I rushed home to join the last hour of Kelli’s private Spanish lesson, which coincidentally was also focused on past tense. It was super helpful to get back to back lessons. 

After 2.5 hours of Spanish, I was ready to turn my brain off for a bit. It was also nice to get back to the gym early in the week and start feel those endorphins again. 

Also, I was feeling something else. Barcelona felt different than it did before the break. Before the break, it felt like an extended vacation, where everything was new and an adventure. After going on an actual adventure, Barcelona felt more like real life. Almost as if I was back home in Brooklyn. Almost in a sad way. It became clear to me that my first 100+ days were over and now it is time to focus on my next chapter in Barcelona. 

Chapter 2 will take more effort. We have already established our group of friends. So making new friends will not just happen, it will take intention. And even with our established friends, I need to connect and make plans, get togethers will not just happen. I have reached a plateau in living here. The plateau is good in that I have a routine and I can do it easily. In this next chapter, I need to determine how to push past the plateau and get uncomfortable in the right way.

After all those thoughts swimming through my head, I needed to get out. The weather looked nice, I strapped on my new running shoes and headed straight up hill to Park Guell.  Just as I was reaching the park, my kids called me and did not have keys to get in the apt. Doh!  I ran back, dropped them off, and went straight to the gym.

We all went to bed a bit earlier that night, but still a far cry from where we needed to be. 

Thursday, Jan 9th – Full Day Executive Meeting with Coach (Day 140)

Each quarter we have an 8-hour meeting with our coach, going over strategy. When you are in NYC, it doesn’t feel difficult, as it is a normal work day. When you are in Barcelona, it is from 2:30 to 10:30pm and feels longer. In fact, moving forward, I decided I am going to fly to NYC for them as it is a good excuse to see the team, be more present at the meeting, and make my parents a little happier (I think). 

I spent the morning preparing for the meeting and then went straight into it. It went well and always an important part of our growth. A lot was accomplished. 

Friday, Jan 10th (Day 141)

Just another typical day ending our first week in Barcelona. We all stayed in at night and watched a movie. My highlight was that I printed out my journals from the first 135 days here as part of my process for my next book, and I bought my first pair of ski boots in 20 years. 

Saturday, Jan 11th (Day 142)

This day reminded me of a lot of weekends in Brooklyn. We needed to figure out something to do to get out of the house, but nothing came to mind. We kept searching “top things to do for kids in Barcelona” or “top parks to visit” and nothing seemed to look interesting. This once again reinforced the feeling that this is our home, and it is harder to find fresh things to do with the kids in the city. Since we decided not to rent a car monthly, we could not easily do day trips from Barcelona. 

Luckily, at the last minute, Kelli found something that sounded interesting. A park 8km away that had a Labyrinth. As soon as Jonah heard about it, he was in. We hopped in a taxi and arrived in a whole new area of Barcelona. We walked into the park and found the maze. For the next 2 hours or so, the kids went in and out of it as we watched and relaxed on the side. 

The Labyrinth maze behind Kelli.
Kids looking down on the maze while we were still trying to find the way out.

Afterwards, we found what looked like a great restaurant on Yelp and walked over. It was called Can Cortada, and yup, we were right, it was completely booked. Somehow from there we ended up in a hole in the wall bar/restaurant but it got the job done. 

That night, we had dinner with another international couple and all our children at a great Italian restaurant. It was a nice, fun, crazy evening to end our full day. 

Dinner at the Beach, Sunday, Jan 12th  (Day 143)

We spent the morning relaxing in the apartment. I went to the gym and Kelli went to yoga. At night we had dinner plans with another family on the beach so we headed down there early to walk and play along the beach. The kids enjoyed it and it was the perfect plan. During half of the  dinner, they all played while we hung inside and caught up. A nice end to our first week back to our life in Barcelona.

Kids playing on the beach. It was not easy getting up that thing.