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Foreign and familiar

We've had a busy few weeks here full of adventures.

Firstly, #1 has visited and already returned to Israel. We had a nice visit, but it was odd too. It was evident that the time he spent independently in Israel has allowed him to make adult choices and that my time actively parenting him has ended. As he makes his way in the world, I hope that he remembers the lessons and chooses the values that C and I spent 18 years trying to impart.

The last couple of days of his visit, our family took the train up to Barcelona to sightsee for a few days. It made sense since #1 was flying out of that airport, and #2 has been dying to see the Sagrada Familia.

Tuesday morning the five of us took a bike tour of Barcelona; what a nice way to see multiple corners of the city! A few weeks earlier, I had attempted to ride a bike in Valencia--what a disaster. I couldn't hold a line and almost swerved into oncoming traffic. I swore bike riding was off my skill set. However, it was something I decided I needed to try again, and I'm glad that I did. We started out in Barcelona city center and rode out to the Sagrada and then to the beach. We had a quick lunch at the beach with the tour group, then returned to the bike shop before racing across town to make our 3:30pm tour of Sagrada Familia.

The Sagrada is one of those places that should be on everyone's "must see" list. Regardless of religious beliefs, the physical structure of this basilica is awe-inspiring. If you are lucky enough to go, plan for an afternoon visit to thoroughly enjoy the stained glass windows.

Wednesday morning, #1 returned to Israel to begin his military service, and the rest of us returned to Valencia. #1 will be completing paperwork and continuing with his Hebrew language immersion for an additional 10-12 weeks but has moved to his home kibbutz. At the end of that time, he will be assigned to an IDF division and will begin the training appropriate for his unit.

On Thursday morning, our long-awaited belongings arrived at the apartment. I realized how much I missed some of the little things that I had shipped that make our house a home. I unpacked and plotted what I would cook first, and then realized that I didn't have the depth of pantry inventory needed to make much of anything for dinner. The four of us went out looking for dinner and stumbled upon a Mexican restaurant with vegan options. We stopped there and found out that Mexican food in Valencia is not what we expect coming from the States. I think I will have to hit up the spice market and try out some recipes at home.

On Friday, C left for a planned trip back to Atlanta. He will return once a quarter to the office in Atlanta to have some face time with his team. On this return trip, he will bring Blue & Maizey with him when he comes home. I am nervous about how they will do with their flights and the adjustment to city life, but I am excited to have our 4-legged family members here with us.

Living here is an interesting paradox right now. I feel both directionless and settled, foreign and familiar. Basic, daily activities require intense concentration, yet our lives are simple and natural.


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