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More than just location

Updated: Jun 28, 2018

We've been talking to our sons a ton about the changes that we can expect to face when we move.

There are the obvious: language, location, schools, distance from family, using public transportation.... We've asked them to ask questions and give their input if they have opinions. Boy, do they. Some of the things that we've decided to do based on their input: attending private, English-speaking schools; living in the city-center even if it means a longer commute to school; having their own rooms and at least 2 bathrooms (I may have "enlightened" them on why we want 2 bathrooms); weekly tutoring with a Spanish instructor; returning to Atlanta for a month-long trip over summer holidays; and the occasional Ryan-Air-is-having-a-flash-sale-grab-your-toothbrush-and-lets-go trip.

Then there are the second-tier things that have come up. Those are the things that required a little more down-the-rabbit-hole thinking, but we eventually get there:

  • How do we buy furniture at Ikea and get it back to our flat without a car?

  • The dogs currently have a large yard and an electronic fence, and we will need to take them for bathroom walks.

  • We will have neighbors on all sides of us, so we need to address the noise level in our house (barking dogs, guitar amps, video games and stereos are pretty much 24/7).

  • Cell phone plans do not have unlimited data there, and most plans still have a limit on the number of talk minutes and texts. I know, I'm still in disbelief!

Then there are the things that we don't know that we don't know. These are the things that come out of left field and make me remember that this really is an entirely different culture. Most of these, I've discovered several through my lessons with Lucia, my Verbling instructor.

One of the first that came up happened in a conversation about New Year's traditions and she mentioned Los Doce Uvas (The 12 Grapes) as if that was something that I should know. I've spent many a New Year's Eve doing the American thing of dress-up parties, watching Times Square ball drops, and kissing at midnight. I even spent a New Year's Eve in Israel, where the DJ at the club was like "Oh yeah, it's after midnight. Happy New Year to the Americans in the house." However, never have I heard of Doce Uvas (please, DOE-thay ooh-VATH, after all this is a Spanish tradition).

Turns out that back in the late 1800s Spain had a bumper crop of grapes and the grape growers, in their brilliance, created a ritual to help sell off the glut of grapes from their harvest. As the bells in town rang out 12 times counting down to midnight on New Year's Eve, each person would eat one grape--12 strikes of the bell, 12 grapes. According to legend, eating your 12 grapes by the final ring ushers in a year of prosperity or keeps away evil, depending on who you ask. Lucia said that most people either go to their town square or watch the Puerta del Sol, in Madrid, strike midnight and pop a grape into their mouths. After midnight, everyone heads out to the clubs and the real New Year's party begins.

I can't even begin to get my head around how many new things all of us will learn in the next 18 months, and I am so looking forward to sharing them with y'all.

grapes and clock striking midnight


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