Last week I wrote to a Princeton pal that when I return, I may never leave the city limits. I’m feeling burned out by travel and all of its logistics.
Two days ago I learned that our flight back to America has been canceled. The airline reassigned us on a flight to JFK instead of Newark.
Anyone who is familiar with getting to Princeton from Newark and getting to Princeton from JFK knows that there is no comparison. It’s about a thousand times easier from Newark.
Norwegian tells me that I’ll have to pay a 500 EUR change fee to take a flight other than our reassigned one to JFK. To Norwegian, JFK and EWR are the same place. I’m obviously not paying the fee and hope I will find a better customer service representative on the phone than the ones answering my tweets.
We spent a long time at the soccer field tonight, and it was very hot.
It was such a gift for the twins to get spots in a neighborhood kindergarten. They run into their little friends at the grocery, playgrounds, and on the sidewalk. Today especially it felt like wherever we went, there were shouts of “Copley! Hammond!” from tiny voices.
Errol has recruited our three younger children as FC Barcelona fans. They love Lionel Messi and cheer “Força Barça!” with passion.
Barcelona has been the only place the twins wanted to visit. It is the only destination they have willingly left Freiburg for. Errol was there two years ago and returned with a longing to live in Barcelona someday. There was a lot of buzz around this trip.
On Friday evening, we flew into Girona, a RyanAir airport, about an hour outside of Barcelona. We stayed in Girona that night and explored the city for a couple hours the next morning. We were all impressed with the Roman walls that once surrounded the whole town. I loved how not crowded Girona was.
On Saturday morning we took a commuter train from Girona to Barcelona. It began to rain.
Errol, Vinnie, Lee, and Ned got on a bus for the soccer game. Thom and I took went down to the Gothic Quarter and stood in line for forty minutes for the Picasso Museum. Thom gets major props because Vinnie left her raincoat in the Frankfurt airport, and she wore Thom’s to the game.
After Picasso, Thom and I found the English section at the local library. We read and later ate delicious burgers.
Errol and the littles returned from the game wet and tired. Their bus back had been delayed, but they were all happy Barca had beaten Valencia, 2-1.
Sunday was a beautiful, sunny day. We visited La Sagrada Familia and La Rambla, We walked around the city and made stops at every playground we came across. Errol was thrilled to come all the way to Spain to sit on park benches and go to the library.
There’s a little cafe across the street from La Sagrada Familia and next to a playground. Errol and I grabbed a table while the kids played and had the closest thing to a date since we moved to Europe. The kids only ran over to us about twenty times. The man next to us was very entertained.
A downside of Barcelona was how expensive transit was. All our children required a ticket on all buses and trains, and there was no discount for younger passengers. Deutsche Bahn trains spoil us since all children are free, but most cities don’t charge for kids under six and give older children a 50% discount.
We were all very happy to return to Freiburg yesterday. I’m glad we took this family trip to Spain, but it’s too bad that it came so close after our Alpine adventure. It takes a bit to recharge and get all the laundry done...
We are home in Freiburg after our days in Girona and Barcelona. The smells were my favorite parts of this trip. In Barcelona, we stayed on a street lined with these orange trees. They smelled just like Tempe, and I loved it.
This week has felt so much like June in Princeton. It feels like summer, but we’re still chained to the structure of school days. The sun didn’t set until 8:15 tonight, and it’s only April 12!
This afternoon we had the twins’ kindergarten conference. One of their teachers shared the surprising but fantastic news that, yes, Lee and Ned speak German.
Those sneaky boys refuse to speak any at home and always claim they can’t. Errol and I are so relieved this isn’t the case. A huge reason we did this year abroad was for our children to learn a second language. Thankfully, it looks like the twins are soaking it up just like we were told they would.
Celebratory Eis! Thom and Vinnie survived their first day back after two weeks of Easter holidays. They did great riding bikes to and from school.
I love watching my kids climb, run, and play (in the appropriate venue). It’s part of the continual labor of fueling the child and then giving the child the opportunity to safely burn the fuel.
It’s a little mind-blowing that Thom and VInnie are now also able to burn their fuel so productively. Over six miles in a day is a lot for those little legs.
I told them that they could get ice cream each time they chose to ride bikes. Unsurprisingly, they have proclaimed they’ll ride their bikes everyday. Such proclamations are easily made on a sunny afternoon with an ice cream cone in hand.
More to say on our Easter break adventure, but we're home in Freiburg now. We returned to summer temperatures.
Vin and I spent most of the afternoon on our bikes. Freiburg's public transit workers are planning to strike on Tuesday, and we did a cycling to school test run today. Their school is a bit over three miles from our flat. Vinnie did great today, but she had the promise of ice cream on the way home. I'm a little nervous on Tuesday morning when the incentive to bike to school is just school.