Yes, we are in Spain now! We made it! It’s been just over a week since our moving day, but it honestly feels more like a month. We’ve been a lot of places, slept in a lot of beds, and done a lot since then. But we’re here, mostly on the other side of it all!
We arrived at the Jerez airport on Saturday late in the afternoon, after an unusually long day of travel. We had spent the night at an airport hotel in London after a marathon nail-biter of a day tying up loose ends in Bury St. Edmunds. That evening when we finally got to the hotel, we ate dinner and relaxed a little before going to bed. Amelia started feeling ill in the night, and we all hardly slept.
On the morning of our flight, Amelia started throwing up– the first barfing experience of her childhood. It was awful timing, of course. She looked green and felt miserable all day, but was also a total champ. I think I would have been crying if I had food poisoning on a long travel day like this, but she did not! We had definitely envisioned a carefree, celebratory day of travel, but there were some complications and we just felt glad to get here.
The first night, we stayed at a hotel in Rota that is literally right on the beach. The sand and waves were just a few feet from our window! The grounds were really pretty, with laden orange trees everywhere. It was the first day of Carnaval for Rota, and there were a whole bunch of Spanish guests at the hotel gregariously dressed up in all kinds of costumes. Jeff and I sat on our little front porch, enjoyed some local sherry and toasted almonds, and just quietly observed, smiling. That was a really fun way to start our time here!
On the following day, we moved to a different hotel in El Puerto de Santa Maria, where we have a two week stay booked in a hotel apartment. It’s beginning to feel a little more like home, and we are sleeping a bit better than those first few nights. It’s nice to have a little kitchenette, where we can prepare our own meals a couple of times a day, since eating only restaurant food– however delicious it is– can get old quickly.Our big news is that we found a house already! An agent we have been in touch with took us to see two houses on Monday morning. The first had a little swimming pool and a decent back yard, but was quite a ways away from the beach and felt quite a bit like a cabin– cute but fairly cramped. The second home was the opposite– an 8-minute walk from the beach, with really high ceilings, a more open floor plan, and a very coastal feel. You can take a peek here, although I don’t feel these pictures do it justice at all.
Honestly, the only thing that was giving us pause was our agent’s aggressive insistence that it was perfect for us! But once we had a little distance from her, Jeff and I both realized that it is indeed perfect for us and that we love it. So we went back again for another look the next day, and agreed to rent it! Of course, this is a huge relief, especially after our first experience with house hunting in Spain.
Now we are in the process of taking care of the bureaucratic aspects of renting a home here as U.S. government contractors– housing inspections, pre-contracts, actual contracts, etc. And we expected that our shipment of goods would arrive quickly, but it may be another couple of weeks. We hope to move in next week, though, and for now the house is furnished and the landlord is happy to have us use his things until we have our own– how perfect!In the meantime, Jeff has started his job, and is busy with in-processing, new trainings, and lots of paperwork. We still haven’t received the visas we applied for over 5 months ago (our certificados) so there are a lot of limitations for us until that arrives. Neither of us have phone plans yet, and for some reason it’s been really hard to replace my phone charger– I am pretty itchy to resume sharing our adventure on instagram! (At least I have wifi at the hotel.) In fact, lots of simple things are difficult. This is totally normal, though.
For most of the time that we’ve been here so far, the weather has been pretty cold, gray, and windy. So our visions of sitting at the beach bar sipping sherry under blue skies did not come to fruition until Wednesday evening. But things are warming up and clearing up now, and we’re looking forward to getting out and enjoying more. I can’t wait to graduate from spending my days with Amelia sitting around our hotel apartment! That is always one of the toughest parts of these moves.
Soon, we’ll move into our home and work on getting Amelia enrolled in school. We are walking distance from the best public school in the area, crossing our fingers that she will get a spot there. Apparently, our chances are actually better since we arrived in the middle of the school year. Then, our shipment will arrive and we will be busy setting up our home. And the weather will warm up, and we will be walking to the beach most days. I. Can’t. Wait.
But for now, we are just so glad to be here! (The pictures throughout this post are of the walk from our future home to the beach nearby.)