Archive for the 'Getting There' Category

Back to the U.S.A. to get our Visas

Karie on Dec 15th 2007 10:19 pm

On our first morning back in the U.S. (after waking up at 3am thanks to the jet lag), we headed down to the Spanish Consulate in Los Angeles.  We are now the proud holders of Visados Residencias de Espana!  We still have one hoop to jump through to finalize it all, but it’s downhill from here.

Visas in hand, we headed for the second priority of the trip… Target!  Target is high on the list of things I’ve missed, among the ranks of Penny Lane, Mexican food and Cheez-Its.

We have been loving Barcelona and honestly try not to spend too much energy focusing on things we miss (ok, except maybe Penny), but when we found out we were coming back home, we realized how much we had to look forward to.

I thought we wouldn’t get to see any of Scott’s family for Christmas, I thought I wouldn’t see my niece again until she was two, and I thought I would have to live with the regret of leaving my red plaid heels in storage for a year.

I realize we’ve only been gone 3 months.  I mean, some people vacation longer than that, so it’s not like we experienced some huge culture shock upon returning to American soil.  Nonetheless, a lot has happened in the last 3 months…

  • We have accomplished a huge goal.  We’re not finished yet, but we’ve made the leap and we’re living it out.
  • Charlize (aka, Charlie, my niece) started walking & talking
  • My cousin (Carene) and friend (Nacia) had babies
  • I’ve reconnected with more friends through this blog than I did in years of living only a few minutes or a domestic phone call away
  • Friends in San Diego have lost their homes
  • The exchange rate continues to tank, which suddenly really matters to me
  • Matthew (Scott’s brother) lost part of his pinky (I thought that was worth mentioning!)
  • When we moved, my Grandpa was in the hospital and had nearly lost the will to live.  Last Sunday he came over after church, wearing a dapper suit and hat and ready to eat tacos.

…just to name a few.  Needless to say, our trip home was wonderful!  I’m always intentional to reflect & be grateful for all the blessings in my life, but I think we now have an even deeper appreciation for the big and the small.

After nearly 2 days of travel (ugh!), we are now back in Barcelona.  We arrived only 4 hours before my parents, who are here to celebrate Christmas/New Years with us.

Now we have an entirely different list of things to look forward to…  I love playing tour guide for family/friends (hint, hint), learning the culture & the language, making new friends, walking to almost anything we need, sidewalk cafes that easily trump Starbucks… I even like hanging my clothes outside to dry.

It’s so much fun, and for now, it’s home.

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Farewell Tour Stop #4: Scott’s Home, Los Angeles, CA

Karie on Sep 17th 2007 05:05 pm

More fiestas! We got to hang out with Adam & Nicki in Redondo Beach on Friday, then Scott’s mom hosted a get-together for us Saturday night… more family, fun and great food, mostly made from scratch. We really need to expand our cooking skills & recipe repertoire when we move to Barcelona (when I say “we”, I mean chef Scott).

Sunday we went to the L.A. County Fair with David, Matthew & Melissa (Scott’s dad, brother & sister). We actually tried one of those Krispy Kreme fried chicken sandwiches… c’mon, you have to! It was edible, but I wouldn’t recommend more than a bite or two, especially if you cherish your arteries. One sandwich is definitely enough for the entire group, with some to spare. We had a ton of fun though… exhibits, rides, animals, and lots of food that we won’t get in Spain. God bless America and our willingness to deep fry anything!

Thus concludes our farewell tour. Vamos a Barcelona!

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Farewell Tour Stop #3: Karie’s Home, Stockton, CA

Karie on Sep 12th 2007 07:59 pm

Aunt Janice hosted a wonderful going away fiesta for us!  She’s been studying up on Spain so she could make it as authentic as possible (which included renaming a couple of family favorite dishes to make them compliant). She even gathered cards from some out-of-state family, so it was great to get a big stack of love all at once.

Our time at home was brief, but we also made sure we got in a couple visits to Grandpa Isaacs, who is currently in rehabilitation center.  We also got to meet one of the newest additions to our circle of friends, Miss Alison Grace Jones, daughter of Jason & Sarah.

The worst part about this leg of the tour was saying goodbye to mom, dad & Penny Lane. Luckily they can all keep each other company, but if you live in the Stockton area and have a hankering to throw a ball, please go play with Penny, my poor parents can only take so much.

My parents are coming to Barcelona for Christmas and we can’t wait. We wrote a song about that too.

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Farewell Tour Stop #2: Charlize’s 1st Birthday, Dousman, WI

Karie on Sep 9th 2007 08:50 pm

We were so glad to be there for Charlie’s polka dot party! You should’ve seen her attack that cake, it was impressive. She is so smart & beautiful… but look at her families, the poor girl can’t help it. We love her so much!

Her favorite show is the Backyardigans. I get the theme song stuck in my head just by typing the word! I actually wrote my own words to the tune, with original lyrics about moving to Spain. Chances are you will never hear it… sorry!

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Farewell Tour Stop #1: Shasta Lake

Karie on Sep 4th 2007 10:25 pm

Ah, the highlight of our summers in America, Shast Lake. So peaceful, yet insanely fun. Food, floating, water sports, strange competitions (with prizes & bragging rights at stake), and plenty of time to catch up with old friends. There’s a group of us that have made this trip a ritual since grad school, as well as lots of new friends that have been added over the years.

The lake is sort of an annual reunion for us, so it’s fun to see how things change from year to year. This year, Del added a new palm tree on the Lido deck, we got to meet a few new significant others to the group, almost everyone has moved at least once, the Lucero’s have expanded their line of olive oil, the Preeo’s are pregnant, and the Kaufmann’s are homeless. My, how life changes.

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Karie on Aug 30th 2007 06:35 pm

It’s official – we are homeless and unemployed! At least I am, although Scott will continue working part-time for his current employer. It’s very frightening and freeing at the same time, but luckily we’ve been too busy for reality to fully set in.

It’s been a whirlwind, but after 5 years of planning, saving, freaking out and jumping up and down with anticipation, we’re finally achieving our goal of moving to Spain! Our plan is to live in Barcelona for one year, but we’ll hopefully spend about 1/3 of the time traveling throughout Europe (but of course we haven’t figured any of that out yet).

My last day at work was 8/17, followed by attending MasterMind, then a rush of packing, selling, donating, wrecking the car we were trying to sell… and finally moving everything that’s left into a 5’x15′ storage unit.

Packing for a year is super hard – especially the shoes. I literally had to justify every single shoe and article of clothing I packed, or Scott would nix it. Tough love. Overall, we had a lot of fun though, including camping on the floor in the living room for the last couple of nights in San Diego.

Saying goodbyes in San Diego was almost as tough as eliminating shoes. Our last stop was dropping off the car that the Zellers had let us borrow after we wrecked our own. Then, me, Scott & Penny Lane piled into the cab of our U-Haul, and I cried all the way to the I-15. They say nothing great was ever accomplished without a risk, and as Scott keeps saying, “either we’re crazy or we’re genius.” I really hope it’s the latter.

So now we begin our farewell U.S. tour… first stop: Lake Shasta. It’s already been an adventure, but I am sure there are many stories yet to be told (and written by me).

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