It has been a dizzying few months of move planning and life with young people. Some weeks, we watched a lot of Rick Steves' on YouTube and thought a lot about Spain. Other weeks, we just played Harry Potter and tried to get a good night sleep. It's safe to say we have no idea what to expect, so we are trying to keep an open mind. However, my hope is that with some intentions guiding us, we can make the most of the opportunity that has been given us.
So, with a lot of flexibility worked into each, here are my intentions upfront.
1. Slow down and enjoy my young children and my husband. I’m trying not to think about how much I will miss our families, but instead focus on our family of five. What an amazing backdrop for us to really build memories and traditions. As a part-time working mother, I have always wondered what my kids were doing while at work, and conversely, what is piling up at work when I’m at home. Since I will be taking a “sabbatical,” I hope to be more patient and more spontaneous.
2. Reconnect with writing. I have done plenty of writing over the last decade – but it has almost all been work related. Writing decision papers and fact sheets day in and day out drained my creative juices. My hope is to refresh and recharge in the writing arena. This blog serves as a starting point to get me in the habit of capturing thoughts, though I have bigger projects in mind.
3. Strengthen my connection with the liturgical calendar. Spain is a Catholic country, and feast days are often celebrated colorfully and as local/national holidays. It has been an intention of mine for about a year now to find little ways to connect with the rich traditions and the meaning of my faith outside of Advent/Christmas, Lent/Easter.
4. Practice the Spanish language at every opportunity. I want to really try – maybe with the help of a tutor – to be conversational in Spanish. That doesn’t seem too lofty of a goal, so we’ll just pretend high school Spanish didn’t happen.
5. Consume more of what matters. Read more books; watch less TV. Shop less; experience more. Read more Washington Post and less social media.
6. Andalusia and Spain….where to begin? Our exploration goals for our new home deserve its own post.
7. Go on a wandering vacation. I really want to rent some amazing place somewhere in Scotland or Ireland or Sweden or the Black Forest and just wander. Let the kids cross fields and pick flowers. Slowly take in amazing scenery. I also want to see the snow in the Alps, but its winter right now, and I’m cold, so we’ll see.
8. See and share the major European cities. London and Rome and Paris, oh my! Outside of these major destinations that are important to Dennis and/or me, I want to be flexible. Maybe we will hear of some amazing town or festival or flight sale. Maybe we will decide to go see Santa. I don’t know now, but the most exciting part of this move is thinking about these opportunities.
9. Eat real food. Take a cooking class. Andalusia is known for olives and wine, ham and paella. I want to try it all.
10. Go to Disneyland Paris and a bullfight. This last one is Charlotte’s item, but I want to make her dream come true (maybe not the bullfight).
So there you have it. And really, watch Rick Steves' episode if you're curious. Charlotte is a big fan!