Gabe is 7.5 years old, Josie is 5.5 and Sebastian is 2 years and 3 months, and because I'm a lunatic, we decided to give the whole Spanish immersion another try. The kids and I are spending the summer in Madrid, Spain, and Josh is meeting us for the last three weeks.
It's crazy and not crazy at the same time. We rented a three bedroom apartment for 6 weeks right in the center of the city, close to everything, and the total for all 6 weeks is still less than a week on Cape Cod. I'm sending the big two to camp while we're here, so they are forced to speak Spanish with other kids without me helping, and the cost for that camp is less than what we'd pay at home. Food has turned out to be quite a bit more expensive than home, but we can probably manage that. I'll eat nothing this fall when we're back, probably.
Psychologically, it has been an adventure. Gabe was really reluctant to come, asking me to change my mind, following me around and whining while I was packing, saying he hated speaking Spanish. It was upsetting to me every time he'd bring it up because he sounded so spoiled! Of course, he had no idea what he was talking about, but still, I would get all worked up every time he'd begin his complaints. I'm always up for an adventure, so the decision was easy for me, but I'll admit that as the days neared our departure I became increasingly overwhelmed. So much packing! Then, doctor's appointments, dentist appointments, worries about Gabe's asthma and Josie's ears. Paperwork, passports, medical forms, etc. Finding a camp for them was stressful, and right before we left Sebastian started climbing out of his crib, and I went crazy trying to figure out where he'd sleep if his pack and play didn't work.
I'm so so so so SO glad we came though. The flight was easy (shockingly), but the jet lag was brutal (way worse than I'd anticipated). Once we overcame those two things, the trip has been amazing. I love Madrid. I think it is gorgeous, totally underrated. There are restaurants and cafés with outdoor seating everyone, people out walking constantly, the city is vibrant and interesting. The kids are loving the abundance of parks and playgrounds, and ice cream, of course. Every day necessitates ice cream, at one point or another. The camp for the big two has been totally amazing, and they beg me to stay longer every day! I signed them up until 3:30, thinking they'd be exhausted, and Josie actually cried when I came to get them, asking why they couldn't stay until 5pm! My days with Sebastian have been relaxing and fun, jumping on the subway in the morning and exploring the city, stopping for coffee, and meandering when I've let him out of the stroller to run and hop. My parents are here with us for the first three weeks, so my mom has been helpful with morning drop off and dishes and folding laundry, and a wonderful companion with which to explore. My dad broke his foot in June, so he hasn't been able to join us as much as he would have liked.
It hasn't all been easy, of course. I chose Madrid because it had excellent hospitals. Seriously. And the big two both got a nasty stomach bug. Then Josie got an ear infection with blood pouring out of her ear (she has ear tubes so it wasn't as alarming as it sounds). Sebastian got a cut on his foot that looked infected, then didn't, then did, then didn't. It's been a bit of the seven plagues around here. At least I know, however, that I have good medical care if I need it.
Best of all, the kids are speaking Spanish!!! True to their personalities, Josie jumped right in, speaking full sentences, even if they are incorrect grammatically. Gabe says less, but his sentences are usually right. No matter, though, hearing them order food or buy gum or answer kids at the playground is thrilling!!! We have a few more weeks, so we're plugging away at learning. The hardest part is for me to remember to say everything in Spanish. Fingers crossed, I hope this is worth it!