Wednesday.. Already? Finally? I don’t even know.

This has been a very weird week. I feel like time is dragging and flying by at the same time. How is that possible? It’s kinda bizarre because it’s almost like I can’t yet get excited for Hawaii. I mean I am excited, I think we’ll love it there, but there is still so much going on here that I have to get through. Packing out in two days, still stressing about the dog, sad about missing Spain.

Speaking of Spain, I am SO mad, I totally forgot to go to the gypsy market today (it’s like our local flea market and I LOVE it). I wanted to go one more time and I totally forgot until this afternoon and it’s only on Wednesdays. And I am so sentimental about it, like it really makes a difference that the last time I went I didn’t know it was going to be the last time? I am so weird.

I feel like I am running out of time. There were all these little things I wanted to do one more time, there are still a dozen places off the top of my head I wanted to go get more pictures of. I HAVE to go get pictures in the sunflowers. If we have to pull over on the way to the airport I am getting a picture in the sunflowers.

Leaving is just hard. Mckenna is going to have a hard time going from being with a million friends all day long to having none. (Thank goodness she has an email address!) I wonder how much Omar is even going to remember about living here. That is the craziest thing, he has lived here for most of his life, this is all he knows, I really can’t imagine him not remembering this house. Our beach. His daycare.

It’s hard to be getting ready to finish this chapter and start a new one. Starting over will all new friends. (Oh God how I hate trying to find the normal ones out of all the military wives!) Starting the kids in school, which is a HUGE change, both of my kids in school. It’s going to be so hard to watch them pack up our stuff this week. So much has changed in the four years we’ve been here in our tiny little house. We have to say goodbye to all of our stuff and who knows how much is going to change in the two (or more!) months until we see it again.

Change. I love it and hate it and it’s exciting and it sucks. That just about covers it.

Lazy days of summer…

On Friday after graduation my love took me to my favorite place for a graduation lunch. Puerto Sherry, Blanca Paloma, my happy place. I’ve mentioned it a time or two.

This is the place my heart will always think of when I think back to my time here. I just love it.

 

Oh and my favorite yummy, delicious salad. Ensalada Spagnola. Fresh mozzarella and pesto. Yes please.

And little Omar and I have been splitting this as well, the provolone and feta bruschetta.

And Omar gets some version of the pizza… ham and mushroom this time…

The rest of the day was spent hanging out at home. Got Omar’s sea bag packed so that is ready to go for the plane. I was giving him a hard time wondering if he even remember how to pack a sea bag because it’s been so long since he’s had to do it!  He does need some new uniforms as he can get by with less than what is required here but we can buy those in Hawaii.

Also made of list of EVERYTHING else I need to try and get done in the next few days, lots of checking out things.  Still stressing out about the dog situation. Just hoping everything goes okay with getting him on all three airplanes, picking him up, and dropping him off at the pet sitter.

Rented “Wanderlust” off of iTunes… Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston, I really expected more of you. It was one of those movies where most of the funny parts were shown in the preview. Omar did make a comment that I was a likely candidate for a commune after I made a remark about how they were living sustainably. Whatever.

Saturday we ALL slept in and it was wonderful, in fact I almost overslept for my hair appointment. I woke up at 9:40 for a 10am appt! Out the door in 5 minutes and still had time to grab a caramel macchiatto from the coffee shop next to the salon! Was just getting highlights and a trim, the girl left the color on for a bit longer than I would have liked so it’s pretty blonde when I really just wanted caramel.  Omar says it looks good and he’s not one to sugarcoat my hair choices! It’ll work for summer, especially since I am moving to the land of endless summer…

I had to stop and do some shopping for a baby shower I was going to this afternoon (what, I almost ALWAYS shop the day of a party, it’s terrible I know!) I swear, nothing makes me want to have another baby like shopping in the infant girls section.  (And no, no more babies for us, we are done!)

I was shopping for a gift for this lovely lady Amber. She is having her second baby, her first girl! She is such a great person, always smiling and happy!  We used to work together, she quit before I did so she could relax for the rest of her pregnancy. We had lots of fun friends there, and TONS of food. Oh my, the hostess outdid herself. I must have had three helpings of berry trifle!

(I want that dress in my size! Seriously, how adorable is that!) Congrats Amber! Wish I was going to be here to meet your baby girl!

Going Away Lunch

There are two of us getting ready to PCS soon at work. We decided to all go out together for a quick lunch for a final farewell. It was at one of my favorite places, Las Tinajas.  We had a really nice lunch, the only thing missing was the sangria!

 

Me and Ladonna, my partner in crime at work. We keep the sarcasm level up around the place. I am really trying to figure out a way to smuggle her to Hawaii with me!

Renee and Patricia, our director and assistant director. Patricia is on her way to Germany, so we are headed to opposite ends of the globe. Renee actually was the CDC director in Hawaii before Rota, small world! (Also my bosses are a LOT of fun!)

Just some of our assortment of appetizers, chorizo, my favorite!

And center stage, my delicious brocheta, basically a kabob. The is the chef style, beef, chorizo, bacon and veggies. Served over fried potato slices. Heaven on a plate.

Our fun group of ladies!

Adios Las Tinajas!

Rivera Gardens: The BEST viveros ever!

Okay, I have heard about this place for YEARS and have had numerous people tell me I HAVE to go… Our nurseries here are called viveros, and they are all over the place. The one right by the base is Viveros El Lago, I have spent a pretty penny in there on pots, flowers, herbs and ceramics.

Well one day we had some time to kill and decided to head out to the big viveros in Chipiona. A friend gave me directions and I thought I knew where it was based on the few times I’ve driven through Chipiona. Well we follow those directions and get no where. We were out in the country with nothing looking like a garden center in sight. Finally after back tracking and asking for directions and STILL not being able to find it we gave up. Decided to keep heading down the road and go to Las Dunas mall in Sanlucar. Wouldn’t you know it, we ran into the dang garden center! It was no where NEAR where I thought it was and where my directions said…

Well we found it and I could have probably wasted an entire day in there…

From the outside. The play area inside. Jungle gym & playhouse. There is also a small merry go round. And while your kids play you can enjoy a snack or coffee from the cafe inside. So nice.

There is a huge pond in the middle of the place with an island and multiple bridges. And lots and lots of koi.  I have no clue what my son is doing, probably some superhero pose.

Oh my. The plants. I’ve pretty much had to let my garden go which was really hard this spring when all I wanted to do was buy a crap load of flowers and plants. It didn’t help that we had a super hard frost for the first time in 4 years that killed EVERYTHING! My hibiscus, my banana plant, my dame de la noche. All my big stuff froze! It’s all starting to come back but I am just hoping I get some flowers out of my hibiscus before I move! Anyways, it was very hard not to buy a hydrangea in every color, they are one of my favs. (Although it took like 4 times to spell the name right)

Along with plants they also have animals! Puppies and chickens and peacocks, oh my! Seriously though if we have a yard when we move to Hawaii I am going to get some damn chickens. I want chickens SO BAD! Also who knew you could just buy peacocks? They were about 70-80 euro each, not too bad right?

O hiding under this pretty fern. Me and the girl…

This place also had outdoor furniture, grills, home decor, and tons and tons of ceramics. They have a sister store next door that sells cut flowers. It was closed when we went which is probably a good thing. Fun day shopping!

Rivera Garden directions and info.

Driving in Spain

If you are moving here you may have a few questions about bringing/buying a car and getting a license.

I was very stressed out before we came to Rota, trying to figure out if we needed to get an international license or if we could get a Spanish license or WHAT we needed to do! I had zero luck finding any information on blogs, or anywhere on the internet.

Thankfully you get walked through the steps when you get here.

Upon arrival, all newcomers are advised to attend the Fleet and Family Support Center’s ICR class. It is basically a week long introduction to Spain, the culture, the food, everything you need to know about living on base (or off). It also is where you will take the test for your Spanish driver’s license. Your American license is good for 30 days (I think!) so you can drive on  that while waiting for your Spanish one.

The test is fairly easy, you are given study materials, and the majority of the questions concern traffic signs which are a little different over here. I believe that our licenses were ready a week or so later.

As far as cars go, I would recommend shipping a vehicle as soon as possible. Cars can take 45-60 days to get here and rental cars are expensive over here! Ideally if you have two cars you can ship one early and rely on one car for awhile before you move. You are authorized one car per family but once you get here you can also purchase a Spanish spec vehicle aka Rota Beater.  They tend to be crazy overpriced for what you are getting (usually 10-15 years old, still costing a few thousand dollars) but you can also find some for a   few hundred euro that will get you from point A to point B.

Another issue that concerns everyone is whether or not they should bring their SUV/truck/minivan over. Will it even be driveable in Spain? Everyone pictures those narrow one lane streets in European cities! Luckily driving on base isn’t an issue, plenty of parking and wide roads. Driving from town to town, going to the stores, malls, etc., there is usually ample parking. The only times you may have an issue is driving in older sections of towns. We have had moments where we’ve been in a tight fit with our Altima! Having to make a 3 point turn just to turn onto another street is very stressful! We try to avoid those sections of towns! Park and walk!

We were a one car family for the first two years we were here. I was a SAHM and didn’t NEED a car most days. If I did I would just drive my husband to work. Once I started working we picked up a 1996 BMW for 3K. It ran great for us and we were very happy with it. We then decided to purchase a Volvo from one of the dealers that sells to military personnel overseas.  We got a GREAT deal and are shipping it to Hawaii through Volvo so we can ship our other car through the military.

There a a couple of new car dealers you can purchase a car through; Volvo, BMW/Mini and Exchange New Car Sales. Exchange New Car Sales sells Chrysler, Ford and Harley brands.  Volvo and BMW generally have some floor models if you are looking for something immediately or you can custom order and get it in a few months.  Do some research because if we had owned our Volvo for less than a year and then moved back to Virginia, they would have made us pay taxes on it!  Some states waive this, some you need to own your car for six months before registering it, some require at least a year.

Got any car or driving related questions? Let me know!