Monday, March 14, 2016

Spanish Life {Our New Home - the Town}

This post is not about our new house, but our new town.  Yes, we did find a house!  But we have not moved in yet and don't plan on moving for at least a few weeks -- our stuff is somewhere between here and Seattle so there really isn't any hurry to leave the hotel (while it is small and cramped, we are used to it now).  I promise to tell you about our new house soon.

But anyways -- we will be living in Rota which is a small beach town in southern Spain, near Cadiz (it is across the bay).  The town used to be mostly farming (the land here is amazing because of the weather) -- the town is known their tomatoes and I will say, they are pretty amazing.  Now, Rota runs on tourism and the base.

A little about tourism: Rota is right on the Atlantic Ocean and has amazing beaches and fairly calm waters making it a very popular summer vacation spot for much of Spain and parts of Europe.  The small town triples in size for three months in the summer because of the tourists.  We've been told that parking is huge issue for these three months and that in the town center, it is not uncommon to see cars parked on the sidewalk and also on the street!

Through our "Welcome to Spain" class last week (it isn't really called that, but that is essentially what it is), we did a walking tour of Rota.  We went into the oldest church in the city (dating back to the 13th century, I believe) and the castle which is now the town hall.  We were lucky enough to go up on the roof of the castle and had an amazing view of the town.

In the top picture, you can see Cadiz in the distance!  Our tour of the city also fell on our anniversary so it was a fun day to spend wandering through the city, eating good food and drinking good wine (while Serafina was in daycare)!

The weather here is gorgeous -- it is sunny most of the time with very few days of rain (or if it does rain, it is often only for an hour or two).  However, we can get some crazy winds coming from various parts of the world -- the Atlantic, the Mediterranean and even the Sahara.  The Sahara winds should be coming soon which brings mud rain because the sand from the Sahara makes it way over here and mixes with the rain to create mud (or so we have been told).

I am not sure if this is Spain in general or just Rota but the recycling policy revivals Seattle!  You can get fined for not recycling properly -- everything has to be separated though.  Rota has this cool system where all the trash and recycle are taken to bins at the end of each road (no more than a block away from your house) and it is picked up daily.  It is also illegal to throw your trash away during various daytime hours.  This (including the daily pick up) is to reduce the smell and bug issues (yes, there are lots and lots of bugs here.... I am NOT okay with it), especially in the summer when it gets very hot and humid.

Now, a little about the base: the base is actually a Spanish base that the United States is using in cooperation with the Spanish government (and the Spanish Navy).  There is not an American flag flying anywhere on the base since it is not US land or property.  There is a Spanish side of the base that has the best cafeteria -- where we have gone to get great food and attempt to practice our Spanish.  Because it is a Spanish base, 70% of the jobs go to Spanish Nationals making it the place to work for many people in Rota.  The base is gorgeous; it is very easy to get around to most of the needed places by walking which was great last week when we had our class.

Often there is some sort of festival or event going on (which is often the case in Europe) so there is always something to do.  Next Sunday starts Semana Santa (Holy Week) which is a week long event leading up to Easter on the 27th. Each day (and actually sometimes late at night -- we are talking 2-4am) there is a parade through the city representing the corresponding day leading up to Easter.  I promise to do a whole post (or more than one) about Semana Santa and the parades because the traditions are just something else -- the history buff in me is just loving it!


Now just a quick update on us!  We cannot believe we have been here for three weeks.  It is all very surreal -- we live here, yet we can't seem to get out of the "travel mentality" of must do something every weekend!  So this past weekend, we did very un-tourist things like go shopping for some clothes for Serafina and run errands.  And we went to our favorite park a lot so Serafina could use the swings.  She is obsessed and throws a serious tantrum whenever we have to go.
Last week Trevor and I had a 4-day mandatory class which wasn't as terrible as we expected.  Serafina went to the daycare on base and while I was beyond nervous about leaving her all day for four days, she did great!  She definitely struggled the second day (which is very common) but overall did very well.  I plan on using the daycare for hourly care a few times a week or whenever I need it -- to go to the gym, run errands or just have some me time (and of course allow Serafina to get some social time with others her age).

We also celebrated our wedding anniversary -- four years!  We were able to spend the day together (in our class) and then our sponsors watched Serafina in the evening so that we could go to an early dinner!  We ate at a wonderful Italian restaurant while Serafina loved every minute at our sponsors' house -- she was so mad when we picked her up!  Trevor and I had our yearly talk of good/not so great things throughout the year and we took our annual family picture:
We also went out to tapas with some new friends we met (their son is 18 months old).  It was great fun -- but Serafina was NOT a fan of staying in the stroller or us being out past her bedtime.  We got to see some of the people practicing for Semana Santa -- it was very cool to see.  I'll give more information in another post!
Another great week here in Spain -- we love our new home and can't wait to move into our house and get ourselves further settled!

Most importantly though -- Serafina has her first Spanish word: Hola!  It sounds a little more like "oooooooh-wa" but it is pretty adorable.


  1. Love these updates and all the photos. Sounds like you are settling in! I can't wait to see your new house!

    1. So excited we found a house! It's had a guest room... Just saying :)

  2. What kind of bugs?! I'm always freaked out to travel because of bugs. Ha. Sounds like you guys are settling in. Can't wait to see your new house.

    1. Ugh - the usual: spiders, beetles, nasty mosquitos, these unique poisonous caterpillars and my least favorite ever - cockroaches! I have a serious irrational fear of cockroaches so it'll be interesting...


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