My daughter and I just participated in our first Spanish birthday party, an event much anticipated by kids and talked about by moms. I am now on a WhatsApp chat for mothers of children in the third grade. It is a wonderful way to practice Spanish because the conversations are all in Spanish. Even though the children are sent to the American School to learn English, many of the parents don't speak it, or are working on it.
Just because you are living in another country, doesn't mean you can ignore the mundane things that make up life. After about a month, this reality hits and you have to begin addressing challenges such as getting your hair cut, filling prescriptions, getting a new battery put in your watch, buying a new pair of glasses, etc. These are the things that are easy in America, but take quite a bit of research in Spain. In Puzol, most businesses don't have websites, so we haven't quite figured out how to find out about the places to go. We spend half of our "research" time just walking the streets until we find a place that meets our needs.
It's one thing to imagine your child being immersed in a new culture for a year, it's another to actually see it happening. To leave the comforts of friends they have known for the entirety of their short lives, a system they understand, sports they have chosen and practiced, and an identity they have developed is a big step. Luckily, both of our kids were excited about the challenge, so we didn't have to force them to do it. That is an important place to start because reality is never the same as expectations. After a month into a new school and way of life, I still feel we have made the right decision. It may be hard at times, but even the difficulty is helping them to develop several major life skills: self assuredness, flexibility, compassion, and a global perspective. However, to achieve these, both have their own unique paths to follow.
Sally and her family moved to Spain for a year from July 2017 - July 2018. They lived in a little town called Puzol, which is about 20km north of Valencia. Her kids, Carson and Celia, attended the American School of Valencia, an International School located in Puzol. The goal for the whole family was to experience another way of life, and learn Spanish.