Our next stop…Spain! Just when you think you can’t be surprised any more by the grand ideas of Jonah and Aja and their family, you are! I hesitate to even try to explain this adventure because it’s pretty complicated and definitely incredible. Here’s the story behind this picture:
At the end of May Jonah and Aja prepared their cute house in Maui to be rented for about 14 months and headed for an unprecedented European adventure. With points and miles they got everybody there free and had lots of points for free hotel rooms. They also camped on many occasions and have been lucky to have friends with a home in France, where they stayed for three weeks and dear friends in England, where they stayed for another three weeks.Both families were on vacation in the summer and invited them to house-sit their homes while they were gone. Jonah, of course, fixed everything that was broken in the houses and Aja left everything impeccably clean and organized. Aja if I’m getting some of the details wrong, chip in here with the “real deal” but I think I’m kind of close!
The kids saw more of the great places as well as the quiet places of Europe than you would want to know. From the Eiffel Tower in Paris to the Tower Bridge in London and pretty much everything in between as well as beyond.Tthe kids now feel that Europe is “their oyster.”
Their plan was to visit Germany, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, France, Switzerland, (and I’ve lost track of how many other countries), until school started and then settle in a house in Spain where they would put their kids in Spanish schools so they could learn to be Spanish speakers.
We arrived in Spain about a week after they did. By then they had found a delightful house to rent and gotten their kids in schools AND had gotten their car impounded Part of their reason for going to Europe was to buy old Mercedes G Wagons that Jonah could fix up and convert from diesel to “greasel” (running on vegetable oil) and then ship them to the US to sell. The details on that are beyond me, but they have found three great cars and have shipped or are preparing to ship them back to the US.
Their house is overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean Sea near Valencia. Even though Jonah had checked in at the police station the moment he entered town and told them that the necessary documentation for the car was coming from Germany and they assured him that would be fine, a policeman with a “bee in his bonnet” stopped Jonah on his way to pick up the kids from school two days later and impounded the car. He told him that he would not be able to drive it again under an circumstances and that they would just have to ship their only mode of transportation straight to the US.
Aja missed the bus to town and ended up walking nine miles to the nearest car rental place. They used the rental car for a week while every day Jonah sat in long line after long line, jumping through hoops and red tape day after day until they finally got their car back. The smiles in the picture above tells it all! We were all so happy to have them “back in business”! Still that was a pretty rocky start in Spain!
As always, living with the Eyres for a few days, wherever they happen to be is always a wild adventure! We had so such fun getting debriefed by the kids and their parents about their months exploring Europe and getting their perspective on what they saw and learned and felt and loved and didn’t love! What fun to realize that the kids have all blossomed in their own realms and what brave and good children they have become! They are simply amazing!
Here’s another G wagon that is a two door and which they don’t drive but are preparing to ship to the US!
Their home is perfect for them! After checking out about 200 possibilities, this is what Aja came up with:
They have a great pool house at the end of their very steep driveway. And a nice view of the ocean, that you can see in the distance which is just a ten minute drive down the hill.
A nice kitchen and laundry room beyond that door….
….and comfortable living areas as well as two bathrooms and three bedrooms. Perfect for them!
A great little pool and even a playhouse for the kids:
These kids adore their crazy grandfather!
They even have a huge hedge around an enclosed place where you can hang cloths (not many homes have a dryer…only washers).
Here we are on the first day of waiting for the bus, which we soon realized we had already missed. Someone at the school told them the wrong time. No problem! Jonah just went back and got the car. Is that little bunch cute enough?
Can you see Po popping her head out in the line to walk into class? She really likes school and even though she is only four, they keep her from 9-5 with a two hour break for siesta/lunch at midday, She says, “I don’t know what anyone is saying and the kids all run around like crazy!” but she is happy to go and can already sing a cute song in Spanish. The other kids are thriving as well. They are pretty darn remarkable!
Ana, as you might expect if you knew her, is thriving! She has been homeschooled since the 5th grade and is thrilled to be starting high school with friends who are taking good care of her! Almost everything is in Spanish and the local dialect Valentian (much to Aja’s shagrin, as she has no interest in the kids learning a local dialect that they will never use). Imagine trying to do chemistry with only Spanish instructions! Ana does know some Spanish and is getting better every day, but it’s not easy!
She LOVES having her own bed and a closet after all those months of living out of a suitcase. Sorry this picture is blurry but it’s the only one I have. Her face tells it all (almost).
Of course she has her goals posted right by her bed. She is simply astonishing! (Posted with permission).
Both Camden and Ana are on swim teams which involves long hours and quite a drive after school every day. They go straight from school at 5 to swim team until 9 at night. Get their homework done and start again the next day!
Jonah and Ezra are usually in the doghouse! JK. This really is a big dog house (this house has everything)! Those two are inseparable!
The terrific five days with this incredible family left us in awe! And speaking of leaving….Aja and I were about to leave our husbands for an epic eight day Mothers and Future Mothers of Eyrealm Conference in Switzerland, Germany (including Bavaria) and Austria (more on that later). .
Rick and I made the two hour drive to Barcelona and then flew to Zurich. Aja took the train (long complicated story and a 12 hour journey). A big hoorah to Jonah for taking over the care and keeping of these five kids for 10 days in a new country, new schools and new schedules while we were gone!
More on that soon but first…Barcelona……one of my favorite sites on Earth.