We have had some breakthroughs in the last 24 hours on the housing front. Both Esteban and I really prefer our nanny’s house and weren’t too excited about the cramped feel of the house in the conjunto with the nice green spaces, so we started to try to think creatively about how we could supplement life in our nanny’s conjunto with easy access to more green spaces and perhaps a swimming pool and tennis courts. And of course whenever you try to think “outside the box”, answers come, so…. one of Esteban’s colleagues is a member at a local country club (belonging to a “club” is very common here among people who can afford it) and she invited us to come and check it out. If we like it, we can have a month of free membership to try it out.
So off we went to the country club, about a 10 min drive from our nanny’s house passing farmland and beautiful mountain scenery. At first I was turned off by the number of Mercedes and BMWs in the parking lot and by the “perfectly manicured” feel of the place. It felt like we all had to be on our best behavior which wasn’t easy with 3 kids in tow. But, the huge gorgeous pool (an indoor pool that felt sunny and bright like an outdoor pool), the tennis courts with tennis clinics and private instructors, the gym, the equestrian facilities, the bowling alley (which the kids loved!), the reasonably priced restaurants with yummy food, the kids’ parks, the huge green spaces, and, OK let’s be honest, the spa with its wet and dry saunas (my dream!) and massages in dark, candle lit rooms (for about $8!), won me over.
I started to envision a life where I drop the girls off at school and go to the club with Saige, our nanny and her daughter. I work out and then coach clients and/or write, while our nnanny and the kids play and go to the pool. Once or twice a week, I could use the sauna and get a massage. I could also do the tennis clinic and improve my tennis game. Maybe even play squash? Esteban and I could even try golf. Best of all, Esteban said that he would take tennis lessons if we belonged there (I have been after him to exercise for the last decade!). Then we could get home in time for our nanny’s daughter to get picked up for school and for us to have lunch and get some writing done before picking the girls up from school. We could then head back to the club a few afternoons per week so the girls could swim and take tennis lessons. Not a bad life! My inner hedonist is really enjoying visualizing this lifestyle. In any case, why not try it out for a month for free and see if we like it?
Anyway, that was yesterday. Today, I am feeling a little nervous because Esteban took his first good look at our nanny’s house and came back concerned about walls that needed to be painted, and curtains that needed to be put up and just didn’t seem all that happy in general. Apparently he hadn’t focused on the details when we first looked at her house. He said that he was OK with all of it, but he was just expecting it to be in move in condition and was bummed that there was some stuff to take care of. It’s all pretty easy stuff but I think he is just exhausted. He has had to do way more than his share here given that Spanish is not my native language (plus prices double or triple whenever I, the gringa, get involved), I can’t drive yet and most of our contacts are through his work. So he is doing most of the things that I would normally do, like dealing with realtors and work people, sorting out things at school, getting the utilities and cell phones set up and arranging our social life, all while working a very demanding full-time job. Plus, on Saturdays he gets four kids (ours plus Ana Maria’s daughter) for eight hours while Anna Maria and I attend the trainings at the Waldorf school. As I think about it, he has been an angel through all this. I am trying to think of how I can give him a break.
On a different note, Siena had another tough morning today.We had a three day weekend here so returning to school was kind of tough. Esteban took her and he said that it was like the first day. Once she gets settled, she seems comfortable with the teacher and enjoys the day, but it still feels horrible to leave her when she doesn’t really want to stay. I am going to try and make some playdates for her with some kids from her class who live nearby. I can be around to help translate and facilitate the process. Maybe that will help her feel more comfortable.
Jade on the other hand is doing great. She loves school and has become a master of climbing every kid of tree. Her only issue is that she is pretty picky with food and her teacher insists that she try everything that they serve for lunch (at least a spoonfull). The lunches there are delicious and she likes most of what they serve but hates having to try food she knows she doesn’t like, such as lentil soup or fish. All in all, it’s not a big thing.