Saturday, January 8, 2011

Adjustments-Part I

We have had lots to adjust to but we will soon start a more routine life here. For now, I'll provide you with highlights of what we have learned along the way.

Maia, who hasn't enjoyed the food much, learned that the way food tastes is a direct result of the food that the animal eats before it produced food for her. So, eggs, cheese and meat don't taste the same. It is taking a little bit to adjust but slowly we are finding what she likes and is willing to eat. She has yet to find chocolate that she doesn't like though.

With respect to food preparation and shopping, I have learned a ton. There are many items that are hard if not impossible to find here that we are used to having at home. For example, relish, sauces & dressings, black beans in a can, natural peanut butter, brown sugar with molasses in it (did you know that is why US brown sugar is sticky?), instant oatmeal, ricotta cheese,  health-ish cereals without chocolate in them, pancake syrup, pre-packaged juice without added sugar...

However, this brings us to the new skills category... Our morning orange juice we squeeze fresh daily and there are always both juice and eating oranges available at the fruit and vegetable market. Morgan has become an expert juicer and both girls have learned the correct way to slice open an orange for that purpose.

Groceries are a daily event but the food we are eating is much fresher. At the meat store when I ask for ground beef it is ground on the spot. When asking for chicken breasts, he cuts up a whole chicken and packages up the breasts. I now know how to debone a chicken, or at least the thighs. If I asked, he would probably do it for me but it was good to learn. Of course when buying fish, which is sold whole, they are more than willing to open it up for you but will only cut the head off when specifically requested. They then ask if I want the head or if they should throw it out. In the category of being sure the kids are willing to eat fish, head removal and disposal before its arrival home is required.

Getting Around
We've done quite well and are enjoying a car free life. Most everything is in walking distance and anything that isn't can be reached by metro.

When we need to go to a neighboring town we either walk or metro depending on how far we need to go. We have gone into Bilbao a few times by metro and that takes about 30 minutes. It's a good opportunity to read. It makes us really realize how unfortunate it is that no train service is going to be hitting Madison as that might have led to improved public transit as well.

For school on rainy days the girls will take the metro but on other days it will be about a 20 minute walk.  On the way we pass by the public library which I suspect we will stop in to on occasion, as well as the sports facility that has a pool. There are a number of nice biking, running and inline skating paths within a short distance. For now we only have tennis shoes but we will explore other means of transporting ourselves in the future. For me, adjusting to only 1 kind of exercise is difficult. Variety keeps me interested. Dean's road bike will arrive soon and the weather is so nice I'm sure he will hop on it quickly.

Yesterday evening we went for a walk and found a nice beach. I'm sure we will visit there again. Overlooking the beach was a skate park built into part of the side of a mountain. On the way back Morgan asked "can we go to a bar near the house?" You can take the girl out of Wisconsin but not Wisconsin out of the girl. So we did find a place to sit and have something to drink only a few steps from our flat. It is common here to see people out with kids between 7-9pm, stopping at a bar for Mosto (grape juice) and pinxtos (also known as tapas), small appetizer size portions of food.

I'm not sure what "Adjustments-Part II" will be or when but I suspect that will be a future entry. Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. For a women who spent two weeks in Nicaragua with no camera, I'm impressed with the pictures. Your Journey sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing. Best to you and your family as your adventure continues.