Settling in

Trip Start Sep 07, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Friday, July 7, 2006

On Sunday I moved in with the family, and Monday most of them left! So I am here this week with the 4 year old and the two women who work in the house. The challenging part is I speak French and English, and they only speak Spanish! So communication is often interesting, though difficult. I am certainly getting a crash course in basic Spanish though. And they have been very patient and understanding as I madly look up works in my handy dictionary and try to piece together sentences. I don't even have time to worry about if I am pronounving the "r"s correctly or not ;)

The family is the 2 parents and 4 kids. Ines is 12, Alvaro 10, Nicolas 8, and Gracia 4. There also 2 women who live in the house, I am not sure what you would call them. Nanny, housekeeper and substitute mom all rolled in to one! They do all the cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the kids. Getting them up, dressed, fed, washed, etc. Basically they do it all! So what is my job exactly? Well, to speak English and French to the kids. That about sums it up. To play games with them, read books, and review their homework while speaking as much as we can. And only in the mornings, I have the rest of the day and weekends free to do as I like. Not a bad deal all in all.

So, the house, what is it like. Well, first it's not a house. I would describe it as a condo complex. There are 4 buildings in a square, each 3 stories high. In the centre is a huge green space, that has a playground, paddle court and swimming pool, plus lots of grassed area to play games on. It's fabulous for the kids, since they can walk out their yard and play with all their friends in a safe area. The complex is all enclosed, and there is a security guard to get in. The flat itself is huge, it's still quite a foreign concept to me and probably many at home why people with a lot of money would want to live in a flat. In Canada you would usually live in a house, but I guess that is because we have so much room! The first day I just about got lost, I think I have counted 6 bathrooms so far.

The neighborhood is called La Moraleja, which is a very nice area, though quite remote. Getting in to the centre of Madrid takes forever! It's very peaceful though since it's a residential area, and so much cooler than in the centre. Walking around downtown everything is concrete, and there is no breeze so it always feels hot. The weather has been very consistent while I've been here, it is usually 30C and sunny. Can't complain about that!

This week I have spent my days playing with Gracia, hanging out at the pool, working on my tan...I think next week when the kids are all back it may be a bit more like work :)
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