The first on our list is the beach…but that’s a given.

1.   My cell phone usage. I rarely talk on my cell phone here. We have an international plan with very little data and a price per minute fee for calls, so most of our phone calls are done through WIFI, which means we must be connected. I am never connected to WIFI in my car and rarely at any restaurant. So our time together is, just that, together.

2.   The laid back vibe of kid’s sports. I do love it here. There is just this wonderful sense of “it’s not the most important thing” and I find that incredibly healthy and awesome. Don’t get me wrong, there are kids who live for their sport here but I don’t get any sense from the kids or the parents that the stakes are high or that the pressure is on. Yes, kids set goals and want to be good at the sports they love, I guess the best way to describe it is the intensity is low and the joy is high. When Spider’s PE teacher gave them free-time during class, 97% chose fútbol without a moment of hesitation. They LOVE their sport but it’s more about the fun than anything else.

3.   Short walk or drive to anything. We chose a perfect city. It is the capitol of Cantabria but, feels small enough to be a pueblo, at times. I can walk out my door and be at two supermercados in about 42 steps. NO kidding. Skye’s barn is 8 minutes from the house (and we still manage to be late often). Their school is 7 minutes from the house. And the kids generally scooter or bike to their other activities. Convenient is an understatement and that has had a direct positive affect on my stress level.

4.   Closed on Sundays. I even said this to Erik. I have actually grown quite fond of the super markets being closed on Sundays. I have to organize our meals for Saturday through Monday morning and plan accordingly but, it’s not that difficult as long as you remember. I love it so much that I may pretend that our stores are closed on Sunday when I get back.

5.   Only buying what we need. This has been a life changing concept that was a relief when I adopted it with clothes and things but was truly awesome when I adopted the philosophy to grocery shopping. Also, there is incredible comfort in how quickly things go bad over here. For instance, if I buy chicken from the butcher, I better cook it that night or the next. If I wait much longer, it will be suspect. So, I buy and I cook and I don’t buy again until we are out of the item, we don’t buy a new.


La Comida

Spider has two hours for lunch so we enjoyed some fun with Uncle Trevor and Aunt Jenni.

6.   Lunch. I am going to be very honest with you. I was that person who rarely made time for lunch. I would often eat it only when I felt a little funky, when at 2:30pm I realized I hadn’t eaten anything in awhile. I usually ate it standing up at my kitchen counter, alone. Here, I lunch with my family or friends. And I am full when I am done. But I have grown to appreciate the time taken to enjoy the lunch process with others. It’s all a part of that work/life balance.

7.   Rotundas. Listen up my friends. They make sense, I love them and they work if we can all get on the same page with how to operate our vehicles while driving in them. The use of your directional is KEY. If you are not taking the first turn-off, but are in the outside lane, let people know that you are continuing in the rotunda by putting on your blinker. And, conversely, if you plan on exiting, the use of your directional warns those waiting to enter the rotunda that they can join the fun. Got it. Also and very important, if you are in the rotunda…you don’t have to wait for the people who want to enter (this is a side note for my dad…he’s a nice driver) as this sort of ruins the flow and efficiency of the rotunda. We have a few in Park City but in Santander, the only stop lights are for pedestrian crosswalks so the rotundas are plentiful.

8.   My stick shift vehicle. It’s been fun. And, it has kept me more engaged and less distracted. I find myself unable to eat or drink while driving (which is actually against the law over here). And, most importantly, I am not even tempted to pick up my phone. I recognize that it helps immensely that I don’t have anyone calling or texting me but, maybe that is a reason to do what my friend Jill does and turn your phone on “driving mode” while driving so you can’t get texts.


These are my only hanging clothes

Plus, 5 pairs of pants, 25 shirts, 8 sweaters, 5 sweatshirts, 3 pairs of sweatpants, 4 pairs of shorts and workout clothes that are being put to the test!

9.   Only the top layer of clothes. You know what I am gonna say is true. You only really wear the top layer of clothes, unless you have already remodeled your closets and dressers with the inspiration of Marie Kondo. Rarely do you reach your hand down to the very bottom shirt, right? I knew that and so, when packing for this year abroad, I only packed the “top layer”, so to speak. I am have been appreciating it because I actually feel like I am wearing out my clothes. Our goal is to donate a ton of our clothes when we are done with this adventure and leave Spain with even more scaled down version of the top layer. It is very freeing to look in your closet and know you have just enough but not too much.

10.                 Fresh Bread every single day…even Sundays. It’s the smell that sucks me in, it’s like it has magnetic powers or something. It’s always so fresh and often hot and you see everyone with at least one loaf so you know you are not alone. There is comfort in that.

11.                 The fish market and the butchers. More specifically, getting fresh fish cut and deboned however I wish from the fish market and getting fresh meat cut and prepared however I want from the butcher. I am going to try to bring this one home with me as I have really appreciated the art of a butcher. They are available to help you at any super market here and they will cut up your preferred meat however you wish. I have grown fond of having my chicken cut into thin filets. This helps me when we prepare any Asian chicken meal or when we coat the chicken and lightly fry it in olive oil.



And finally, a few that I won’t be sad to say goodbye to when we leave.

1.   People walking into crosswalks without even a glance or a pause especially with strollers and coming out from behind parked cars! OMG…it gets really hairy at times and we have had a few close calls.

2.   People parking everywhere at anytime. Sidewalks, middle of the street, in front of our entrance, in front of our car, kissing our bumper, oh my.

3.   Indoor pools. Although we have plenty of indoor pools in Utah, I have one outdoor pool at home that I enjoy so very much and I love fresh air while swimming, even if it’s negative degrees outside.

And I must include this, although we have quite a while before we are leaving this wonderful city and country, we will miss our friends most of all. The community we have created here in Santander is salt of the earth and we are so grateful they have allowed us to be a part of their group.