The past four months, while they may have started out in a fairly ordinary manner, certainly didn't continue that way for long. In May we carried on teaching at our respective schools but saw classes very rapidly take a more...relaxed turn, shall we say? In many ways the last two months (ever since returning from Semana Santa/Spring Break) in the middle of April felt kind of like we were on the downhill, especially since just nine days after our 11-day break, we had a four day weekend. Kids and teachers alike took cues from the weather and started checking out a bit.
As the weather really got good and the days got longer in Madrid, we gained motivation to get out and do more. We celebrated Cinco de Mayo with tacos at a (new to us) place in the center of town and found a new favorite Mexican spot (at least in Spain). We celebrated our friend Josh's birthday with dinner and cake and gave thanks for the people we've been given in our adopted home. We visited El Capricho for the first time, a park next door to one of our long-time favorites, Parque Juan Carlos I. We checked more restaurants off of our "must-visit list," and worked on getting everything together for our Turkish work visas (which we obviously - and very thankfully! - got). We also celebrated San Isidiro, the holiday of Madrid's patron saint, by going out for pizza and then watching the fireworks at Retiro Park with friends Ronna and Anali. It was crowded and made for a late night (aka not something I'd normally convince myself to do), but fun, and as usual, I was glad that I did.
In May we also did something really special - we took a Friday off of school and went to London over my birthday for a few days. We walked through pretty neighborhoods, ate the most delicious food, enjoyed our favorite parks, had afternoon tea, and honestly just had one of the best times ever - it was just so, so special to get to be in my favorite city on my birthday, and, well, full post coming soon. Would you expect anything else from me? :)
In June we saw our friends a few last times, finished school, and got ready for the summer. A highlight was walking around DecorAcción Madrid with Ronna early on a Saturday (before it got too miserably hot). Shops, restaurants, hotels, and the like decorated the outsides (and on occasion, the inside) of their buildings in a variety of different ways and we walked all around the Barrio de las Letras neighborhood, picking out our favorites and exploring new streets Danny and I had never been on before. Looking back through these photos reminded me how much I love city living and all it can offer, and gets me excited for the year ahead!
My parents visited for nine days almost immediately after our school year ended (you can be SURE there's still a post or five coming on this, but until then, know that we had a great time showing them around Madrid, taking day trips, and then at the end of our time together, driving to the south and staying in the countryside outside Ronda). We swam, we went to the coast, we walked around town, we ate, and we really just had the best time. Such a summer highlight for me.
The day my parents left Madrid, we packed up the last of our apartment (thanks Alex and family!) and flew to Istanbul. You may know how that went based on this post or more recently, this wrap up of thoughts and feelings. Overall, it was a good, albeit challenging and humid, summer full of kids, afternoons off, and a camp out night every other week (much anticipated by Danny and I, as we didn't actually have to camp out with our kids, just make an appearance to sneak some s'mores!).
We spent the last week of August in Greece on vacation, rewarding ourselves for surviving summer camp. ;) It was fantastic, and just this past Monday we arrived back in Madrid. We've spent the past six weeks or so hunting for an apartment, and it really got intense since we got back to Spain...and in some ways it felt reminiscent of the hectic process we went through two years ago and I'm whispering to Danny, "What are we doing? Is this all really worth it?!" Alas, when we put down money and signed paperwork last night, all the frustration and disheartening days felt worth it. I'm relieved and happy to report that we will (hopefully!!!) move in to our new place next week, and many, many thanks to our amazing network here that has got us to where we are and has helped us make it through these crazy days! Onto the fall!