Your whole life you have grown up in your country imagining (maybe not actively but subconsciously) how your life will be when you have kids. You have seen your friends, siblings, cousins etc having their own children and you just assume that you will be doing the same activities, events and traditions (albeit with a difference as you don’t much rate the way they handle “little Lisa’s” meltdowns and are sure in the knowledge that your children will be better behaved 😉 ). Jump forward a few years and BAM! all has changed! You have fallen in love with a Mediterranean Adonis and have decided to move to Barcelona to stare lovingly into each other’s eyes and live the Barcelona dream (or you have moved with your job…but let´s go the Adonis route for a better read!).
Now you are married and have decided to start a family. An incredibly happy time in your life, but a totally different experience to the one you imagined. You’re now trying to figure out how the public health system works and learning a whole new Spanish vocabulary including such vital words as “PUSH!” “PANT!” and “EPIDURAL PLEASE……NOW! WHERE’S THE ANAESTHETIST?!”. You take your gorgeous new baby home and have a stream of visitors for the first month or two. All your family fly over to see this beautiful new creation and then as fast as they arrive they are gone and you’re staring into those perfect little eyes thinking…what next?
Most parents have that “what next” feeling, but for us non-natives, life is really different to the way it was imagined. However, different can be good. In fact, different can be GREAT! The first great choice we made was to move to Barcelona which allows us such a huge array of opportunities.
Barcelona is a great place to make last minute plans. A play date can be organised the same day rather than having to give a weeks’ notice. The weather helps as it doesn’t rain too often so our kids can run around in the fresh air most days, making friends in any and all languages available!
Most importantly, you may miss family and friends from your country, but the friends you make here are another level of friendship. The fact that you are all in the same boat with babes and toddlers, paddling through this amazing cultural adventure makes for some very special bonds, which to me have felt a lot like having another family right here in Barcelona. My “family” of friends here have taught me wonderful things and I know they will be friends for life, wherever we end up in the world. My kids have Spanish, German, Slovakian, Australian, English……friends themselves and will grow up instinctively understanding other cultures; something which I had to wait until adulthood to be able to experience.
Then your toddlers become pre-schoolers and it’s time to tackle the next big hurdle. How in the world do I even start to choose a school for my 3 year old?! Well let’s take it step by step.
Barcelona School Search Guide
1. Find out which schools (public and concertada) are in your catchment area
2. Make a list of the schools and the dates of the open days (some start at the end of January!)
3. Go to all of the open days you can possibly manage (you can walk out of some if you immediately recognise that the school is not for your family – as I mentioned in a previous blog post)
4. Make a note of the important days which you can’t miss:
– Preinscripción (End of March)
– Matriculación (Beginning of June)
5. Stand outside the schools you like at 4.30pm and chat to all of the parents who currently send their kids to that school to get some inside info…you can skip this step if you don’t want to seem quite as crazy as I possibly looked!
6. Skip numbers 1-5 and come straight to me. I can help you with the whole process (except choosing the school, I’m afraid that still falls on you!). I can however take away all of the other stressful parts including form filling, assisting with the application process and offering a kind and sympathetic ear as someone who has been through it and lived to tell the tale!
So, the morale of the story is this; move to Barcelona, marry a Mediterranean Adonis, have beautiful children and send them to a fantastic school where they will be happily playing whilst you go the beach and drink a glass (bottle) of well-deserved Catalán Cava with your new family!
For all information re my schools package, please just write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org I am looking forward to helping you with your next adventure!