We have been in our new house-sit for just over a week. We moved away from the the beautiful beaches of Andalusia, the hustle and bustle of the touristic Costa del Sol and travelled up to a remote part of the mountainous province of Granada. Our Casita is a two bedroomed house adjacent to a Cortijo, engulfed and totally surrounded by olive groves. Thousands and thousands of olive trees, as far as the eye can see. It is so incredibly beautiful and so unbelievably peaceful.
The local village is only 2km away and very ‘Spanish’, by this I mean it is pretty much unspoilt by tourism, no English menus and very few English speakers, apart from a lovely man at the cafe who was quoting Sting lyrics to the boys whilst offering them his Jamon tapas! There are a couple of local cafes, which also double as bars and are the centre of the village, acting as meeting places and manic domino playing arenas; definitely a ‘men only’ sport here. It’s a wonderful place to be to learn the language and try and immerse ourselves in Spanish culture. Everyone we meet and try to communicate with, in our very limited Spanish, are so incredibly helpful and kind. When we asked the local cafe owner where we could buy free-range eggs she promptly gave us half a dozen…wow, so generous!
When we escaped the rat race looking for a simpler life, we could not have envisaged a home so beautiful, a land so respected and a people so kind and welcoming.
Chaos and Mayhem have been loving exploring the house and the local area. We have been on several treasure hunts and nature walks; started to work the land and plant our own veggie patch and are simply enjoying being outside. It’s amazing how adaptable the boys are, they left Portugal behind in July and have now left the Costa behind without taking a breath; As long as they have their Mummy and Daddy they feel at home wherever we travel. For me, that is one of the best reasons to travel whilst the boys are young, they just soak up the places, people and experiences without fear or apprehension and actively seek out new adventures.
To think how different things could have be. We watched a film last night, ‘Miracles From Heaven’, a bit of a weepy based on a true story. The first part of the film was the family fighting to find out what was wrong with their daughter. They had multiple hospital visits, including A&E admissions but were fobbed off with different reasons for their daughter’s illness. It was so emotional for Hubbie and I to watch as it reminded us so much of our own story, we too were told by many medical professionals that Mayhem wasn’t seriously ill, that he was lactose intolerant and had acid reflux, the same excuses given to Jennifer Garner’s daughter in the film. We were also given another multitude of reasons, including croup, bronchiolitis before we said NO, it’s not that, he’s seriously ill and you need to find out why, just as Jennifer Garner did. The film went down a religious path and our stories no longer seemed as similar but watching the film made us realise just how incredibly lucky we are.
Admittedly, we are very unlucky to have had a seriously ill baby, so very unlucky that our precious boy had a tumour that was slowly but surely consuming him, but we are so very, very lucky in other respects; the tumour was benign (whoop, whoop), operable (they discovered this after the operation to remove it, YES!) and once it was surgically removed he was and is cured. We were able to be together as a family in hospital whilst all of the drama unfolded and feel thankful that Mayhem was only 10 months old when this happened; for him it was normal not to be able to breathe properly, to be in discomfort and to be in the company of numerous doctors and health professionals.
We are so very lucky and incredibly thankful it wasn’t a terminal diagnosis or a painful ongoing condition that required multiple treatments. We have to have very regular blood tests and x-rays (to make sure the tumour doesn’t grow back), which is hard enough. We had an x-ray completed yesterday and Mayhem was so very upset being back in a hospital and throughout the procedure, it was a wake-up call for what could have been. Most importantly though, every single day, every hour of every day, we are so incredibly thankful, grateful and feel lucky enough to have our son here, lucky that he came through this whole crazy episode and that he is here with us.
So when we see the boys exploring, digging in the ground, helping to prepare the soil for planting vegetables, playing games together, annoying each other (yes, even when they are fighting), We are so very, very thankful that we are all here together. They are our reason, our reason for leaving our busy, time-consuming jobs and lives behind us, our reason for seeking out a life with unrestricted family time together, our reason for striving to live a simpler life, together.
Follow our expat adventures as we travel in Portugal and Spain. Outdoor family fun, escaping the rat race in search of a more simple and alternative life.
Andrea, Paul and our two boys Chaos and Mayhem.
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