Thursday, May 10, 2007

Exit behavior

So we are leaving. Whoa. Of course, to make it less painful, we are leaving in stages. We´ve extricated ourselves from Antwerp, and JieJie´s Nederlands (Dutch) is already fading! She forgot how to say "balletjes", or little meatballs, and looked to me for help yesterday. So sad. Her class spent a whole morning making them and she used to ask for them in restaurants, and suddenly there she was saying ball...ball...what was that mommy? My heart cracked.

So first we are leaving Spain´s costa del sol and the Estepona Townhouse. It has been just lovely, especially the roof terrace and rooftop kitchen. We´ve eaten our fill of spanish olives, paella, pulpo (octopus), calamari (MeiMei now asks for it by name and wolfs it down like it was candy) and gambas (huge shrimp with the lovely sweet taste of lobster). We haven´t seen a whole lot more since I last wrote, just the lovely little white village, or puebla blanca, of San Roque, which overlooks the bay of Algeciras and the oh so recognizable Rock of Gibraltar. How cool that we can look right across the strait and see Africa! And how cool too that the girls see it and say to their daddy, "take us there someday!" John and I went to San Roque while the girls had their afternoon lay down time and we had a great lunch, he with an entrecote (rib steak) and me with another local specialty, fried anchovy fillets.

Last night we celebrated my mom´s 66th birthday and what a great evening it was. First we went to a chiringuito, one of the many beachside eateries that dot the beaches of Estepona. We had a lovely seafood dinner and mom and I each had a tinto de verano, or red wine of summer, which is a lovely drink, just red wine and lemon soda over ice. You should try one! Then for dessert we went to a local ice cream place or heladeria and there was an accordionist playing fun music, an adorable active 18 month old boy making the rounds of the tables, and then to top it all off a huge pomelo sized citrus fruit suddenly fell on a nearby table, sending the entire outdoor clientele into gales of laughter. I have a picture of the almost-victim with the fruit, which she was planning to take home and eat, sweet revenge. Mom is laughing in one corner of the photo.

The girls have enjoyed playing at the beach, collecting shells, rocks, jumping in the just-beginning-to-warm-up water, and all that lovely beach stuff. Still, their stamina is wearing thin and they are clearly eager to get home.

Which brings me back to my point. Tomorrow we pack our stuff and ourselves into our VW Caddy and set off for Malaga Airport to return the car to Amigo Autos - Europa Goldcar. We fly to Brussels, where we will take a shuttle to the Holiday Inn...or Mr. K will pick us up...we´ll see when we get there I guess! We are hoping to be able to take him to dinner one more time. The girls will as usual treat him like the second coming of Elvis. We will find someplace to spend our remaining euros on Belgian chocolates to give as gifts when we get home. We will swim in the indoor pool (a must before transatlantic flights!!!) and then Saturday morning we´ll wish the grandparents bon voyage, then get ourselves to the airport for an early afternoon takeoff, then connect at Heathrow for our flight to Washington DC. By the time we get home it will be late Saturday night. We are hoping and praying for a quick recovery from jet lag...

It seems only yesterday that we were just beginning our Belgian adventure, waiting for the stroller to arrive...the stroller that has now been sold. Looking forward to so many things that are now in the past. I´m sad in a way, but so many things have turned out so well, and the girls have had such an amazing adventure, I have no regrets.

Looking forward to a summer by the pool. Hasta la vista, dear readers.

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