Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wrapping Up Our Time on the Beach

 As I sit listening to the waves crash on the beach nearby and the wind whip through the house, I can’t believe we have been so fortunate to have spent 6 months living on the beach.  We have experienced such wonderful weather throughout our time here.  Would you believe that now, in January, we are still wearing bathing suits and getting the water?  It is difficult for me to fathom life not on the water.  It’s amazing how quickly you adjust to new surroundings and new norms.  This is both a comforting thought as we getting ready to embark on our international trip, and a sad thought of leaving behind what we have grown to love. 
 To catch you up on our life as of late, we continue to spend everyday frequenting the beach. Amelie and Liam ride their bikes down to a walkway that leads directly to the beach.  Amelie calls it a bridge. She loves riding down the long slope gaining speed the whole way down.  Someone built a ginormous hole nearby so we spend a good amount of time rolling, sliding, jumping, and hiding in the hole. We also take walks along the water pointing out the jellyfish and sliding down the little cliffs that form. We talk to the fisherman about their catches while Liam tries to get into the bucket with the caught fish. We have been building “rivers” that join and connect to the ocean. I am going to have to be creative in how I entertain the kiddos again once we leave here!

Liam point out a jellyfish.
Playing in the "river" we created.
Liam holding a ghost shrimp.  He likes to help Bobby by place them in the bait bucket.
Amelie jumping off one of the cliffs.
During the winter months, the arrival of snowbirds has occurred.  We have loved our new friends, and have actually made quite a few!  Bobby has enjoyed fishing near Roy, Harold, Mark, and more.  The kids love Jake and Ginger (dogs) and their owners who are from Canada and Minnesota.  We love hearing how beautiful our kids are whether we are on the beach or in the grocery store.  We always slow down to carry on a conversation about the kids.  I love the constant reminder about how fun this time in our lives is.  We hear all about stories of their grown kids and their current grandchildren.  It’s crazy to think that one day we will be the ones telling our memories of the little ones.  There are hard days of dealing with attitudes and knowing how to discipline, but in it all we are constantly reminded of how the days go by fast and how important it is to treasure each stage of development.  We also love the questions about how we are able live on the beach.  You do not see anyone our age on the beach right now!  We love sharing our plans of adventure and hearing their thoughts about it.  Most encourage us that our plans are amazing and they are so happy for us to have this ability to travel with our young children.  They remind us how fortunate we are. 
In closing, I thought I would share a funny story.  The other day while we were on the beach, Bobby ran back to the house to get a board for one of his friends to sit on while putting me in charge of watching the fishing pole and the kids.  This wasn’t a big deal as we had been out for hours and the fish were not biting.  I turned to talk to some people walking by admiring the kids and then looked back to the fishing pole.  To my dismay, the pole was gone and the holder was lying in the sand.  I immediately ran into the icy water to try to find the pole but I couldn’t find it.  Mark and Roy saw me floundering around and immediately ran into the ocean as well.  Bobby comes running back onto the beach to find us in the ocean and no pole and started the hunt as well.  The water was crystal clear but there was no sign of the pole.  A beach cleanup crewmember stopped and stood by Liam to make sure he didn’t run into the ocean after us.  The whole scene was a sight and was talked about for days afterward.  Bobby and I have laughed on and off about the lost pole and the fish that got a way.  He was more upset about losing a giant fish and I was upset about the pole (who he had a buyer lined up for that evening!).  The men on the beach have laughed a number of times about it too.  We will miss our new friends.  We are being strongly encouraged to make it back here in 2014 to our Gulf Shores family.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

You Guys Are Doing What!?!

We receive questions about what we are doing quite frequently.  We realized that we have not done a great job outlining our plans and wanted to catch everyone up to speed on what we are doing for the next year.    Below are a list of questions and answers that have come up.

·      Where are you going next?...and after that?...
o   Paris, France is our first stop.  We will live on the east side of Paris (in Montreuil) from February 11 – May 11.  It is a modest town house near one of the biggest parks in Paris (bois de Vincennes).  There is a convenient Metro stop near the house which will be our main source of transportation.  We will be around 15 minutes away from the Eiffel Tower which is on the west side of Paris.  Below is a picture of the 1905 house that has been recently renovated.

o   London, England will be a little vacation from May 11 – May 17.
o   Edinburgh, Scotland is next.  We will live in Lithe which is right on The Shore in a tiny apartment from May 17 – August 9. Below is a view of our street from the apartment.
o   We have not booked anything after the above mentioned dates; however, our loose plans are to live in Italy, Spain, or Germany from August 9 – November 7.  Then live in Croatia from November 7 – February 5.  This is subject to change based on our experiences in Paris, the connections we make, our source of income, and more.
·      How are you able to do this?
o   In 2010, we sold our house in Athens and began renting a town home.
o   In 2011, Kelly secured an adjunct teaching job with Georgia Virtual School teaching science and being a special needs consultant.  In 2012, Bobby began teaching online as well with Georgia Virtual School teaching social studies.  We do not know from semester to semester how many students will be assigned to us, but so far we have had good work and are trusting that this will continue. 
o   With our house sold and a way to make money, we decided to sell almost everything we own and make the commitment to save as much as possible and start traveling.  So far, in the 6 months we have spent living on the beach we have not regretted making this decision. :)

·      What are your long term plans?  Are you coming back to Georgia?
o   This is a hard question as there are so many variables that will affect our plans.  We are planning around 3 – 6 months at a time and will just continue to do so providing we do what is best for our family.
o   We love Athens and continue to have strong roots there.  We love the beach as well.  We don’t know where we will end up permanently!  One day at a time!!
·      What about language barriers…do you speak another language currently?
o   We are wanting to learn as much of other languages that we can.  We currently do not speak French but are eager to learn and know that being immersed in the culture will help us tremendously. We have begun to watch introductory lessons on YouTube as a family which has been fun.

There are more questions to be answered like are you concerned about safety, what is something you each hope to gain from this adventure, how did you get to this point where you decided that this was a good idea; but I will have to save those for another post.