Travels, Reentry blues, Spanish school, and getting back to business

What do you do when you haven’t blogged in a while? Write a catch up post, of course! Earlier in the year we enjoyed living in London, Berlin, and Paris over the course of 8 weeks. We came home to Texas in May and began debriefing the trip and asking ourselves what we would do for the rest of the year. It’s now September and we finally have a clue about the rest of 2014. Next year is still a mystery, but we are taking life one trip at a time.

Here is what we’ve been up to over the last few months.

BeachPress and building a business

About a week after we got home from Europe Daniel took off to a town near Portland, Oregon. He spent a week coding and working alongside other WordPress people at BeachPress. Daniel hit the ground running when he got back home from BeachPress and worked on his business. He had trouble with the time difference and the lure of Paris while living overseas and his business suffered. With a clear schedule he was able to rapidly grow his business once again.

Reentry blues

While we were living in Paris we met freelance writer, Heather Ebert. During a typical 4 hour Parisian dinner Heather talked about reverse culture shock and struggling with reentry into the States. I stupidly shrugged off her warnings. I knew reverse culture shock was real, but I thought 8 weeks wasn’t a long time to be away and I could get back to a normal life pretty quickly. I was wrong.

I walked around with a dull ache of sadness for weeks. I missed Europe. I missed being able to walk everywhere and ride subways. I missed the adventure of exploring new neighborhoods. I missed the cooler weather. I wasn’t ready for the hot Texas Summer. It was too hot to take the kids out and we stayed indoors a lot. Over time I’ve been able to readjust to life back in the States. Access to giant to pots of coffee and my washer and dryer have helped. I still have the dull ache of missing big cities, but I think the pain is simply part of being a traveler.

Spanish School

Spanish School

Spanish school

Daniel and I were very impressed with the missionaries we met who went to language school full time. One family was learning German and another couple was learning French. I loved Paris, but I felt like I would have had an even better experience if I had known some French. Daniel and I both wanted to learn a language to be ready for a future trip. Living in San Antonio, Texas gives us easy access to Spanish. Daniel’s mom is fluent in Spanish and he grew up speaking the language. We decided to learn Spanish, because it gives us access to at least 21 different countries and we can use it in our hometown.

We signed up for language school part time at The International Language Center of San Antonio. All five of us went to Spanish class four days a week for an hour and half. The teacher taught Daniel and I during the first hour and fifteen minutes. Then the kids were taught during the last fifteen minutes. We studied for 7 weeks and passed Level One. Learning a new language was really difficult. The private class was more intense than my high school Spanish classes. We had about 45 minutes worth of homework every night. Daniel is mostly fluent, but I am still learning. We are both glad that we have a foundation of the basics of Spanish.


Soccer School

Soccer school and homeschool

Our kids enjoyed learning Spanish during the week, but on the weekends they loved learning how to play soccer. Our oldest, Annabelle, is 7 years old and our middle child, Roman, is 5 years old. In Paris Roman was playing with some boys at the park. The boys were kicking a soccer ball and playing a game, but my son didn’t know how to play with them. He chased them around and had a good time, but I felt like he needed a few more skills to be able to play with kids from around the world. Soccer seems like a global sport that every traveling kid should learn. With classes my two oldest learned how to dribble and the basic rules of soccer. I missed my window to sign them up for Fall classes, but we will continue to play soccer as the weather gets cooler.

A few weeks ago we got back into our homeschool routine. I made new school rule: No TV and iPads allowed until school is complete and bedrooms are clean. Our new rule has made school go by much faster in the mornings. I also changed our Math curriculum. The change has been really good for my kids. I love having the flexibility switch curriculums if something isn’t working out for my child.

World Mandate

This past weekend we attended World Mandate as a family. World Mandate is a missions conference in Waco, TX put on by Antioch church. Daniel and I were inspired by Francis Chan’s talk the first night. He talked about abiding in God and loving people well. The kids danced and played during the worship. Annabelle asked me, “Mommy, can we come back here for Christmas?” I asked her why and she said, “So We can worship Jesus here for his birthday!” We didn’t leave the conference with a clear vision for one country, but left having peace knowing it was okay that we didn’t have a strategy for Digital Tentmaking.

The rest of 2014

We have a few trips planned for the rest of the year. Daniel goes to Sofia, Bulgaria for 6 days for WordCamp Europe. Then Daniel and I will attend WordCamp Fort Worth/Dallas for a weekend without the kids. Wahoo! I will be attending the Christian blogger’s conference Allume in Greenville, South Carolina in October. Then Daniel will take a quick trip to San Francisco for WooCommerce Conference. Three days after he gets back we all head to New York City for 18 days. We’ll spend a week living in Park Slope, Brooklyn and then we’ll spend the rest of the time in the Upper East Side. We’ll be back home to Texas in time for Thanksgiving.

We don’t have any specific plans for December yet. We recently had to buy a car and bought a used Suburban. Our new-to-us vehicle tempts us daily with a road trip. Maybe we’ll take a road trip. Hopefully, on our next road trip we won’t get stuck in the sand on the beach!

Our suburban being pulled out of the sand by a 4x4.

Our suburban being pulled out of the sand by a 4×4.


About Amanda

Hi! I'm Amanda. I love Jesus, good friends, good books, good food, and Texas. I am married to the handsome Daniel Espinoza. I homeschool my 3 young children. Follow me on Twitter: @AmandaEspi or on Google+

4 Responses to Travels, Reentry blues, Spanish school, and getting back to business

  1. Marla Taviano September 25, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

    1. I love it when you blog! Please do it more often!! (I know it’s hard.)

    2. I’m so nervous about learning Khmer when we move to Cambodia. I want to know it so badly. Gearing up for lots of hard work.

    3. Would looooove for you all to visit us there… 😉

    4. Excited for your future–even if it’s kind of unknown right now!

    • Amanda September 25, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

      Aw, thanks Marla!! I needed that encouragement. I’ve been inspired by your “what I’m up to” blog posts. I think I put too much pressure on myself to be helpful and informative. I need write what comes naturally and about what we are doing. I need to remember that my story *is* helpful.

  2. Melanie September 25, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    You can always make a trip up to Austin. 🙂

  3. Michelle C September 29, 2014 at 9:38 am #

    We always love hearing from Francis Chan! Also, thanks for the reminder to expect reverse culture shock (we’re in France/Switzerland right now for about a month) and kudos for taking the whole family to Spanish lessons. We’re also trying to figure out how we can get more serious about our language skills when we’e back home…