Sunday, July 22, 2012


We have been back in North Carolina for almost a week.  It's been an interesting transition back - some things feel very familiar, and yet others feel foreign.  Our bodies are not sure what time it is nor what meal we are supposed to be eating.  But even more than that, our minds and hearts aren't always sure how to answer some questions.

The most common question is "how does it feel to be home?"  Home?  Is North Carolina home?  Is Spain home?  Did we leave home or did we return home?  

The answer to all of those questions change by the hour.  When we left Spain I lived in Alcala de Henares and I would call it home.  But at times, I'd also be heard saying "in July I am taking Hannah home."  When I return to Spain my house will be in Illescas.  But will it already be home?

So for those of you who will still ask "how does it feel to be home? and I look at you with glazed over eyes and the deer in the headlight look - know that it isn't a lack of understanding the question, but instead, I really have no idea how to answer.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Changes Ahead

When we arrived in the fall of 2011 we heard of the economic crisis.  People all around talked of it, but in our "bubble" we didn't see a lot of it.  Tonight, however, as we took a final walk through the Plaza Mayor of Alcala (Hannah returns to the states tomorrow for college and we move to Illescas in a week) we saw first hand the results of the crisis.  Store after store had been boarded up and closed.  Even Burger King was closed!

Last week the government announced an increase in IVA (sales tax).  For many products it will now be 21%.  The country is in a financial crisis and needs to somehow generate extra income, and yet at the same time as a result of the crisis the citizens do not have the money to pay the extra tax.  The days ahead are going to be interesting.

Here is a glimpse at sales tax in Spain...

  • Theater tickets, circus, bullfights, museums, attraction parks, etc... increased from 8% to 21% sales tax
  • Health and Dental services... increased from 10% to 21%
  • Hair Dresser or Manicurist... increased from 8% to 21%
  • Clothes, footwear, tobacco, alcohol drinks... increased from 18% to 21%
  • Flowers, bulbs, seeds.... increased from 10% to 21%
  • Communications, real estate, and funeral fees... increased from 18% to 21%
  • First Time Home Buyer Tax (previously if you were a first time home buyer you received a lower tax rate as an incentive to buy) - from 4% to 21%
All the new changes go into effect September 1.  The Spaniards around us are feeling this crunch (as well as us) and there is concern for what the days ahead hold - both for them individually and as a country.  Pray for the coming days!  The belief is that things will get much worse before they get better.  For many that is hard to imagine.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Keys and All!

It's official - we have a place to live in Illescas!  We have keys and a contract and the official paperwork saying we truly live in Illescas (although we don't actually reside there yet!).  We knew as soon as we walked in the front door we knew we were home - now we are excited to make it our own.

I head to the states on Monday (the 16th) with Hannah and while we are gone Scott and Alex will move us.  Should I be worried?  Scott is perfectly capable of handling the move, but will I ever find anything?  And oh, by the way, we leave four days later for 2+ weeks.

Here's a sneak peak at our new house...

Kitchen - you can't see it, but there is also a
bay window area perfect for a kitchen table!

View of the back deck - big enough for a grill and table!

Living Room

Master Bedroom - Look at the closet space!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

1/2 Way There

Half way to a new home.... our area coordinator signed his part of the paperwork today and on Monday we go to sign ours.  Looks like we are about to move!

Could it be?

We think we have found it!  Our Area Director goes today to sign the paperwork - we hope - and then on Monday we sign and get keys.  Keep Praying!  Watch back next week for details and the celebration party!

Our New Home in Illescas, We Hope