Monday, September 08, 2014

Adjusting to the Spanish schedule

Last weekend we went out to dinner for the first time in Madrid.  We went to Yerbabuena, a restaurant that I had enjoyed on a previous trip.

First, we went for a paseo (a walk about town), which is what the Spaniards do.  The streets that are relatively deserted during the hot hours of the day teem with people at night.  Maeve enjoyed walking to the bus at 10pm when things were really starting to hop (though many people won't go out until midnight).

Amazingly, during our early evening paseo we ran into Manuel Carro -- my host at IMDEA -- and his family at one of the tiny playgrounds that are ubiquitous throughout Madrid; both of our families had chosen to stop there.  He lives outside town and says he only comes into the city center once every month or so, in this case for a museum exhibit.  He and the IMDEA staff have been invaluable in helping me navigate the bureaucracy of living and working in Spain.

Our family was were the first patrons in the restaurant at 8:00 when it opened.  When left at 9:45, the line of people waiting was told it would be 1.5 to 2 hours before they would be served.  We got home around 10:15 and that night was the latest that we have ever put the children to bed.

Spaniards generally have dinner at 10pm or so, though when Cat lived here in high school her host family ate extremely early, around 8:30pm or 9pm, because they had a 5-year-old child.

We are still working to adjust to the later hours, both in terms of sleep and in terms of timing our meals.  Lunchtime is 2-4pm, and most stores and businesses are closed then.  Many children are at home from school for two hours in the early afternoon as well.  Our kids can't quite manage between meals, and we are still calibrating how much snack, and when, will leave them willing to eat the next meal.  We will probably have Silas return to napping, which he had dropped 6 weeks ago when we left home, so that he can go to bed after 9pm and still be awake by 8am and at school by 9am.  The rest of the family has also delayed their bedtimes by several hours.  Unfortunately, I continue to wake at 6am and that will have to stop.

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