West Coast.

#2 Ready. Set. Go.

Patrícia Mota
Patrícia Mota

Hello, everyone!

I'm here to report on this week's news to see if I can calm down.

First of all, I'd like to thank you for your messages to this blog and all the good energy you've been sending us. I can't tell you how good it feels to have you with us on this adventure.

I don't want to single anyone out in particular, but Rodrigo's friends are the winners of the most creative support on the planet. They've already won! You can see for yourselves...

This past week, we finally managed to take care of a lot of paperwork, both at social security and at the foreigners and borders service, etc., to ensure that we were all legal and ready to get to work.

Always with the whole family in the back, patiently in the car, or waiting to be picked up. We managed to get everything set up in the three schools with parents' and pupils' meetings to access gym equipment, lockers, free food forms for lunch, snacks for the 3 of us, etc. Now that I mention it, there have indeed been a lot of balls spinning, but at the moment, I dare say that everything has been taken care of.

And so, on the only day we had without commitments, we offered our boys a trip to Legoland.

When we told them, the sisters' reaction wasn't what we expected. They stood still and, after looking at each other, Maria said, "But are you sure we can go? Because you guys keep spending money, and I know you're worried about that... maybe going to Legoland is another big expense, right?" and Mercedes said, "Sis, I think the dads must have thought about this before... We'd better be happy and leave the worries for later..."

And so we realized that riding with the whole family in the back meant they heard our conversations and felt our concern with so many open fronts, but we followed Mercedes' advice and headed for Legoland!

On the way to the park, I realized that I had been accepted into a private Facebook group, where Jenny had included me: "Buy nothing Seal Beach," which is based on the gratitude of people who want to offer something and request something from the members of the group.

So I wrote a little text introducing ourselves to the community, offering our consultancy services, which means tips, to any family looking to move to Portugal or Spain or travel to a country we know in Europe. And asking for everything, a family of 5 and Mel might need to set up an empty house in record time. And I never looked at my phone again because I got seasick during the trip.

At the entrance to the park, we received a call from the condominium where we were trying to rent a house, confirming that they had verified that we were not rascals and that we could move in on the 11th! And we were delirious because we'd have two days (gulp!) to move suitcases and find everything we needed to set up a house! Shortly afterward, Rodrigo received the news that on that same Friday, we would also have access to our car, as we had also been accepted as non-scoundrels in the car rental company for 12 months! And we felt that this project was in the bag, and everyone was happy!

The kids were ecstatic at Legoland the whole time, and at one of the prize stalls, we tried our luck because we saw some mallard chameleons that we'd like to bring home.

As there are so many of us, and we speak languages unknown to these parts, we'll inevitably be asked many questions, and when we explain a single one of our stories, we always hear "amazing and wow" several times.

Next, the man from the mallard stall explained the game: catching ducklings with a fishing rod.

They had to catch eight ducks. I asked them for their best, and the three bros organized themselves strategically and captured 23.

All they had to do was throw themselves into the duck pool. When we added the dots underneath each duck, we realized we were entitled to a cute little one-pound chameleon! Hooray!

However, the gentleman, moved by the brothers' strategy and the story we had been telling them, decided that today was a nice day, so he offered them nothing less than the top prize, a giant chameleon in color! And it was as if they had won the whole lottery!

We laughed and jumped, and now we have another member of the family who has a name and everything, but I can't remember the exact name. Whoever carries everything we've brought here can take another giant chameleon with no problem.

Meanwhile, on this magical day, while waiting in line at the amusement rides, I opened the "buy nothing" community group that Jenny had added me to, and my post had literally 43 replies. Suddenly people were saying that they were offering us everything. From pans and toys to tables, chairs, sofas, vacuum cleaners, everything! And it was hard to find the words to thank all those who made themselves available to welcome us home to pick up what we needed!

In the living room, I bought Matias' high chair, a large pot, and a hand blender to make soup, as my children wouldn't shut up. Matias always said he hadn't had soup again, and we needed to deal with it.

We bought the beds for the bedrooms, and everything else was given away to "pay it forward." And I went to bed on Wednesday thinking nobody would take this wonderful day away from us if everything went wrong now.

In the meantime, we bought everything we needed for the start of school and spent the weekend setting up beds and transporting all the gifts we needed to call this spot home. I think we did it! In addition, during the weekend we did all that, we went to Jenny's daughter's birthday party, and we were faced with the mega stress of me not being able to drive our newly rented car, so we were fighting with that system all weekend!

But in the meantime, Rodrigo also managed to get around the car rental challenge, worked his magic, and spoke to the whole company via various social networks, including the company's product manager, who insisted on whining and not adding me as a second driver! The solution was around €800, but we've just realized that I've got independence of movement again and can drive! Thanks, Rodrigo. It seems that with the arguments of someone who knows how to manage products, they'll still call you for advice as a "user experience" geek!

We're already settled in...

And this morning was the first day of school!

Our daughters held on stoically until they saw the doors open. Still, they started crying as soon as they had to go in, each to their school, as they walked in the right direction, looking at us and asking for help with their eyes... and we held on stoically too, gesturing that it would be good. Right now, we're counting the minutes until we pick them up.

Matias hung up his backpack, peeked into the room that looked more like an amusement park and met Miss Megan. And when she asked him, "Do you want to come in?" he replied in his best English, "YES!" I had to ask him for a kiss before running off inside.

Then it was my turn to go with Jenny to my school.

I confess that I hadn't prepared myself for nerves, but it hit me when I saw the facilities, and the butterflies in my stomach multiplied.

I met one of the "lab technicians," and when he asked me what the facilities in that lab looked like to me (there are several!), I just replied: "this looks like Disneyland!"

My Biomechanics geek friends will understand why when they see the photos.

He replied: "Yeah, right? The happiest place on Earth!"

And then he added, "Let me know what you need. I'm here for you", and I felt like crying with emotion.

I hope that the harshness of this first day will be overcome quickly and that we can all realize that fear is part of it but that we can take a few bites out of it and then swallow it all.

That's it.

And we hope the kids want to come back tomorrow. And the day after.

If we see them well, we can swallow the fear better. That's it.

Please continue to send good energy, as today is an epic day for everyone.

A huge kiss from here to there.

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