YES VIDA

Expat Family Living in Spain

We Are All In This Together.

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Coronavirus in Spain

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Reckless Love

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Lockdown

By on April 1, 2020

It’s been over two weeks that we’ve been in a lockdown due to the coronavirus in Spain. Over two weeks that the kids can’t go outside whatsoever. No playing soccer for my son, no swinging in the playground for my daughter, and the only sun they can get is from our tiny balcony. Over two weeks and we are not even close to end this quarantine. The president declared two weeks more of lockdown, but watching the numbers still going up here, and watching our neighbor country, Italy, I think that period might get extended longer.

I have mixed feelings about it. I am grateful that we are all in safe; the kids don’t have to go to school but do their work from home; we only have to go out for groceries and walk the dog. But, there are nights when I lay my head on my pillow, I feel like I am suffocating. I think of my kids, being stuck in our apartment, with no space to run, to play, to have contact with nature, for God knows how long it will be, and I can’t help but feel breathless. 

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We Are All In This Together.

By on March 19, 2020

The sun was shining, the birds were singing. The seagulls seemed to be having a party with all their joyful noise. The sea was sparkling blue and the wind was dancing, moving gently up and down the window’s canopy. That is when I saw her. On her balcony. Down below, meters from mine. I saw her. And she saw me. I smiled and she smiled back at me. I waved and she waved back. Then, she signed, and I signed back. And though I did’t exactly know what it was, I knew in my heart what she was saying, we are all in this together. 

I saw her with her kids. Playing tea party, hugging a baby doll, and making silly faces and sounds. I saw her, loving her kids, trying to make the best out of this sad situation. She was joyful. She was brave. She was kind. And she was in this just like me, just like you, just like all moms in Italy, Spain, and soon worldwide.

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Coronavirus in Spain

By on March 13, 2020
coronavirus in Spain
We choose not to fear – #yomequedoencasa

We were in Mojácar just a few weeks ago with our church to escape the Carnival craziness in Aguilas, when we heard of the first cases of coronavirus in Spain. Days later we had to go to Valencia, just as more cases were being discovered there. I remember telling the kids to not touch anything and to use hand sanitizer as a precaution.  Over the next two weeks, things changed so rapidly it was hard to believe.  We watched the number of cases jump exponentially from a few dozen to over 5200. During recent days the schools closed, church meetings were canceled and many other things where people get together like birthday parties, sports events, and non-urgent medical appointments all got canceled or postponed. 

The situation in Spain deteriorated the fastest in the community of Madrid. (Spain is not divided into states but rather autonomous “communities”) It quickly became the most affected community with more than 2000 people testing positive for the coronavirus. As the authorities there were quick to shut down normal activity, many madrileños decided to head south to places like  Murcia (the community we live in), where they have vacation homes, to escape the chaos of the Spanish capital. Unfortunately, some were coronavirus positive and didn’t have any symptoms until they got here. In fact, most of the 39 cases that Murcia has so far are imported from Madrid. As of yesterday, the regional authorities from Murcia were urging the arriving “madrileños” to stay in quarantine for 15 days. Unfortunately, many didn’t follow these directions and were hanging out by the beach enjoying the warm sunny day. This didn’t sit so well with the president of the community of Murcia, Lopes Miras, and today he appeared on regional television issuing a decree that all of the coastal cities would be in lockdown immediately, and that includes our beautiful town, Aguilas, along with a total of 376,000 coastal people.

However, things went even further one hour later when Spain’s president, Pedro Sanchez, went on national TV to inform that due to the way things had progressed with the coronavirus in Spain, on Saturday he was meeting with the leadership council to place the country in a state of emergency and possibly place the entire country on lockdown for 15 days. During his short speech, he shared a realistic and sobering message. He said that we will get through this but we will have difficult times in the coming weeks, and for us not to be surprised if the number of cases grows to over 10,000 by next week.  I know many of our family and friends are either very worried or skeptical about all the government decisions and media information resulting from the coronavirus in Spain and now worldwide. It seems a little over the top for some, but for us, we are following the advice.

So here we are. We are at home, and we will be here for at least 15 days. While today after the announcement about the confinement, many people were rushing to the markets, we had actually thought ahead and every time we recently went grocery shopping, we bought extra food, water, and toilet paper. We are calm and hopeful, though if we are honest, it feels a little surreal. We are not scared of the situation we are in, but staying at home for so long with kids, in an apartment, with no yard, will be a bit of a challenge. We will try to make the best of it and spend time with our family. That for sure will include hours of Netflix, crafts, (messy paint as my daughter calls it), board games, and reading. Also, the schools sent work for them to do and they will be spending time on it. 

The kids so far are doing good. When we first heard about the coronavirus in Spain, we talked to them, explaining what it was and what that might cause. They saw us every time buying a little extra and asked why and we calmly explained that if in case we have a lockdown, we want to be prepared. I am at least relieved that today, we didn’t have to go through the stress to buy groceries, but we stayed in with our kids, giving them some stability.

On a funny note, we were not the ones that bought all the toilet paper and meat in the market. When we were stocking up the only thing that was missing on the shelves was hand sanitizer! 

Though it has been chaotic, with all the concerning news we’ve been hearing every day, we choose to not live in fear. We know and we believe with all of our hearts, that God is in control of our lives and that gives us an immeasurable peace that surpasses all the horrific happenings around us, taking away all the anxiety that the situation brings.

PS. If you want see if we can maintain our sanity staying in with our kids for two weeks, follow us on instagtam.com/yesvida @yesvida and don’t forget to check out our stories.

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Reckless Love

By on February 14, 2020
reckless love

One of my goals for this year is to let all that I do come from a place of love. I think when we are involved with ministry life, we can get lost in all the needs around us and forget easily why we’ve started serving in the first place: Love – the whole reason I serve is because of God’s love. So big, so powerful, so intimate that it overwhelms me in a way that I can’t completely describe in words. That is why the song Reckless Love is one of my favorites. It definitely describes how I feel.

“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God 

Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine 

I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away 

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God”

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Living and Serving in Spain

By on February 13, 2020

When we first created this blog, we had in mind that we’d share our journey of moving overseas to live and serve in Spain. But, as we were transitioning we felt so overwhelmed that blogging was the last thing we were thinking about. Now, it’s been almost 3 years, and though we still have so many things to learn, to adapt, and to change, we are now in a good place to start blogging again. We’ll give it a try and see how it goes. You’ll probably hear from me (Suzan) way more than Keith, though he is much better with words than me. He will however, contribute once in a while.

expat family living in spain

So, to kick it off, I’d like to share what we’ve been up to. As many of you know, we live in the south of Spain, in a small city called Aguilas. It is a beautiful beach town with a very slow pace of life. We spend most of our time with our family, ministry work, remote jobs, and every chance we get we go exploring the surroundings. The kids are in the public schools and doing great. They are learning Spanish everyday, while maintaining their English. We are also working on their Portuguese, though this one is much harder since it is so similar to Spanish.

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Exploring Spain | Traveling with kids

Sierra Nevada Granada in the Summer

By on September 3, 2018
sierra nevada in the sumer granada, verano en sierra nevada

Crispy cool air with a mountain view. Calm, relaxing, and an enjoyable place. This is Sierra Nevada Granada in the summer – a wonderful get away for those like us that want to escape the heat and humidity of southern  spain’s summer. Don’t get me wrong, I love the beach! The sand on my toes, the sea, the breeze… but… and this is a big BUT… living in a place where there is no central air and the humidity percentage  is very high, making the actual temperature feel much hotter, drives me crazy! Sure, when we are at the beach it feels wonderful but since we have responsibilities and can’t do them in our swimsuits (sad face here) it drives us to look for a refuge from the hottest time of the summer. 

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Personal | Posts by Suzan

Star Wars Birthday Party

By on May 31, 2018
Star Wars Birthday Party decorations

A couple weeks ago it was our son’s 8th birthday! He wanted a Star Wars themed party to celebrate with his friends.

Star Wars Birthday Party

We decided to have a Star Wars birthday party in a park close by. I am so thankful that though it has been only a year since we moved to Spain, our boy has already so many dear friends.

Star Wars Birthday Party

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Exploring Spain | Personal | Posts by Suzan

Exploring Nerja and Gibratar

By on May 21, 2018

I can’t believe it has been almost a year already since we’ve moved to Spain. It feels like yesterday and yet it feels we’ve been here forever. 

We are finally settled down and have been pretty busy. We spend our time between taking care of our kids and helping our local church. It has been a wonderful experience and the more we do it the more we are certain of our calling to be here. Sure we went through an adaptation period with its challenges but nothing that distracted us from the fulfillment we have as a family to be loving and serving the people God brings in our lives. It’s been pretty awesome. But as much as we love it from time to time we like to have a little get away for our family. We know that we need this time to make sure we are all connected, to recharge ours batteries, and to enjoy fun quality time with our kiddos. 

So the other day we went to Andalucía. We stopped in a beautiful town called Nerja. Boy, this town is breathtaking I told Keith we sure need to spend a weekend there. Look at the view. 

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Personal | Posts by Keith

Returning to Aguilas and Yes Vida Update

By on July 5, 2017
Returning to Aguilar

YES VIDA Update 
A belated Happy 4th of July to all of you back home! We have been back in Spain now for five weeks. During this time a lot has happened: We searched for and found a house! A lovely four bedroom apartment two blocks from the beach with a view of the sea, the castle, and the mountains. We have also reconnected with our church family here in Aguilas, and we have been busy catching up with them. We have been received very well here and have been invited in many homes to eat some amazing home cooked Spanish food! The rest of the time has been spent getting our house set in order. It is not perfect yet but it is getting there. In fact today we had our first house guests over for an afternoon lunch.
In addition to the fact that we have been quite busy we have not had a consistent internet connection until recently. Thus we have not been updating our blog posts. Now that we have internet and things have settled down a bit we are going to restart our efforts on the blog. In any case here is a post I wrote about the day we drove from Madrid down to Aguilas. Hope you enjoy it!

Returning to Aguilas – May 31st 2017
As we drove in the car from Madrid to Aguilas, I reflected on the day we left Aguilas in 2013. It was a bright sunny day almost exactly four years before. We were sad that day and there was no joy in the car as we saw the city disappear in the background. A few hours later when we boarded the plane to leave Spain Nicholas was crying hard, and even though he was only three years old he seemed to understand the importance of the moment. The three of us left Spain with heavy hearts. We had established a strong connection with the people of Aguilas but we had to go home.

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Personal | Posts by Keith

Why I Am Leaving Corporate Life to Pursue My Calling

By on April 21, 2017
leaving corporate life

“Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” I read these words in the bible a while back and they seemed to jump right off of the page to me. I had read this verse many times before, but why did it seem this time it had more significance? Maybe after having turned the big “4” – “0” not so long ago my perspective on time subtly changed. Or maybe God just wanted me to step back and look at the big picture in a different way. All I know is that after I read that verse I started to analyze my life’s trajectory and that analysis brought me to some interesting conclusions. I have had a very successful professional career over the last twenty years. In fact as a working life goes I am more or less at the halfway point. I could continue the corporate path for another twenty years. I would probably get promoted another time or two and make a nice income. At the end of that time I would be able to retire well and then sit back and relax. And yet if I continue on the path that I have been on and dedicate more time to the corporate life how fulfilled will I be in the end? More importantly would I retire having felt that I had fulfilled the calling in my life?

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