One of the biggest changes for Jackson and Cassius living here in Granada is that they have the opportunity to be much more independent than they were in Los Angeles. Granada is a much smaller, safer city and this has provided the boys with freedoms they didn’t have in the US.
Here in Granada, the boys walk to and from school. They can walk to pick up eggs for breakfast or to local sundries stores. They can even take the bus to their soccer practices. And while these may hardly seem like Herculean feats, they do signify quite a departure from their experience living in LA.
So too has this been a departure for Karen and myself. Gone are the drop-offs and pick-ups from school. This has required a bit of faith and the ability to trust our unfamiliar environment even though we know it’s safe.
What is, perhaps, more remarkable is to watch the kids in Granada on the streets who have grown up here. Kids from ages 10 and up freely roam the city without parents, in the day, in the night, alone, and in groups. They are out and about all the time–sitting by the river, chasing Pokemon, or piling into Burger King. It’s impressive. Our boys haven’t quite integrated into these packs yet, and it will be interesting to see how they navigate the social landscape as they make more friends. But for now, just being able to go get a pizza or some chips or an Aquarius (similar to Gatorade here) and head out to kick a soccer ball together has been a good first step. This newfound independence in a foreign country with a foreign language has helped Jackson and Cassius become even closer this year, and that has been a wonderful added benefit of this year abroad.