We’ve survived another week, albeit a little bruised, battered and bitten. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? I guess it’s true. We are getting stronger through facing these varied challenges. I know my determination to confront and stop Helena’s bully has sure grown in strength.
At the same time, the knowledge that our coming here was a good decision, one that is helping us all discover our best selves is getting stronger too.
There was a moment this week when I found myself behind a blind couple who were strolling along, deep in conversation, on their way to the train station. Not wanting to become an added obstacle they needed to negotiate around I stayed behind them and simply watched their journey. Uncertain and bumpy to say the least. Kind of like our journey. They had to frequently adjust their course as they discovered they were facing a road block. But the adjustments were quick, sometimes quite minor and they were back on course. All the while, chatting merrily, obviously not letting the uncertainty or repeated need for course correction dampen their spirits. It was beautiful.
I think our journey is similar. There is so much we don’t see, so much we don’t understand, so much we get wrong. But a few quick course corrections, some bigger than others, and we’re back on track.
The week was over shadowed a bit by the mean girl situation at school for Helena. It has evolved into the classic bully scenario. What Swiss schools do about bullying is unknown at the moment. I’m hoping to meet with her teachers early next week. The reason Helena is being targeted, it would appear, is that she’s sticking up for the other kids who get caught in the wake. Insert proud momma here! Nonetheless, having Helena come off the bus in tears a few times this week is not ok.
Today though, a certain victory was won. A sweet, sweet friend prepared a care package for us and put it in the mail while vacationing in London. Ages ago… We’ve long since discovered that the Swiss have a very particular way of doing things. When something doesn’t fit within this way, it gets tricky. This parcel of goodness & joy got caught in this system and became stuck. There was a clear timeline set for which I had to provide the receipts for the package contents or it would be shipped back. That was impossible request and so began the negotiations (read:pleading) on my part.
At long last, today it was released and, considering its long anticipation, it was the most exciting moment of our whole week.
When living abroad, for those of you who have not experienced it, mail takes on a whole new level of excitement. Checking the mailbox is a daily moment of anticipation and delight. I certainly wouldn’t ask for a care package, good grief that is complicated, but a post card or letter for the kids would thrill them (and by default me too) to no end. If you were to write the following on an envelope, it will find us and I promise we’ll write back! We have a whole load of postcards and stamps ready.
Speaking of happiness and general delight, this makes me happy…men, confident enough to wear pink shirts, slim man-capris and loafers with no socks. He looked so great. The pinch rolled cuff has made a big comeback here – by the men! I think it’s only fair that men can take advantage of the warm weather and let their ankles breathe a little too.
We experienced a Swiss style crack-down this week which was quite exciting. We arrived by bus to the stop where we change busses for the route to school. The entire fleet of transit authority was there awaiting us. No one was allowed on or off the bus. The transit-cops swept through checking everyone for tickets. Really, it doesn’t get much more thrilling than that, knowing that at any moment you’re going to witness someone getting BUUUSSSS-TED! And busted they were, in the most Swiss like way. All smiles and cordial tones. The most pleasant and polite sting operation there ever was.
My German is still at beginner level so I missed most of what was said to me during our interrogation but I’m pretty sure that one of them told me I was pretty. I said “Vielen Dank” just in case. (Thank you very much.)
There were still many great moments in this week that we’re thankful for. Three ice times for D which is a lot but I think he’s starting to settle in there. He and I both are committed to getting his gear off and getting out the door before the group shower is in full swing. Maybe it’s our Canadian prudish ways…the Europeans do have a far greater comfort with nudity than we do, but we prefer our showers at home, alone, sans audience.
Most importantly, we still found time for picnics. I will be so sad to see this season come to an end. In the meantime it sure is fun watching Manolo show Diego his old, bad-ass hacky-sack skills.
Next week our family will have three students. Manolo starts intensive German lessons. Seems mastering the language is quite vital in one’s search for a job. My mom-duties prevent me from taking the lessons as well just now but hopefully later in the fall I’ll be able to too. That way I can flirt right back with the next transit-cop who askes me for my ticket!
We’ll spend the weekend regrouping. Strategizing our approach with the school bully, sharpening our skates, and generally preparing for the vagaries of life we’ll encounter next week.