I am amazed by how life constantly presents balance. A little bit of good to balance out the tough bits. And the odd rough go to make sure that constant goodness doesn’t go unappreciated. Kind of like how a rainy days makes us appreciate the sunny ones. If there was no rain, we wouldn’t know how great the sun is.
The weekend, while super, was a bit over shadowed with the anticipation of returning to school on Monday to yet again be faced with her bully. Met with her teachers this morning so I’m feeling a bit better that we’re creating a team to help Helena negotiate through this.
To balance out the tough scenario at school our wee community here in our apartment building continues to make us feel welcome. Our doorbell rings daily with kids looking for our three kids (2 short ones, 1 a little bit bigger and hairier) to come out to play. And yesterday, a little group of three delivered a pot of soup for us made by a culinarily talented mom. So sweet – the gesture that is, not the soup. The soup was savoury goodness with beans, potatoes and bacon. Yum!
We also got a taste for what our on-the-road life will look like once hockey games are part of our routine. Took in a game in Bäretswil on Saturday. It involved two busses & two trains to get there and we still arrived in less time than it took us to get to practices in Black Diamond. The beauty of Swiss transit…? Look where the final bus dropped us off:
Seemingly out in the middle of no-where but sure enough, around the bend was a hockey arena. The places their transit travels to and the facilities that pop up in the middle of no-where are amazing.
The whole urban experience is not losing its novelty for us even in the slightest. While other families rolled their eyes about the out of town game, the suggestion of a new destination with multiple modes of transportation to get there is still a super fun outing for us. Especially considering that one of the towns the train went through on the way home is where the IKEA is. Cheap lunch and affordable home wares – hooray! Saturday crowds with lines that make Costco look like a ghost-town…less hooray. But we survived.
There is a certain unpredictability to our urban experience though. It’s like I’m walking around with two ticking time bombs. Hell hath no fury like that of a child whose sibling just pushed the button when it WASN’T THEIR TURN!!! At any point the delight of the +50 buttons we encounter on a daily basis can erupt into the biggest sibling quarrel you’ve ever witnessed. It’s a hair trigger I tell you.
Something that often causes us to pause is that we are transported back home through memories on a daily basis. Most often it is because we see someone who has a striking resemblance to someone at home. Sometimes it is someone near and dear to our heart, like just yesterday Helena pointed out a woman who was a dead ringer for my sister, but often it is more random, like recognizing someone who looks just like the cashier at the local grocery store.
It always happens at unexpected moments but we relish the chance to be transported home, even if only in our minds.
On the flip side, there are more and more faces becoming familiar here too. The same faces we see on the bus every day or in the community. Enough to begin to say “Hallo” as we pass by. Slowly but surely we are feeling more and more at home here. The number of times strangers engage me in jovial conversation means they believe I’m local too. It’s the unfortunate slack jawed, deer in headlights response they get from me that embarrasses all of us.
In my defence, we are working had at learning German. High German to be precise which is what we have been told repeatedly is what we ought to learn. The trouble is, people here don’t speak High German; they speak Swiss German which is altogether different. I don’t yet know how they are different, I just know that when someone speaks to me in their rapid-fire dialogue I am stunned and completely gobsmacked.
Today’s local excitement came in the form of one of my twice monthly laundry days. Once again, eager to get started as early as possible, I found the laundry room occupied and in use, AGAIN! Well, this time I didn’t try to find the communal living, socially acceptable response to such a conundrum. This is MY day! So I unloaded their clothes from the machine and got straight to work. Turns out the fury of a woman being denied her turn at the washing machine is the true measure of wrath!
When you can only wash twice in a month, the number of loads adds up. It’s a full day affair. Someone wandered down with their load part way through the day but my “back-off-bitch-this-is-MY-DAY” stare got her scurrying back upstairs pretty quickly. I think I’m fitting in just fine here!
Now that we’re all clean-smelling (machine is still doing a pretty crap job at removing any spots) we’re ready for whatever our urban life has in store for us, buttons and all.