[Note: We’ve been home many many months now, but we had written a few draft blogs before we left. This is one of them.]
“So, what are you doing here exactly…er…why are you here?”
I hear this a lot. When I meet someone new here in Basel, or even tell friends at home what we’re up to this year, there are usually a few polite inquiries about where I’m from or going, and how I was able to arrange it all. A few minutes in, it becomes clear that we’ve put in an extraordinary amount of effort to plop our family down in a place it does not normally belong, and they want to know why.
It is a fair question and one I usually respond to with a slightly guilty, “because we’re privileged assholes,” in my head. Out loud I usually answer with, “Oh, lots of reasons. Mainly to experience new cultures and take time to do more as a family.” Continue reading
[Note: We’ve been home several months now, but had written a few draft blogs before we left. This is one of them.]
“Honey, let me wipe them off. They are all over your face.”
The sadness of a mountain top without your boogers.
I wipe her face.
“MOM!!!!! Put them back! I didn’t want you to take them!! PUT MY BOOGERS BACK!!”
I never know what I’m doing here, but one of the perks about plucking yourself out of your normal routine and plopping yourself down in unfamiliar territory, is that you can immediately feel OK about not knowing what you are doing. Living abroad can be confusing (and embarrassing), but it is also comforting to know that it’s not (all) just me being ridiculous. Sometimes I think I could write a book about how to embarrass yourself abroad, but then I realize that for me it would simply be one instruction: walk outside. Here are a few examples of me doing just that. Continue reading
Going to a thermal bath/pool was at the top of my list of ‘Switzerland Goals’ this year, and it overlapped quite nicely with our girls’ constant drive to find a pool. Finally, in Locarno near the Swiss border with Italy, I found my opportunity. Even though it was February, the pool was warm (a terrific 95 degrees F), and you could swim to both indoor and outdoor sections of the same pool. The outdoor part had an *amazing* view of Lake Maggiore and the nearby mountains of both Switzerland and Italy. It was the perfect thing to do on a February afternoon that was a bit too cold to spend outside. What I didn’t realize is that what I thought of as the perfect confluence of relaxation and fun, turns out to be my husband’s own personal hell. In retrospect, I can see where our paths diverged.
The following was dictated to me by H, she is four years old and her attention span is four words long. She giggled constantly through the post and insisted I share it. This might be a terrible idea, but hopefully the reader might relate to trying to work on a laptop near a small, attention-seeking child who is sometimes homesick and is mostly into fart jokes. Some things stay the same no matter where we are in the world. Continue reading
Friday we picked up our 4.5 year old, H, at kindergarten. She smiled as she came out the door and then ran right past us down the sidewalk.
“Hey, wait up H!”
“You’re too fast for Mom.” (Why does mom continue to talk about herself in the third person? I don’t know why I do this.)
She gets to the end of the sidewalk and continues into the intersection.
“STOP!” Continue reading
It is beginning to dawn on me that each family member’s sabbatical goals may be orthogonal to one another’s. When you write them in a list, they do at first look parallel on their own little bulleted lines, but when you go to implement them, you find yourself walking in different directions and, most certainly, at different speeds. Continue reading