Monthly Archives: April 2012

My Tribe


I’m getting ready to be back in my tribe –Overachievers who understand my general makeup.

There’s a few things I want extremely badly right now:

1) a substantial Dad to hug. Marathon runners are great and all. but. I need my teddy bear dad again. I have not succeeded in finding a decent translation of the word squishy, which is probably just as well, because when I told my host family’s dad that he wasn’t marshmellow-like, he took it as a compliment. “I would hope not…”

2) I’m looking forward to being in a family that knows me, knows where I come from, and why I am the way I am. I’m looking forward to that sense of not needing to explain myself the same way. It’ll also be nice to ditch the little things like the shock of “WHAT? YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF THE TV SERIES ASTERISKS AND OBELISKS? WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU?”

3) Peanut butter. I’ve gone almost three months without. #rehabsucks

I wore shorts today! Yes, my funny ones with the tulips… I realise that there’s nothing like it in Canada, and when I get back I’m going to look like a freak without the standby excuse of ‘I’m from a different country’. It was 27 degrees. Beautiful.

Side comment: The Chinese food in Canada is better, I find. Direct explanation: we actually have Chinese people.

I realise that I say things in French which I wouldn’t necessarily say in English. I have this sense of ‘hey I know how to say it, Imma gonna say it!‘ which isn’t always checked by reason. Today, it was particularly notable. Outside my English class, while we were all savoring the moments of freedom before the bell rings and we pour in, and the class clown chants the usual “ello mistur ray!” I say to the guy beside me, “tu sais quoi? J’aime tes yeux. Ils sont beaux, fort et clair.”
Then in afterthought, sitting in my chair, I thought to myself. What are the chances of me telling that to a random guy in English. Picture it, out of the blue. No ‘hi, hello, how’s your day’, nothing… Just ex nihilo:
“You know what? I like your eyes. They’re beautiful, strong and clear!”
Yeah… it was amusing. Exchange students. We can do almost anything.

I couldn’t resist whizzing out my camera in the library today, even though it felt morally unsound because no one in the library was making any nose. It was silent. But this was just too funny to not go uncaptured.

Le Meilleur Jour


I had an awesome day today. Recap:

I woke up to the sound of my Pops waking me up, with some time in advance to get ready. I ate hazelnut yogurt with crunchy chocolate cereal. I looked out the open window over the misty vineyards, with two castles rising through the fog. Does life get any better than this?

When I got to school, I had a German class for the first 45 minutes of the day. German class for me means no class, because I’m not allowed to go to them. I read Hamlet in the cafeteria instead.

After that I had one class of Geography. Then we saw a play for the last 2 classes of the morning. It was entirely in English, about Shakespeare. It was so cool to see how effectively they introduced so much about Shakespeare to ESL people. They acted out Hamlet, A Midsummer Nights Dream, Titus Andronicus, and others whose titles escape me right now. It was awesome! 😀 It left me feeling like I should read the entire works of Shakespeare over the next four years. I’m aiming a little high. The chances of me sticking it through all the works of Shakespeare are slim. I would need to gain a lot of literary stamina before that.

Wednesday afternoons I have no school. It’s a beautiful thing here. Wednesday afternoons free! It’s the time when people do most of their extra-curricular jobs. Some students take this afternoon for work. The day which you have off depends on the stream or grade you happen to be in. I spent this afternoon in town with two other Canadian girls. We had a good time, buying chocolate for our families, and stuff like that. It was especially amusing being in stores, speaking in French to the cashier, explaining a little bit about how we’re Canadians and all our friends want chocolate. There’s something specious about being three girls jabbering in another language, each checking out 60-70 Francs worth of chocolate. Besides, this is Switzerland, it’s normal to make small talk with people. Legit – you say bonjour to everyone, except if you’re in the city and there are tons of people. Then my buddies asked me, with a tone of disdain, “why are you talking in French? You know you don’t have to right?” PARCE QUE J’AI LA CAPACITÉ! ET PARCE QUE JE SUIS EN SUISSE! POURQUOI AUTREMENT ? Vous n’avez aucune raison. Let’s get this straight, you two have been in French immersion for how many years of your lives, and I started learning French just over a year ago. You both feel happy when agreeing with each other that your accents are worse than mine.

For the life of me, I will never understand why people can get together into groups and collectively make themselves feel better about the failure which they have talked themselves into. How is it possible to sink to the lowest common denominator just for the sake of harmony with the other person? Especially when your perception of the lowest common denominator is much lower than the actual? Ok. So fail. Go out there, and screw up ALL your sentences, grammar, pronunciation. Let it be horrible. But for goodness sakes! TRY!

I got home, then went for a little walk around the lake two minutes away from my house! This is a really beautiful part of the world I’ve been living in. I love to walk here whenever I need to clear my head.

This is the reflection in the lake.

Mille Mots


A picture is worth a thousand words.

Whenever I’m unravelling a complex emotion, I tend to draw charts. When faced with a decision that both sides have pros and cons, I tend to make lists of the ups and downs and sort them out from there. I had a supply teacher in my Physics class today, so I was trying to funnel my internal tempest into a processable 2D format.

My time is ticking. I have two weeks left before I’m above the Atlantic ocean. As I confided in a close friend this afternoon, I’m probably three times as apprehensive about returning than I ever was about coming over here.

Shh! I’m blogging!


It might appear like I’m blogging right now: Don’t be fooled. I have an essay I need to write before mid-term. That’s what I’m about to do, but for a moment, I will open a window to my life and tell you all the best moment of my yesterday, and the best moment of my today.

Yesterday my family and I went to another family’s house for dinner. The allure of  the classy hostess look is really sinking into me. I realise how much I want to grow up into a classy set of behaviours and habits. I’ll always retain my ability to kill all sizes and types of bugs with my bare fingers, as well as the capability to dispose of animal corpses calmly (…whether it’s burying the kitten you just picked up realising it was stiff, or building a fire dedicated to the cremation of a half moldy porcupine you found frozen to the ground…). If anyone thinks I missed out on life experience being homeschooled think again.
The best part of my day yesterday came after dinner. I love Switzerland so much, especially for the cheese. There was a separate course in the meal which came before dessert, dedicated to cheese and wine. They asked me if I liked cheese, or if the Swiss specialties were too much for my weak-stomached-north-american-constitution-which-I-in-fact-don’t-have. I remarked that I love cheese, my assertion reinforced by my Papa’s “yes, she really does like cheese.” we have some pepper cheese in the house which the kids never touch, and the mom does rarely. Only their dad likes it, but sometimes I really like it too. It’s clear-cutting. It’s cheese that’s really Swiss in all it’s mannerisms. It’s the way it will become best friends with your palette by saying exactly what’s on its mind. Often when I skype my sister, I describe my food in passionate detail. She’s the one who hears everything about my life. That’s the way she knows I’m not fulfilling the advice I was given: “Oh you should make sure you get laid in Switzerland” or “I hope you party it up over there!” or “Crawling home would be a good experience for you”. Those people don’t understand me. When I describe all the details to my sister, I tell her all the sheer heaven-like qualities of these Swiss cheeses. I can’t believe that cheese hasn’t been featured as a sacrament in some sort of indigenous religion. Each religion has its golden carrots held in front of each of its followers, whether that’s eternal polygamy, ruling planets, or having cuntless virgins -oops draconian spellchecker says countless. Cheese should be right there in the book of Revelations when John is describing paradise. Maybe if I could master both the art of reincarnation and time travel I would come back as Westcott or Hort and make that change. We’ll see. Stay tuned.
So instead of describing the best parts of my day to my other half along, I’ve opened the window to all of you as well. The best part of my day was being with the adults. Kids are romping around the house. Even their son who was my age and therefore able to drink legally wasn’t too interested in wine and cheese. He was upstairs watching TV. That’s an epic life right there. Meanwhile I’m in seventh heaven, having been brought into the circle of adults, who are amusing and hilarious and don’t take themselves too seriously. They showed me some videos of years ago when they had been flying together. We were at the house of one of my Papa’s pilot buddies. I’m sitting there with a glass of Valaisan wine in hand and maintaining intellectual conversation with them, because they’re going to Australia for a year, and are learning English. I felt so happy being there, among them. Beside my Swiss mom, the classy-elegant-gentle hostess, across from our funny Papas, who tell so many jokes and are having a good time, who are more interesting than their kids who are too obsessed with being cool. Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Why do I not fit in so well among the kids? I’m the boring sort who actually prefers to be with the adults hearing about the cool things they’ve done in their lives so far. And then I never reach an answer for why I’m over mature. My peers are a steady source of astonishment for me. I wonder if there’s a shortage of grey matter in the universe. I consider myself to be an average achiever, who can’t understand why 80% of people are content operating below average.
Voila the best part of yesterday was hearing pilot stories over a glass of Valaisan wine and 9 sorts of fine cheese.

Today the best part of my day was my Papa hugging the crap out of me for 5 minutes solid as I left little ocean deposits in his sweater.
Background information: earlier in the day, when I was meeting some new people, family friends, they asked me some of the usual questions, including “How many sisters do you have?” And I answered. With the outdated story. I just told them, oh, I have 3 sisters. I didn’t want to go into the details, yet saying that I had 2 sisters just didn’t make any sense. In retrospect I think I will avoid doing that. It’s better to be upfront. Faking it had taken a chunk out of my strength. When I got home, I was really on edge. It was the same feeling of being on the verge of tears for hours without lapse, and employing the usual tactic of counting things. It’s better to count things on the ceiling than to count things on the floor. It helps you breathe deeper, and it dramatically reduces the risk of having the moisture in your eyes reach spillage level. I figured this stuff out in that period of time in my life surrounding my parent” divorce, when the constant message was “oh pray for your parents! It’s part of fulfilling the ten commandments!” or ” Things will get better. It’s the will of God therefore it will happen” ha! I can’t believe I was so docile back then, and I said nothing along the lines of stfu and go pray yourself. See if that works… See if your faith can move the mountains of human idiocy. Anyhow, I was counting things again. This time I was using a more stringent algorithm. I was counting pairs of threes. It takes more concentration than singular linear counting. People like me escape into the left hemisphere of their brains. When I got home, I was tired of maintaining the face. Keeping it together loses its appeal after a while no matter how proficient at it you’ve become. I told my Papa how when they had asked me that I had wanted to cry. He had noticed. That’s why he had come and put his hand on my shoulder. I broke down crying in the kitchen. He hugged me for a solid five minutes, after which I explained the story of how my sister had passed away. It was a combination of too many little things going wrong. Even HE understood that it was unnecessary, avoidable, unlike the multitudes of dense people who claim it was the will of God. “Heaven was selfish” [stfu wtf do you know]. I think the fact that he’s a dad with a daughter, and enough like experience to know that not everything works out perfectly, makes him not candy coat reality, or say stupid things like, “well honey, I’m sure that Becky didn’t call you telling you she wasn’t feeling good (LIKE SHE PROMISED) because she just didn’t want to be a burden”. Which leads me to remark that if you really don’t want to be a burden, don’t die… Some people really master the art of saying useless things. But my French Papa, he just hugged me for a good long time this afternoon, while my Mama went and picked up my exchange partner from dance lessons so that he could stay with me. I never want to leave this family. I ask myself when the last intense hug I’ve had was. It’s sad to say that I can’t remember when the last time was when I was really hugged. Christians who are hell-bent on their a-frame hugs really miss out on a lot. If you don’t know what a-frame hugs are, just know that they’re as fitting as weak watered down microwaved rationed diluted decaffeinated instant coffee in Costa Rica.

Now that I am almost snuggling into bed for a long winter’s nap, there are two things from which I derive immediate happiness.
1) Lionel Richie on the radio, “Ballerina Girl”
2) Knowing that I get to sleep in tomorrow. Being in a Catholic/atheistic (the two hold striking similarities) family has had its upsides, like sleeping in on Sunday mornings.