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.

8 responses »

  1. Dear Swiss Mousie,

    I would love to go on an exchange, and while the thought of being somewhere so far for so long is a bit intimidating, your experiences and pictures seem amazing and make me want to go more than ever. I got a good laugh at the beginning about being well mannered and refined– it reminded me of a couple days ago when I was stomping around the house in my prom dress and heels while attempting to practice being lady-like. Also, in terms of spending time with the adults, listening to their stories, and feeling different from your peers, I can definitely relate. I loved your comment, “I wonder if there’s a shortage of grey matter in the universe” haha! I have always believed in putting forth my best effort and pushing myself to new levels. I am always inspired by other people’s stories, and fascinated by the twists and turns on which life has taken them.

    I was especially moved by the second half of your story. I understand what it is like to lose family, and how sometimes the littlest reminders or comments from other people can spark emotion that’s been barrelled within. Sometimes, it’s the “little ocean deposits” and comfort of companions that are needed when intensely staring at walls fails and our lungs just don’t want to work properly. You never know what life’s going to throw at you, but you just have to keep pushing through and treasure each day.

    I have very much enjoyed reading through your blog. You have the most unique perspective, full of amazing insight and the most humorous comments that actually make me laugh out loud to none other than my cat and laptop.While I have never paid a large amount of attention to blogging, your writing style is extremely catchy and so I’ve found myself flipping backwards from your university days to your adventures in Switzerland. It’s all so fascinating!

    Best wishes and hopes for many more amazing adventures,
    Katie A.

    • </3 First of all – I'm really sorry you have to know what it's like to lose family. I'm glad and not glad that you could relate to my blog… But you're so right, Katie – you never know what life's going to throw at you. I'm looking forward to more good things coming my way. It's gonna happen. For both of us!

  2. Dear Swiss Mousie,

    After reading a number of your blog posts, I have decided which one moves me the most. As you may be able to tell by the fact that I’m commenting on it, it’s this one! I’d like to start off by saying that I wish your sister was still with you. I’ve always agreed with your sentiment on condolences. Sometimes you don’t want to hear the typical “it’ll be fine” or “this was just how it was meant to be” because no, it will not be fine, and no, this was not meant to happen to somebody I loved so dearly. I find when I’m faced with someone upset I struggle with what to say because I don’t want to use those generalisations. It usually my comforting just turns in to the promise to listen, support, and most importantly just be there for my friend.

    That aside, this post paints the most beautiful picture of comfort. Like you, I’ve always gravitated toward adults as company–I have intellectual conversations with my great aunts and uncles and discuss the finer points of music with friend’s parents. Good cheese, the warmth of wine and fascinating stories of old adventures sounds like a dip into paradise. What an eye-opening experience your exchange must have been, both intellectually and socially. It’s my hope one day to travel to Europe too, good heavens those mountains look beautiful!

    Your style of writing is so down to Earth, I love it. Your comparison between a-frame hugs and “weak watered down microwaved rationed diluted decaffeinated instant coffee in Costa Rica” especially gets me. Brilliant, what a strong image to close off the post! Hugging is a big thing within my family and circle of friends; sometimes it seems you’re only as good as your warmest embrace, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Thank you for sharing such a personal moment with us on the internet.

    Hugs and cheers and of course best regards,
    M. Thomas

    • Thanks Mel! You are REALLY wise to avoid giving someone trite, generalized, sentimental little sayings especially when they’re dealing with a lot of emotions at once! Looking back, what meant the most to me (and still does – it doesn’t feel like a year and a half has passed; some days it feels more like a week and a half) was the people who’d hug you and say “no – I don’t understand it either”. There never is the perfect thing to say in the face of tragedy and every attempt to say and do the perfect thing can be a lot like a slap in the face. The only thing I wish for now and then is to have a big long-ass hug from someone who’ll let you leave salt deposits in their sweater.
      Choosing to be genuine and tell people you’ll be there for them is basically a fool-proof thing to do in those situations when you’re not sure what to say or do. Sounds like you have your head screwed on straight. That restores some of my faith in humanity!

  3. Reading this made me want to give you a big hug, and if I could I totally would. I hope you have people back home who you can turn to for moments like that, I know that sometimes I just need to be held without any words being said. There is something comforting in just being close with a person and being able to sit/stand there in silence.

    I never understood the whole “death is God’s will” thing either. It’s not God’s will for us to be sad, but I do think God uses those opportunities to help strengthen us too. It wasn’t necessary to happen for us to be strengthened, but it’s a way to happen. Not necessarily comforting, but I find it better than making it sound like he planned out when someone will die. That’s just my two cents I suppose.

  4. I totally love your cheese story – being a cheese fan myself. There is nothing finer in food anywhere than a selection of wonderful cheeses…especially when paired with a wine that elevates it to a new dimension…I think I’m starting to live vicariously through your Swiss eyes….getting really homesick to go back there for a while.

    Have you had the opportunity to hear a ‘Klapbret’ yet. It’s a kind of zither like instrument but played with metal hammers – distinctly Swiss sounding – quite unique. Worth seeing if you have the chance.

    There really is some merit in developing the classiest set of behaviours and habits that a person can…wears really well over a life time. It’s the subtle nuances that make things richer, delightfully delicious, more gentile and infinitely lovelier:> It’s like having a full palate of color to enjoy instead of just functional B & W.

    As for your three sisters – one of the postal codes is just a little farther away. Why does everyone try to make it sound like she doesn’t exist – past tense – just because we can’t hug or hold her? Who’s to say what we can’t see…maybe she’s just gone on the journey ahead of us. It’s maddening to have lost her with all of the new technology just around the corner – seems so useless…but then Uncle H & I had our ocean moments this week too. Lots of love to you and your Swiss family.

    • I haven’t heard a Klapbret yet, but I think I may have seen one in a museum in Appenzell. Is it similar to a hammered dulcimer?
      Thanks Aunt Feather for your counsel about class. The more life I observe here, the more I realise you’re right. 😀 Time will continue to tick on, as I get further along down the road of grieving. I’m just so happy to have such an awesome family in the meantime. It’s been the best three months of my life!

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