I met the kids yesterday, they returned from vacationing with their grandmother for two weeks and they are as fun, adorable, and well behaved as everyone told me they would be. The boy, Mark is 8 years old and very interested, in sports, Legos, video games, he reminds me a lot of my brother! The girl, Stephanie, is 5 and adorable. She is so small, even for a five year old, and has blonde hair and big blue eyes--she tries to get away with everything and because she's so cute you almost want to let her. I've also never met a five year old who would prefer to eat vegetables to anything else, you literally have to say to her, "Stephanie you cannot have any more spinach until you finish your bread." (She also eats chives from the garden, so if you cannot find her, she's usually there eating). I played with them a bit yesterday just so they would get to know me, but the dad assured me that playing with them on weekends wasn't part of the job so I didn't have to (yes!) but it was fun to get to know them. Stephanie came into my room last night and was looking at my pictures (my room has a number of pictures from home & school) and asked, "Do you still have a mom or has she died yet?" I assured her that I still did have a mommy--though she hasn't been answering my calls! They speak French with their mother and I swear that having a kid bug their parents in a foreign language is much more tolerable than in English, at dinner Stephanie wanted her mother's attention and although all she said was, "Mom! Look!" it sounds much better as, "Regarde mama!" I took them to their camps this morning--a vast difference than the camp I had previously worked at--and then this afternoon they are with their mom so I had it free.
I am still alive! It was a little touch and go there for a moment because I didn't know if I would die because I crashed or because I did not breathe for the half hour I was driving yesterday. Will wanted to show me the school where they were to have camp, and the swim lessons that I will take Stephanie to tomorrow, but he wanted me to drive it. The things about driving in Switzerland, especially in my town, are there are buses around every corner, there are a lot of corners, its all either uphill or downhill (thank goodness Will has an automatic) and driving on the sidewalk seems to be encouraged. The car I am driving is, however, a SUV which does not quite fit next to all the small Peugots and Audi's on the road.
I drove to the school first, made it there alive, without hitting anyone (or getting hit), hitting a cyclist, pedestrian, and/or tree. Had I been breathing I would have breathed a sigh of relief. We then drove to the swimming pool and Will asked me to do the impossible: parallel park. My stomach churned as I parallel parked into a spot big enough to fit an 18-wheeler (for anyone that has ever had the 'pleasure' of watching me attempt to park knows that I need a very large spot). I prayed that Will didn't notice the beads of sweat forming on my forehead! But I made it, even when we came back from the pool and a stupid BMW had parked thisclose to the bumper I 3-point turned and made it safely home.
Best: July 4th (Funny that an American holiday should be the best news of the weekend)
Since Will was picking up the kids in Italy and Anna was attending a music festival near Geneva (where Dave Matthews Band was playing that day--the irony) I had the day and night all to myself. But The American Club of Zürich has an annual 4th of July party and since I know no one I figured it couldn't hurt to attend. I was waiting at the bus stop when this girl looked at the information and said, "Shoot. Our bus is in 16 minutes." English! I noticed her pointing to the stop I was headed to so I asked if she and her boyfriend were going to the 4th of July party. They were and so we started talking, they asked me where I was from in the states and --no offense to Minnesotans-- I said, with my usual trepidation, that I was from Minnesota. They both started laughing, because apparently that's how a lot of Minnesotans say it, she should know, being as she was from there too. In fact, this girl is from the town next to me, and we figured out we have mutual acquaintances--I don't know if the world could get any smaller! (Her boyfriend, being from Galway had little to add to our discussions of Minnesota so I'm afraid he was left out quite a bit!) The party was all families so we didn't stay long, but they invited me to come along with them to this Latin festival 'Caliente!' in downtown Zürich and since I had nowhere to be I tagged along. We saw the Michael Jackson shrine--it's very unlike the Swiss to leave that much garbage on the ground for so long, but I guess "Jacko" has a special place in their heart.
The Michael Jackson shrine in Zürich
We then went to this festival and met other Americans! It was definitely nice not to feel out of place speaking English. Another great thing about this American/Irish couple is they live a few towns past mine on Lake Zürich so we all get to take the train home together! I got off at my stop and was looking for the Night Bus to take me back the mile to home when a Swiss guy told me there was no night bus that stops there. I'll spare you the expletives, but I walked the mile or so home was completely lost (not a good place to be when it's 3am and you're alone) when I found my street! So I made it home don't worry mom I'm fine, and had a great first Saturday night in Switzerland.