Friday, December 07, 2007

Funny Conversations

It was recital week -
And we had an absolutely gorgeous, sunny day. I like to ski at a place to the right of that mountain range. This is on the 'weg' behind our place.
These are the kind of photo's you can get at 4pm - it was cold. Bulbs are priced at 1/4 but the ground is frozen so no point in that!
I looked up and saw this stash of nuts and red berries in this bird's nest - it was literally overflowing! Is it a community nest or will a single bird be defending it all winter. Maybe I'll find out.

We've had a week where we have actually sat down 3 nights in a row for dinner together. So Bart is either getting home earlier or I am feeding our children dinner at 7pm. Pretty much the 7pm thing - which is pretty normal anyway - some of the countries here don't start dinner 'til 8 or later but that's another topic. There were a few memorable conversations I thought I would share. And that way I can print this out to keep for memories sake.

Conversation #1
Rachel started talking about how "I'm going to go to college and when I'm done, after like, 3 or 4 years, I'll have a good job.." I interrupt to have her clarify when she was getting the good job - right after college or 3 or 4 years after college? (very important issue) She says "Weeeelll, I'll go to college and when I am finished, I will get a really good job :) and work for, like, 3 or 4 years, and then maybe I'll get a husband and then wait a couple years more and then maybe I'll have a couple kids."
It was all Bart and I could do to not start high-fiving each other all over the place. Instead we looked at each other, smiled, and Bart says to Rachel "So can we write all of this down and you could sign it?" I added "in blood." And Rachel said "Yes, that's a great idea - like a committment thing." Bart "Yeah - it's a contract" Susan "And you can't break a contract without penalty" Rachel "Yeah - that would be cool. We'll do a contract."
Don't think we won't.
Then we asked what she was going to do for her really good job someday. And she says "Hey Dad, maybe I could come work at KPMG with you!" Oh, how we laughed. But he has a good job. And she shows signs of inheriting our little accountant quirks - scary!!!

Conversation #2
We have this little box of cards that have questions on them - like family conversation starters - a Christmas gift from a friend. The girls enjoy pulling out a card and all of us answering the questions ever so often.

So the other night, Kendra pulls a card which asks us to rank the 4 following in order of importance: money, love, freedom and happiness. We agreed as a family that our ranking was 1. Love 2. Freedom 3. Happiness and 4. Money.

We started to discuss and our reasoning went as follows: Without Freedom, we couldn't really feel happy; but without Love, the freedom wouldn't mean as much and that Money couldn't buy you Happiness or Love - at which point Susan opened her big mouth to say "but, Money could buy you more Freedom depending..." Kendra "Yeah, Freedom to go Shopping!"

Oh - we laughed hard. Mom likes to shop but these days I rarely buy - I do a lot of window shopping. Should we be concerned about Kendra? :)

Conversation #3 - at Bible Study (ladies on Thurs. am's)
We're in the middle of our Beth Moore video when someone says "Uh, K, the Polizei are coming to your door" "S, (not Susan) why don't you go with K 'cause you can speak Swiss German" S comes back to tell us that anyone parked with their wheels on the sidewalk needs to repark so their tires are only on the street.

So half our group goes to repark cars while we sit and contemplate who could have called the Polizei. We narrowed it down to the neighbor walking on the sidewalk watching us all go into K's and sighed deeply at the compassion of the Swiss people for those who apparently don't know all the rules. Make that, lack of compassion. S returned and said the Polizei explained that "on the residential streets the cars could not be parked on any part of the sidewalk but that cars could drive up onto the sidewalk in order to avoid the cars parked on the street itself." They were very kind to not give anyone tickets and S thanked them generously for it.

And then S shares the following with us: They (Polizei) asked what the occasion of our gathering was? "we actually meet every Thurs. to study the Bible. Maybe if more people in Switzerland studied the Bible, they would have more compassion and be nicer to others." The Polizei laughed and said "Yes, but then we would be out of a job." S can be very bold.

Understand - S is American born of Swiss parents. She has lived here for 15 yrs and would really like to go back to the States (when her husbands job allows it). She speaks and understands Swiss German, but because she is American by birth and raising, she is still considered an outsider. She hears and understands what they say around her when they think she is 'just' American. They are not always very friendly. Not all, but some. And they have noooo problem calling the Polizei to report if your music is too loud, your car is parked wrong, your party has gone past 11pm and is too loud, you threw something wrong in the garbage, scold your kids if they are too loud, scold you if you have a shared laundry and you are washing clothes not according to the schedule! Shall I stop now? I know, I'm starting to rant.

Even my Swiss neighbor, M, yesterday was saying how some of her friends wonder why she looks to spend time with 'English' people (playdates with us and with a UK family). It is a small country desperately trying to keep certain ways of life afloat. And although technology and innovation are highly respected, they demand a certain quality and maintenance of life (based on generations) which is starting to change as their population changes. If you are not planning on living here long term, they do not invest time in a relationship with you (my friend M is an exception and has said so). They don't necessarily like change - and for a "neutral" country they have pretty strong views politically.

So it makes for interesting conversations and interactions. It also makes me very aware of how I treat others and do I discriminate because they don't speak the same way I do/look the same way? Do I treat others the way I want to be treated? I would say that most of the Americans here agree "we didn't feel quite so American until we moved out of America." It makes you appreciate where you come from. And while you can still enjoy the experience of living in foreign lands - you have the comfort of knowing where 'home' is.

BUT - someday - when it comes time to moving back 'home', we know that will be an adjustment once again. They say it's more often harder to re-integrate to the home country than integrate with the foreign. I can see that - no kalbbratwurst, gluehwein, roesti, local backerei with fun little goodies, efficient train system and the cheese! Oh the cheese!

1 comment:

Josh & Sarah said...

Thanks for the laughs and smiles this morning! Your girls make me laugh! I don't know which made me laugh more, the contract or the "freedom to shop." Classic!