Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Feeling a bit Disconnected

Sometimes I feel a bit disconnected living here in Switzerland. I could say 'we.' I know Bart misses many of the games (football, basketball, etc....) that he would choose to watch if we were back in the States. Although he did manage to stay awake for half of the Superbowl this year (starts here at 12:20am), he had to watch the commercials via download on the computer. I know he'd love to be sitting in someone's great room with a big screen eating queso & chips, laughing at commercials while he watched the whole game without thinking how he was going to manage work the next day on 3 hrs of sleep.

The girls - well, we get Disney, Boomerang and Nick via the UK so other than the fact they wanted to go to London for the premeire of High School Musical 2 - I think they are doing OK. And the fact that we don't have Target, etc... to provide for them the latest toy in every form imaginable - they're doing all-right. In fact, we find there's less temptation to get them all the 'stuff' here because, well, it's just NOT here. But there are other things.....

My friend K and I were going for a walk yesterday which started me thinking about this disconnected feeling. She said something about watching the Oscar's red carpet on German TV yesterday morning (Oscar coverage started at 2am here). I realized I had not watched any of it and even though the results are available on Yahoo - I've not even peeked. Not even at the dresses yet - and it's already Tues. morning. But we've been here for almost 2 years now and I've found that sometimes if I can't have the cake and eat it too - I just don't want it. I want the Oscar red carpet AND the show AND the People magazine follow-up AND the In-Style magazine issue (not to mention the Golden Globe and SAG awards red carpet fashions).

I can only get bits and pieces of the shows, no People magazine and someone keeps buying the few US versions of In-Style from the Kiosk in ZHB because by time I get there, only the UK version is available and it's just not the same (plus they fill in with segments of prior US editions which I find a waste of money if I've already gotten my hands on a US edition). Don't ask Bart if he thinks the 2 lbs. of paper are worth the money - he claims it's ALL advertisements and only 20 pgs. worth of articles. I try to explain that in In-Style, most of the pictures ARE the articles but he just doesn't get it. Men! But then again, I don't read Sports Illust. now that Rick Riley's retired - the column is just not the same for me now.

So - we find ourselves drifting a bit from pop-culture in the States. Haven't heard the latest music, seen the latest movies - I don't think we're too far behind with TV due to the writer's strike. But then my friend K said "I didn't even know Heath Ledger was dead until they mentioned it on the Oscar's show." Uh - disconnected and not paying attention to her Yahoo News Main Page.

And this post is revealing the shallow side of my nature. When it comes to fashion, well, yes, I have a bit of shallowness in me. And would love to hit a mall right now and shop the sales. Because all the sale signs are gone from Switzerland until July. Sad isn't it.

Another disconnect - in a little exchange I had with another Blogger, I recognize we have neighbors but we don't 'belong' to the neighborhood. Stems from the fact we have not seen the wife of our neighbors, right below us, since about November. He's Swiss, she's Russian and has a 12 yr. old son and she moved here to marry him (the man) about 4 years ago. And I know she couldn't always travel with the husband because she's still waiting for her Swiss passport (with certain passports your travel to many countries is restricted and require expensive travel Visa's - she only has her Russian passport right now). So Bart & I sometimes make morbid jokes about it but it really got me to thinking - Did she have to go back to Russia, but left the son behind for school? Or because someone needs her there? Did she lose her license? (this is easy to do in Switzerland - if you speed over a certain % above limit, you lose your license from 1 - 12 months - approx. 70k people/year lose their license for some period in Switzerland) Is she hibernating for the winter months? Occasionally I hear a female voice but I don't see anything.

It would be considered rude for me to ask. And I can't think of a reason to go to the door. But no one tells us anything. We are not the neighbors people go to to say "hey, we'll be on vacation for the next 2 weeks Or can you watch the house/water the plants/feed the cats/pick up mail?" We didn't even have to do much of that in IA but everyone kind of knew what was going on with each other. And if someone was gone for a while - you knew why. At least you would see tire tracks in the snow going in and out of garages even if you never saw anyone. It's a completely different culture.

So it's an impersonal, neighborhood existence. We really rely on school, church and work acquaintances/friends to maintain a healthy balance outside of our family life. Which, by the way, the family life is good. Bart is working ALOT right now and the girls keep praying that "daddy will get all his work done so he can get home early and spend time with us." This is a good thing - they are so used to having time with him that they are really missing him while we get thru this tough season. Which probably won't end 'til April. Sorry girls.

And disconnected with extended family. Missing Deb and her family after a great week with them at Christmas. Kris is growing and entering her third trimester and I wish I could put my hands on her baby belly - whether she likes it or not! :) And attend the family Baby shower in Sacto. this weekend. Bart's neice just had a baby boy in Dec. and we just got to see pictures. And my Aunt Ro just sent a long email updating me on that side of the family which was great.

I teased her about someone on that side starting a family Blog. So I could keep up. I enjoy keeping up with everyone even though we are so far away. I like blogging as I feel it cuts down on the number of long emails I should otherwise send. But I do eventually get to the emails - eventually. My apologies if I owe you one.

So as I'm missing my sisters - I leave you with this. Judging by hair length, my guess is we are 1 1/2 - K, 3 - D and me - 5 1/2 yrs old. Mom can correct me if I'm wrong. And see our little matching dresses that Mom made. I think she made things like this 'til I was about 8 and didn't want to match my little sisters anymore! Man - my head looks huge - think I grew into it later.

Anyone care to comment on what Kris is thinking there in the sand? That face cracks me up!


Judy said...

I really know what you mean by feeling disconnected. I felt like that when we lived in Singapore. I grew to realize that I really wasn't missing out on much. Those things really weren't important. The Oscar's meant less and less to me as I wasn't really up on all the movies, etc. As for family -- well it brought things to light and as a result, healthier relationships. So, just trying to encourage you that your perspective is okay and normal.

mandy said...


feelin' your pain. i'm only 1,000 miles from home... you are on another continent.


Anonymous said...

we just got another sonogram, and our little girl had the same crunched face... ha