Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A little taste of life right now...

OK - done with Brisingr - all 748 pages. I need to read something else now to get images of Riders, Dragons, Elves and Dwarves out of my head. Probably something involving forensic science & murder or a spy novel. Healthy stuff, right? - no romance. I'm hopeless.

Talk about Fantasy coming to life: Fasnacht officially ended in Switzerland last Wednesday. The start of Lent. Now - some of you may be thinking to yourself "Lent started earlier, on Ash Wednesday." Or maybe you don't know anything about Lent at all?

As Kendra would say "To explain: " Fasnacht is to Switzerland what Carnival is to Venice, Mardi Gras to New Orleans or Carnival to Brazil - but without beads and exposed body parts. Depending on which Canton you live in (a governing area similar to a County/State), you observe either Protestant or Catholic holidays. For instance, Canton Zurich is Protestant while Canton Schwyz is Catholic.

The Catholic Canton's celebrate Fasnacht earlier and finish by the early hours (around 4am) on Ash Wednesday. The Protestant Canton's at some point in history decided they did not wish to start Lent on Ash Wednesday and thus end their celebrations one week later.

Fasnacht is a time for dressing up (like Halloween), parades, GuggeMusik (loud marching band music), drinking and food. We haven't really had the opportunity to experience much of this 'holiday' or celebrations as we tend to be otherwise occupied this time of year. BUT - this year we had guests (from IA :) ) and in showing them around Lucern and Zurich, got to enjoy a little of the festivities.

The costumes often involve old European folklore and fantasy lore so can be very different than costumes we might consider in the States. Here are a couple of costume examples from store front displays:
We took our guests to the Zeughauskeller for dinner that Saturday night. Oh fun! Several Gugge Bands were there - all dressed up and ready to go. The atmosphere was fun and after one large band was done with dinner, they got up and played for the restaurant. Costumes are coordinated and elaborate and the music is LOUD!

Kendra doesn't like LOUD! She has very sensitive ears and we're pretty sure she won't be playing in a Marching Band - or enjoy a good, loud rock concert.

We have to explain to people that it is physically painful for Kendra. Even too many kids making loud noises. She's starting to speak up for herself so that's been really helpful.

All my other pic's were horribly blurry - they would just NOT stay still for me. And I didn't take the right camera.

Maybe next year. If we're here. We still don't know. Waiting.......

We also took our guests up to Pilatus - the mountain that overlooks Lucerne and the Vierwaldstadtersee (I challenge you to say that 3x fast :). The girls made themselves at home.

This morning, Rachel and I woke early to get her to school by 6:45am. Her last 3 day ski trip with the Lower School. She will be going to the Middle School in Kilchberg next year if we're still here. They grow up so fast. By now, very few kids are upset about spending a couple nights away from home. They are looking forward to their ski class groups, staying at the Bolgen Gasthaus, their roommates and the independence of taking care of themselves.
They always return more independent, more capable and full of fun stories. I never like her being so far away - I won't truly relax until that bus rolls in Friday evening and I have her in our car and home in her own bed. BUT, this is part of our transition as a family. Giving our children independence and trusting them based on all that we've had a chance to teach them. Pulling them back when they don't make good decisions and letting them take the consequences of their actions.
Being a parent is sure a lot of work. But so far - best job I've ever had!
Maybe I'll be able to share a good story from her when she gets back. :)


Jolyn said...

Fascinating blog/life. Would love to know what has you in Switzerland? We lived overseas (Italy) before and hope to get there again. Priceless life perspective for the kids, etc. Glad you popped in; may have to visit you here again;)

Sarah said...

The picture of Kendra covering her ears is exactly what a picture of Caleb would have looked like, had he been there. He doesn't like loud noises either. at. all.

Will pray for Rachel's 3 day ski trip and a safe return home.

Missing you!

LadyFi said...

Fascinating tradition - and what a huge variety of costumes...

Love the kids wrapped up warmly on the deckchairs!