Kicking off Summer!

We kicked off summer with the last day of school and our little town’s “Fête des enfants”. If you recall last year, it was a nice evening with a parade after school, and then the kids get a few free hours to go crazy in a fairground set up for kids only. It’s a nice way to end the year and the kids were really looking forward to it.

This year was… less fun. The day was pretty rainy and we kept expecting the event to be cancelled, but the sun came out by the end of the day and we never got “the call”. So we headed downtown and joined up with the mayhem that is a street full of a few hundred kids, some out-of-tune fife players, and all the teachers and parents in the area. Then it started to rain. I mean, really, really, rain.

The parade came along, and sure enough, all the cardboard outfits were disintegrating and the kids (and fifers) were soaked to the core. But we snapped our obligatory photos and let them head over to the fairground while we went to a friend’s house for some celebratory wine.

After about 30 minutes, I got a phone call from a teacher to come meet up with my child who wanted to go home – but it was a wrong number, in fact, I don’t know what happened to that kid – but it made me think our kids were also not going to last a few hours as planned. We went to pick them up and discovered a fairground full of wet children, shivering like frightened kittens, all ready to come home. There was even some crying (mostly theirs). So, instead we made them come back with us to our friend’s house for a BBQ and an evening of parental celebration before walking home late at night… in the rain, again. At least they were already wet, so it’s ok, right? Hooray for summer vacation!

By the weekend, it was time to celebrate our great nation’s 150th birthday! The local Canadian expat group was hosting a Canada Day dinner in Geneva, so we spent the evening eating and drinking some hometown favourites: Moosehead beer, Okanagan wine, President’s Choice cookies, Pop-Tarts (are those Canadian??), Timbits (flown in from Montreal that morning, nothing like kind of stale Timbits for a taste of home!), and a good old fashioned barbecue dinner.

We sang bilingual O Canada with a singer who couldn’t get the sound system to work, but the 75 of us or so made up for that lack. We met people from NB, ON, AB, SK, QC, BC and several “honourary” Canucks who were just visiting – but that’s ok, Canada Day is all-inclusive. We missed the Ottawa fireworks, but went home happy nonetheless. Here’s to the start of a great summer!

 

Springtime visitors

At the beginning of this year, B was doing a lot of travelling. The best thing about it was I had plenty of visitors coming to stay while he was away. It might not have been the most amazing vacations for my visitors, but it was great for me! I got to work as usual while someone else was doing chores and kid care and I had the added bonus of enjoying their company. Well, I guess that’s how it is with B at home anyway, but, you know, that gets boring after a while.

First, Grandma came to stay in February. The city was just barely starting to wake up – the winter fog was still hanging around, and it was hard to convince her that there were actually mountains across the lake. Luckily the sun came out for a short moment and we managed to catch a few photos on the water’s edge. We took a day trip into Geneva as well, but we mostly just saw swans and ate some chocolate… Actually, that sounds pretty good!

We also took the kids up to a skate park, where LittleB mostly looked at the jumps and J slid on them like slides – no extreme scooter athletes in the making, clearly. And J, turning into a bit of a pianist, got an early birthday piano. I had to drive into Geneva to pick it up, to an apartment right near the UN, and I managed to get a quick picture of the building from the car. There are so many tourists that there are permanent police stationed at the intersection out front, directing traffic so the bus loads of clueless visitors don’t get hit – luckily they didn’t see me taking this photo while driving!

A few weeks later my sister came to stay. It was meant to be a repeat of sister trip 2015, but when B had to travel again suddenly, she was gracious about being my housewife for a few days instead of seeing the country. She also got the wonderful fog and rainy days, but we tried to make the most of it: with a trip up to Saint Cergue and a tour around the Prangins museum, she managed to see more than Grandma L. And we capped off the week with a fun night of make your own sushi.

So the short version is, come and stay with us to watch our kids and see lots of fog! It’ll be great, we promise!

Moving on… again

I’m finally back online after a long summer of avoiding my laptop like the plague. I just couldn’t bring myself to open it up, even for personal activities like blogging. I think I might have had a bit of computer PTSD or something… anyway, here we are again, starting the transition to somewhere new, and all the hauling around of our stuff that it entails.

About six weeks ago, I packed up the last of our life in Indonesia and hopped on a plane to spend the summer at home in Canada. B and the kids were already there, having left as soon as school ended in late June. I stuck around to wrap things up, including two intensive weeks of sorting and cataloguing our things in anticipation of moving them. In the end, it took three days and 108 boxes for our household to be loaded onto a shipping container – I can’t believe that only a few years ago, we dumped a handful things into only 7 boxes for our move to Indonesia! Where did the 101 other boxes of things come from?

It was an interesting packing process. A troupe of guys showed up with some flat cardboard and Tetrised our stuff into approximate rectangles – putting pillows and kitchen containers into the negative space of a chair, for example – then placed the rectangle on a piece of cardboard and custom-built a box up around it. It was cool, but I’m pretty sure some of these boxes are not going to fit into any other place that we live in the future…

So where are our 108 boxes headed? Well, hopefully they haven’t been lost at sea (I recently read “The Wave”, which has left me with a deeply unhealthy obsession with cargo ships sinking randomly… you should read it) – but assuming they have made it across the ocean, the plan is to meet them in Switzerland, where we’ll be based for at least the next two years. I got a new position with an international organization there, so we’re looking to settle just north of the Geneva area.

Back in May, I visited Switzerland during my job interview process. Although I was hoping to do a bit more sightseeing and didn’t have a chance, I did spend a few hours wandering around the small villages north of Geneva and in Geneva itself:

So, that brings us to today. Here we are, traveling on the train to begin a complicated dance of getting ourselves out of the country: me and the kids are taking this train into Montreal, where we will stop at the Swiss embassy to drop off our passports. B is currently driving to Montreal with a friend – and our 8 pieces of luggage – stopping at our airport hotel to drop everything off and meet up with us later in the day. Then we pick up our passports and visas tomorrow and fly to Geneva from there. Aaaannnd that’s about all we have planned.

We don’t have a place to stay temporarily, or anywhere to live permanently. The kids are already missing school (which started yesterday, and which they’re not registered for anyway), and we have too much luggage for us to manage on any kind of public transport.

But I guess not knowing what the heck we’re doing is part of the fun.

See you in Switzerland!