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!

 

Snow season, sad season

Winter in Nyon is depressing. It took me until just recently to wrap my head around why we are all cranky and depressed by the time February rolls around. For two years in a row, we have hit that month and spent the whole time talking about how much we hate it here and want to leave – often with no good reason. Well, some good reasons, but mostly no good reasons. Now that it’s summer, it’s easier for me to look back on things from my state of happy, sunny days and realise the problem was the weather, not us, obviously.

In Ottawa, the winter is long and cold. But it’s bright – even the short days are offset by at least one or two days of full blue sky, shining sun, and sparkling snowfields. Heck, the nights aren’t even what I would call ‘dark’, since the snow keeps the light even through the evening.

In Indonesia, the equal 12h-12h days on the equator do seem shorter, and we always missed the evening light. But there was a regularity to the schedule that kept us on track, with lots of sun in the morning to keep us going even through weeks of dark, rainy evenings.

Somehow it’s the worst of both worlds here. We get the short days AND we get the dark, rainy evenings (and mornings), and then the fog rolls in. And that’s it. Weeks and weeks of misty skies, barely-there sun, and depressing dampness. It’s dark when you get up, dark when you get home.

This year was slightly better since we got about two weeks of snow to break up the monotony of grey. We tried to make the most of it, although not being skiiers and having a fussy sportscar that can’t drive into the mountains put a cramp in those plans. We built snowmen, buried into the snow like wolves, went for walks in the winter wonderland fields, and even managed one nice trip into the hills for a sledding trip with friends.

Moral of story – please set an alarm to remind us about this post in about 6 months. So maybe we can make it through the next winter without as much agonizing depression!