Monday, May 5, 2014

Sad Cow Disease

I counted 147 cows and one roadside donkey on my way to the grocery store this morning. It's my Swiss version of 'I Spy'.  Amelia shouts "Cows, mooooo" with a glee I could never muster for such large, filthy animals while I use my imagination to turn them all into filet mignon. 

Everyone comments that I only wear black these days. It's the French in me, I tell them, though I subconsciously wonder if I'm mourning fast food.  Black dresses, black shoes---I even don the black fingernails. Why am I not adorned in yellow in the land of paradise with my 147 cattle?

I miss noise---the rumbling of the gas guzzling SUV; the high decibel American conversations; the Stephanie Peck's of the world.

I miss the unrefined.

Everyone is so damn proper here. I can't even drink out of a Coke can without receiving bewildered stares. Silly me! Where are my manners? I must have left them behind with my fine crystal glasses.

Back in the states, where anything goes, where nobody gives a damn, I used to grocery shop in my flannels and rain boots.  Here, I feel underdressed picking out spaghetti sauces in an evening gown.

I took Amelia to the local "preschool" today to sign her up for the fall semester.  I had to quadruple-check the information packet to assure I was reading the tuition correctly.  I've always known Switzerland to be insanely expensive, but I could afford to send Amelia to Harvard for the same price as this glorified daycare and still have money left over to fuel her Goldfish addiction. Sheesh, Switzerland, I know you are trying to educate the youthful minds of our future, but my toddler still claps when she poo's.

I felt this same nostalgia around the very same time last year.  I think there's something about the summer months and the red, white, and blue that make me long for cookouts and baseball games. The annual Marching of the Cows parade just isn't cutting it for me anymore. I want to go home, but as Amelia reminds me daily, "This is our home, mama."  I forget that while I've been adjusting to European life and constantly feeling like an outsider and obnoxious (yet awesome) American, this is all Amelia knows.  She sees this incredible side of Switzerland that I have so much trouble acknowledging. 
Even though I knew we would be here for at least a few years, a part of my subconscious always thought they would deport me for my disrespectful attitude towards aged cheeses. I just recently realized we've been here for an entire two years.  I can't believe I've survived this long without a Taco Bell Gordita Crunch, let alone thrived.  We're doing well here, and as much as I'm missing Kyle Wiese karaoke nights and wine dates with the girls, I can say I'm okay.  This is a segment of my life I will one day look back upon and see quite differently.  I think Switzerland will have a certain invaluable charm when it's well in my past; when I one day accept the wonder outside of my American close-mindedness; when I finally see it with Amelia's eyes.