Thursday, September 4, 2014
Je suis sur un bateau
The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. Our niece in Switzerland got married this past week. We took an impromptu trip to help prepare for the wedding and spend time with family, with a few days to ourselves at the end of the trip.
Switzerland was the first transatlantic plane trip I ever took back in college. I had decided at the ripe old age of 23 that I lacked culture and that the only way to achieve a more cultured existence was to hop a plane to the land of cheese. Brilliant, eh? I wasn't entirely misguided in that notion. I worked on my Master's degree while I was there, but I mostly learned about life, the world around me, and what kind of person I wanted to be. Switzerland became my open window to the world...the world I chose for myself. After that trip, I began to pursue my faith more seriously - so it was special for many reasons.
You can imagine how revisiting Switzerland as an adult seemed really neat then, right? Here I was, 11 years later, hand-in-hand with my Irish husband, wandering the exact path of my youth with wiser eyes. Geneva seemed so much smaller. The airport seemed less magical, and much less of a big deal. Oh the things time does to your memories...
United was nice enough to lose every single one of my belongings and take no responsibility for it. Besides having to manage Switzerland (and France) with no toiletries, clothes, or any of the wedding decorations/gifts that I had packed, I spent a fair amount of time wandering through the bowels of the airport (imagine the smell of rotten durian fruit in piles of decrepit African luggage...because apparently they try to sneak it into the country often and it rots)....trying *fruitlessly* to find my own ninja colored luggage. No luck. That said, I do know where all of the umbrellas and baby strollers in the world end up now! Kind of interesting for an IF chick to be wading through piles of strollers to find her infertile suitcase, no?
The wedding was lovely. Despite Switzerland having no resources for party supplies at ALL, we were able to pull a rabbit out of a hat and decorate the reception hall by making meters and meters of homemade organza bunting out of pastel colored table runners that I found at a home store and cut up into triangles and strung onto twine. No one even really knew it wasn't the plan all along (except the bride). That said, the hours and hours and hours of preparation to make a wedding happen in 12 hours was well rewarded when the glowing bride walked into her reception and bear hugged me and thanked me for "making her wedding beautiful". It was such a weird feeling, since the last time I had seen her was at my own wedding.
It was such a unique experience getting to know our niece's new family. They put their heart and soul into the wedding. Truly. After the tiny chapel ceremony, everyone headed back to a little rustic-looking-barn-sort-of-room in the middle of a park. It was an adventure complex, complete with outdoor volleyball sand courts, a children's choo-choo train, bocce ball courts, a ropes course... and a dormitory.
In every way, we became a family last Saturday. We set up everything together, we celebrated with a giant vegan feast together (best vegan wedding I've ever been to!), and we all slept in the dorm together (military style bunks that felt like summer camp!). There was live music, dancing, singing, Swiss MIME, a fully animated powerpoint presentation...and even late night discussions of immigrations, finance, politics, and linguistics over brandy amongst the men. The day after, there was a shared breakfast as we cleaned up. When we all parted ways, we knew we would miss each other. I have rarely felt so welcomed by a group of people I am not related to...and everyone else expressed the same.
The last two days were spent traveling around Lake Geneva on trains and trams, across it on 100 year old steam ships, and wandering up to a dreamy B&B in Evian-les-Bains for a few days of summer honeymooning. My DH treated me to a spa day in the Evian thermal baths (massage under Evian rain!!) and a treatment in the Hammam with a foot massage. My GF/DF diet went out the window faster than I can even type this sentence. We dined on Gruyere fondue with chanterelles, charcuterie, gelato, champagne, and pain au chocolat. We ate our body weight in confiture and baguettes and French butter. We feasted on Moroccan tagine one evening, and we delighted in some of the best hand made pralines we have ever tasted. All UN-apologetically. And it was lovely. And so was the weather.
We took ships and trains and funiculars just for the sake of the journey. We picnicked in Montreux on a gravelly plage and fed swans. And we found the courage to TTC, somewhere in all of it. As I sit here typing this, I'm jet lagged and United still has no idea where my luggage is. Nor do they seem to care.
I return to a two week wait, something I haven't had in months.
Sending out a hearty thank you to everyone who is praying for us this month (and always).
Thank you for keeping our intentions for babies with you as you speak to our Lord each day this month. We are humbled by your helping us on this wild September ride.