Dentists and carnivals.

Our weeks here are made so much richer by the frustrations, the moments of angst and the subsequent victories. It’s a great cycle really. I truly believe that if life were always smooth sailing we’d never grow. 

This week’s victory came through an unanticipated dentist visit. One day at lunch, crunching on a cucumber resulted in sudden and excruciating pain for Diego. 

Bolstered by my new German-speaking confidence through my language class, I picked up the phone to make an appointment. Turns out that confidence was misplaced… I was able to tell them my son had a bad tooth, he was named Diego and he was 11. After that the call fell apart. Thank goodness for cousins who work on the other side of the street. Through Andreas’s help we were able to get an appointment the the following evening. 

And then we were told to bring cash. A lot of it. Ugh. 

The next day D woke free of pain. No tooth problem whatsoever. Hmmm. In the meantime I had polled a few mom’s to ask where they went to the dentist. 

The consensus? “We always travel to France or Germany for dental work. It is ridiculously expensive here.” 

Of course it is. This is Switzerland. Everything is expensive. 

So as the day went on with no sign of tooth pain we began to question the logic of heading to the dentist with our bag of cash. The option of traveling to Germany to find a “reasonable” dentist seemed like a good idea. 

So we cancelled the appointment. And the pain stayed away. 


Until it came back. Finding a dentist able to see us proved tricky. 3 weeks away was the closest appointment we could find.

 I called the local school-dentist here who would be able to fit him in in early April. I settled for the appointment in early March in Germany. (And started to excitedly plan my cross-border-shopping  opportunity!)

But then the pain came back. Badly. 

Back to plan A. Wad of cash in hand, off to see the local dentist who could see us on short notice. 

30 minutes later, x-rays and a filling in place, we were handed the bill. I braced myself, imagining that the cash we were told to bring would be a down payment. 


What? That’s all?  I don’t understand. 

And then I remembered. Calgary has the highest dental rates in all of Canada. Nothing is expensive compared to the bills we’ve seen back home. 

What a relief! So much worry and angst and it turned out to be a rather delightful experience. Beautiful clinic, handsome dentist (let’s face it, that helps) and a totally reasonable bill. Plus think of how much we saved by avoiding the cross border shopping. 

Unfortunately I didn’t make the best impression on the handsome dentist. My genetic tendency towards nervous laughter at inappropriate times reared its ugly head here. (Thanks a lot Mom!) 

I had to excuse myself from the room before erupting into the awkward cackle that happens when I’m desperately trying not to burst out laughing. 

The moment the needle came out and I thought “here we go, this is going to hurt him like a mother-trucker” it was game over. An evil Joker-like grin took over my face, made so much worse by the look of sheer terror on D’s face. I know it would be beyond cruel to laugh at him but there is nothing I can do to stop it. 

The harder I try to stop it the more contorted my face becomes which only adds to poor Diego’s trauma. The only option is to flee the scene, for everyone’s sake. Then I can laugh in peace, alone in the waiting room like a total psychopath. 

Poor kid, in so much pain and wondering what the heck is wrong with his mother.

The real highlight of this week though was the arrival of Nona. We were so excited to show her our new German speaking skills and our lovely Winterthur world. Not to mention that the arrival of another visitor from home means another opportunity to restock our comforts-from-home. 

Disgracing our family’s good Swiss heritage, poor Nona had to unload many boxes of kraft dinner leaving our Swiss family members perplexed and slightly horrified. But if ever there was a need for KD, emergency dental work is the time! 

“Hello, my name is Anna and I feed my children Kraft Dinner.”

Perhaps even more exciting than the KD were the bags of brown sugar. Who knew that brown sugar was on the list of rare and impossible to find ingredients here. (Right up there with vanilla, baking soda and chocolate chips. How is anyone supposed to bake cookies in this country?”)

Hooray! Brown sugar. Let the baking begin.

Nona also was a real trooper and delivered Manolo’s surfboard much to the amusement of all the ticket agents on her journey. Skis are a common piece of luggage checked on flights to Switzerland. Surfboards, not so much. They asked her if she was aware that Switzerland has no ocean?

Manolo, reunited with his surfboard, plotting ocean adventures soon.

 Nona’s arrival was perfectly timed to take in the Fasnacht celebrations, the reason all shops have had Halloween costumes as of late. 

Our town does do its celebrations well. 

The costumes and face paint are incredible.
Nona and the kids, taking in the festivities.

The streets become covered in confetti. The kids had such fun collecting it to throw it again. 

A wee person collecting some confetti.

With more carnival festivities and a day long hockey tournament we are treating Nona to the full Garcia-Swiss experience. 

And a gourmet dinner of KD!


One Comment Add yours

  1. Eli says:

    Congratulations Anna, you nailed it! Very funny blog and thanks again for the Funtime in your new home.


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