Inexplicable things

This week marked 2 years since we began this adventure. 2 years since we packed up our lives, to the utter shock and dismay of our family, friends and therapists; calling the collective bluff, so to speak. Surprising even ourselves.

The amazing scene that welcomed us here, nearly 2 years ago to the day.
Oh how these two have grown and changed since this photo was taken on our first morning here.

There have been countless pinch-me moments, fairly constant “wtf” moments and more character defining moments than we’ll likely ever be aware of.

It is fair to say that we’ve officially lost sight of the destination but we are firmly rooted in this journey.

The journey is the destination after all, right?

Along the way there continues to be inexplicable things, clearly meant to teach and mold us. Scenarios we must adapt to. Some are challenges we welcome, others leave us a little more perplexed.

In the perplexing category for example, I’ve developed a puzzling vitamin B deficiency. Easily solved by a simple daily vitamin, if one can remember to take it, that is.

How does one know they are lacking vitamin B? They start to bleed from the sides of their mouth. Sore, cracks which open and bleed when you yawn, sneeze, or otherwise open your mouth too wide. Let me assure you, it’s just as delightful and pleasant as it sounds.

The part that puzzles me is how am I suffering from this when I eat pretty darn healthy, on a daily basis. Fresh fruits and veggies from the start to the end of my day. I mean, I’m no Megan Keyser, there’s plenty of cheese, chocolate and wine in there too, but I do have a spinach salad every day for lunch.


Every damn day.

And yet somehow I’m showing signs of the zombie apocalypse. Why are the people who eat no fruit and veggies at all, subsisting on a diet of white bread and pasta not bleeding profusely from the mouth!?

Is this another step in the indignity of aging?

Evidently it is. When googling vitamin B deficiencies, guess who it’s most common in.

The elderly.


This aging thing is all going downhill at an alarmingly rapid rate.

That’s me, in the habit, at the doctor’s office to have my cholesterol checked, with my new buddy Dot. 

The other inexplicable scenario we face here is the determination of the Swiss school system to torture our children. It’s really tough to embrace a system that seems intent on cruel and unnecessary torture of our kids. As if we don’t already feel guilty enough for deep-ending them in a foreign language and culture, but each time we think we’re finally over the worst of it, another hurdle gets tossed in our way.

And in a questionable parenting trend we’ve noticed about ourselves, we seem to only take comfort when both of the children are suffering together.

Allow me to elaborate. Over the past month we’ve been reliving the challenge we faced this time, last year. News that the kids would be changing schools. Last year it was expected as we knew they had completed the German integration program. What took us by surprise was that they were designated to two separate schools. We fought the decision. Despite being advised not to, we fought. And fought, and fought. We were told no. Again and again and again until finally they threw us a bone and compromised by switching D’s placement.

It was stressful and emotional and we were totally thankful to have had the outcome we did. As we learned later, we were also extremely lucky we didn’t get a bill. In school administrative disputes, the losing party pays all administrative costs. Ouch.

So this year we thought we were finally into smooth sailing. Diego was to proceed along with his classmates into secondary school and Helena would carry on to the next grade with her classmates.

Not so fast…

We got notice that Helena was assigned to yet another new school this coming year. For no reason whatsoever. In fact, she has been assigned to the school we fought so hard to get her into last year which we were told there was absolutely, no way. We gave up the fight then and embraced the community at the other school, investing into friendships and a new routine. All to be uprooted once again. Starting over, again.

We fought again. We were told no, again. I’m not sure if we’ll be getting a bill…

We even went so far as to request a note from a doctor explaining that the stress of a third new school in three years was causing a level of stress and anxiety that was not supportive to a positive mental health. We were told that the school rarely considers doctors recommendations.

The school system wields a power here like nothing I’ve ever experienced. (For the record, I’m not so sure that the lack of power now afforded the schools in North America is the right balance either.) As we speak there are truancy officers patrolling the airports and train stations to stop families from leaving on summer holidays too soon. When caught, unless you can produce papers which show you have permission from the school to go on holidays, you will face a fine of around 1,000 CHF. No kidding.

The only silver lining in this situation is that we got crappy news about D’s school placement for next year too. Thank goodness! Honestly, we’ve come to a point where both of them suffering together somehow makes it better!

“Oh, you’re worried about your situation? Did you hear the crap-hand your sibling’s been dealt?” Somehow it makes it easier. I think it also makes us monsters.

We always knew that D would be changing schools again this coming year. He’s headed to high-school. At 12. On the bright side he isn’t beginning his apprenticeship in the trades. Not yet anyhow.

For D, the bum deal was that he is being split from his one good buddy. The kid who has been his bright light this year. He’s also been assigned to the one school in our neighbourhood that D has decided is the scariest place on earth.

Perfect – both of them will be nervous wrecks on the first day back to school. Again. Misery loves company, right?

Somehow the fact that their mother is now racing towards octogenarian status at an unnatural rate, resembling a sweaty zombie will likely not provide them with much comfort.

But hey, we made it past the 2 year mark. Limping across the finish line, but we made it.

What does year #3 have up its sleeve? Bring it on.

Still one of my favourite photos depicting our early days here. It feels like a lifetime ago but its still a mantra we repeat to ourselves every now and then.
They looked so wee! Was that really only 2 years ago?
This rainbow last night was a pretty good promise that things are going to be okay. 
But the view of the out-houses suspended perilously out my office window suggest another year ahead of surprises. 

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