Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Shopping and QT with the Kid's

I am a spender, and I am a shopper, but oddly enough I don't spend alot of money on clothes. My momma taught me how to window shop. Today I bought a rain jacket and a good pair of hiking boots. They cost an obscene amount of money. Clothes in Switzerland are expensive, but I guess good clothes are an investment and I really like my new lime green jacket and blue/grey hiking boots!!

Monika's mother comes from the Italian region of Switzerland, and the Walter's cuisine reflects this. Today for lunch Monika cooked the LONGEST spaghetti I have ever seen. She told me in Italy it is considered a sin to cut your spaghetti :). She also told me a story about a German-Swiss woman who was taking care of an Italian-Swiss child and prepared him spaghetti. When the German-Swiss woman began cutting his spaghetti the Italian-Swiss child cried and yelled at her, "PLEASE DON'T CUT MY SPAGHETTI!!" Italians are very dramatic about their food.

After lunch the children and I took a long walk. There are two donkey's at the end of our rode and as far as I can tell their names are Benny and Eisel. We fed the donkey's on our walk. The children each picked an ear of corn and we walked through the corn fields. That's right THROUGH not by. I wore my new hiking boots on the walk to break them in and the children were a tremendous help in this endeavor. We climbed up several steep grassy hills and then proceeded to slide down them on our butts. SO MUCH FUN!! Elisabeth is quite the tree climber. One thing that I love about Elisabeth is that she always invites me to join in her and Emmanuel's adventures. Today, I climed a tree ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP!! :) Also, SO MUCH FUN!! I think being willing to join them in all their adventures endears me to them. This walk was quite a bonding experience, and also SO MUCH FUN!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sins Know No Boundaries...Literally

This is the blog about the realization that just because my location on a map has changed doesn't mean I left my sin habits at my previous location. Pride reared its ugly head today as I realized how little I want to change. I realized I enjoy being undisciplined. I like me the way I am!

Diving into another culture by its very nature is an adventure in adaptation. My new family is very ecofriendly and likes to conserve water and energy to the best of their ability. Today I was asked to conserve water by washing clothes less often. Now, I am not someone who washes an article of clothing after I have worn it only once, but if I have done hard work in clothes and sweat in them I want to wash them straight away. As I was being told that I do not need to wash my clothes unless they have gotten something on them, some rebellious little fiend rose inside my chest and I thought, "I wish I was at home and could do my own laundry without worrying about conserving anything."

After that, I walked back into my room and repented of my initial reaction. The truth is these people live very intentional and disciplined lives. Instead of taking pride in my own way of living (truthfully there is nothing in my way of living to take pride in) I need to learn from the Walter's. So that was my prayer today. And as I prayed I told God that it was going to be like pulling teeth, because part of me didn't want to change, but I think one of the reasons that He brought me here was to show me that I need to.

Church today was great! I didn't feel out of place, though I didn't feel completely at home, but I'm sure that will come with time. The sermon was theologically sound, which was an immense relief and the worship was lively. I already met a few people briefly. One of them was an American named Kati from New York and I have plans to go with her to youth group/young adult group this next Saturday evening. I hope this goes well, because it would be so wonderful to have a solid Christian community to be apart of while I'm here. (This is a prayer request).

*For Penny if you are reading this there were a few swiss choclates at church today, but no big cheese. :(

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I won't worry my life away

Originally I was going to start this blog before I left and write about all the anxiety I was feeling about trying to pack a suitcase that was not overweight, and to express concern over interactions with my new family. I am here now, however, and all of my concerns have been proven moot.

Sometimes you know something, but an object lesson is needed to drive home the point. Traveling to Switzerland was my object lesson in learning to trust God. I know that God loves me and will take care of me, but there is something significantly more concrete about worrying and praying over something and God blessing you and answering every one of your prayers no matter how minute.

Silly as it may seem, especially for my readers who do not travel to places for MONTHS at a time, I was worried about my suitcase being overweight, because my suitcase is ALWAYS overweight. Inevitably, I am at the airport throwing things out of my checked baggage into my carry-on because I have overpacked once again. This time, however, I thought I would take the initiative and buy a luggage scale so I wouldn't create such a scene at the airport. All that this luggage scale really did for me though was cause me to unpack and repack my suitcase FOUR TIMES only to succumb to the fact that I was just going to have to pay for the overage. Here is were God comes in. I get to the airport and stand in line to check my suitcase with credit card already in hand only to have the guy behind the counter simply exhort me not to make a habit of packing an overweight bag! No charge!

My other concern was for how I would get along with the family. I have only been here one day, but they were very welcoming. It is already a bit frustrating that I can't really communicate with the children, because one of my favorite things about children is what great conversationalists they are. There is less pretense in a conversation with a child, and children are seldomly concerned with personal or social boundaries. Elisabeth and Emanuel share my frustration. They get agitated when their parents speak to me in English. They want to converse with me as much as I want to converse with them.

I am fully unpacked and I already had a few chores that I was responsible for today (dishes, laundry, and wrapping a present for a birthday party the kids will attend tomorrow). Last night Monika and I preparred lasaugna so I would only have to put it in the oven today for lunch. It was unlike any other lasaugna I have ever made. Besides ground beef, tomato sauce, and mozerella cheese there was an additional zucchini sauce that we layered. It was butter, flour, saffron, milk, and shredded zucchini.

As I write this I am sitting with the kids as they do their homework. Who knew that kids in Switzerland also have to learn to play the recorder :). Elisabeth's recorder is a cool wooden one that comes apart unlike the plastic one I had in elementary school. Elisabeth also does dance and apparently it is Emanuel's dream to tour an aircraft carrier even though Switzerland doesn't have a navy. He really likes airplanes.