I’m not dead yet! This may very well be my favorite line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail – it’s a close tie with Silly English kuhniggits! and Run away! Run away! Spoken with the proper accent, each phrase has served me well in response to a variety of situations I’ve encountered across the years.
You might very well have wondered about my status, since my last post was about a month ago. I saw my trusty CTO Dave not long ago on a trip to the US, and the issue came up.
Dave: You haven’t posted much to Gydle lately.
Me: I don’t have anything to say.
He shrugged, and that was that. Yesterday he sent me a comic from the Oatmeal that explains it much better than I did. Make sure you scroll down to the part that says “I’m a firm believer that if you don’t have anything to say, you shouldn’t be talking. And if you don’t have anything to write about, DON’T WRITE.”
See, I didn’t post anything because I didn’t want to crowd your precious cyber-attention with useless drivel. Wasn’t that thoughful of me? You’re welcome.
But in the spirit of closing out the year, I have put down my box of chocolates and my novel (Flight Behavior, by Barbara Kingsolver – I really like it, but then I like almost everything I read). If the Republicans can work on Sunday to avert a fiscal cliff, I can certainly make an effort.
The main cliff we appear to be plunging off at the moment is yet another installment in the saga otherwise known as The Parlange Family Globe-Hopping Adventure.
We’re moving to Vancouver.
Next summer I am going to be once again in the land of Costco and Whole Foods and English language television, although since this is Canada, it’s the high-tax, government-sponsored health care version. (Suits me fine, since it also means we can finally stop giving the IRS a sizable chunk of our income every year even though we don’t live in the US, we don’t earn US income, and we don’t own a single thing there.) We made a visit in December and I was smitten – friendly people, lots of trail running opportunities, did I mention Whole Foods?
I am, at heart, an adventurer, otherwise I would never have married such a flighty man. Every time we’ve uprooted ourselves I have been a willing participant, even on occasion an instigator. But this one is going to be tough. Granted, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Switzerland at the moment. I have made some very close friends here, more so than anywhere else we have lived. I will miss them with every ounce of my being and it’s only because Skype and airplanes exist that I’m even considering this. On the other hand, I recognize that no matter how long we live in Switzerland, I will never be anything other than a foreigner, and no matter how good my French gets, the everyday language around me will never be my mother tongue. Those things get to me more than I’d like to admit. Then there’s the whole Swiss attitude towards wild animals, which drives me totally bonkers.
Only hitch is that Luc still has one more year of high school left, and he’s finally happy at school here now that we’ve pulled him out of the public system. When I was a senior in high school, my dad took a job in Washington, and I gamely followed them into the jungle of suburban Maryland. It was a complete and utter disaster. In December, shell-shocked and shaken, I retreated to Los Alamos with my mom and finished out the year with my class, forever marked by the “B” on my report card from the horrible goggly-eyed Maryland calculus teacher.
On the other hand, the experience vastly simplified my college search, since it enabled me to eliminate the entire east coast of the US. I certainly didn’t want to run the risk of encountering any of those kids in college. In fact, I even applied to their most coveted choice, Amherst, on purpose just so I could turn them down if I got accepted. Which I did. Take that, snobs!
It wasn’t a disaster for my parents, because going back and forth from DC to LA that spring, my dad built up a truly massive frequent flier balance. In fact, I think my mom is still cashing in on it.
But DC to LA is a time change of 2 hours and a 5+-hour flight. Geneva to Vancouver is a 9-hour time change and a 20+-hour flight. It took me a week to recover from jetlag on this last trip. That’s not something one does every few weekends, carbon footprint notwithstanding.
We’re still working out the details, but I am almost 100% sure that the kids in Vancouver will be nicer than they were in Bethesda, and it looks like Luc and I will move with Marc this summer.
I still have an extremely deep-seated aversion to the college search process, though, and both my children are paying the price. Brendan got into college automatically just by graduating from high school. He’ll stay here next year, on his own. He’s almost 20, after all, and we’re slowly driving him insane by insisting that he wake up before noon every day. Good riddance, he thinks.
The upside is that applying to college in Canada is not as insane as it is in the US, and if Luc gets decent grades on his IB exams he will get into a good university. So there’s a good chance we will be able to get both boys launched into college without having to make a single campus visit or going into a lifetime of debt. No, I’m not mother-of-the-year-award material, but I’m okay with that, and have been ever since I plonked Brendan down in front of Firefighter Joe at the tender age of 2 so I could have a half hour of “me time.”
The other consequence of this move is that if you want to come and visit us in Switzerland and take advantage of a free bed in this outrageously expensive country (breakfast is strictly do-it-yourself, i.e. open the fridge and see what falls out), you’d better hustle. Brendan’s flat is likely to be 1) too small and 2) a total disaster.
So there you have it. I’ve been very preoccupied with all this, and my creative juices ran almost totally dry.
The good news is that while writing this post, I had an idea for another post! I’m not going to spill the beans, but here’s a hint: garbage.
PS I took this picture of the Vancouver skyline this December using my iPhone. It really is that beautiful.