Archive | February, 2013

18 Monther Communication

28 Feb

Baby update: Now that Asher is a big 1-and-a-half-year-old, he is starting to talk more and more every day.

Signs he uses daily:

-All done
-Mickey Mouse
-Thank you (selectively)
-Hurt (To tell me something hurts)

He knows a few other signs and will imitate others, but those are the ones he most certainly uses on a daily basis.

Words he speaks daily:

-“Busss” (ALL day, every day)
-“Uck!” =truck/car
-“Bah!” =ball
-“Mom-mom” =Mama
-“Dthdthdth” =Dada
-“Eye” (as in eyeball)
-“Tookatooka” =train
-“Nein” =”no” in German
-“Whahdaaa?” =What’s that?
-“Asssss” =We have no idea what this means, but he says it every single day. Maybe he’s trying to say his name?
-“gogo” (pacifier)
-“hay” (for horses)
-“Hhhhh!” =Snack

I hope I haven’t left any out. I kind of think that I have. Hmm… I’ll update if I think of any more.

Deutschbag/douchbag — I don’t know what I am.

25 Feb

November 7, 2011: I paced back and forth in London’s Heathrow airport pushing an over-sized stroller loaded down with a carseat, a diaper bag, a large flowered tote bag, and two red rolly suitcases (one balanced roughly in the stroller’s seat, the other attached to the stroller’s handle by a big carabiner). I bounced dramatically with each step, trying to calm my screaming 3 month old who was strapped to my chest. I had already been awake and traveling 20+ hours. Storms in the southeast caused major delays for our first two flights causing us to miss our flight from London to Zürich. I had no phone and could not figure out how to connect to the Internet, so I had no way of telling my poor panicked husband that we would be more than 8 hours late to arrive. I was worried that he wouldn’t be there when we arrived, and later I found out that he was worried we had been killed or sold into slavery and thought he’d never see us again. I had been made to leave the secure part of the Dallas airport to figure out how to get to London, since the flight I took from Montgomery had been rerouted for 2 hours to avoid bad weather. Leaving security means going back through security…with all of the aforementioned stuff (stroller, bags, carseat, baby, shoes, etc.) I had to leave the secure part of the London airport as well… with all the aforementioned stuff (stroller, bags, carseat, baby, shoes, eyes full of tears, etc.). I was exhausted. I paced around the gate in London waiting to board our finally-final flight to Zürich for hours. Back and forth…back and forth… waiting for the boarding call, trying to calm my poor baby who, though he had done well on the first two flights, had finally reached his breaking point. Hours, minutes, and seconds passed: I counted each one. After spending nearly 500 minutes of my life in that airport, the time to board the plane drew near and my fellow passengers finally started gathering around me. If only I had been so drunk that I was cursing loudly I would have been the epitome of the person you DON’T want sitting next to you on a 5-hour flight: My hair was tangled and dirty. My clothes were wrinkled and smelly. I assume my eyes looked like two little dried-up raisins underneath a couch cushion. I patted my screaming baby. I coughed loudly and let a few tears fall down my cheek. Everyone stared at me and I didn’t care. I stood, zombiesque, staring at the digital sign behind the desk, rejoicing that it was finally displaying MY flight information. It had already been several hours since I last heard or saw anything that didn’t blur before reaching my brain when suddenly  I noticed a group of middle-aged men standing right next to me. They were all wearing matching blue shirts and carrying sport coats, which sounds kind of cheesy but they were all nicely-groomed, expensive looking men. I noticed them not because of their identical outfits, but rather because they were all conversing quickly in deep, throaty voices, saying things I didn’t understand. I watched their heads move back and forth and their hands wave around in the air. They took turns making sounds. I saw there eyes stare intently at the other eyes in their group as their eyebrows went up and down together. Their facial expressions demonstrated understanding and shared emotion. I blinked. They all laughed at the same time. I knew they knew each other. They were all dressed alike, after all. But I had no idea what they were saying. My heart, my brain, my body all started to panic.

That was it. That was the moment it hit me that I was moving to a country that I would not understand. I have lived here in Switzerland for nearly 16 months now (Ich bin in der Schweiz seit sechszehn Monaten), and I still think about that moment regularly. That was the moment that I realized I had no choice but to learn a second language if I would survive the next few years, and that was the moment that I honestly started trying to learn German. Once I realized that they were speaking another language, I began desperately searching their conversation for meaning… and I haven’t stopped since. I am surrounded by a language that very often means nothing to me and it is, to say the least, frustrating. It’s uncomfortable to look someone in the eye as they speak to you and have no idea what they’re trying to say — especially when you know they are scolding you (yes, these jerks do that). It’s isolating to overhear children talking to each other on the sidewalk and not have any idea what they’ve just said. It’s frightening to see warning messages flash across the train schedule as the trains slows to a stop at an unfamiliar station and everyone stands up to get off. It’s embarrassing to have an annoyed stranger reach over you to push an elevator button after you have obviously misunderstood them and pushed the wrong one (and then riding to the wrong floors together as you try not to cry).

It’s hard. Not bad, but hard. Freaking hard. Though I cry a lot out of frustration, there is some sort of emotionally-masochistic part of me that loves every moment of this oddly invigorating transition. Life is nothing if not moving forward, and I feel like my life has been on one of those moving sidewalks (on super fast!) for over a year now.

I AM learning the language. I understand more every day. Some days the new things I learn make me feel strong and powerful like I can do anything. Other days the realizations I have make me feel like a outrageously ignorant moron because I’ll suddenly understand that I’ve done things very, very wrong and made a fool of myself. I am exhausted at the end of most days, but often have a hard time sleeping because my brain wants to replay everything from the previous day and how to deal with the following one.

I’m a foreigner.

Hallihallo! Ich bin wieder da!

21 Feb

One of Asher’s German books is about a rooster who goes missing and the (as my Nana would say) ‘mell of a hess’ that the other farm animals are left with as they to find a replacement morning wake-up-animal. At the very end Hannes Hahn, the cocky (get it?) rooster, struts back in with his sticker-covered suitcase and casually says “Hallihallo! Ich bin wieder da!” Which means, “Hey you suckers! I’m back!” (loosely translated)

And so I say: Hey you suckers! I’m back! (Unless, of course, you are offended by the term “suckers,” in which case I will say: “hey you precious little cookie-wookie muffin lovey little teeny tiny puppy kittens! I’m back!”)

Boo! BOOOOO!! I’ve been so terrible. I have neglected this Blog for so long. We just got busy and then I got behind and then… blah! No excuses! No, no, no, no excuses.

Here’s a little something about me — I work hard to stay on top of things (responsibilities, obligations, hobbies, etc.) in my life because I get very easily overwhelmed. This is why I have a very strict cleaning day every single week: If I did not designate every single Thursday of my life to making sure that every inch of our home is clean, we would live in a bacteria-ridden, bug-infested, stinky, chaotic mess. I know this because for a long time in Richmond (I was working 3 jobs), I did not have a ‘cleaning day’ each week. I just cleaned whenever I got around to it… which rarely happened. Not gonna lie, our bathroom got pretty gross now and then and we slept on our sheets for a few too many weeks in between washes. Gross. Whadderyagonnado? (Phil cleans, by the way. My sharing that is not to say anything bad about him. In Richmond he too was bogged down with responsibilities and had difficulty making time for scrubbing the stupid toilet and vacuuming the stupid floors.) And here I go explaining my life away. No need for excuses. Just know that we have, for a period of our married life, lived in dirty apartment.

All of that being said, I need to stay on top of this Blog if I want to continue with it. And I DO want to continue with it. I have wanted to write about our US trip and our transition back here to Zürich time/life, but I just feel too far behind right not to wait on the time (that I don’t have) to back-write all of these things. Writing here has been on the back of my mind for weeks now, but I’ve felt too overwhelmed at all of the updating I need to do to actually sit down and write. So I’m just going to scrap those ideas for now. I do hope to write a bit about our trip (which was fabulous, by the way) and about what we’ve been doing since being back here, but it will just have to come with time. In the mean time I’m just going to get back into writing on here about the here and now.

I needed to share that in order to move on. Done and done! Expect some more flavorful posts comin’ atcha!

I’ll try to share lots of videos of our precious little boy, too. Here are a few silly ones to wet your Asher-video appetite:

Doing his dang’ thang.


(He’s a wreck in this next one, but it’s still cute (says his mother:))