Tuesday, August 12, 2008

We're Back

I had intended to post from Switzerland but can you believe that not everyone in the world has internet access? Can you believe, in fact, that I could check my e-mail just twice in 26 days? The place where my husband grew up was given the honorary title of "City" because of its historical relevance, not its size. Last year the little "City" celebrated its 800th year. No, that's not a typo -- Eight Hundred years! So I guess the 1800 citizens think "So what if we don't have an internet cafe!" And who am I to argue?

Oliver was a superstar on this trip. For the first time, he began getting my attention and showing me what he found interesting and making sure I saw him doing things that made him proud. The first time it happened, when I let myself be led to the rain barrel and his hand pulled my neck down close to the water's surface so that I could see our reflection, it took me a moment to take in the enormity of what had just happened and my heart nearly burst. He also started routinely calling out my name to get my attention to ask for the things he wanted. He also learned to ride a two wheel bike without training wheels. He was a tireless hiker, an enthusiastic adventurer, a singer, a swimmer, and a good sleeper. It was all so wonderful, in fact, that for the last week of our vacation I began every conversation with Nik by saying: "If we moved to Switzerland. ..." I know, it would be different if we lived there, but the last three and a half weeks were like magic for me. I feel renewed and you can't blame a gal for wanting to hold onto that.

Nik and I also took Tango lessons!!! We were miserably awful. Truly. We were the only couple to keep colliding with other pairs on the dance floor. It was like bumper cars. But it was fun and I haven't laughed so hard in ages. We went out walking nearly every evening, usually ending in some small restaurant for a glass of wine and lovely conversation that didn't have anything to do with kids or autism!!! And nearly everyday we managed to steal away for a bike ride along the Rhine, just the two of us.

It wasn't ALL good, of course. Try as I might, I just could not resist all the chocolate and cakes that were passed my way. By about day ten, I abandoned any notion of resisting at all and gave in completely. Also, Sami became possessed by some evil spirit that must have been lurking around one of those castles we visited. Or maybe that's just what happens when a kid eats his weight in chocolate, ice cream and cake every day. His behavior was mostly atrocious. (Although everyone agreed that he was cute enough to get away with it. I'm sure they said other things but that's what was mostly translated to me. His mother.) On one particularly bad evening, I pulled him aside and hissed at him that he had better shape up and he actually said to me: "I don't have to listen to you because you smell bad. You're a pig. I'm going to push you down in the pig hole." Those were his exact words. I know it because they are forever etched in my mind. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I mean: Where did he learn to say things like that? We don't have a TV so he didn't pick it up that way and I'm usually with him when he plays with friends and I've never heard any other mother's child talk that way.

Well, not to end on a sour note, I will leave you with a few photos -- with more to come as I digest and download:
Oliver getting comfortable at the airport before we boarded the plane.

Rooftops of the old city. Taken from the remains of the last castle tower left standing. That's the Rhine river there and Germany on the other side.

The view from the top of the castle. Nik's childhood home on a small farm is just outside the frame of the picture.

My boys heading towards the gates of the old city to the farmlands on the other side.


  1. I was just wondering when you'd be coming back. Welcome, and sorry that you had to return! I had goosebumps all the way through this. (Well except for the part about Sami. Oliver's awesome behavior had to be balanced by something, eh?) It all sounds so wonderful- what a great experience!

  2. Anonymous8:05 AM

    Wine? Chocolate? Conversations that had nothing to do with kids and autism? Sounds like Nirvana to me.

    Welcome back!

  3. Welcome back. Sounds like a perfect trip!

  4. Welcome back! I'm so thrilled to hear you and Nik got such wonderful time together! Tango lessons sound like fun!

    Oliver...clearly in his element on this trip. Goosebump-inducing!

    And Sami? Ah...well, maybe it was the sugar/carbs/fresh air talking? Hope he left the pig-talk in Switzerland! oh. my.

  5. Yay!!! I've been checking everyday to see if you were back yet. We are headed to Williamsburg this weekend, but I will call you Monday if I can't tomorrow. Chris is on vacation and I know we'll be in town at some point.

    I missed you so much!!! The kids kept asking when Oliver and Sami would be home from their big trip.

  6. Wow, what an awesome trip! Welcome back!

  7. Anonymous7:54 AM

    what an amazing vacation! it sounds like going back in time in some ways and jumping forward in others.