I Promise I’m Happy!

I recently had a realization that I spend a significant amount of time talking about the things I don’t like or that frustrate me in regards to this job. I suppose it’s simply easier to talk about the bad things, and usually make a good joke out of it, than walk around singing the children’s praise. Why is that? I wish I could tell you, but I will spare us all the philosophical tangent and get to the point of my writing. I want to share some of the things about the kids I really like or think are really fun.

-Taz has this tendency to become my little echo and pick up on some of my frequent sayings. It always catches me off guard and almost never fails to make me smile when I hear him say something that came straight from my vocabulary. For instance, about a month ago I asked him if he thought what we were eating was delicious. He looked at me quizzically and say, “What is this delicious?” I explained that it means you are eating something you really like and think tastes good. The next day at lunch he told the Mom, “Wow, Mommy, you are a great cook. This is so delicious!” It was perfect and so sweet coming from his mouth. The other day we were making cakes out in the sandbox and he asked me if I wanted apples in it. “Of course, that would be great.” And would you like bananas in it? “Yes! Please!” And how about some delicious? “Mmmm yes, as much delicious as possible.” If ‘delicious’ came on the shelf you can bet I would have bought it all up by now. He is a very affectionate little man. Sometimes we will just be sitting at the table eating a meal and he will reach over, hook his little arm around my neck and say, “I love you” and rest his head on my arm. I can’t help but love him back in those little moments.

-Little Bean is also wonderful. She too has taken on the habit of picking up my colloquialisms. It started when I would say, “Beep, beep” if she was standing in front of something I needed to get to, such as the trash can. Later while she was pushing some cars around on the floor one ran into my leg. “Beep, beep,” she said through a mouthful of nuggi (pacifier). Now, she and Taz are routinely getting in little traffic jams around the house just so they can say, “beep, beep” to each other. The wee one also learned something that stopped me in my tracks one day. Let me preface by saying that Little Bean and I had a slightly tumultuous relationship to begin with. She wasn’t so keen on me being the new person to take her away from her Mommy and it took some time for her to bond with me. Obviously this had me a little upset as she would shriek and thrash her body around whenever I came to get her out of her crib (I wish I was exaggerating). After about a month or so she came to trust and like me and now I can safely say (knock on wood) we are fast friends. So, one day I was walking her downstairs after changing her diaper and she locked her arms around my neck, nuzzled her head next to mine and said, “Big hug!” I couldn’t have appreciated a big hug any more. There is something about a hug from a little kiddo, totally unprompted that just makes you feel good. Oh shoot, now I’m starting to tear up…

-For the most part, Taz and Little Bean are good together. Taz likes to be the big brother and LB is happy to tag along. Since it has gotten so nice out we have been in the routine of taking long walks in the morning. In my particular village and there is no shortage of cows and other livestock. The kids love these big beasts and frequently request to stop and talk to them. Only happy to indulge in this request, I will stop the pram and let the two little ones yell, “MOOOOO!!” as loud as they can at all the cows. It’s actually pretty funny and the cows don’t seem to mind. They usually continue to grind whatever blades of grass they’ve been working on. Sometimes I will join in and we certainly look like quite the trio as we stand and holler at the cows. The kids are always hoping for a conversation with a bovine but I have yet to tell them that probably won’t happen. I just don’t want to disappoint them.

-As for Rapunzel, well that is a different story. I have tried, really I have. For us, though, it just doesn’t work. I have attempted to find the wonderful qualities about her that are hidden underneath a layer of royal snobbery but even with all the best mining equipment, I cannot find them. We just don’t get along. I don’t put up with her bossy attitude and I don’t let her get away with trying to call the shots. It’s tricky because I hardly spend time with her as she is in school for most of the time I work. Maybe that’s why I don’t make more of an effort to like her. Today, however, I picked her up from school, as usual per Fridays and asked her if she wanted a piggy back. She was giddy with enthusiasm and eagerly climbed aboard. We galloped, skipped, and walked our way home and it was actually really nice. There was no whining or complaining and I was genuinely happy to be in her company. As soon as we stepped through the door and she saw someone had played with some toys she had designated as being “hers” for the afternoon she immediately started crying and throwing a fit. I remembered why we have such a hard time getting along: I just can’t see the value in getting upset about such petty things, and much as I’ve tried, I can’t seem to break down the meaning of, “No use crying over spilled milk”  well enough for her. She certainly isn’t a hopeless case in my book, but she is just one tough nut to crack.

We’ll All Cry if We Want to

Today was Rapunzel’s birthday party. I have been prepped on this event for at least the last three weeks, so I was expecting great things. I was informed that I would be caring primarily for Taz and Little Bean and my time should be spent keeping them happy and as out of the way as possible. Nothing like feeling ostracized from a 7-year-old’s party. It was impossible for the party to go on without a hitch as the drama started waaaay before 2:00 this afternoon– Rapunzel had doubts about the Guest List. She had already sent out all the Prinzessin Lillifee invitations when she decided one of her cronies wouldn’t quite fit in with the other girls. Thankfully the Mom didn’t allow this kind of de-friending and the little girl was allowed to show up at the party. In fact, there were 10 lovely little ladies in attendance today.

It was chaotic to say the least. I was ignorantly grateful that my role involved caring for only two of the kiddos. This feeling of ease was dispelled quite quickly as I realized how much a part of the scene Little Bean wanted to be. As the Mom was giving directions for the first game Little Bean decided the only place she would be happy was on Moms lap. I had to pull her off and distract her with a bottle of orange soda. I suppose it’s a good thing she has the attention span of a puppy and anytime I say, “Little Bean, look over there!” she goes running and squealing in whatever direction I point. As the girls proceeded to craft homemade candy necklaces, which were an obvious choking hazard for the Little Bean (no need to invoke my lifeguarding skills of CPR here), I herded the little girl all over the garden in attempt to keep her out of the way. After this event it was time to head for the back garden for Arts & Crafts. I happen to really enjoy A&C but it’s incredibly difficult with a noncompliant 2 year old and an overly jealous (and dare I say, cranky) 4 year old. Little Bean couldn’t play with half of the supplies as they would most likely find themselves lodged in her windpipe and Taz was so pre-occupied with ten pretty little things (a.k.a. the attendees) that he could hardly see straight. At one point I was holding is hand to glue down a flower on his canvas while his head was rotated approximately 180 degrees with eyeballs obviously engrossed in far more important matters. He finally became bored with my antics and had long ago ceased finding my humor entertaining; he wanted his Mommy and he wanted her now. He started this whiny game, for which I have no patience, so I let him wander the back garden and find her. I was left with Little Bean, who promptly started crying for no apparent reason. “Listen, Little Bean, my mind reading skills are on the fritz so I have no idea what the problem is. Care to divulge?” We soon found ourselves wandering around the premises playing with any and all bikes, toys, and pieces of nature that we came across. Any closer to that girl and I would have been considered her shadow. I long ago gave up on Taz and it was decided he could become a part of the party. That is until…

Rapunzel was finally to the point where she could open her presents. She had quite a stack going as well, with each girl having brought more than one goodie. With each shredding of paper Taz became more and more frazzled. Finally, an out-of-control jealousy rage struck this little boy with such ferocity that he had no choice but to throw his head back and wail. I flew to the scene, seized him in my arms and carried him to safe grounds. In actuality I had to talk him down from the ledge and remind him that this wasn’t his birthday party and that Rapunzel was entitled to all the presents that meandered their way into the house. I ensured that there was still plenty of fun to be had but, last time I checked his tears weren’t invited to the soiree. He sobered up and waddled back to the party. I was back to Little Bean-duty and she was amped up on sugar at this point. She alternated between running/screaming and stopping to stare off into space–telltale signs of a sugar-fueled stupor. She finally settled down when I found a jar of bubbles to play with. As we busied ourselves with the wand and bubbles I heard a wounded animal howl with pain from inside. Turns out it was only Rapunzel and she was upset for a reason unbeknownst to me. After recapping with the Mom tonight I found out that she was unhappy about the seating arrangement of some of the girls and the result of her “being too spoiled” sent her into a frenzy– Well, as long as we’re all on the same page… Back to the scene, Little Bean and I are happily playing in the front garden when the Dad informs me that I will be able to go to German class and that I should put this little sprout to bed and get ready to split. I inform Little Bean that it’s time to quit and she promptly throws her body on the ground and performs a routine commonly known as, “Stop, Drop, and Roll.” Her cries of pain probably had the neighbors wondering what horrors had befallen this child; only those of the evil au pair. The Dad took her from me and, mercifully, let me go.

As I walked through the door, headed toward the train station, I replied to a text Jill sent asking how the party went as, “Suicidal.” All three children ended up in tears at least one point during the party. I’m pretty sure Taz is harboring some deep loathing toward me for taking him away from his Mom for so long. And I never knew such anxiety and tension could reside among girls of such young age. I arrived at German totally out of my mind and of no use to myself or anyone in the class. When put on the spot to decide whether the personal pronoun was either nominativ oder dativ I almost cried because I hadn’t been paying attention and had no idea what was going on. Couldn’t my lehrerin see that I was in another world entirely, one that involved quick getaways and no birthday cakes(yes there were two; an extra one provided for the girl that is on a strict no-wheat diet)? Clearly, I”m beyond exhausted and my brain is about as comprehending as scrambled eggs. But, on the bright side, the next birthday isn’t until July…

The Hills Are Alive…

…with the sound of my labored breathing. Seriously. I feel like lately I have been huffing and puffing my way around the city. My pedometer is racking up some serious mileage (kilometerage?). This weekend is a perfect example. It finally warmed up around here and I almost don’t recognize the city. The Swiss have  come out of hibernation and are traipsing around like they own the place. Saturday was filled with plenty of aimless wandering, as Jill’s friend was in from Milan and we were giving her a tour of Zurich. The day happened to be my “anniversary” of arriving here. That’s right, it’s been 3 months and they a have flown by faster than any I can remember. I try to treat myself to something on these joyous occasions and this day was no exception. I truly indulged and awarded myself with a Diet Doctor Pepper, which cost me a cool CHF 3.50. Yes, you are correct, that translates roughly into $3.50, which is hands-down the most ludicrous amount of money I have paid for a pop, but let me tell you it was absolutely worth it. Seeing as DDP is my all-time favorite I thought it was a worthy treat, if not ridiculously over-priced.

Yesterday, however was the real gem of my exercise. If I had a dollar for every time someone made a reference to me either becoming Mary Poppins or living in my own “Sound of Music” I could actually afford to live here. Sunday Jill, Gabri, and I decided to hike up Üetliberg and see the city from a bird’s eye view. One can either hike up or take a train, and being an thrill-seeking trio we decided to gear-up and walk the trails. I had some sense and wore Converse shoes, but Jill was in her Topsiders and Gabri in moccasins, so one could say we weren’t necessarily dressed the part. That didn’t stop us, however. Without actually realizing it, we took the path, out of several, that was the most steep and heavily wooded. About 200 meters up the climb I peeled off my cardigan and the elusive sweatstache was making its appearance. I feel like I am equally justifying my physical fitness and and dispelling it through my writings. The hike wasn’t the hardest thing I have ever done, rather I just didn’t mentally prepare myself. About halfway up when we were all re-evaluating not only our decision to come on this journey, but also our friendships, Jill, with her identical twin, Positivity, began to sing “Climb Every Mountain.” I had to grab onto a railing for support as I was laughing so hard. It was exactly what I needed to hear. The remaining trek passed in alternating fits of side-splitting laughter and animal-like grunting. Finally, a little over an hour after take-off we reached the summit. We were quite the group as we approached the other patrons at the lookout site. Thankfully my white tank top hid the “make it rain” effect my sweat glands tend to have. I’m almost positive people could smell us before they saw us, and if not, they would notice the big black cloud of bugs that had somehow become our climbing companions. We were a full-on nasal assault. I’ll spare you the rest of the details, but one can assume it was not my finest moment. The view was great though, and definitely worth it, as was the celebratory beer. It was on the list that sits on my desk of things I want to accomplish whilst I’m in der Schweiz so I am very proud of myself.

On an equally exciting note, I booked more travel today! I will be in Manchester and Cambridge June 4-8 to go to a couple of concerts: John Mayer and Band of Horses. I know what you’re thinking, “Going to John Mayer, what a sell-out.” But, this is not true as I am not 14 years old with an irrational crush on his brooding, self-deprecating, and semi-obnoxious persona. I just happen to like his music. And Band of Horses is amazing and I have wanted to see them live for a while, and what better opportunity than abroad. Looking forward to a weekend full of melodious sounds.

Hast du dir die Hände gewaschen?

Have you washed your hands? I’m not entirely sure if it’s a Swiss thing or just the family I work for, but these kids are intensely anal retentive about being clean. At the first family dinner I thought it was cute how Rapunzel got up from the table to get a napkin for herself. I saw it as self-sufficient and mature. Now, every time a speck of jam hits the table from her bread I make up every morning she jumps up from her seat like it’s on fire to rush and clean up her “mess.” It’s downright annoying. It’s as if she is incapable of living in disorder. Mind you, this house is by no means tidy. There are piles of papers on the counter, toys strewn about like little land mines, and don’t even get me started on the nooshies lying around this place. The nooshies are the kids’ security blankets, although they look a lot like cheesecloth. Except there isn’t just one for each child, there are about 20 per kiddo. Heaven forbid we leave the house without one; it would put Little Bean into an uncontrollable tailspin, out of which she would not get until she could secure one in her tiny fist. While the house is nice, it’s slightly chaotic. Therefore I cannot understand where this compulsive need to be clean comes from.

For example, Taz and I worked on an arts and crafts project I organized yesterday after looking through one of the million books lying around. I thought it was clever and something we could hang in his room or in the play area. Also, it would fill a decent amount of time in the morning before Little Bean awoke from slumber, and let me tell you, this little bean sprout does not wake up well. Her favorite word until about 10:00 is, “NAY!!!” This project we were working on involved gluing down pieces of torn cotton balls to create a cloud effect. Taz could no more put one piece of cotton down before he had to completely clean his hands of all remaining glue/cotton. After about 5 rounds of placing the cotton and the ensuing cleaning of the hands I told Taz not to bother with this routine as it was going to take until tomorrow to finish and also, as he realized, he was going to get dirty in the process. He looked at me as if I needed a lobotomy and continued to scrape his fingers. I assured him everything would be alright if he waited until we were completely finished to wash his hands. He tilted his head a little as he considered this walk-on-the-wild-side and decided to go with my plan. We were able to finish the project in enough time to work on a second one, which you can see below.

Little Bean is just as bad about this. We can’t get through a jar of baby food without her having to clean up using her bib. In fact, if for some reason I’ve mentally checked out and forgotten to put on her bib she will remind me by thumping her chest like some sort of warrior call; she keeps me in check. So, with bib securely fashioned around her neck we can proceed to eat lunch. Sometimes an errant piece of food will find itself on her hand or cheek and I can’t so much as prepare another spoonful before having to clean it off. Seriously, she juts that bottom lip out and prepares to cry if I don’t move fast enough. She is also in the process of trying to feed herself. I’m sure you can imagine the mess that is created doing this. Let’s just say her fine-motor skills aren’t quite up to par yet. She actually takes the spoon and scrapes the crook of her mouth and attempts to get rid of residual debris. At least she’s got the right idea. This is great for her developmental and all, but it results in lunch becoming a lengthy affair. At some point I usually have to pry the spoon out of her chubby fingers and take the reigns, otherwise we’d be there all day. I would roll up my sleeves and help her get the job done, but she won’t allow me to push them up. When she sees this happens she quickly comes to my aid and pulls them down again. Maybe she’s like her Mom and is afraid I will catch cold through my forearms, but it’s more likely it’s her anal retentive personality. I don’t get it, normally kids are crazy about being dirty and getting in a mess. Not these ones though. They sleep much better at night knowing they have fought crime one germ, jam spill, or Krazy glue at a time.

Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes

Lately I have had a pretty serious case of the “I Wants.” I couldn’t really make up my mind on all that I wanted but I knew I needed to make a purchase and it needed to happen fast. One such buy was something I have wanted since I came over and finally got around to buying: a pedometer. I do a ridiculous amount of walking here and I was interested to know how far I travel each day. I like comparing distances at the end of each day especially if I have decided to go for a run, or spent the majority of the day wandering around town. As of 2:00 this afternoon I had already walked 4.47 km. I went on a run this afternoon, which racked up an extra 5.5 km. So, in a typical day I walked/ran 10 km.

With all the aimless running I do around here I have debated training for some kind of race. I miss the occasional 5k that took place in Manhattan. And I figure it would be wise to give myself a goal to work toward. I just need to invest in a new pair of tennies as the ones I have are so worn out there are rubbing fiery blisters on the arches of my foot. I will spare you the details but if I don’t take care of this little problem soon I am surely in danger of losing my feet entirely.

I’m looking forward to tearing up the streets of Schindellegi and putting a decent amount of mileage on my legs. If I’m not careful, however, I will be able to “Hulk” my way out of my jeans with my trunk-like quads. Which is exactly why I have been keeping up with my yoga. Thankfully the Mom and I worked out an arrangement so I could have a gym membership and also a few pieces of workout equipment, including a yoga mat. I just close the heavy curtains on my window, choose one of the many playlists I created for class and next thing you know I have my own private ashram. Taz walked in on me doing Half Moon one day and has ever since been entranced by the idea of exercise. (Now that I think about it, I think Taz and I need to have a conversation about boundaries…) Ever since last summer I have really missed teaching yoga. As much as I love to practice, I especially love teaching. Even so, I have been enjoying practicing here and desperately need the stretching so I don’t end up looking like one of those bodybuilders who always seem to be covered in Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil. Yikes.

Yesterday was a special Zurich holiday called Sechseläuten. In a nutshell, it’s a celebration to welcome summer and in a Groundhog Day sort of way, determine the length and pleasantness of the season. This is done by burning a large snowman after a lengthy parade, honoring the guilds and tradesmen of the city. The shorter the burn time, the better the summer. This year took 12 minutes and 54 seconds. As I stood with thousands of others, watching the burning, I was struck by the oddness of it all. First, there was the fact that the Swiss were cutting loose and enjoying a day of relaxation. This is so unusual that it is noteworthy. Secondly, I haven’t been in a crowd that intense in a long time. The only other comparable experience was going into the KSU-KU basketball game two years ago at Bramlage (in case you forgot, we won). At one point I was actually lifted off my feet and carried by the people around me. “Think skinny!” I thought to myself. Lastly, I was watching a frighteningly human-like form burn on top of a large pile of kindling. Raucous cheers went up as the explosives inside were detonated and the snowman was engulfed in a fireball. Hands down, this was the weirdest festival I have ever been a part of. But, when in Rome… or Zurich… In any case, it was fun to take part in the tradition. A few hours after the burning the coals die down enough that you can gather them and create a makeshift grill. Some au pairs and myself were graciously invited to a BBQ by some new friends, and incidentally enough, a couple of them were most recently working in Kansas City–small world. They had the all the supplies, hospitality included, and we enjoyed sausages, bread, and beer with countless others who also wanted to “make a party.” With such a short “burn time” I’ve got visions of a warm and pleasant summer dancing in my head!

Burning of the snowman and coals. Yikes!

–Funniest thing my sister said during our Skype session today: “Hang out, I need to get a bobby pin, my rat tail is driving me crazy.”–

Art Linkletter Got it Right…

…when he said, “Kids say the darnedest things.” Most days the kids amaze me with some of the things they say and today was no exception. In fact, it was an especially entertaining day. This morning at breakfast I was sitting with Rapunzel enjoying some bread with jam and she was talking about her birthday, which is tomorrow. She says, “Tomorrow is my birthday.” I wish you could hear it, though. It’s with this terrible inflection, like I’m so much better than you because I have a day of birthday celebration and you don’t. It really works on my nerves. “Yes, you’re right. This is so exciting,” I say. To which she responds, “And I get lots and lots of presents. Only me. And there will be none for you.” Then she has the nerve to give me the most disgusting smile and try to wrap her Gumby-esque, skinny limbs around me. It’s all I can do to not snap one of those arms, so I gently push her off of me and continue to eat without responding. She continues to push, “Are you going into town to buy me a present today?” Honestly, this kind of behavior makes me ill. I can hardly handle this sense of entitlement. In fact, I was going into town to buy her a present that afternoon, but now the only thing I want to give her comes out the back-end of a dog. Maybe if I gift wrap it nicely she won’t know the difference.

Taz was much more comical today. He slept in a bit, which is highly unusual for him. He’s more of a 6:00 A.M. sort of fellow, preferring to wake the house up with the latest tune he learned at Kiddie’s Kare. The refrain, “I love you, you love you,” has been on repeat this entire week. After a second breakfast with him I started getting some puzzles and games down for us to work on. The radio is on every morning rather than the TV and already it has driven me crazy. I’m not a radio person in the first place, and it is absolutely terrible here. Every other song is Ke$ha and the other songs are either one hit wonders or power ballads. And it’s all American music. One morning I heard a Swiss/country version of Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” followed by “Gangsta’s Paradise,” a la Coolio. Nothing sets the tone on Easter morning quite like Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” in the background.

At any rate, this morning I was not willing to subject myself to such torture so I put on European MTV, which is essentially music videos all day and the selection is pretty decent for the most part. So there we are in living room and I look over and see these girls “club dancing” on the TV, meanwhile Taz is laying on the couch, one leg crossed over the other, hands clasped behind his head, the epitome of relaxation. OK, we need to get out of here. I certainly am not going to let him sit here and watch this. We move our party to the dining room to work on a puzzle and all the sudden Taz starts bobbing his head and says, “Uh, uh, I can be your freak; I can be your freak.” I lost it. I was laughing so hard I was crying. Apparently I hadn’t been paying attention to the words from the music video and they were a little more explicit than what a 4 year old should be exposed to. I started singing every children’s song I could think of in order to fill his mind with more age-appropriate lyrics.

Later that morning Taz, Little Bean, and I went on a walk to pick Rapunzel up from school. For some reason I still haven’t figured out, Taz has an aversion to a particular crosswalk we needed to use. He told me in a very firm voice that we were not going to cross there. I politely, and equally firmly told him that we were indeed going to cross there. He said, “No.” I said, “Yes.” No.” “Yes.” Then, he stomps his little foot on the ground, looks up at me and repeats to me what I say to the kids when they become obnoxiously defiant, “When I say ‘No’ it means NO.” ”

WHOA-OA-OA, Mister!” I stepped back and looked at him and we both started laughing. I couldn’t believe it; that line sounded so funny coming out of his little mouth. “No way,” I told him, “I call the shots around here, and that was cute, but I am not having it.” I took hold of his hand and proceeded to guide him across the crosswalk, which in the midst of our laughter, lost all of its danger. Kids really are listening and processing what you say. They may not completely understand the language, but it’s in their heads and they aren’t afraid to use it.

In the Moment

(Before I begin any significant writing I want to note that the movie “Uncle Buck” is on TV right now. I’m not sure how the Swiss are going to handle this movie as it seems almost a direct assault on their austerity. I, however, happen to love this movie and can think only of the many times I have shamelessly watched it with my family. With the rain pattering outside and me freshly showered, my room is a tiny slice of heaven.)

Due to recent events, I am slightly worried about my sanity and apparent lack of presence in the moment. I spend most Wednesdays in the city as I have my au pair group in the morning and don’t babysit until 5 in the afternoon. I can have lunch with friends, satiate any cases of the “I Wants” I may have, and generally laze about the city. Today I picked up a few items at a couple stores, got lunch at an uber-trendy vegetarian hotspot, Hiltl, and walked around slightly sodden in the drizzle. For most of the day I was toting around a bag of my loot and was constantly reminding myself to keep it in my sights and pick it up when I changed locations. After my delicious chocolate-covered waffle snack I decided to head downstairs in the Hauptbanhof (Main Train Station) to catch a train to Rapperswil, which is where my German class was tonight. I made it down two flights, spotted a train that was leaving earlier than I planned, and found a seat on a relatively crowded train. I was just sitting there planning my route to get to the school when a tiny part in my brain registered that I was sans accessory. My shopping bag was currently sitting under a table where I stopped to eat my snack in the middle of the Wednesday market in the center of the station. I yelled, “Schiesse!” which earned me several reproachful glances from elderly ladies and a couple of goofy grins from the under-16 crowd, leapt out of my seat, and ran off the train just as the whistle was blowing. Thankfully after racing upstairs I found my bag sitting peacefully where I left it, completely oblivious of my neglect. The contents are of no extreme value but there was a birthday present in there as well as my latest finds from the second-hand bookshop. It was more my carelessness that bothered me.

Another incident occurred the other day as I was coming home from Zurich. It was after a rough day (see post below) and my mind was pretty fried. I was in the middle of my most recent book, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, and I was hardly paying attention to the surroundings of the train. Right before the trains depart an announcement is made, detailing some of the stops. It is usually in German, then French, and finally English. I vaguely remembering hearing the first and about halfway through the next language I realized something was off because it was in Italian. I was on an Italy-bound train, with about thirty seconds to get my little butt off it unless I wanted to ride the rails without a proper ticket, never mind be in enormous trouble. I had no more than gotten my two feet on the ground when the train shut its doors and took off. I looked at the clock and realized I had exactly 55 seconds to find my actual train unless I wanted to wait 30 minutes for the next one. Lady Fortune was on my side as I noticed the next platform over housed my train. I sashayed over and managed to finagle myself on a busting-at-the-seams train. Didn’t matter. At least I was on my way home and didn’t have to detour into another country.

These incidences coupled with the fact that I have lost countless games of Memory to Taz have me slightly worried about my brain and its proper functioning. I think I need to work a little more on keeping my mind present and in the moment.