Archive for April 14th, 2011

Rookie mistakes

Yesterday we went to the petting zoo across the river with some new Swiss friends. I may have mentioned them here before. They are a Swiss couple that have lived abroad…in Houston! They have 2 little ones about the age of ours and Jackson goes to an English speaking playgroup with the little girl. They are very friendly and gravitate towards us because they desperately miss the US and now that they have returned they find Switzerland’s social scene to be somewhat cold. Yes, that’s right folks. From the mouths of Swiss natives, it’s cold. Gorgeous, mountainous, beautiful, picturesque, but sometimes rather uninviting. Now we have met some lovely people but for the most part it feels very tough to crack the code and cozy up to the culture. Try as we may. (post coming soon on attempting to be myself, a chronic people-pleaser, in a place that doesn’t want my pleasing 🙂

Anyhow, as most of you know, or probably would assume, I do not speak Swiss German. So when I am out and about I do my best to follow all of the rules but often fail miserably. Miserably but not unknowingly. You see, it is not uncommon for people here to “speak into your life”, as in, offer correction and guidance. Back to the petting zoo. After a fun time of letting the kids run through and enjoying being outside we decided to go into the small cafe for a hot drink and snack for the kids. As Jackson and his friend rushed the ice cream chest, the other mom and I headed to get something hot to drink. As we headed that way an elderly woman began to rant because we had brought strollers into the cafe. My friend spoke kindly to her in Swiss German and she huffed and headed on her way. I am pretty sure we ruined her day or at least rattled her good for her whole walk home. That’s what a stroller can do. I was so thankful to have a Swiss friend to help guard me from my ignorance in the situation. It takes no genius to translate being lectured whether you speak the language or not. But it takes skill to talk graciously back in the complainers native language.

… Now back to Jackson and his friend raiding the ice cream chest. Both kids quietly and politely selected their ice cream and put it up on the counter to pay. Cafeteria-type cafe’s aren’t always Jackson’s place to shine.  But yesterday I was impressed with his success. In the midst of the social tiff though I didn’t check Jackson’s selection. An ice cream cone is an ice cream cone, right? So we made our way to a table and Jackson tore open his cone. My friend sat down and vented about how rude people can be. I looked over as Jackson finished his first few bites and noticed his ice cream was a light brown color. Not chocolate brown, more like khaki. I reached over and took a bite. Sure enough, a big heaping cone of coffee ice cream. He loved it. And it loved him. They loved each other into the afternoon with zero nap and energy plus. It occurred to me that Jackson has NEVER had caffeine. Besides the caffeine in chocolate, he has had none. For obvious reasons. He doesn’t need it.  We have never been on a deserted island with only a coke in sight. There has always been an alternative available.

So there you go, 2 rookie mistakes on a sunny Wednesday morning. A stroller run wild out of the petting zoo and into the cafe  breaking all sorts of laws and a small child experiencing his first, and likely last for a long while, COFFEE ice cream cone. Jackson enjoyed my mistake!

Ella insists upon holding Jackson’s hand. He normally bucks any system but for some reason he complies with her!


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