Friday, January 13, 2012

Going slightly mad

Ever since my breaking bad moment in Switzerland, things have started to irk me. Living abroad has been no walk in the park and learning to live with frustrating experiences it a part of my daily life, but for some reason this week has been a particularly frustrating one. Maybe it's the cold, gloomy weather, maybe it's the fact that all four of us got sick at the same time or maybe Switzerland is just out to get me... just thought I'd quickly share three (of hundreds) of things that almost drove me crazy this past week

1. Lily's birth status.
Poor Lily is currently living in undocumented persons land. For the past three months we have been trying to register her birth with no success. Right after she was born, I filled out the paperwork and sent it in for her birth certificate. A few days later  I got a letter in the mail saying that in addition to the forms, I needed to send in copies of mine and Luke's birth certificates as well as our marriage certificate. No problem since I already had certified copies of these documents from when we applied for our visas, so I sent them in right away. Then, I got another letter saying that those certificates were not valid because they were from 2010 and for the purposes of Lily's birth certificate, I needed copies dated within the last six months. Blah! So then I had to fill out several US government forms requesting these certificates, but since I cannot pick them up in person I had to find a Swiss notary to notarize the applications so the certificates could be mailed to me. Weeks passed. Finally I got brand new birth and marriage certificates. I mailed them off the next day. Then get this, I got a letter last week that these certificates are not valid because they are in english! I need to have them translated into French. You've got to be kidding me! I'm ready to bang my head into our concrete walls!

2. Cart dilemma
Since everyone was sick last week, I was unable to do my usual grocery trip with both kids. So instead I asked Luke to come home for lunch one day so I could run to the store alone and let the kids stay home. I wanted to be as quick as possible so Luke could get back to work so I rushed out of the house and drove down to the store. It was then that I realized I had no money to get a grocery cart (you need a 2 chf coin to unlock a cart). I searched my pockets, my bag, my car and could not find any coins. Picture me trying to carry a cart's worth of groceries using just a basket and my arms.

3. Basket dilemma
Since I wasn't able to get everything I needed at the store during that frustrating trip, I ended up having to run to the big grocery store later in the week. This time I had my money for a cart and even though I was only getting 3 things, I decided to get a cart so I could leave Lily sleeping in her car seat and just put her car seat in the cart. So with Lily in the big part of the cart, and Jack in the seat, we went into the store and I got 2 packs of diapers and some bread. When we went to check out all of the lines were incredibly long. As I only had 3 items I decided to go to the fast lane where there was no line. I approached he cashier and she told me that this line was for baskets only. I tried to explain that I only had 3 things and that I only had a cart because my daughter was asleep in her car seat, but she wouldn't have it. This was the line for baskets only and if there's anything I've learned in Switzerland it's that the Swiss love their rules and make no exceptions to break them. So I had to wait in a 20 minute line to pay for my 3 items.

As soon as we are all better, I need to take a vacation and visit some of the beautiful places that Switzerland has to offer...otherwise I am going to go crazy.

And just as an update on the last frustrating experience:
I went back to the store today and this time I had Lily in her stroller. So I grabbed a basket and loaded it up. I had quite a list so I also loaded the stroller full of stuff as well. When I went to check out, I noticed that the same cashier who gave me problems last week was at the register. This time I had at least 20 items, but I also had a basket. And since she made it so clear to me that her fast lane was specifically for baskets, I used the fast lane. I'm sure she was surprised to find out that not only did I have a basket full of groceries, but a stroller full as well....

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