The girls and I took flight yesterday for our annual trip back to Canada.
When we moved to Switzerland four years ago, we'd travelled as a family. Mighty Mouse, at barely a year old, was in diapers and Emma the Brave, two years her senior, still needed them, too, but only at night. It was a night flight. While airplane change tables were (and still are) ideally suited for infants, they terrified my spirited toddler. She'd heard the sound the toilet made and there was no way in hell she was going to be suspended on two foot plank above it. I couldn't blame her, so I set to work changing her in one of the galleys. A thoroughly outraged flight attendant ordered me to stop, insisting it was 'not hygenic.' I informed her that the alternative would be worse for everyone on board and carried on. To make matters that much more uncomfortable, Mighty Mouse was showing the first signs of a mysterious rash that, in a week's time, would cover every inch of her. When she was awake and not feeding, she cried. It was a journey I would just as soon forget, but it's been branded into my brain by hostile looks and my own desperation.
Our challenges didn't end when we reached our destination. We had the address of our temporary apartment and the cell phone number of the person who would meet us there to let us in. After multiple tries we figured out how to dial a local Swiss telephone number with the requisite zero before the area code. When the call finally connected, we reached the person's voice mail. Exasperated, we left a message and headed off to get our rental car. For the next hour the Captain struggled to load our luggage and double stroller into the compact hatchback we'd been assigned, firing off expletives I've not heard him use since. In the end, we hit the road with bags crammed between the girls, at their feet, and on my lap.
Yesterday's trip was a surreal experience in comparison. Even though the girls and I travelled on our own without the Captain, there were no delays and, other than our luggage not making it out of Geneva, it was a generally pleasant experience. We slept in our clothes last night, but we did so for almost ten hours. And I didn't have to change one diaper!!! As for the in-flight entertainment, Mighty Mouse was strangely subdued this time around. Pity--I was counting on some good blog fodder. As we'll be in mostly English-speaking Ontario for the next two weeks, there's still hope.
Well, I can smell the bacon is almost ready, so I'm going to sign off. Stay tuned for some reverse culture shock. Here are just a couple of the comments the girls have made so far:
"Why does everyone here speak English?" and "How do you flush this thing?"