Sunday, November 25, 2001

Diary: 11/25/2001

We realize that some of you are living in Switzerland vicariously through these emails. In the spirit of sharing more of that experience, I would welcome you to reproduce the move-in process we've been going through. It is extremely educational and even amusing (for those watching). Follow these easy steps:

First, obtain one live cranky gorilla.

Now put the gorilla in your house along with several hundred boxes and ask the gorilla to pack all your stuff into the boxes. You might have to entice the gorilla with food, alcohol, etc. (Do not be fooled into thinking that regular moving companies do not work the same way!).

After 2 days, take all the boxes out of your house. Take all the stuff the gorilla forgot to pack and throw it away.

Close off enough rooms in your house so that you now have half the space you did before.

Remove all closets in the remaining rooms.

Remove all cupboards except those in the kitchen.

In the kitchen, remove 1/3 of the cubpboards, block off half your oven, and only use the top 3 shelves in your refrigerator.

Play "slappy face" with the gorilla for 3 minutes. This will simulate the process of forgetting what stuff you packed and what stuff you left in storage.

Send the gorilla back to wherever you found it.

Bring all the boxes back into your "new" house and unpack them.

All joking aside, this was one of the hardest weeks yet for us. Unpacking often meant reminiscing as well, and it was hard not to feel regret for the things we had given up to be here. On top of that was the logistical issue of where to squeeze everything. Things that could not be placed had to be repacked and stored away, which was also a difficult process. And then there was the problem of the items that either came unwanted, did not come, or some parts came and others did not.

On top of that, the dryer is still not working reliably (although repaires are being made and we hope to have it back in order by Tuesday).

And finally we were working as we always do to make a "normal", consistant, stable environment for the kids. This takes time as much as any other task, and that meant time lost from the necessary process of settling the house.

Through it all, the people here - Leon's coworkers and the familes we met at school - have been overwhelmingly supportive. Coming to help move the larger items, helping to set up equipment, and picking up the girls so they had some play time in the midst of all this chaos.

We also spent a lot of time this week cooking - there were thanksgiving celebrations on both Thursday and Saturday, and dishes had to be prepared for each. It took time away from unpacking, but it was also nice to spend that time with other expats and talk, relax, etc.

On Saturday, Leon went out and purchased a satelite TV system. It seems that this is going to be the only way for us to receive English-language TV. Cable is in the area, but it hasn't been run to our house and would cost over 3,000 francs to get it there. It is actually easier and simpler to use a satelite. Go figure.

By the end of the week, we had almost everything out of boxes (and some things back into boxes!), and several rooms were pretty much finished. This week we will spend time getting the last items in place, and hopefully even doing the "little" things like hanging pictures. It's taken a lot of work, but we're getting there!

Debbie, Leon, Heather, Isabelle, and Joram

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