Dear friends and family:
This note marks our 3rd month here, and so it is a good time to take stock of where we are, how far we have come, and even how far we have yet to go.
While we would like to report that we are thriving, that everything is wonderful, that would be a lie. It would also be a lie to say that we are miserable, and that we spend each and every moment weeping in despair.
The reality is somewhere in-between those two extremes. It has been a hard time, to be sure. Every task, no matter how small or mundane, requires enormous amounts of energy, thought, and time. Some of this is normal for any move. Some is normal for any move when you are going to a completely new location (without language or culture differences). And some of this is absolutely related to language and culture changes. The 3 together are what has made this move so much more complex than anything we've ever attempted before.
When the dryer breaks, how do you call the repairman when you cannot find a yellow pages; when the yellow pages is sorted by village rather than by profession; when the person answering the phone speaks a different language? At home, just calling the repairman and scheduling the time to come out was a chore. But these new elements make the task a world unto itself.
The answer often lies in friends and coworkers. We were never people who were able to easily ask for help. It was against our nature and (for the most part) rarely a need. But we are learning! What is the name of a good repair person? Will you call them for me? etc.
So where are we in the new house? Well, we have the bedrooms unpacked and organized, including building 6 new wardrobes since houses here don't come with closets. The bathrooms are all set up and the extra toiletries are in a cupboard in the basement. Ditto all the food and dishes in the kitchen. We've hung ceiling lights in all the rooms so we can remove the floor lamps (houses in Switzerland do not need to come with any lighting fixtures - not even a bare bulb on a wire!). The satellite dish is FINALLY set up!!! Deepest and most heartfelt thanks needs to be given to Paul Saunders, Rory Nazareth, and Chris Ayres, without whom we would be lost upon the uncharted seas of satellite minutia. With the satellite in place, we finally can get some English channels, catch up on the news, and even let the kids watch Disney, Discover, and "that cooking show" again.
What is left to do?
We have been extremely blessed with Tupperware, and it our organization of it needs to be... refined a little. We have room in the kitchen and room in the basement, but we need to optimize each. The guest room needs to be organized. The office area and all the computer equipment needs to be arranged so that the grownups have a workable space. We need to do the same for the girls' desks. Once the DSL line is in place, we need to get the home network running. After that, we are down to the normal "hanging pictures and re-arranging furniture" tasks that haunt every new move for months after it is technically finished.
Of course, the big excitement for the coming week is that Debbie's Mom arrives on Thursday. We are already making our plans for each day, visiting markets, seeing sites, and generally showing off the country. We're also getting ready for Chanukah - putting up decorations, making sure we can find all the important items, etc.
As always, we hope that this letter finds everyone in good health and better spirits. Take care and write soon.
Debbie, Leon, Heather, Isabelle, and Joram