Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Musings

The holidays make me melancholy.  I miss my children and friends and the non-stop party schedule that one gets used to during the Christmas season in America.  It is not unheard of, in America, to have, literally, ten or eleven invitations to various functions pinned to your bulletin board in the month of December.

Most weekend nights in December in America, Mr. Big and I would have to go to two or even three functions in one night.  This year, we had two.  In one MONTH.  (And, one of them we hosted, so it doesn’t even count.)  All of my little black dresses are rotting away in the closet with cobwebs hanging off of them.  The other function, besides our own little cocktail party, was affiliated with Mr. Big’s work.  Let me tell you about it.  (Please note that this was NOT Mr. Big’s party, i.e. I had nothing to do with it!)

Because Switzerland doesn’t have Halloween, they dress up in costumes here at Christmas time for parties and, also, on New Year’s Eve.  That’s why, last year, on my New Year’s blog post from Chamonix, you saw people in crazy wigs and kilts guzzling champagne in the streets.  They also dress up for bachelor/bachelorette parties.  If you are ever walking in the Flon (the club district in Lausanne) and see eight guys dresses up like Power Rangers pushing a baby stroller containing nothing but a guy in an oversized diaper, that is a bachelor party.  Swear to God.  No Atlantic City, titty bars or strippers, just Power Ranger costumes and a really big nappy.  Woo-hoo!

Anyway, Mr. Big’s Christmas party, oh, excuse me, HOLIDAY party, required Medieval costumes.    You know, I am the ultimate Corporate Wife, so I did my part and ordered an appropriate costume, like, three months in advance from Estonia.  I was a completely true-to-life peasant girl.  Mr. Big, who was in denial until approximately 36 hours before the party, finally had Right Hand Woman order something online at the last minute and it showed.  My costume was totally AUTHENTIC.  His was totally SYNTHETIC. 

His sword broke in half the first time he swashbuckled it.  Cheap Chinese piece of crap!  Gawd, can’t those Chinese eleven-year-olds do anything right?

Y’all.  It was bizarre.  Picture this.  An actor troupe, dressed in Medieval clothes, acting out various skits in MEDIEVAL FRENCH to a group of 100 or so people who don’t even speak modern French.  There were gymnastics, cat fights, a lot of yelling and screaming and some crazy wine called mead which tasted like fermented peat moss. 

There was a real, live baby in a basket, who I am pretty sure was not supposed to be Moses, for some unknown reason.  Tres bizarre.  I don’t even think the Swiss people (all two of them) got it.  Anyway, I looked fabulous, so that’s all that matters.

And then, the band started playing lost ‘80’s hits and that was all she wrote.  Imaging dancing with Henry VIII, Charlemagne and Joan d’Arc to Loggins and Messina and you are starting to get the picture.


Otherwise, the holidays here make me melancholy.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  As soon as Charming Daughter arrives in 3 days, I will totally be alright again.  Then, on Christmas Day, two of our dear friends are coming and, finally, the next day, Small Son and New Girlfriend arrive.  Yes, that means that we are going to the Geneva airport three days in a row, but that is FINE!  I can’t wait.

My feelings of nostalgia make me harken (now, there’s a medieval word for ya!) back to the days when the kids were small.  People love their children when they are small.  It is so easy to love your children when they are small, because they look so cute and they say the cutest things.  You just want to EAT them, they are so cute.  Then, they get to be about 7 or 8, and it becomes a little more difficult to love them ALL of the time.  Because they are starting to get their own attitudes, which are, oftentimes, not so cute, and, oftentimes, not exactly in line with what you want them to do.  Where you used to have these perfectly cute little specimens of humanity who bowed to your every whim, suddenly, POOF!  They start to have their own opinions.  Excuse me, Small Son, but I really don’t care that everyone else is wearing Sponge Bob boxer shorts to school and letting them hang out of the tops of their blue jeans.  You, Sir, are wearing your little tightie whities and you will like it!

I am even so far gone that I am feeling nostalgic about their middle school years.  Jeez, they were jerks, but I still loved them.   Remember those times when you were doing the dishes and you would find the little rubber bands from their braces on the side of the plate?  Gross!  And they would fight with each other for “touching” each others’ stuff and each others’ bodies.  Remember that?  MOM!!!  He is touching me!!!  Small Son, back away from your sister and no one gets hurt.  Remember that?

So, y’all, I am waxing nostalgic here and involving you.  Sorry!  I will continue on in the next post about how difficult it is to keep on keepin’ the faith through their teenage years.  Finally, (the whole point of this post), I will reflect on how nice it is that they are grown and what that means when they come and visit you.

Getting back to Switzerland, I also want to touch on more of the holiday traditions here and how ex-pats can better prepare for them.  For instance, the concept of a Christmas tree stand into which one puts water is anathema to them.  I’ll explain later.

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