Sunday, May 29, 2011

Molester of dairy products

It’s a little past 10:30am and we’re still in our tiny hotel room on the third floor, sun streaming through the French (yes French!) doors providing a much-needed dose of fresh air.

Sapphire and Love Chunks have colds. Bad ones. Colds that make it difficult to breathe, hold ones’ head up and feel interested in anything other than internal misery, aches, fever and the desire to simply go back inside, give in to it and lie down.
My cold, on the other hand, is minor. It has made things harder than they need to be but much more sympathetic to the sufferings of my small family. It is easy to forget how the all-encompassing domination of a truly bad cold can affect everything for the worse.

Despite this - and the limitations of our hotel room and the thought of it being ‘home’ for a month - we set off to explore Geneva on foot yesterday.

“Everyone looks so stylish,” Sapphire noted. “Is that what teenagers are supposed to look like? No wonder they give me the death stare as they pass by.”
“Hang on, you reckon that kids in Melbourne do the death stare as well….”
“Yes, it’s an older kid thing, Mum….”
“Then you try something different here, then. Smile instead.”
A head-shatteringly loud honk into her tissue and an eye-roll just visible above the quivering white snot rag was her only response.

I wanted to hug her and push her at the same time. Every step was blistering her foot “why did I buy these cheap birkenstocks in Singapore?”, she felt sick, she was tired, it was too far; the woman in the department store still kept talking at her in French even though she said, “Je ne parlez pas Francais” and was dying for a drink.

All of these observations were fair ones, but the view of the lake, having a drink at a café watching the ducks and pea hens swim up to us from the water and the unique look of the buildings and cobbled streets of the old town weren’t quite enough to lift her spirits.

And wouldn’t you know it but I got sunburnt! I’ll add Factor 30 to my shopping list that will include bed sheets,* mugs that hold more than 100ml, salt and pepper, a toaster and instant coffee which is better than no coffee at all.

Dinner last night was chicken, Japanese sticky sauce, vegetables and rice bought from a department store food hall. When you’re ill, the last thing you want to do make an effort to dress up and wander out for an evening meal and we were all grateful for the large saucepan we’d purchased earlier** and LC’s ability to conjure up something nutritious and filling. My contribution was three tiny tubs of Movenpick ice-cream which the freezer did a sterling job of turning into sludge at the time of eating.

After-dinner entertainment has been provided via iPad because the TV has forty-odd channels with only one in English. The first two nights’ have seen me feel too exhausted to fire up the laptop and write as well as the in-house wireless service having more dropouts than a tech college and me with the inexplicable urge to curl up in bed and hide……

LC and I have been given single beds, side-by-side, and already I feel sadder for not being directly next to him, touching, snuggling into his chest. Not that we’d want to perform a live version of the Kama Sutra with Sapphire in the same room, but the warmth of his back and the automatic cuddle at the end of the day is something that I miss terribly. Instead we’re all passed out by 9pm with jetlag and taking turns to puncture the air with snoring, gasps and snozz-whiping interspersed with trips to fill up water glasses and even louder nose blowing in the fully-tiled potentially-deafening acoustics of the bathroom.

And yet, I’m capable of understanding that we’ll all feel better soon and that our rudimentary grasp of apologetic phrases will sound more authentic and less shy and that we’ll find somewhere decent to live and enjoy setting it up the way that we want. I’m capable of understanding that we’re in a natural anti-climax mode and that LC’s ‘welcome officer’ will hopefully be providing us with some actual help now that we share the same geographical coordinates and will be staring at her with pleading faces tomorrow morning.

And I’m also capable of understanding that we’re on an adventure that will present its fair share of challenges and frustrations and that despair and fatigue will try their best to elbow in and take over. But there’s no two other people I’d rather be doing this with.

Now it’s time to check that we have enough tissues to last us and to stop sniggering immaturely about the 'cheese raper' we just bought....

* (“Pardon, madame? You want what – a bedsheet? We have none – just the, errr, quilt and bottom sheet….”
“Sorry? You need another pillow? We only have one per guest.” He softened slightly when I explained that Sapphire couldn’t breathe and needed to lift her head up a bit in bed. “I’ll see what we have in the cellar.” We’re also hoping that the single bog roll we’ve been given to last us the weekend will suffice. Small gripes to be sure, but they’re basics that, if automatically provided, would have made things a fair bit easier.

** ‘kitchenette’ for a month-long stay makes my parents’ cramped caravan seem like a fully-equipped catering school. One small fruit knife and no kettle does not a mealtime make.


The Elephant's Child said...

So, so sorry that you are all starting your new life with colds. They make a person feel miserable out of all proportion to the severity of the illness. Hopefully they will depart SOON and leave all of you free to explore (and breathe simultaneously).
Looking forward to the next installment (and couldn't help a snigger at the concept of no sheet and only one pillow.)
Hope things look up SOON.

Cat J B said...

Nice to see you again, hope the colds peter out soon.

Kay said...

Aaah, now I understand! Miss R is actually European! She WILL NOT have a top sheet - just the bottom sheet and quilt.

Seriously, glad to hear that you have arrived but sorry to hear about the colds. (Having suffered with hayfever for the last 2wks, I entirely sympathise.) Am sure things will start looking up once you are in your own abode.

no-one said...

Being sick while moving is terrible. Hopefully you'll start feeling better soon, and be able to enjoy the new stage in your life.

Jily said...

Hi Kath! So happy to hear you arrived ok - sorry about the colds, and good luck with everything. I am thinking of you very very muchly often. xxx Jilly xxx

tc said...

Hang in there. These are hard days for sure. As bad as they will get (okay, maybe there will be worse days in six months or so), but you will probably never feel worse than you do now. Trust me on this. xxx

Hannah said...

You've just got to stick through it, as you're doing, and this soon will become yet another hilarious chapter in your settling-into-your-new-lives tale, alongsde the ebay crazies. Stay strong, Kath and family!

Katherine said...

Freaked me out the first time I saw a 'double' bed was two singles made up as one! But I love the European quilt and bottom sheet thing and have kept that since returning back to Oz after 4 years in the uk. Glad you made it safely and, I'm sure, things will look up once you are all feeling better.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

Welcome to Europe - and just in time for summer too (despite your loved ones' colds).

If Geneva is anything like Zurich, you will love it.




Kath Lockett said...

Thanks guys. LC and I dared to go for a walk around beautiful, old Geneva for an hour whilst Sapphire stayed in the hotel room.

Everything is shut today so there was no chance of buying any food. Gosh darnit, we'll just have to eat out somewhere in the Place de Bourg du four tonight!

nuttynoton said...

I echo the other comments once you get your own place it will get better, just settle in and get over the colds, enjoy the summer and brush up on your french!

Baino said...

Aww you'll feel better when the snots go. As kids we stayed in a hotel in St Kilda for six weeks until my parents bought a house. I guess we loved it because we didn't have to go to school and ate a lot of junk food but I think how my poor mother must have gone crazy with four kids under 11 years of age! (er Push the beds together!

Pandora Behr said...

Time, and rest, and the diminishing of jetlag will make everything brilliant - I promise. Sounds like the first few days in a new country that everybody has. Hope you're all feeling better.

franzy said...

Let the jealousy commence!

I am super duper excited and will now be hanging on your every post, every word!

(not that I don't already)

It is your responsibility, your DUTY, to blog every day about what's going on.

No excuses. Your readers need you.

River said...

ONE roll of TP and NO kettle??
I guess most guests Don't stay long enough to need more than one roll, but no kettle seems a bit odd, perhaps most people prefer to go to a cafe for a coffee.
Sad about the bad colds though. If it's any consolation there's a flu sweeping through Aus as well.
Having only a single sheet is common in Europe I'm told, but I prefer two as well. Much easier to wash a sheet than to wrestle a doona cover on and off.
I hope you find a home very very soon and get better settled in.
Looking forward to more posts and maybe a photo or three?
I'm so glad you all arrived safely. Is Geneva everything you expected?

Andrew said...

Not a great start hon. Hope all are feeling better.

Helen Balcony said...

Wow, you're already there! must have been neglecting your blog.

Is Geneva mainly Francophone? or German speaking? I really don't know much!

Red Nomad OZ said...

The good thing? I guess things can only get better!! Can't wait to get your cooking tips - you've my small camper trailer with galley kitchen (loose description) sound positively luxurious!!

Anonymous said...

Let the adventures begin!

Anonymous said...

"Cheese raper". Ha. Hope you're all feeling better!

Murray Hyde said...

Hey Kath, sorry to hear the adventure is taking an early toll. It seems like a familiar story for all who move to the EU.

Having been away from chocolate for a short while, I was surprised to read of your move. Not that you need to feel homesick but email me your address and I'll shoot you something new!

Murray - Chocolatier Australia