It's been a week since I last posted! Sorry. It's been crazy busy! This is going to be long.
Saturday was two major events: Desalpes, and the kids' huge joint birthday party. It was a blast. I got up early and headed into St. Cergue with Bertrand and the kids (Ivana went to set up the party) and it was a blast. We saw hundreds of cows passing, flowers on their heads and massive bells around their necks, heard a "choir" of alphorns (I had no idea they sounded so beautiful), and some yodelers, ate raclette and drank white wine (even though it was only 10 am), and I bought a bell for Dan's grandparents' bell collection. I met up with a friend after Bertrand and the kids went to swimming lessons. It was great fun.
After that, I took the train home and Bertrand picked me up at the station for the kids big birthday bash. The family rented a little log cabin in the woods, and we built a big fire, and the kids (and ridiculous gifts) came pouring in. The adults had a great spread of cheese, grapes, figs, beer, wine, and champagne. The kids had enough candy for a week-long sugar high. There were two "clowns" who kinda ran the whole thing, and they face-painted, led the kids in a dance time, cut & served the cake, and even held the pinata while the kids swung wildly. It was fun, and very very exhausting.
Sunday I played guitar at church and had to learn a bunch of new songs. My friend Brad lent me his guitar for a few days (so nice - the kids loved it too; we had sing-a-longs). Also, Ivana left for San Diego Sunday, leaving me & Bertrand to manage the kids. While Bertrand is an awesome dad, he doesn't really "get" taking care of kids full-time like the mom (or nanny), which is a pretty internationally-accepted stereotype of fathers. Before she left, Ivana asked if I'd help out a tiny bit more than I normally do when she's gone, because "Bertrand is a man, and he does not know" (her words, not mine).
Monday and Tuesday were low-key, but Wednesday was my birthday! That's right, I'm 26. And guess what. It was the first time in my whole life that I didn't care that it was my birthday. Didn't care one iota. But I really had a nice day. I had to work all day; Malko in the morning (he spent the afternoon with his grandparents) and Mathilde and her friend Kiara in the afternoon. But it was a breeze, because the kids are so great. It was especially nice to have Kiara around, because she is fluent in English - her mom is from New York! She translated between Mathilde and me, which is a luxury we don't normally get. I'm usually running to the French/English dictionary with a confused look on my face. Ivana called in the morning from San Diego and said the sweetest things to me - she wished all my dreams to come true, wished me every happiness, and just wished me a great day. I got a little choked up - I work with the best family. I went out to dinner with a few of my girlfriends, and it was good fun, although our server was very crabby. Though I took pictures of the beautiful wrapping jobs the girls did, I didn't get any pictures with the girls... so I stole this one from Laura. Is it just me or do I look a little like Gramma P in this picture? I love my au pair friends - they are all so great. They got me a Swiss army knife, Cheetos, Reeses' Pieces, and some L'Occitane lavendar hand lotion. Then I got a nice voicemail from my parents and I got to video chat with Dan for a while, which made it perfect. It would have been the best day if he could have been here, but that's ok. I'll see him soon, I'm sure. Right, Dan?
Thursday was great - I sent the kids off to school, ran into Nyon and did some quick shopping, met up with Becky and she helped me get my demi-tariff (150 CHF for a card that gives you half off on all public transportation in CH, valid for a year which = awesome), came back home, collected the children from school, and came home just as their grandparents came to get them. I then had the whole afternoon free, which I spent practicing piano and voice, and making peanut butter bars for my small group. I think the best part was during small group - during prayer requests one of the guys mentioned he'd been reading a book on homelessness, and we all got enthusiastic about helping out the less fortunate in our area. While Switzerland is usually considered a country of "negative poverty", there are homeless, refugees, and a lot of prostitution and sex trafficking. We decided we are going to do something about it. Not sure what, but the weekend of October 17-19 we are going to the streets of Geneva to pass out food, clothes, whatever we can. Just talk to people and show them love, and relationship. That's what Jesus did, right? Hung out with the least of men? So we are going to do it too.
Tomorrow I leave for Zermatt. I have not started packing at all, and I need to catch the 6:30am train. Ugh. Cross your fingers for clear skies and no rain/snow! I will be sure to post loads of pictures up on my return.