Friday, September 19, 2014

Why I Haven't Posted

How can anyone be miserable in beautiful, enchanted Switzerland? I mean, c'mon! But I have been and here's why: despite spending the last year taking college courses in French and then a three-week intensive course at the University of Geneva, I can't understand a thing anybody is saying. Lesson: just because you can read The Little Prince in French doesn't mean you can parlez fran├žais.

I was bitterly--and I do mean bitterly--disappointed.

The intensive course was six hours a day. I understood about 25% of what the instructor said. I hated it. Yes, "hate" is a strong word--but not strong enough. Every morning I would lie in bed and loudly groan for a full minute before I got up. I'm sure our neighbors (with whom we share a wall) thought we were having extremely hot sex every morning. I swear they started looking at me differently.

Because I couldn't communicate, in no time I turned into an insecure, fearful, introvert.  I had to ask myself, "Who am I?" Yes, you can spend your whole life pondering this existential question. In the mean time, someone has to buy groceries.

But here's what happens when you can't read the labels:

--You and your husband wash your hair with conditioner for an entire week resulting in a Greaser Look that is not flattering to either of you.
--You serve your guests what you think is a grilled veal sausage but it's really some form of cooked pasta that is now hard and dry. When your guest asks to read the package you cover your embarrassment with another glass of wine.
--You ruin a colored load of laundry because you think think 60┬║ is Fahrenheit and not Centigrade.

Military time, centimeters, centigrade, grams, kilograms: exquisite and insidious forms of torture. Scene in the Farmer's Market:

Seller: Vous bxln tqupr cnxz?
Me: (assuming he's asking how many little containers I want) Deux!
Seller: Vxbdureteaux?
Me: (panicking) Oui, oui!

I watch in horror as he bags two kilos (four pounds) of olives. I hand over the money and then go have a glass of wine.

So I've been miserable for two and half months and then yesterday I decided to be happy.
What?! Decide to be happy?
 Seriously. Here's what I've learned--and as with many spiritual truths it's counterintuitive--there will be no external change until there is an internal change. 

I know, I know our culture teaches us differently: "If only I had x, y and z, then I would be happy." But I know better than that. I also know that I have to feel my feelings (frustration, anger, sadness, depression), give them a voice, ("I hate it here!") and then move on (I'm deciding to be happy).

So that's why I haven't posted. If you're in town be sure to stop by. We'll give you a glass of wine. And some olives.