With bulging blackberries and new blank hard backs announcing the end of the summer, I contemplate this years forced family togetherness, I mean holiday. Yes we were lucky to have one and I never take them for granted. Perhaps that has something to do with us being a ‘euro commuter’ family with Himself over and back to Switzerland to work, every week. Holidays are ever evolving as each year passes, especially as the kids get older. Time to be together, to regroup, reconnect, to throw schedules, drop-offs, pick-ups, work, study, early mornings out the window. There’s nothing like a bit of forced togetherness and a lack of wifi to bring out the best in people (insert tongue firmly in cheek here), especially when you have teenagers. That said, we normally do them well after the requisite 4 days to completely unwind and stop taking the heads of each other. Then, by the time the 2 weeks are up, we’ve had enough of each other’s nuances and are relieved that it’s back to routine and your own bed. That’s not just us. Psychologists say when it comes to the jo-holiers the anticipation and looking forward is more enjoyable than the thing itself and, most importantly, we remember primarily the good bits, rose tinted as it were. We post photos on Facebook and Instagram, these also tinted, literally. With all of this in mind here are a few of our highs and lows for August 2014:
Terrifing alarme volant zip lining with mucky hill walking in unsuitable attire resulting in up close and personal encounter with electric fence. Tears of terror and laughter still echoing in the mountains of Lausanne.
Enroute to Italy epic traffic in Zurich adding 2 hours to car journey. 7 hours in the car but did get to drive through 17km tunnel.
Rain on arrival to Porlezza, Italy. Teenage givey-outty-ness at the highest level.
Fever and code red moaning results in first trip to doctor, Italy. Eldest on antibiotics. Heroic nose blowing with loud sinus sufferance.
Flying ants. Himself on anti-histamines. More rain.
WiFi ONLY in hotel bar. Shame.
Trip to Foxtown Factory Outlet, Mendrisio, Switzerland. Experienced outlandish displays of wealth by minted men for burka covered wives and daughters. Surreal.
Did I mention the rain?
The Middle pukes on steps of really old, important church in Milan. Race out of Leonard De Vinci’s Last Supper (universally the most famous mural painting, ever, in art history) due to Middle's second impending vomit.
Sebastiäo Salgado exhibition, Milan. Inspiring. Leads to middle age occupation envy.
Nerve shattering drive OVER the Alps, through Simplon Pass. Scenery spectacular to back seat chorus of ‘we’re hungry, OMG there is no food! We’re all goin to die!!’ for 5 hours. Jaysus, are we still climbing? I just want to get off this f….n mountain!
The true art of the art of head banging is shared with the girls at beach party, Porlezza, Italy. The Eldest, MORTO!
The Middle has swollen eye and ear ache. Second trip to doctor, Lausanne, Switzerland. Another round of anti-biotics.
Le Musée Olympique, Lausanne, Switzerland. Superb.
With all of that in mind I share with you some of the writer Tim Lott’s real family mottoes, not the saccharine fridge magnet ones or those hanging on the back of toilet doors, cause that’s the place for them:
For the teens ‘Most of the shit you’re going through now, you won’t remember and if you do, it will be useful ammunition after things go wrong when you’re grown up’.
For parents ‘Remember that person you married? They’re still IN THERE, somewhere.’
Lastly, and hard to top this one, in the words of Matt Groening ‘Families are about love overcoming emotional torture’. I concur.