So… it’s been a while.
I have a huge backlog of posts to get up here.
- How awesome Gymboree Basel is (including the art class G took there which culminated in an art show)
- Our experience with InterSoccer over the summer (the coaches were so great with my clingy at drop-off child)
- Swiss National Day 2016
- My amazing trip to visit two of my friends in London
- G started kindergarten!
- The pumpkin festival at Mathis-Hof
- Two additional (and really disappointing) baking competitions
- The Birsfälderchilbi (our town’s carnival)
- A long weekend in Milan
- Kathy’s visit
- The Kindergarten lantern procession
- The Christmas market
- The Kindergarten Christmas caroling around town
- Christmas 2016
- Ice skating and sledding
Those are all, for the most part, amazing and awesome things.
However, it hasn’t all been sunshine and rainbows… As I’m sure you’re aware, Donald Trump won the US Presidential election in November and I took the news hard. I immediately panicked but was able to set the panic aside for a while, to try to enjoy the holidays with Andy, G, and Ziggy.
But then in early December, Ziggy got sick. The vet first thought she had a canine flu that was going around, but a blood test revealed that she also had an infection. Even after a course of antibiotics and a modified diet, Zigs was still exhibiting symptoms and losing tons of weight. We celebrated Christmas with her and she squeaked her new squeaky toy, but not with the same excitement she normally showed for new toys.
In early January, her symptoms were getting worse again. She ended up at the vet with an IV. Another blood test showed that the infection was worse. They also biopsied a lump on the inside of one of her hind legs to see if that was the source of infection or an additional issue. (It had been found earlier in December, but we opted not to biopsy it then because she wasn’t well enough for surgery.) While she was at the vet, she ate two cans of wet food and then pranced her way home.
The next morning, however, she wouldn’t eat that same canned food. She would hardly drink. She deteriorated so quickly that day. I went to bed on the 4th with Ziggy on her bed right next to ours. I didn’t expect her to make it through the night. She did, though. Genevieve and Andy hugged her before they left and mid-morning, while we were in the midst of arranging for the vet to come to the apartment, Ziggy passed away.
I spent a week doing hardly anything while G was at kindergarten. Just staying in bed, crying and sleeping.
In short order, however, it was time for Trump’s inauguration. And I had another reason for despair. I’m still generally in shock that he won and that he is following through with his campaign promises so fucking fast. I didn’t think I’d ever be so upset about a “politician” being productive.
Here’s where I’m struggling:
I know I’m not alone. Tons of Americans and people around the world are appalled by Trump and his actions. But I have been unfriended and chastised by friends and family for speaking up and posting articles that resonate with me.
It makes me feel very alone. It makes me feel attacked. It makes me feel like I can only make people happy if I just shut up and post happy pictures of my cute kid.
I mean, I’ve got those. I post them.
But there is important shit going on in the world right now and it’s more important to me, for me to stay informed and motivated than to gloss over everything.
I may be taking this more personally than I should, than people mean for it to seem.
But I’ve been judged and gossiped about for admitting that I’ve struggled over here. Some of my personal struggles have been directly expat related (language barrier, unemployment), but some of it is just life (parenting a smart, independent kid). Would parenting G be different in the US? Somewhat, but we would still have power struggles; that’s just a part of the job. (She’s almost 5, by the way. It’s almost her birthday again!)
There are days that I regret our decision to move to Switzerland. There are days that I think we definitely made the right choice. I want to, and should be able to, talk about both of those things. But when talking about the bad leads to people questioning and criticizing you, instead of supporting you, it seems easier to just stay quiet.
But I can’t stay quiet.
(So watch this space. More posts about life and probably some political ranting to come.)