Since I decided to make Switzerland my home nearly two decades ago, you and I have unfortunately not been able to spend a whole lot of quality time together.
We are victims of geography, so to speak.
So this week, when you told me that you will be coming all the way from California to spend a couple of weeks with me this summer, you can bet that I was pretty happy to hear the news.
In fact, it is all I have been thinking about for the past few days. Although you have come to visit a number of times already, there is still so much that I would like to show you.
Of course there is the natural beauty that Switzerland has to offer - its mountains, lakes, rivers, and wonderful views - but I also want to share with you the nitty-gritty of everyday life here.
Switzerland has become my home and I want you to see it not only through your eyes, as a visiting tourist, but also through my eyes, as someone who loves living here and has to deal with the best and the worst (yes, even a place as seemingly beautiful and peaceful as Switzerland has a dark side) this country has to offer on a daily basis.
As you well know, there is only so much that can be shared through phone calls, emails and the occasional photograph.
Since you’ve lived in rural areas most of your life and probably haven’t been without a car since you were a little girl, I want you to experience the joys of public transportation.
As you know, I don’t own a car here, so it will be mostly punctual trains and trams and even the odd smelly bus or two while you are here, which means that you have to start thinking about time and distance in an entirely new way.
The liberty of owning a personal vehicle is replaced by a strange, but very useful skill of knowing exactly when the last trains run and how many connections it will take to best reach your destination.
I also want you to know what it is like to have the shops closed for the greater part of the weekend. Sunday is usually your grocery shopping day back home, but you can forget that here. No midnight runs for ice-cream at our local grocery store. In fact, you just might have to wait until Monday morning to get your Ben & Jerry’s fix.
I want you to experience what it is like to separate all of the recyclables, down to the toilet-paper rolls.
I want you to experience strange social (remember, it’s a firm hand-shake with three kisses on the cheek!) and cultural behavior (if they stick an extra, non-needed vowel in the word preceding the parenthesis at the beginning of this conditional sentence, you will know they learned their English from a British text-book!).
I also want you to know what it’s like to be on a washing schedule, forced to share the same washing machine with all of people in the building. Wait, on second thought, strike that! We have our own machine now.
In any case, I am looking forward to your visit. We may not do all of the things listed above, so please don’t be too disappointed if you already have your heart set on separating the paper from the plastics.
But what we will most definitely do is spend some quality time together, and that is of course at the very top of the list. See you soon.
Love, your son