Interview with Vivi: Swiss School

I interview Vivi about her after thoughts of going to school in Switzerland (Luc’s actual school!).

  1. Before you started school in Switzerland, do you remember what you thought or felt about going to school there?
    That’s a hard question. I was scared to not make any new friends. Cuz they would all laugh about my accent.
    And how did it work out? It worked out fine actually, I made a lot of new friends.
  2. What was your first impressions of Swiss school?
    I don’t know. That’s a hard question again. This was a lot more different then I thought it was going to be. In what way? Some things that I didn’t know what they meant in French, I’m like, Ok I think that’s what she’s saying, but I don’t know… Is she saying that or is she saying that? Cuz I don’t know which one. I was a little bit confused. It was more at the beginning.
  3. How did you feel in the beginning?
    Scared. Was there anything that helped you not be scared?  Getting used to it, going every day. What helped you? Somebody explained to me everything. A friend. Avril. Merci Avril. Would you say you were outside your comfort zone?  Yes at the beginning. But then it became the new normal. It was kinda like school in Canada but in French and in a different country – when I was done. Did anybody laugh at your accent? I think a couple did but then they got used to it. I forget.
  4. What was the most fun thing?
    Going to the train to go to the pool, the gym, I love the train and that’s it.
  5. What was the thing you liked to do the most in school?
    Everything that I just said. Ummm… ACM -> where you do crafts, stuff for other people too, when it was Halloween, we made little baskets with skulls on them, I filled it up with candy and give it to someone. Did you like singing? When did I sing? Yeah, I like singing… but I didn’t need to do it in front of the whole class.
  6. What was the thing you liked to do the least?
    Math, and we all had different things to do everyday – so every week we had to change so once I was sweeping and once I was mopping and once I was cleaning tables and I don’t like doing that. Do you do that in Canada? No…. uh a little bit – I forget. What about dictee? No, cuz I only got for 5 months I only got 2 times right.
  7. What is something that is your favorite memory?
    My birthday cuz they all did a parade and said Canada! Canada! Canada! And some people’s birthday and also the train to go to the pool and the pool and the gym and yeah.
    What was it like staying for lunch some days at school?
    The first day was really scary because I didn’t get what was happening. My best friend explained what was happening, she went there last year and she helped me and so that helped a lot. What happens there? You get picked up when you get out of your class, then he collects all the people, and you go to a different room near the gym, you wash your hands, you go to a table that you want, he says “anybody that wants to serve your table?” and you have to put your hand up and you all have to agree. Your table all has to agree what person. And then all of the people who want to collect the  food, and then they go in line to collect the food, and the adults put the food on the plate and then you serve it to your table. What kinds of foods did you eat? Burgers. Once we ate taco, and we ate a whole bunch of other foods [like vegetables, and soup, and fruit] and we always have fruit for desert in Switzerland. When you’re done you brush your teeth and you have your name on a tooth brush and you have a special place to put your goblet and tooth brush on a shelf. They gave us the toothbrush but you have to get it.
  8. Did you learn new games you can teach your friends ?
    Yeah, I forget what they are called but I learned card games, outside games, inside games – there’s a lot of games.
  9. What was your teacher like? 
    Her name is Madame Amandine and she was really nice. She really, oh man I forget, [you told me that she was really nice to, and that she really helped you feel a part of the class and explained things to you as you were new to the class, and with cursive writing, everyone was a year ahead and she really helped you with that but you also told me she was strict and no nonsense.] Yes all of that but only a little bit strict.
  10. What are some of the differences between Swiss school and Canadian school?
    They don’t speak French that much in Canada. Usually the kids just talk in English at recess. But it was really different because sometimes I said words in English, and they copied it but really with a French accent.
  11. What difference would you bring back to Canada if you could?
    I don’t know. What was some of the things that you really liked in Switzerland and wish you had in Canada. Swimming and eating [the canteen, a hot lunch every day], ACM [crafts], sometimes you go in a bus and you go to a place, so I was group “boat”, let’s say, and sometimes I need to go over to another school. I made a pouch for pencil crayons and stuff like that and I made it all by hand and I choose my own colours and my own buttons for the eyes and different stuff like that. And also sometimes I go to a different school and sometimes the one go to a different school. We made a basket for Halloween. It was really cool ACM. So you didn’t do that in Canada? No. You have different tools? Yeah, a cursive pen – ink pen. When you do crafts in Canada, what’s the difference? I don’t know. I forget.
  12. Which school do you like better?
    I like both. 😀
  13. Are you better at speaking and reading in French now?
    Yeah! Yeah.
  14. Would you go back again?
    That’s a hard question because I miss Canada right now, but if I lived in Switzerland, yeah.
  15. If you had a friend that was in Canada and going to Swiss school and that was a bit worried what would you tell them?
    The first time I went there it was a little scary, but once I got used to it it was really fun!

Thanks so much Vivi! Super appreciate you answering all my questions. Your welcome!

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Disappointment

Feelings are just visitors. Let them come and go.

Just a short one to say what’s so for me in this exact moment.

I had a GREAT day connecting with people, spending time at a conference and eating a free buffet for work. So so so good. I thought nothing could break my mood.

Something happened and now I’m disappointed. Sad. Mad. Frustrated. I totally get what happened. And it’s totally out of my control. I get to just be with the disappointment. There’s nothing wrong with all those feelings. It’s ok to be upset. There really wasn’t anything I could do.

I remind myself this, to show myself love for myself. That it’s ok to feel these things. It’s natural and human and it doesn’t mean anything about me. I don’t have to suffer.

And now after writing this… I feel better already. I’m not resisting the feelings and they are passing.

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Leukemia

10 days ago, I got a text from my best friend, “there’s no easy way to say this, my girl has Leukemia”. And in that short text, her world and my world shifted (probably more accurately, her world blew up). It’s so true when they say, “life can change in an instant”. Her daughter is 11.

I couldn’t even imagine what my friend and her husband must have been going through as a parent in that moment and the moments that followed. And even now, 11 days later, where life turns into what’s happening in this instant, and the next instant, and then the next. Where you were planning, and living your life to the beat of your farm, your children, your garden, your community. And now you’re moving in the bubble of a hospital to the beat of the doctors and nurses and how your sick child is.

For me, I first felt incredible sadness and compassion for this beautiful family. This family has been a part of our family since I was 16. I first knew her dad, and then a few year later we were all roommates. Through all my growing years, learning years, influential years, they have been by my side in one way or another. Our babies have grown up together. When I brought my future husband to meet them, there was worry and love for what he stood for in our lives. They were protective of me and my daughter to make sure we wouldn’t get hurt. And then years later, all their beautiful children were flower girls in our wedding and my best friend was my maid of honor.

When I got that text 11 days ago, I was angry for a moment that something so terrible could happen to a family that is so incredible. They have 6 daughters altogether. They are in 4H and are home schooled. They are a very big part of quite a few communities around this island, giving back, loving people, creating abundance in their lives and the lives of many many others. I could list off all the ways they make a difference in other people’s lives but let me just say that their community and our world is better with them in it. Which then had me get angry and wonder: if there was a god, why would he/she let such a horrible thing like childhood cancer impact a family that so clearly doesn’t deserve this.

Directly following that I felt an incredible pull to be of service to them. I’ve never felt such a strong desire/need to be with another human; to be there for them. 1.5 days later, I hopped on a ferry to the mainland to see where I could help these beautiful humans. I got to listen, support, warm up burritos, deliver groceries, give hugs, laugh, untangle tubes, and most importantly I got to BE with them. Like really be with them. Be with them in silence. Be with them while they were reading their family handbook on cancer, be with them when the doctor was explaining. Be with them when she was going into surgery and then waking up from surgery, Be with them when we just wanted to watch a movie. Connection in a time of compassion, grief, distress, confusion, love, sadness. What a gift this was for me.

And then I went home a different person.

We’re all on our own journeys in life. Processing what happens in our lives, as we need to. We put up guards to protect us and keep us safe. In an incredibly stressful time, that’s when our survival mechanism kicks in and says, “Ok, I’m running the show now, this is exactly what I’ve been training for all our lives. Move over, I need to get us back to our comfort zone pronto.” And then we do those things that we know so well to do to get us back to comfort and safety and normalcy. And this happens at times when we’re outside our comfort zones. And it’s perfectly ok.

And as you can imagine, in a situation like finding out your baby has cancer, that would plunge you outside the CZ in an instant. You zip down to one hospital and then over to another where tests, surgeries and doctors fill your life within 24 hours. How incredibly scary and jarring that must be. And then I think of the doctors in that hospital and how loving, kind, compassionate, and strong they are and how well they know to keep you safe, informed, and nurtured. And eventually, the hospital and tests and treatments “become the new normal” as I heard a doctor say. I envision that this new normal is potentially your survival mechanism now morphing to create comfort out of the chaos and protect us and keep us safe.

And through all of this, I continue to send massive light, love and strength to my wonderful friends. I want to be whatever they need me to be to support them in whatever way they need supported. I’m honored to be a part of their journey in this life.

 

 

 

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