was like Christmas when Jaedyn came to visit. It actually was Christmas eve
when she arrived. Vivi and I were so looking forward to her coming. She has
this joyous disposition to her and she’s my little girl and Vivi’s big sister.
hadn’t seen her since we said good bye to her in New York about 5.5 months
before. Of course she was tired from such a long flight(s) and it took a good
couple of days for her to get over her jet lag.
is magical in Switzerland. We had a wonderful Christmas celebrating with her,
Vivi, Luc, Guy, Camille, Elise, Moreno and his mother Gabriella. They lit up
the Christmas tree with real candles and we played a lot of games and ate a lot
of food. Gabriella and Moreno are Italian so we had some exquisite Lasagna and
next morning we loaded up and drove to Morzine, France to an Airbnb chalet that
we had rented for 6 days all together. But before we got there, we stopped in
Evian to visit quickly, buy some mussels???, and fill our water bottles up with
free pure Evian water – the stuff you buy at the grocery store. It just easier
comes out of the wall in Evian.
there wasn’t any snow in the ski village of Morzine and the mountain snow was
kinda shit (from what I understand). Some people went skiing and boarding while
the rest of us explored the town. Vivi and Jaedyn also went skating at the
outdoor skating rink, and we drank some more hot mulled wine.
night was a feast. We all took turns cooking and we didn’t scrimp at all on the
day some of us walked around the ski mountain on the trails and we all met up
for lunch. Another day Gabriella, Luc, Vivi, Jaedyn and myself walked around a frozen lake that
reminded me of Durrance Lake in the winter time.
New Years Eve day, Jaedyn, myself and Vivi decided we wanted to stay home and
it’s a good thing we did. Violette started puking at about 9am and didn’t stop
until that evening. She spent New Years on the couch – poor thing. We rung in
the New Year all together.
left the next day and our family headed to Lauren and Francois’ house to spend
some time just the 4 of us together before we separated again. It was
wonderful. Lauren and family were up the mountain and said we could crash at
their place to have some alone time.
we were there, we went to Lausanne one more time. I also caught what Vivi had
but was sick for much longer. And of course, Jaedyn wanted to go to Vevey and
Pizza Taxi for a walk down memory lane (as I did) so the three girls did that
while Luc went and played up the mountain with his friends. It was fun
remembering what things were like 8 years before. Of course Vivi didn’t
remember but Jaedyn remembered it fondly so it was nice to share these moments
We also celebrated Vivi’s actual birthday with some family members over lunch. Again it was so awesome that Jaedyn could be there for that special day as she is used to spending her birthday with friends and family from Canada.
loved that she came. It was the best gift I could have received. She provided
so much emotional support for me and much needed empathy. For Vivi, she was so
thrilled to get to spend time with Jaedyn and have fun with her. Vivi is
happiest when all the family is together, so I think this really helped her to
not miss Canada quite as much.
booked a flight for Jaedyn to leave the day before we left so we could see her
off to the airport. It was hard, as anticipated, to say goodbye again to Jaedyn
knowing we wouldn’t see her for another 6 months. I miss her terribly (I’m
writing this 3 months after we said goodbye to her).
day before dropping her off, we spent hours and hours organizing what we were
bringing travelling. We also left some stuff behind in Switzerland and we sent
a piece of luggage with Jaedyn. We had too much stuff so we also have to ship a
box back to Canada as well which we dropped off in France (because it’s
cheaper) after dropping Jaedyn off at the airport. This was much more
complicated than you would imagine. In the end we also had a donation bag as
well. But we got it all organized and packed. I brought entirely too much stuff
with me for the second half of the trip but figured it was mostly stuff I could
leave behind and part with if need be. Turns out I actually sent a box home
from Thailand and another box with some of our souvenirs from Vietnam.
said goodbye to Luc’s parents and thank them so much for everything they have
done for us these past 5 months. Thank you for letting us stay with you and in
your studio. Thank you for the wonderful meals. Thank you for looking after
Violette while Luc was on the Camino with me. Thank you for letting us use your
car and driving us all over Switzerland. Thank you for your incredible
hospitality and generosity. I’m so happy that Vivi could spend these months
getting to know you both and that Luc had a chance to connect again with you
concludes this portion of the European trip. We move to South East Asia in my
next blog post. Check this map to see where we’ve been and
where we’re going.
post is going to be a bit longer than normal. I’m going to attempt to capture
the highlights as well as what I was feeling on the inside. I’ve been thinking
a lot about this particular blog post as I feel now, as I look back, that it
was a really hard time for me emotionally, but now I see what I was doing and
why and what I should have done and what I’ve learned about myself going
Lausanne I love Lausanne. The architecture,
the feeling of the city, the cobblestone streets. I visited Lausanne several
times. Once with Kim. Once with Vivi. Once for a date night. It’s only about 15
mins by train (the LEB) from Luc’s parents’ house in Jouxtens to Lausanne.
Lausanne in Christmas time is just so picturesque. It’s hard to really put a
finger on what it is but it’s like this fusion of old historical buildings with
new funky vibe. When you go, visit the Cathedral for outstanding views of the
Vevey This place has my heart. 8 years ago
we lived here when I was on maternity leave. Jaedyn would go to school down in
Vevey and me and Vivi (6 months old) hung out in a little apartment while Luc
went to work during the day. Vevey is right beside the lake and has the most
incredible vibe. The lakeside is the best part of it and we really loved Pizza
Taxi both 8 years ago and even today. You might know this place by the giant
fork or the Charlie Chaplin statue. This year they are having the Fete de
Vingeron (only every 25 years or so) and Luc had hoped that he could go back
there before heading home at the end of July. It’s not to be. We came to Vevey
over and over again for a date day, for a date pizza and when Jaedyn came for
Christmas we came here to reminisce and walk around and of course visit Pizza
Taxi. I feel one day I will live here again beside the lake when I’m old and want
to stare at the lake and mountains forever.
We walked from Vevey to Montreux one day and it wasn’t exactly as we had
remembered. We thought there was a beautiful lakeside path that took you the
whole way but in actuality there a lot of road walking. As you get closer to
Montreux, the path comes back and it’s gorgeous. We had a DELICIOUS fondue at
the Christmas Market (I didn’t really share because I think Luc made fun of me –
you’d think he’d learn). The Christmas Market here is really outstanding. Lots
of things to buy and mulled wine and so many things to taste. Montreux is where
the rich and famous come so be sure to stop by here if in you’re in the area.
It is beautiful and also lakeside.
Geneva Vivi and I took a train one day to Geneva in
December. Luc didn’t want to go but wanted to visit with some friends and play
in the snow so her and I went. I really wanted her to see Geneva and I hadn’t
been yet since coming back to Switzerland.
It was COLD! About -2 I think. We explored: visited the
outside of the United Nations, walked along the lakeside, had a sandwich, hot
chocolate, the Christmas Market and watch the Jet D’eau. We basically walked
until we were too cold and then ducked inside to get warm and then outside
again. Geneva is an old city. Almost hygienic in its cleanliness and lack of
colour. I’m glad I went, I was equally glad we went home. On the way home, the
train stopped for about a half an hour because it said that something was on
the rail road tracks. I had heard earlier that this happens a lot because
people jump in front of the train to commit suicide. No idea if that’s what
this was, but we got out and walked home from that stop.
Opening of Dr. Gabs Dr. Gabs…. Delicious dark (or light) micro-brew beer. I loved this beer. This company was created by 3 men who went to school together (one of them lived down the road from Luc and is friends with him) and started brewing beer from a birthday present that was given to one of them – a home brew kit. From there they have grown and grown and grown. Luc went to work very part time at the factory.
While we were there, they opened a store/small pub/the lab in the most famous and expensive street in Lausanne: Rue de Bourg. So we had to visit. It was the second week of December, and it was opening night. We had a blast checking out the new digs and the beer was exceptional. Another impromptu date night!
I only wish I could import their beer back to
Canada. It’s that good.
Olympic Museum and Ouchy Some stuff about the school system
in Switzerland bugs the hell out of me. You can’t take your kid out of school
for a day unless you have a doctor’s note. When we went to Ouchy (by the lake)
we wanted to meet Vivi’s class at the train (as they were coming back from the
pool) and then directly get on the train to go to Ouchy. Instead of Vivi walking
back to the school and us walking up to the train again (she would have missed
about 20mins of class time) but the teacher wouldn’t allow it unless she had a doctor’s
Anyway, after doing it the “right” way we got
on the train and headed to Ouchy. There’s something about this place – I think
it’s the proximity to the lake. I’m beginning to realized I’m a water girl through
and through (I am a Pisces after all) and all these places that I adore are
close to massive bodies of water (no wonder I want to go home).
I also have an amazing memory of my stagette starting
here 10 years ago during August. It must be the memories coupled with the water
that gets me all nostalgic.
We walked over to the Olympic Museum and had
lunch with Luc’s cousin, Chiara. It was a delicious lunch and so nice to catch
up with her one last time before leaving.
de Chillon, Luc’s Birthday and Halloween On Luc’s birthday we had a
loooooong lunch and then to Chateau de Chillon beside the lake just past Montreux.
I’ve been in this castle 3 times now I think… It’s really beautiful. I
especially love the dungeon and the story of the guy who lived there for years
and years. Not sure why I like it so much… maybe I’m a bit twisted?
Being that Luc was born on Halloween, every
year he has to share it with the trick or treating. But this year we made it
back too late to trick or treat so Vivi missed out (I think Luc was secretly
happy). We ate cake for dinner. Vivi asked for a salad. I think it was really
nice for Luc to be home for his birthday to spend it with his parents and
Canadian Birthday Party Speaking of birthday’s, Vivi celebrated
her birthday at a patisserie with a few friends the last week of school before
Christmas break. Since she was really missing home, we had a Canadian themed
party! If you can believe it I managed to find some Canadian and BC flags,
little Canada pins for the good bags, Luc had Canada flag stickers from his
stag and we decorated in red and white.
I think it was a pretty big success. It was a
wonderful way for her new friends to send her off and for her to feel like her
birthday was a big deal. Which it was. She maybe missed Canada just a little bit
less for a little bit.
friends While I was there, I got to
reconnect with Lauren and Francois and their two girls. The let us stay in
their place for a few days between New Years and Vivi’s actual birthday.
We had dinner with Julian and Stephanie and
Emily and Yann and their kids. That was really fun. We also partied for Julian’s
birthday (I partied a bit too hard if you know what I mean).
We had a few meals with Maxim and Filis and
their two kids. One extraordinary fondue in their little cabin behind their
house. And another garden meal with Maxim’s parents that was also out of this
I was happy to spend a day with a friend back
home, Kim who coincidentally was there visiting a friend just about 10mins
drive away. That was really neat to see a familiar face so far from home and to
be able to talk about life and such.
to and from school 4 times a day But most of my days after returning
from the Camino was filled with walking 1km to and from school sometimes 8 times
a day. Vivi went to Luc’s old school and she needed to be walked to school in
the morning (the I walked back). Two days a week, she walked home for lunch (we
would meet her to walk her home and then walk her back 1.5 hours later). And
finally at the end of the school day.
Now, something that Luc and I didn’t agree
upon was whether should could walk alone. I felt that 8 years old walking that
distance, without a phone, was too far. Call me reserved, scared, fearful,
whatever, this is just how I felt. Luc on the other hand was totally fine for
her to walk there and back alone – so you can imagine the contention.
For the most part I liked walking her. It got
me outside, away from the house, in the fresh air. It was time that we got to
be together and the view was gorgeous. It didn’t rain much either and sometimes
we drove if we were running late. Sometimes I would meditate on the walk home.
A lot of times I would walk Vivi to school and then I would set off on a run
somewhere or a walk to Renens to take some time by myself. I would also walk to
a bench and then meditate.
loved running around Jouxtens and the area. It was fall and the leaves were
changing and it was cool. My body temp tends to run a bit on the hotter side so
running in the fall is perfection. The cool temps, gorgeous leaves, beautiful
swiss architecture – it’s all just a little wonderful.
my business and writing my book At least 3 times a week I would
walk to Renens to a coffee shop there and work on building my business and
writing my book. Sometimes I would do research for our trip. I would spend a
good 4 hours there before I needed to come back for lunch or something. I loved
this time to myself and away from the house. It was always a peaceful time for
me – getting to be me.
Airbnb rental After a while of living with Luc’s parents in their house, I felt we really
needed to connect as a family unit again. So I looked up a little Airbnb not
too far away so that Vivi could still go to school on the Friday and the
and I had a lot of conversations about this Airbnb rental. He felt that his
parents would wonder why. He wanted to go further so we could explore somewhere
else. He didn’t want to spend a lot of money. I held strong in that I wanted
this place to be a place of down time. To play games, watch movies, connect.
This wasn’t a time for sight-seeing. To be honest, Luc and my relationship was
not doing well and Vivi was so homesick. I was close to depression and I needed
to have some time together and away. Some autonomy.
went to visit the Airbnb about 4 days before our check in. It was perfect. We
each had our own rooms, our own kitchen, our own living room and dining room.
Then the woman said that we could come early – 2 days early even for free! It
was like the universe was giving me exactly what I needed and wanted.
took advantage of our time there and entertained for 3 meals. It’s something
that Luc and I really love to do, to have people over to our house, cook a nice
meal and connect. It felt so right to do this in our own space.
in all, the Airbnb was amazing. I’m so glad we went. It at one point was almost
just me and Vivi as I took a strong stand for my well-being and told Luc that
if he didn’t want to go, that was fine, Vivi and I would go alone. He made a
great choice joining us. It was so important for our family to get back to
being our family again.
It’s good to be back in Switzerland, even if it was just for 3 days.
The idea was for us to come back here, rearrange our stuff, celebrate the 1st of August (Swiss national holiday) and spend some time with friends and family. Exactly what we accomplished.
We arrived by train at the train station where Guy, my father-in-law picked us up. I’ll spare you the broken record: it was hot, morning, day and night.
We dropped our bags, had a wonderful dinner with Luc’s parents, and then Luc, Vivi and Guy headed to the fireworks and I retired to my bed – I thought I was fighting a cold.
The next day was the 1st. We hunted for a box we left in the attic 6 years ago when we lived there for 6 months. After some brou ha ha, Guy found it tucked in a far reaching corner of the attic. It held so many treasures that I had forgotten about: towels, tampons, Christmas cookie cutters, Christmas wrapping, a pair of shoes, a curling iron, books, slippers… it was like a time capsule we got to reopen.
A neighbour to Guy and Camille invited us over to their pool for a swim. This neighbour has a daughter about Vivi’s age who we hope will become great friends with her. Unfortunately she was on holidays still but the pool was incredible to cool off.
Later that night we headed to Jouxtens for sausages, wine, bread, lentils, wine, and lots of friends and connecting – it was the 1st of August and the Swiss national holiday. Vivi made a friend on the play ground. It rained like crazy and thunder and lightening. So cool.
After that, we headed down to the field where there was a MASSIVE bonfire and fireworks. I’ve never been one to really dig fireworks and I find it interesting that it seems like the Swiss (and now I’ve witnessed the French – more on that later) really do enjoy watching the night time spectacle. They light up the sky for what seems like a half an hour. All I can think is “wow this must be so expensive”.
The next day was the 2nd. Time to look at everything we brought: store winter stuff, pack for the Cote D’azure for 3 weeks and the Camino for 40 days. Try not to forget anything. We downsized to a backpack each and one big backpack. Not too bad. Much fighting and arguing ensued for Luc and me.
After that, we headed to a friend’s house for a wonderful lunch. Let me paint the picture: first the lunch was about 4 hours (and I left early to catch up with a friend, my mom, and my daughter). We had some aperitifs under the tree in their backyard: baby tomatoes, crackers, wine. So lovely. Then we moved to the table in their yard where we had a pasta salad and tomatoes with mozzarella and basil as a starter. Then sausages and green beans – more wine. So delicious and so spoiled. It was beautiful. We moved back to the table under the tree to have bread and 2 different kinds of cheese. I think more wine. Then we had a Turkish drink called Raki that tastes like Ouzo. Then a little tiny delicious coffee. I was a little drunk by the end of that meal to be sure.
It was such a wonderful time catching up with our friends and getting to connect with Luc’s longtime friend’s wife who speaks English. She’s a new friend of mine but I’m so happy to meet her and her two wonderful children.
Since Luc and I have been fighting like cats and dogs, I suggested that we take the opportunity, while we have babysitters, to go out that night on a date and try to reconnect. I wanted to go to Vevey where we lived for 6 months, 6 years ago.
We grabbed his parents car and headed out around 8:30pm taking the lakeside route from Jouxtens to Vevey. Just like how I remembered it.
We got to Vevey as the sun was setting over the lake. I immediately felt like I was home. There is something so special about Vevey for me. I had only been there for about 10 mins when I told Luc I could absolutely move back here in a heart beat.
We ate at our old stomping ground, Pizza Taxi over looking the lake. It was pristine. I couldn’t have asked to be in a better place at that time. It filled up my heart and spirit to soak it all in.
We slowly walked back to the car, I remembered the times we spent here, the different seasons, the snow, the Uno competition, the walks beside the lake pushing Violette in the pousette, visiting the town when it was Christmas, watching the leaves change as I walked Jaedyn to school…it was heaven.
The next morning we woke up and headed to the airport to take off for Antibes. It was weird thinking I wouldn’t be back in Switzerland until October. I’ll come back and the leaves will have started to change, it will be cooler (hopefully), Vivi will have been in school for over a month and things will be different again.