Personal, Switzerland

Turning 29

Was oh so fine.

Ali was able to come to Switzerland directly after our week together in Spain. We even acquired a couch and were able to relax together after work as well as sit down to dinner at a real kitchen table. We had a wonderful week and then boarded the train Friday evening to take the mountain getaway trip I had planned weeks ago to Grindelwald. I booked us a lovely place with a walkout balcony facing the jagged Jungfrau Mountain range. Saturday morning, we walked out directly to newly fallen snow, fluffy, white and inviting. The huge, fluffy flakes continued to fall to the ground and the world was magical. The trees heavy with winter’s bliss. Our day was spent walking through the small Swiss ski town. Hiding out togther in cafes while the clouds rose above and dissipated in the sunlight. Following a hike up to the beginners ski area, we settled in for some gluwein -mulled wine- and watched children as young as two years old make their way down the slopes. Later in the evening we tried out iceskating and took a dip in the pool at the local sport centre. After a short siesta we headed out for a romantic dinner over TWO servings of cheese fondue. Yummy! It really was the perfect weekend away.

The morning before my birthday, I took a half personal day from work so ali and I could sleep in a little and enjoy the hours before he boarded to the train to catch his flight. While I showered, he went out to purchase the last remaining ingredients needed to finish baking my cake. Unable to finish it before he left, a large piece sits waiting for his teeth to sink into it, preserved by the cold air in the freezer. He walked me to school and we opened birthday and congratulatory cards together. The sun was peeking out from the clouds and I felt content that we had celebrated my birthday together, albeit early.

He was the first to tell me over the phone and online as I woke from my slumber on Tuesday, February 21st. I walked to school, light and happy, staring down at the glittering gem on my finger. I was exactly where I wanted to be in my life, if not geographically, with everything else. I was greeted by students with homemade birthday cards and later surrounded again by them after they secretly created cards for me in German class. One of the gals in the office surprised me with a cake covered in candles and I felt blessed that it wasn’t only myself making my own birthday cake, although I hear that is the Swiss tradition. My mom called me while I was on my lunch break and made me feel she really wasn’t so far away. Because after all, isn’t this just as important day for her as it is for me? Later in the afternoon after an art lesson, we ate cake and icecream cones. Sitting and talking with my students is one of my favourite things to do, all student-teacher roles are stripped away and we can just be.

After a long staff meeting after school, I walked home alone to speak to ali before I headed to dinner at Paula’s. She organised a small dinner at her place with the gals from work. It was warm, relaxing and full of laughter. I was greeted with gifts from the heart, plants and coffee mugs. I felt loved. I had been so afraid that I would be spending the evening alone, following in the pattern of Halloween and Thanksgiving this year.

I received birthday cards, emails and packages early, late and unbelieveably on time. It was a happy birthday all around. How could it not be, full of love, laughter and the memories of a recent holiday in Spain, a getaway in the Swiss moutains; all combined with the perfect birthday gift ever. The promise of a lifetime with ali. What more could a girl ask for…merci beacoup a tout le monde.