The in between

Obviously our life here is not all trips away and long boozy lunches made entirely of cheese, more’s the pity. There are quiet times, the in between times, where one lot of visitors have sadly left and we’re waiting excitedly on the next, where Hotel is out of town for work and I’ve got long days with the little one, where the next getaway is only in planning stages, where the weather is sleety and it’s only epic cabin fever that forces me to leave our toasty little apartment.

These are not bad times, not at all. They’re homely and satisfying, restful. They’ve included lots of cooking (soup! bread! cheeky non-new-years-resolution-muffins!), mama/daughter haircuts (I really need to write a list of hairstyles that I should never get again. I currently belong in the 80s and Adelaide looks like a wee lad), a trip to the local swimming pool (with a snow-covered mountain viewable from the heated pool) and lots of giggles (also, to be honest, screams) from our now-officially-toddling toddler.

Although not bad, it’s hard not to look at these in between times as lesser: less fun, less adventurous, less interesting (and due to silly season excess, there’s also significantly less wine, less cheese and less chocolate, sigh). Possibly because our last four months here have been hectic, filled with travel and guests, it doesn’t feel like we have a normal life, a ‘usual’, a routine. It can feel like we’re biding out time until the next event, and there’s something slightly depressing about that. As much as I disdain the Cult Of Positivity, there is something to be said for appreciating the moment in which you find yourself. (However my chores today include changing the car’s number plates and buying a new iron, and frankly there’s not much innate joy in either of those things.)

In between sleety outbursts this afternoon, I took my little Laidey for a (non-new-years-resolution-muffin-induced) run along the shore of the lake. It’s clean, crisp and cold and even stepping outside, as much of a challenge as that can be, invigorates. The vista was as breathtaking as ever; I don’t believe I’ll ever tire of seeing the Alps. Today the snow was rolling across the horizon, a heavy grey smudge in the distance, and the visible mountains were a craggy black and white, almost cartoonish. (I’d like to say the impending weather made me run faster, but that would be an outright lie.)  The water of the lake is always crystal clear but the chill made it seem thick, like glycerine (glycerine that crazy Swiss people are happy to swim in sans wetsuits). It’s always a visual slap in the face to remind me how fortunate we are, an immediate uplift at how amazing the world is.

This doesn’t make me miss my sweet nephew’s ‘ay-o!’ any less, or the purchase of banal household goods any more thrilling, or my hair look any less wretched. It does help, though, with making each day more rounded and satisfying, like I’m not just counting down the time in between naps and meals and picking up yet again the bloody bag of pom poms she is currently obsessed with (and it’s not unique to this country; a good solid stint outdoors anywhere always makes me feel that way). I’ll always count down to holidays, though. Because holidays.

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