In the early days of our courtship (which I hope makes it sound significantly classier than it actually was), Tim earned the moniker Bread Boy amongst my friends. The first night I went for dinner at his house (a strictly platonic affair, with several other friends present, although we each had one eyebrow raised in the direction of the other) he pulled out of the oven a freshly baked loaf on my arrival. On subsequent dinners, and later breakfasts, the home baked bread continued to make an appearance (as did extra inches around our waists but by then we were locked in, so delicious carbs for all!). Making bread remains a treat, a small tradition we continue on lazy mornings or if we know a toasty breakfast will be in order (so, um, a lot).
As I’ve mentioned, Swiss bread is delicious. Swiss Sunday bread, or as our German teacher calls it, ‘family bread’, even more so. A dough enriched with butter and milk, Zopfmehl is a plaited bread brushed with egg until it is glistening, slightly sweet and irresistible. It’s traditionally eaten here by families on Sunday, a day where the pace slows down and time is spent together around the table and outdoors in nature. It’s a lovely tradition, and one our carb-loving crew has embraced. I only recently learned (again from my font of all knowledge, Irene the German Teacher) that Zopfmehl is plaited from four, not three, ropes of dough, requiring more work to perfect my loaf (and, of course, eat the spoils).
Our little family will be in separate hemispheres for a few weeks. Adelaide and I head to Australia tomorrow, while Tim will kick around Germany and the States for work. Our trip is motivated by the best reason of all: the newest family member, my sister’s boy, arrived a few days ago and this aunty’s arms are already flexing their teeny-tiny-Rupert cuddle muscles.
We’re packed (so many more toys this time! so many more snacks!), strategies have been strategised (I’m not letting her walk in the aisle so she doesn’t realise it’s an option and therefore want to do it all. the. time)(we’ll see how long that actually holds out for an ants-in-her-pants baby), and now it’s just a matter of deep breathing before the solo 23.5 hour flight. As everyone tells me, it comes to an end. Eventually.
The payoffs just over the horizon are huge, though. That nephew, for starters, as well as the three others kicking around the traps. Family, friends, food (dumplings! noodles! yum cha!) and Sydney sun all rank pretty highly. Seeing my girl with her grandparents again will be wonderful (by ‘seeing’ I mean laughing all the way to the beer garden as I leave her in their hands for babysitting duties). It’s been eight months since we’ve been back – Adelaide has now spent equal amounts of her little life in both countries – and I’m excited about her rediscovering, however briefly, the home both her folks love (and the beach. Her two favourite books are beach centred and for a lass that’s only ever been to one, she’s pretty obsessed).
After eight months, there are a few things I’ll be taking back with me. A toddler, who can whisper ‘dad’ and can swing all by herself (with only a few face plants). Some rudimentary phrases of Deutsch, and sadly yet predictably several additional kilos. A sense that our team has become tighter since we started our adventure over here (partly, no doubt, from sheer necessity but also there’s a cameraderie we’ve built as we’ve explored and built a new home). Also, nestled in my bag, next to the almost-export-level of Swiss chocolate, several packages of Zopfmehl, ready to be made into family loaves for Sunday eating. In Bread Boy’s absence, his little doppelgänger (see? totes across the Deutsch) may have to assume the baking honours.