The last time I wrote something in this journal, it was February and very cold. It's now May and I'm sitting outside on our patio listening to baby birds chirp while I work on this web site. I even had a little friend that joined me for a while. He didn't seem to mind when I took his photo.
At the beginning of winter, we had a little hedgehog (or Igu in Swiss German) that frequented our yard, looking for food. I started to think of him as a pet. It had been a long, hot and dry summer and we were so worried that he hadn't found enough to eat that Herbert set out a bowl of cat food with water one evening. It was still there in the morning, untouched, but we felt better about trying. To help him stay warm while he hibernated through the winter, we piled up fall leaves next to the bushes that he always went to. I'd like to believe that this is the same guy and that he'll continue to hang out in our yard.
It's almost summer now and getting warm. When Mädi and I went for our walk yesterday afternoon, we decided that we would go swimming today instead of walking. The pools are open and although the water is only about 63 degrees, we've got to jump in at some point.
We're trying to get in shape before our trip that starts on June 18th. After two years of planning, I'm happy that it's coming up quickly. Mädi, her cousin Margrit and I are going to the States for five and a half weeks. We'll start in Minneapolis, move onto Denver and then take a long road trip through Las Vegas, California, many national parks and end with a rodeo in Cody, Wyoming before heading back to Denver for my 44th birthday. Along the way, we're going to see Mesa Verde, Bryce Canyon, Arches, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone. I'm starting to get a little nervous about having to translate everything, but I'm sure it'll all work out.
Actually, I've done quite a bit of traveling this past Spring. I spent seven weeks in the States where I saw friends and family in Southern California, Denver and Minneapolis. My friends Steve and Sherry visited me and Herbert in Oberwil and we took a trip with them through parts of Italy, France and Monte Carlo. We had a great time while they were here. They left to go back home a little over a week ago and I still miss them. If you'd like to hear about their visit, you can go to the new photo album page I posted this week 'Our Visitors to Oberwil'. I also added photo pages there for past visitors that we've had - our friend Ken's visit in May of 2001 and my mom, my sister Linda and her three children's visit in July and August of 2001. Here's a link to the photo album menu...
Other than all the traveling, life has been pretty normal here in Oberwil. I'm still teaching English to Christianne and I started working with two young children from the village this past Spring. It's going well, but I've learned that working with children is a lot more challenging than working with adults. My mom, who taught elementary school for many years and my sister Barb, who is also an elementary school teacher and used to teach English as a second language, have helped me a lot by giving me advice and materials. Although I wish I had learned a second language as a child, I am grateful that my mother language is English. I think it's the closest we have to a universal language.
I do have to say that being an American isn't necessarily comfortable these days. It's hard to go anywhere without hearing about Afghanistan, Iraq, the price of oil, the economy and more specifically about how people feel about President Bush. I've never been one to pay much attention to politics in the US, but I've had to start listening to the news and reading the articles in Time and Newsweek. The people in our village are well informed and quite opinionated about US politics. It's embarrassing when they are better informed than I am.
It's not just Oberwil that has an opinion. You feel and see people's beliefs everywhere you go. This is a photo that my friend Steve took of a billboard in Bern (the capitol of Switzerland).
If you're an American, I don't think it matters what your opinion is of Bush. This billboard hurts. I've heard, too often, comments that link an opinion of the President of the US to all Americans. I am only one American, a woman who lives in another country to be with the man she loves. I don't make policies or decisions that affect the rest of the world, but still I am linked because of my nationality. I accept it, but it's not always easy.
Enough about that.
The birds are still chirping, the flowers in our garden are blooming, the sun is shining and our neighbor Hugo is cutting hay across the road from me. My life in Oberwil is still wonderful.
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