Mixing personal with professional while the students are traveling independently at mid-semester
The students are traveling on their own this week. A counseling conference in Switzerland allows me to mix business with personal - both are a pleasure for me. We have a couple of days before the conference, so after a late arrival to Geneva, we make plans to escape the city hustle before the time for business.
On Wednesday, thanks to our Airbnb owner's suggestion, we eat a beautiful breakfast at a cottage restaurant by the lake (date and ginger cake, bread with cherry jam, prosciutto on bread with olive oil and spices). We locate where my conference is to be held and figure out my transportation plan, twist through the streets of Old Towne Geneva stopping for lunch along the way, and have a supper snack of tasting fondue for the first time in a fancy restaurant overlooking the lake. Geneva treats us well on our first day here.
Thursday, we bus to Chamonix Mont Blanc, France. Traveling through the Alps in October is a beautiful experience. I wonder if any other trees in the world are as colorful right at this moment. Rust and brown aren't my favorites except for in the fall when no other colors seem appropriate. Surrounding the village, not far in the distance at all, are snow-covered, towering, intimidating mountains (Mont Blanc - white mountain). The village seems comfortably nestled and hidden from the outside world between the colorful foliage of the mountain trees. After a lunch of hot soup, pizza, and burgers we wander the village and the outskirts and come upon what appears to be an adventure park. A-C and I team up to ride the alpine slide, and then she wants an individual ride. We hear screams of delight and hear a splash, so we follow our ears and discover what reminds me of the log slide that I rode as a girl at Memphis' Liberty Land. Oh, my poor mother for braving the water. Why did she go through that? A-C rides the "nautic jet" alone and comes out dry. It's a good thing because we are light packers when we travel. Clay wants a turn. He gets wet just a touch and then tries to talk me into riding. I cave. Then I'm hooked; I slide and fly through the air twice. A-C even gets a slow-motion video with which she can blackmail me later. Back down in the village, it's time for crepes and ice cream. After souvenir shopping, we head back to the winding bus for the ride back to Geneva for supper and rest. It's been an unplanned day of adventure in the Alps!
Friday has a lazy beginning. We drive to Annecy, a French village about forty-five minutes across the border. We get lucky - the street market is on Friday, so we sample cheese, bread, meat, and fudge that is too tasty to pass up. The vendor is all smiles. Lunch is at a pretty little French cafe - onion soup, steak, and pizza fill us to the brim. We wander the streets, enter the church we see, and rent a boat to glide across Lac de Annecy. After walking a bit more, coffee calls us. To end the day, we decipher the Swiss self-pay machine at the petrol station, return our car rental, and feel accomplished.
I am in Geneva for the counseling conference on Saturday and Sunday, so Clay and A-C have two days to play. They ride the free bikes provided by the city, go to the zoo, and explore more around our area of town. Easy, relaxing days are almost medicinal. Fun times together are important and needed. The three of us feel re-energized, continually educated, and blessed with each other and our roles overseas in our family and in our work. We're thankful.