Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Age has no culture barrier

This week in Mittelhausern, my host family had a visit from Grosi! Now, you may be wondering what a Grosi is.. Es ist eine Grossmutter! When I first heard another friend call her grandmother "grosi" I thought, "oh my goodness that's so sad! Poor Grandmother." When in reality, all grandmas are grosi and it is not something demeaning! So this Grosi, is quite the lady. She had 8 kids which she raised basically all on her own in St. Gallen because her husband died when he was in his 50's. She is 87 years old, still drives, and has no desire whatsoever to go into an old folks home. (Sound familiar, family?) She is an amazing cook, and so far, as enjoyed two little walks with me. Nordic walking sticks in hands, sunglasses in place, and hat (oh where is her hat??) almost on... we head out the door.

Throughout the first walk she for some reason thought I understood Swiss German. When in reality, all I knew was the one word, "gau" which means, "right?" Of course my answer could only be one thing... "Ja... gau.." Do I have any idea to what I just agreed to? Nay (Swiss German for no.) Even when I told her later that day at lunch that I had no idea... her reply, "oh you understand just perfectly!" "no, really, I don't!" "momol" (which means yes...somehow.) Much to my chagrin? She'll still speak Swiss German to me. Apparently I'll learn  one way or another.

For our walk today Grosi decided to pick up some flowers for my host mother to make some natural syrup (Like healthy cool aid, only tastes WAY better.) I decided to take over the conversation on our way down and just told her all about my traveling plans and asked her what her favorite food, country, desert, etc. was. Then, just like a Grandma would, she begins to direct me on how to get rid of my pimples. Thank you Grosi.. thank you. As if I don't already wash my face...

After we received our flowers of course we must stay and visit and the owners were lovely people. The man even told me he spoke 4 languages! Bern deutsch, High German, French, and Italian. (Even if all he knew in Italian was 'merci.') .....pause... that's french! Hahah he was pulling my leg.

It is just fascinating to me that Grosi here, is quite similar to any grandma in the USA. We went to the market and oh, should she buy some Bratwursts? Alex (my host dad, her son) likes them so much! And he didn't get any yesterday and upon passing a table for sale on the street, maybe she can have it? "Grosi, what do you need it for?" "oh.. you can always use it for something.." Lastly, she even smells the same!! (I wonder why that is so.) Overall she is such a bright lady and like any other sweet elderly lady I have ever met.

On the other side of the age spectrum, we have Benj, my rascal of an au pair child. Today, we played with water balloons and I inducted him into the game that I grew up playing. All in all, what I have come to learn this week that smiling and laughing has no barrier.

Now here are just a couple of pictures that I took when I went to a Jodlerfest parade a couple of weeks ago. These are local traditions all over Switzerland.

Your average Swiss man.

These cows are so beloved. 

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