My own little Bethlehem

Last weekend Colin was in a Nativity Play / Musical. He played the role of a little boy called Simon who likes to watch TV.

But let's start at the beginning.

The kids who were in the play are the "KIK" group. KIK stands for Kinder & Kirche, children and church, so the English abbreviation would be CHICH ;-)

Once upon a time...

There was a family with five kids aged about 5 - 13. They lived in Staufen. That's our village here in Switzerland.

It was the parents' 15th anniversary, and they were about to leave for a getaway weekend. The grandparents who were supposed to babysit hadn't arrived yet, but the parents' train was about to depart, so they left without a proper "handover".

You guessed right... The grandparents didn't make it. Gramps broke his leg and had to go to the hospital. The kids told them it wasn't a problem, they would go over to the neighbors.

Only the oldest of the siblings had a brilliant idea. Her teacher had told them about Bethlehem being a symbolic place, but really that special place of love, peace and happiness aka Christmas could be anywhere. You just had to read the signs and follow the guiding light, so to speak.

She convinced her brothers and sisters to spend the weekend looking for their own little Bethlehem, and off they went. After they had been walking for several hours, it was getting dark, and their hopeful spirit turned into moody tiredness. "I'm scared", "I'm hungry" "I'm not having fun, and we haven't seen a single angel yet!"

The oldest suggested to sing a song about how God protects all of his children, and their faith and confidence returned.

Soon they spotted a cabin and a bonfire, and they met a group of sheperds who invited them to stay for the night.

The other morning it turned out that they all had the same dream. They saw angels, and a very warm light, and they felt all fuzzy. Immediately the knew that they had found their Bethlehem in a forest not far from home. Only thing was they didn't know how to get back. The sheperds advised them to ask wise people in the next city.

The people they met seemed anything but wise.

Everybody was busy.

Two businessmen met at the bus stop. Usually they would go for a beer, but today they had to run errands.

One mother of three asked a friend to babysit her kids so she could go and get a Christmas tree as she just hadn't gotten around to buy one yet. The friend declined. She had some shopping to do herself, and besides she couldn't really be burdened with other people's kids anyway. I thought the girl who played that snippy lady did a great acting job - she came across very authentic ;-) Colin played one of the three kids, btw. He told his mother he didn't need a stupid babysitter, he just wanted to watch TV.

So the five kids decided to go to that village's school and ask the students if they knew any wise people. The kids promptly introduced them to their favorite teacher.

"Are you wise, Mr Teacher? What does wise mean exactly, anyway?" They asked.

He told them that it was important not only to be wise with their head, but also with their heart.

They also asked a surgeon and the grocery store manager, and they all had their own take of what wise means. Luckily the grocery lady knew the way back to their village. She also had some candy.

The five kids made it back just in time for the Christmas mass at their church where they met their parents, and they lived happily ever after. The End.

Well, the actors celebrated Christmas mass at church with their very own baby Jesus doll,

sung "oh, Du fröhliche",

then every kid got a snack and a gift. The End.

So this was last weekend. My husband could not attend the play as he just got home from the hospital after his eye surgery. The docs said no reading, no driving, no heavy lifting, basically just hang at home and watch TV for two weeks. This during the last full week before the Holidays, and he still had lots of customer visits to complete. 

See, our office aka hubby, traditionally visits every key account client and brings a wooden box containing mandarines. Some vitamins for the season otherwise full of cookies and chocolate. The customers love both, the personal visit and the fruit.

This year it was up to me. 

I would usually love to get out of the office, kind of like a road trip, and get to know the people whom I only knew by phone.

Only the customer list was still very long, so I would basically have to work full time. Plus - as I've said before - it was the last full week before the Holidays, and I still had lots of crafts to do, gifts to wrap, cookies to bake, a Christmas tree to source, you get the picture. 

Also I felt like every year my prime xmas prepping time gets away from me. Last year I was sick. 

I decided I'd rather be overly busy than sick and to do what I know I can do if I need to: 

To make it happen. 

So let me tell you about my week:

Sunday I couldn't stop forced Colin from to finally painting the jars...

in which we filled Italian herbs

Monday I loaded up the car. Tuesday, I loaded up the car. Wednesday I loaded up the car, Thursday...

During my journey, my annoying navigation system kept telling me that locations I needed to get to, were on streets with restricted access or that no guidance was possible from this location, other cars honked at me, I got stuck in traffic, there was nowhere to park, I chipped two fingernails, I needed to pee and found out that certain public restrooms were closed during the winter months, sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you, inconvenient all right!!

OK, customers got their mandarines - now how do I get out of here? My car is the black one next to the white delivery truck. In the open truck there was an Italian guy sitting, smoking and making a phone call. I asked him if he considered moving. "Un minuto" he said. Surprisngly he really left after a short while.

 I also saw some pretty sights

Can you believe this fog?

Met some wonderful people

Had some amusing encounters.

One person's office door was ajar, I knocked.
"I'm busy" she shouted and sounded stressed out.
"I'll just leave my gift in front of your door in that case" I said.
She emerged, cell phone in one hand, credit card in the other one. "Oh, hi! Thanks!"
"Happy Holidays, I'll just leave you do your thing here..."
She looked left and right, down the hallway and then, with a lowered voice, confided in me: "I'm trying to get tickets for the AC/DC concert in June."

Thursday, Dec 18, 2:15pm I arrived at this nice place. It was raining, and my trunk doesn't open and close automatically, so every time I want to take out a box of mandarines, I have to put it on the floor, close the trunk, lift the box, walk to the entrance, hope for sliding doors, because otherwise, you know, same procedure...

I was quite astonished to find this note at this business' door! It told me that the office was closed between Dec 19 and Jan 4.

Gee, they really left early!

Between all those mandarines I also squeezed in some personal time and errands.

Enjoyed C's last hockey practice in 2014.

In addition to their usual coaches two very special players were present to shoot some pucks with the kids :-) Robbie Earl and Pierre-Marc Bouchard, what an honor and joy!

Had lunch at a hockey bar.

Took a walk to some Roman amphitheater close to a customer's location I otherwise never come by. To be honest I am not a "history person". My husband uses to make fun of me. "Everything prior to the Beatles is dark age to you" he says, haha. So visiting some old bricks built in a semi-circle didn't knock my socks off, and the muddy trail ruined my boots, but the walk in the crisp air did me some good. 

I also checked out a Canadian specialties store half an hour from here. Wow, salmon, wine, maple products, can you tell I liked it there?

For years my parents have been telling me about the Christmas tree farm about half an hour from here - of course in the opposite direction from the Canadian store, because that would be too convenient now, wouldn't it - where a former classmate of my father's uses to volunteer. Every year for some reason it doesn't work out that we can go there together. 

This year I was determined, even if we had to go there on Saturday, which is the busiest day. 

I started thinking… 

How important is it to meet every deadline at the office? Who will remember how many different cookies you baked one Christmas season? 

However, one day - if I'm lucky - I'll be in my 70s, and a friend who - if I'm lucky- will have forgiven me for being too busy to call or visit when we were in our 40s, will let me know about a Christmas tree farm, and my son - if I'm lucky - will want to go there with me, and I'll meet up with my old friend, get a pretty Christmas tree and some gingerbread! 

I loved it there! Busy but friendly people were buzzing around, wrapping Christmas trees, heaving them onto a little carriage, pulling it to our car, serving hot beverages in a heated room and selling crafts.

Aren't they the cutest little helpers?

On our way home we had an argument disagreement on when was the appropriate time to set up and decorate the Christmas tree. I decided to h* with peace and harmony, I need to get sh** done while I have a minute, and not when other people think the date is appropriate. Here we are :-)

So what about my own little Bethlehem?

I guess it was the Canadian store. 

Just kidding. 

It was the human connections I made on my mandarine tour, the music I was listening to in the car (400 miles, that's a lot of songs!), the certainty to know C was well taken care of while I was on the road. He even attended our office Christmas party. It was more of a happy hour than a party, but it was still cool, especially with him around. Cheers!

Did you find your own little Bethlehem this Season? Please share...