Yesterday I had such a bizarre day. I ended up in my car in the early morning, driving to Toronto to meet the girls I was a nanny for in Switzerland and their Mom. They were in in town for a few days and wanted to see me. After sending a couple of messages back and forth over the last couple of weeks..I sent them my cell phone number and they called me on Friday, where we chatted for a while and then arranged to meet at their hotel lobby the following morning.
To say I was freaked out, nervous, excited and going crazy was a vast understatement.
I knew I would be under dressed, and under..everything. Living outside of Europe is such a different world, especially compared to theirs, so I spent Friday night running around trying to find an appropriate outfit. After finding nothing that would suffice but spending way too much money (for me) anyway, I ended up wearing something I already had. I figured since I was going to be vastly under dressed anyway, I might as well just roll with it, and so I did.
When I got there and finally managed to park, it was amazing to me how quickly things fell back into place. Right into place. How they didn't care that my jeans weren't designer, or a size zero. How they loved my long hair, and wanted to hear all about the animals on my farm. How they just wanted to walk beside me, and couldn't care less that I didn't fit into their world, because I was me.
The lobby of their swanky beyond swanky hotel was filled with hugs and reunions. Exclamations over how much the girls had grown, how I couldn't even believe that they were here and stories of our mutual lives.
We soon took off on adventures, ready to see and take on the city - but not until we had the concierge trying to use his power and influence to get us into a theme park that wasn't open for the season yet. He tried his best, dropping names and influence like it was nothing, even going so far as to call people up high in the company who had rented out the park for the day. Alas, nothing in the end came to fruition, but it reminded me how bizarre their lives are. How money, influence and confidence can buy you certain things, or at least do a very good job of trying.
They lack fear in asking for things, and expect them, so they're given to them. Not because they're vastly important or special people, but just because they're there, and they have no qualms about asking. They give off an air of confidence that is of their own making and people believe it, so it makes things happen. I have no doubt that the girls will all be able to use this to their advantage later on in life, they're already using it. This confidence presented itself throughout the entire day, and I forgot how it makes you feel. They've always been the kind of people who believe they can do anything, and with money and gorgeous genes in your back pocket (and on your back pocket) I suppose to makes sense where this might come from. They will never take no for an answer, and they will always get what they want - no questions about it. They will find a way, might not be the first way, but there will always be a way. It's interesting, and something I thought about a lot...between the money and the confidence...well...it opens up a lot of doors. The confidence intrigues me, but it also worries me that if the realities of life ever catch up on them, the disappointments may be much more than they can bear, because they've never had to experience anything like that in their lives. I think I could spend more hours than I could count imaging all of the opportunities they have in their lives, wondering which ones they'll take and where they'll go, no doubt that they'll be able to do whatever they set their hearts and their minds to.
From meeting at their hotel and having the staff go to so many extra levels, we spent the entire day site seeing, shopping and catching up.
It was as though years hadn't passed, and I was still so much a part of their lives, and they of mine.
It was intoxicating to remember how crazy life can be when money is absolutely no object. Where ordering a thirty dollar sandwich for lunch at a posh little restaurant hidden among designer stores causes your former boss to explain how CHEAP things are in this country! Where spending a few thousand dollars on a couple of dresses, and a new clutch isn't a big deal. Where at the next store the little one wants a pair of jeans and her mom says 'of course' - and they've got a $300 price tag. Add a new jacket to that for another cool 600 big ones...and she's down another thousand dollars but still can't believe what great deals we have here.
It's bizarre to think that there are people who are visiting a new city for the first time who aren't completely focused on seeing all that the city has to offer in a hurry because to them it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. Because they figure they might as well relax and enjoy it - they can always come back!
It was surreal to be with them where they can waltz into a shop and suddenly someone is getting their hair done and we're all having manicures. Because why NOT?
Where having dinner more than thirty floors above the city is normal. In a restaurant where the starters for a meal range from $25 to $250 dollars. And the wine is ordered by the year, always.
Where gift baskets are left in hotel rooms for girls who are staying there. Personalized from information quietly gleaned from them when reservations were made, of course. Things to make their stay more comfortable. Their favourite candies, little souveniers of their favourite popstar, a little this or that.
It was a little insane to me how easily I fell back into their routine. How they'd grown so much, changed so much, but still told me I gave such good hugs. How they routinely throughout the day would just come up to me and wrap their arms around me and tell me they missed me. How they shared their stories and we laughed. How we talked about all of the mischief they were up to, and they told me their latest friend and/or boy drama. How my voice changed, the inflections I used, the words I used, my behaviour, my attitude and my mood changed. Even my eating habits changed when I was with them for only a few hours. Everything immediately fell back in line with what it had been when I lived in Europe.
I changed back to someone I had almost forgotten, but immediately switched back to, subconsciously.
As we tore through dress stores I delighted in their squeals as I'd bring them back another size zero dress to shimmy into that was just TOO PERFECT.
It was so fun to catch up with them.
It was fun to remember how much money can be. When you aren't the one who is cleaning up the mess and putting the tired kids to bed and getting up with them when they were sick in the middle of the night; when you knew you were making less money in a month than they paid for their purse. Well. I still make less money than they paid for their purses..but at least I don't have to deal with the chaos their lifestyle also brings - just the fun. Playing with an unlimited budget is fun when you forget how it could be used for so many other things, when you forget for a moment the excess in their lives when so many others live with nothing. In the end it was good to remember why I made the decision when I left them that I never want that kind of money - despite how crazy anyone thinks I am.
It was beautiful to see the people they had grown into. How despite the money and the opportunities they're given, they're actually (maybe) becoming decent people with decent thoughts in their head. How they're maturing and being real people, how they had changed so very much from the little kids they were when I spent a year wrapped in their lives. It was lovely to be welcomed into their lives once again with open arms. It was amazing to hear all of the things they've done, places they've gone and things they're planning. It was wonderful to have the little one (who is ANYTHING but little anymore) ask me why I couldn't just come back and live with them forever. As they hugged me goodbye they told me that I had to come back to Switzerland soon, even if just for a visit, and I promised I would. They explained that my ex-bosses-new-husband has bought a new house for them to live (which is actually two houses that have been opened up and joined together) on the lake in Zurich, with a boat and lots of gardens and land...but they're probably going to renovate their old house as well and just add another floor or two, so there will always be lots of space for me to visit now (not that there wasn't before) that my ex-boss is remarried and there are five girls instead of just three in the family.
It was just the craziest visit. It reminded me of all of the crazy, insane and wonderful stories I have stored in my head that I wish I could tell the world from just a year in their lives. My boss and I had a pretty special bond, but we became even more like friends, talking about experiences and things we were doing and our lives, right back into our old routines like we were sipping coffee overlooking the mountains or the lake in the morning once we'd gotten the girls off to school. Or rather, I got the girls off to school and was already started ironing and was having a mid morning coffee when she woke up, claiming she was going to need a nap later because she'd had a late night at a club. A fashion show. A gallery opening. A whatever. There is so much separating us, yet we're alike in some very funny ways, and we to just fell back into our routine as we shared secret smiles after watching the girls discover something new, and literally jump with happiness. I remembered so many good moments from my year with them. So so many, even among all of the insane things I dealt with.
So I left with promises to come visit in Switzerland, or meet them on their yacht in the South of France or go to French Polynesia with them whenever I felt like it, and was told that I was always welcome to come visit wherever in the world they were. I laughed and told them I'd see what I could do to see my Swiss family and that I would miss them terribly. My old boss cried because she said it made her so happy that I thought of them like family, and I smiled because I really do.
They're my crazy Swiss family.
I mean...I already have lots of crazy in my family, what's a little more.