Freitag, 24. Juni 2016

cut off in the countryside

We had my oldest nephew, Luan for a visit this week and it was a real treat. I was excited about our alone time that would precede meeting up with his favorite uncle Ivo, but once we had, when Luly and I were recalling what we'd done that afternoon, he told him "Jessy verzählt nur Kabbis." It's true, I am a silly goose, but it wasn't until Ivo and I were talking about the visit next day, that I realized that he'd thought that all the "gems of wisdom" I'd thought that I was sharing, were lies and hooey.
Luan moved to a farm house before he turned one and his favorite animals are cows, even though they're his neighbors. He's the second oldest of 5 and when we made our plan for his visit, he had all the ideas: He wanted to swim or visit a museum, depending on the weather. He wanted ice cream and to eat in a pizzeria - which he's done before and we're not to think differently. Luan 'speak cabbage' himself and has shared fantastical things with us for years, mostly parroting other peoples' experiences. He's 6 months older than my next nephew and they couldn't be more different. Simon is a city kid, he's curious as a cat and hungry for learning and has big idea. He was verbal and keen to read and write far before Luan, which makes sense as Luan speaks an unwritten language. I know Simon better and am more used to relating with him and so tried to tell Luan things that I thought he might want to know. I asked him loads of questions too, like when he thought that someone had drawn a flag on the rocks with felt tipped pens. (It was graffitied with spray paint, but we'd had a think about it together.)
When Luan and I arrived in the city, he was overwhelmed - as usual - and I tried to give him loving support. When we got in the tram, he was keen to find a seat for just us, but it was all full up and we sat next to a young man speaking arabic into his cell phone. Luan was not keen. I thought that I'd take the opportunity to educate as a way to comfort. I told him that when I first moved to Switzerland, I didn't understand any of the Swiss people when they'd speak their native language. I told him how scary that was, and how it felt to be in such a new and different place, but how I'd learned through experience and am grateful to know many languages now.
When we walked from the tram to the pool, Luan said he'd 'never seen so many bikes in one place' and I taught him that the bikes with the big, hearty tires were mountain bikes. I told him that I'd not ridden one, but that I've gone down a mountain on a push scooter with the same big tires. (I think that he may have believed both of those things to be the "Kabbis" of which he later spoke.)
The line for the pool was 'the biggest he'd ever seen' and he was frightened of the loud and boisterous children. I quite liked the resulting clinging that he did to me, but it also made me nervous. He's always been a shy kid, but he told me he'd never seen so many 'different' kids before. I thought about this last bit when I saw a graphic of the map of who voted what in the Brexit referendum. Luan is a country mouse and is scared of different people and thinks that I'm lying to him when I tell him about different people and or experiences. 

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