I have a huge confession to make. It's been in the pipeline for the past couple of months but I've been far too embarrassed to admit it. Not being smug or anything but we're going skiing! Screech! Going on a ski trip, especially from Africa, is the ultimate in decadence (oh, the cost!), however, after years of yearning to show our kids some snow for the first time, we're going.
I said to my Belgian friend this morning at the school gates,
'The problem is, we are so completely African now! Over the past 11 years we have only ever visited family in England or stayed here in Kenya. Goodness knows how we will manage in Switzerland?! It's going to be a massive culture shock.'
Between rounding up borrowed ski kit for 5 of us from well equipped friends and asking headmistresses if they'd mind awfully if our kids miss a couple of days of school at the end of term, I've been absolutely paranoid about ill health or accident preventing us from going. Last weekend, when dropping our middle daughter at a birthday party where there was a soapy water slide and 40 kids running amok on quarter of an acre, I became utterly convinced that she would fall and break her arm. A mother of a child in our youngest's class mentioned yesterday that her daughter had been struck down with a bad case of flu. I nearly strangled her. As a preventative measure, for the past two weeks the whole family has been over-dosed with vitamin C, cod liver oil and echinacea (sp?) and we are all buzzing with the chemicals.
My husband is in Europe already for work and said that in Zurich it was -8! Cue - last minute dash to Mitumba for me, in search of additional wool jumpers for the kids.
The problem is that I've lived here for too long. I simply can't imagine feeling cold. I can only picture us all happily skiing in t-shirts, jackets tied around waists under clear blue skies. My plan is that the four year old will take to it like a duck to water (won't whinge, won't get tired) and we'll swoosh down the slopes in a happy group of 5, not arguing. Never mind that my husband has already insisted on snowboarding, neither of us have been skiing for over 15 years (and even then only a couple of times) and I've got serious reservations about the 4 year old coping - and keep telling everyone she's nearly 5, so it will be fine - even though her birthday's not until July.
In an effort to get everyone in the family even more excited, I having been looking online at the resort's web cam - The last time we looked with the kids it was white-out. Oh, not quite what I had in mind. Meanwhile, the girls are busy speculating on how snow will taste - they decided they will only eat the white stuff, not the brown or yellow. Gross. I am excited about the ice cave and the bakery museum and buying Swiss chocolate Easter eggs.
Our journey to the resort promises to be interesting. We have to find our own way there after a night flight (3.5hrs), which will involve taking Swiss trains and buses, then after our week skiing, we cross Switzerland to find my cousin in Geneva, then will somehow trail back to Zurich to catch a dawn flight to Nairobi a day or two later.
I need to start packing. I'm used to going to England with empty cases in the summer. It's unbelievable how much gear we've borrowed. I'm weighing up whether to put the kids to bed then wake them up a couple of hours later tomorrow night because we are taking a midnight flight. I hope that years of anticipation does not spoil the trip. I'm acutely aware that so much could go wrong but keeping fingers crossed that it will be the one off holiday of a lifetime that we'll talk about for years to come (no pressure then!).
p.s. My husband will absolutely die when he hears that Bono is here in Nairobi. Bono and U2 are his all time heroes - though I always tease him that they are a bit before my time!! (not really true, but I can always pretend)