I start full-time work tomorrow. Gosh.
Midweek Alpine Mummy fun will be no more. Gone are the days of frolicking in the mountains on a Monday afternoon, or cycling round the lake on a Wednesday, or spending the entire day eating cake and drinking lots of tea with other English mummies every Tuesday (and Thursday. And Friday. And… OK – I do more cake-eating and socialising than I do mountain-frolicking and cycling. Life is tough).
I think I can cope with having to wear vaguely presentable clothes every day, rather than the knackered jeans and holey t-shirts that have become my usual uniform (on the days I actually get out my pyjamas…). I can probably even cope with brushing my hair every day (I got it all hacked off on Friday to ease this pain), and I am certainly looking forward to speaking to grown-ups about things other than sick, poo, sleep, poo and sick. (Forget career aspirations – I’ll just be proud to get through a day without threatening to put my colleagues on the naughty step, or absent-mindedly spoon-feeding my boss at lunchtime…)
Anyway, all that will be fine. What I’m not looking forward to is my commute. I live about an hour and a quarter away from Geneva. More (a lot more) at peak times. I am working a full day. Every day. I will never (and I mean never) see my kids if we stay here.
So the Alpine Family are on the move again… But where to?
There’s a sensible answer to that question. I have three kids and a husband who also works full-time. My life is chaotic enough as it is, even when I don’t work or when I work from home. 6pm is the bewitching hour in our house, where the little angels suddenly morph into little monsters and I start crying and wishing it were gin o’clock. Dinner needs to be cooked, babies need to be fed, homework needs to be done, baths need to be bathed, and kids need to be bedded. All in the space of about two hours. Like I said, a nightmare already. I’m not sure it will work at all once I’m spending the whole evening slogging my way back from the Big Smoke…
So of course the sensible answer is that we should move somewhere close to work. We could go and live in a town. An actual town! Somewhere with shops, and restaurants, and suburbs, and childcare, and streetlights and, well, people. And I could catch the bus to work. And I wouldn’t have to dig the car out of a snowdrift every morning. Or drive for miles just to buy a baguette. Or direct people to my house by telling them to turn right at the second woodpile but before you get to the horses…
I can see it now: our floors would be clean because we wouldn’t be traipsing through mud (and who knows what else) every time we went for a stroll. We wouldn’t spend nine months of the year angrily swatting flies and the other three months stuck in a cloud. And we wouldn’t have a constant smell of cow crap drifting around us as we try and relax in the garden on a beautiful (yet rather chilly) summer’s evening.
Yep, the sensible thing is to find a place within spitting distance of Geneva. Give up this “living in the middle of nowhere” folly. Give up this obsession of finding the perfect mountain view, in the perfect mountain village, with as few people in the vicinity as possible. I have a full-time job now, in an office, in a city, in the real world. I need to do the sensible thing – put this mountain dream behind me, grow up, and get over myself. Right?!
Yeah right. When have we ever done the sensible thing…?
Don’t get me wrong – it hasn’t been an easy decision. Alpine Papa and I are not particularly good at making life-changing decisions at the best of times, and I’m not sure I’m in currently the best position to be making such choices when I haven’t slept through the night for at least 9 months (thanks Alpine Baby)…
So we debated it, back and forth, forth and back. And it always came round to the same thing – we’re here for the mountain life. Real mountain life – not life in an apartment in Geneva or Annemasse staring at the mountains from afar and going for walks round the block instead of through cow fields. We could stay in London for convenience stores and an easy commute (and at least I’d have a career there, albeit with fewer ski trips to break up the weeks).
Perhaps we would have decided differently had we not found a house we loved, halfway up a mountain, totally in the middle of nowhere, yet still less than 40 minutes’ drive from work (OK, maybe a bit more at peak times. An hour, say. Ish. Damn those peak times…). As soon as we saw this place it was a bit of a no-brainer – we were blown away by the view, by the space, by the ski resort up the road, and by the sound of cow bells next door (who’d have thought I’d have come to love those damn cow bells…?). We couldn’t give all that up for sensible city life, even an Alpine sensible city life.
So, subject to reams of French paperwork and stamping in triplicate and proof of income and family tree and shoe size and goodness knows what else (breathe…), we’re taking it.
It’s going to be a long day for me still – out of the house all day, driving down scary mountain roads through the snow each morning, just making it back in time to kiss the Alpine Kids before they drift off to dreamland (or, more realistically, just in time to unsuccessfully try and calm them down after the hectic sofa-jumping, high-pitched-wailing, hair-pulling frenzy that is our usual bedtime routine).
I know; we’re crazy. Most people I know think we’re making a mad decision, moving yet again to the middle of nowhere (and I suspect they are secretly speculating about whether this is baby-brain stupidity or some strange cerebral damage brought on by excessive driving up hills). But this mountain life has really got under our skin We’ve lived the dream (our dream, that is, I appreciate it’s not everyone’s idea of fun) and we’re not prepared to turn our back on it now…
Wish me luck (I might need it!)…