A Milestone Birthday

The pleasant events surrounding my entry into my ninth decade sweetened the bitter pill to a certain extent, and I am gradually getting used to that new number. On the day before my birthday I was able to join a group of old friends for a delicious barbecue in a beautiful garden, the first time we had been all together for well over a year, so that was a special treat.

My grandchildren, their spouses and children made the day itself memorable. It’s been quite a long time since everybody was together in person as opposed to some being present on a screen, and as the weather was bright and sunny, we were able to sit outside at the restaurant and enjoy our meal together, even though Covid restrictions meant we had to sit at two separate tables. 

Some of my birthday presents were unorthodox but fitting and very welcome. I was told that I hadn’t needed to drop any hints about the toboggan run as the granddaughters had already thought of that. I’m obviously more transparent than I realized! That will be forthcoming and is something to look forward to. I have invited my grandson-in-law and my eldest great-grandson to come along with me as my birthday present to them, so we’ll be a multi-generational party for that trip, and there may indeed be a zipwire ride later on, but in the Jura not in Wales.

And – bless them! – they are also going to come to my place and give my carpets a really good and much needed shampoo. That may sound strange, but it’s what I asked for. Something else that I asked for – and got – was a new toilet brush and bath mat, gifted with a grin by my best friend!

My middle granddaughter and her husband arrived with a big smile and emptied a bag of cheeses onto my dining table: “You’re 80, so you’re getting 80 different cheeses!” (Yes, my predilection for cheese is well attested and is clearly public knowledge.) The clever thing about this is that I’m getting them in instalments, so they will  always be fresh. This was the first batch: Appenzeller in three different guises (the standard version, Alpine cheese from the Schwägalp, and goat’s cheese), Cheddar, a pavé of soft cheese with truffles, Roquefort, Epoisses, local Thurgau and St Gallen cheeses, and a “Scharfer Max” which is new to me. All very delicious!

After the weekend, I spent ten days at the house of my best friend, and the lovely sunny weather continued. She had two other house guests – her teenage granddaughter from Paris plus boyfriend. This was a salutary reminder for both of us of many things we had forgotten about teenagers and their behaviour. I’ll just say that the kids could have been much, much worse – but it was a relief to drop them off at the station at the end of the week. It’s so much easier being a grandparent than a parent!

And now, returning home, I find a letter in the post informing me that AT LAST my application for Swiss nationality has been approved by the Canton of St Gallen, and I am now officially a Swiss citizen. I just need to make an appointment to order my passport and ID card, and my Swissification process will finally be complete. 

It has taken exactly two years since I handed in my application, and it is also just about six weeks short of forty-eight years since I arrived in this country. That is a very nice birthday present: Thank you, Confoederatio Helvetica! I shall be able to join in the celebrations on 1 August, Swiss national day, this year no longer as a foreigner but as a native.

12 thoughts on “A Milestone Birthday

  1. Ye, I am a bit of a Cheeseman myself. Sweets generally linger in my fridge till outdated and then chucked out. Of course, cheeses improve with age and so do people living in Helvetia.
    Good for you to now be Swiss.

  2. Pingback: Swissified At Last | catterel

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