Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Global Reaction

In an effort to expand my social network, I met up with fellow au pairs at their weekly Starbucks gathering the other night. I brought along my new friend Hannah who also works as an au pair for a family up the road from my host family. The other au pairs (who I connected with via a publication for parents in Zurich called The New Stork Times) instantly loved Hannah. The two girls from Canada are avid snowboarders and were making dates to hit the slopes with Hannah as soon as they learned that she also snowboards. I couldn't help but feel a little left out because as a southern Californian, I've only seen snow a handful of times and cannot imagine doing anything as graceful, quick or cool as snowboarding in it. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I walk through snow or simply tolerate it for more than a couple of minutes. It is kind of ironic that I, someone with little experience with snow and no talent for sports, now live in the ski capital of the world.

Anyway, no one could resist Hannah's kiwi charm and while I hadn't won over any new friends yet, I had brought like-minded au pairs together. Sadly though, my feelings of pride turned to guilt when Hannah's purse was stolen in front of our eyes at the Starbucks. I said in front of our eyes, but none of us saw it happen. We were engrossed in conversation when Hannah looked for her bag in the place she had left it only two minutes ealier and noticed it was gone.

The thief probably saw us five young women speaking English and figured we were rich tourists and easy targets. I wanted to tell him/her, 'hey, buddy (buddy means friend, but read it as 'jerk' here), we're not tourists. We live and work here so go rob someone else.' Isn't that strange that I wanted a low-life thief to know we weren't tourists? That in itself deserves a separate post. In any case, it was hard to imagine that someone would cause another person so much shock and hassle for 45 Swiss francs and a cell phone.

Though I felt badly for Hannah, I was fascinated by how the different au pairs responded to the purse situation. Perhaps it is unfair to let these individuals speak for their nations, but let's see where this goes.

See the next post.

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