My new grandson, Nathaniel Luke, arrived on May 20th. He is healthy and, of course, cute. The experience of having a baby in Switzerland seemed to have been pretty much the same for my daughter in law as her other three in the States. She had a doctor who spoke English and who pretty much just observed the nurse delivering the baby, even taking videos for my son at one point as he cut the cord. The nurse spoke perfect English and was very nice. In the photo I saw of her she is wearing the scrubs nurses wear along with a string of pearls around her neck. They wanted my daughter in law to stay in the hospital for 5 days if you can believe that. She just stayed two nights. Since this was her fourth baby they figured she pretty much knew how to do everything. On the whole she said the staff was very relaxed about the whole thing. Not only will my son get a nice tax break on having four children in Switzerland with its negative birth rate, but money every month-I guess they are hoping to encourage the Swiss to have more babies. They get lots of looks from the Swiss along the lines of “What are you doing with so many children?”. The Italians are more like, “Way to go!”
I walked my two oldest grandsons to school each day. They are in an Swiss public school and, of course, the main language is Italian. My oldest grandson is frustrated with his lack of Italian and his understanding of it. His four year old brother is less concerned. They are both going to an all day local soccer club this summer, all in Italian, and I think they will be fluent after that. Their two year old brother can already rattle off a little Italian with a perfect accent. When you walk into the school there are little slots where the kids take off their street shoes and put on rubber shoes that can’t be worn outside. They also have light little cotton shoes to wear for physical education. They have to have little shirts for art, the four year old has a bib to keep his clothes clean during a gourmet, three course lunch. The school next door for older kids where my oldest grandson will go next year also has a place to change their shoes. In the class right now there is a difficult student who apparantly hits the other kids and is so awful that the teacher actually physically pins him down to the floor and puts her hand over his mouth. We know this because my grandson drew a picture of it. Can you imagine this happening in the States? Lawsuit time.
A few photos we took today on a walk:
As you can see, the area is very rural. This is a little farm that sells fresh produce.
A little chapel in the neighborhood. The doors are always unlocked and everytime I have looked in there have been candles lit. The whole area all around Lugano is packed with churches and the bells ring all of the time.
The interior of the little chapel.
Little framed hearts on either side of the statue of Mary.
The tiny bell tower. Most of the churches here seem to have those round wheels on each bell.