Our house wasn't even totally unpacked and put away and we were headed on a mini vacation. It felt good in a way to get going on discovering some of the beauty around us--otherwise all of my energy would be focused on getting the house in perfect order and we'd probably not get to our first trip for 6 months!!! So, we haphazardly threw this one together, piled everyone in the car and took off for Austria. We were late in the game when it came to making reservations for our trip (should have done that before we even knew we'd be here!!!) So I ended up finding a place that I thought was only about 15 minutes from the Serfaus ski resort that we had heard so much about. I didn't know it was actually an hour away until we had left Kate's last basketball game of the season and were on the road. The adventure begins. Hahaha! I started having flashbacks of all of our Chilean trips and the "adventures" we'd get ourselves into. But everyone was THRILLED to be going skiing. They couldn't wait.
We got in late on Thursday night and had lessons scheduled for the kids at 10am the next morning. Lesson #2 learned. Don't make lessons so "early" on your very first day. Driving an hour to the resort, getting everyone outfitted in their ski gear, tickets being purchased, trams being taken, figuring out a new ski resort and which gondola goes to which part of the ski schools... Oh! And of course, trying to drop your baby off at the little day care. By the time we were actually up on the mountain and everyone was where they were supposed to be, it was NOON!!!!
The kids only got an hour of the 3 hour lesson. Joe and I hurried to the top to see if we could squeeze in a little time together, and as soon as we got off the lift, our phones began to ring. Mack wasn't happy. He had been crying and we needed to come get him. I thought to sweaty self, "PLEASE don't let our entire trip be this way!!!"
Thank heavens it wasn't. First day was a huge learning curve. 2nd day there were 90 kph winds, so the resort was closed, but the rest of the time we were there, it was AMAZING. We figured out how to help Mack be happy during the day and the kids were in lessons learning how to ski like pros during the morning, and then we all skied together in the afternoon. They had the most incredible set up to make skiing fun for kids. Like the huge bear above that actually ROARS when you ski through it. There were all of these fun little pathways through the trees that had little houses to explore and animals that made sounds and places for kids to try and throw snowballs through dinosaurs mouths and an entire area to practice little jumps and turns...all for kids. Ours were in heaven. It happens to be there new favorite sport now, thanks to Serfaus.
The hotel was far away from the resort, but what a beautiful setting! We didn't mind. It is set up so you go to the restaurant for breakfast and dinner every morning and evening. You sit at the exact same table and you start to recognize the other guests because you see them so often. Well, we were definitely the only family there with more than 2 children. And our table happened to be in the very center of the restaurant. The looks and the stares were quite remarkable. We tried to explain to the kids that people are just curious, so they needed to be on their best behavior and really make sure they were using their manners. The woman sitting right next to Jake had a stare that--take your pick of any Disney movie you'd like-- reminded us of an evil queen. It was brutal. And poor Jake was so uncomfortable. "But staring isn't polite!!!!" He'd say night after night.
Then we told him we'd try an experiment. Every time we happened to look over and catch her staring at us, we would smile really big and make eye contact with her. He didn't want to. Hahaha! So, Joe and I blatantly started smiling. Even when Mack was beyond exhausted and starting to fling food and flail his arms at night to signal that he needed to be in bed instead of at a restaurant waiting to be served his dinner. One of us would usually take him upstairs and then we'd box up our dinner. Worked MUCH better!!! But I digress. We smiled. We tried to say "Guten Abend," and be polite.
On our very last morning, we were bringing our food to the table when the evil queen was walking towards the omelet station. I looked at her and said hello and she stopped me and broke out into a huge smile I never imagined could have existed on that face. She then asked all about where we were from and how wonderfully behaved our children were and what a nice family we had. I was shocked. I rushed back to the table with our 40 plates of food (that's what it felt like compared to everyone else's little side plates of bread and cheese and meat slices that were apparently satisfying their appetites) and announced to the kids that it had worked!!! We wore her down with kindness!!! We broke her in a good way! We were all feeling pretty darn good. Jake still didn't prefer to look her way that morning, and frankly, I wouldn't have either after all of the curious and unintentional glares, but hopefully he learned something other than just snow is his new best friend.