Monday, April 13, 2009

And So We Cause an International Incident

After Church we went for a drive. We headed into the French speaking portion of Switzerland. We saw a beautiful field of daffodils and a cow getting a massage. (Seriously. It was this big rotating brush thing and the cow stood under it. If we were cows, we'd want to be Swiss cows.)

We were very close to France, so we decided to go home through France. We had our passports, so everything should have been fine.

Except it wasn't.

We got to the border and presented our passports. The border guards only spoke French. Fortunately, Jason's high school French really paid off and he was able to communicate clearly with them. (Or at least, clearly enough that we didn't end up in jail.)

The children and I have not yet been to the Munchenstein police station to register. The border guards told us that if we left Switzerland we would not be allowed back in. It was all very confusing. Becuase we have a visas, we are under different rules then we would be otherwise. You don't need a visa to enter Switzerland, but if you have one, you have to register.

Jason was discussing this in French and the guards took our passports and disappeared into the building. When they came back, they mentioned that Jason worked for Novartis, so they must have looked us up in their computer and discovered things about us.

They asked to see Jason's driver's license, and that's when we discovered that he had forgotten his wallet. We got a little nervous at this point. Nothing like conversing in a foreign language with an armed man who has the power to put you in jail for attempting to illegally leave the country. Yeah! Welcome to Europe!

Fortunately, they let us turn around and we went back home through Switzerland.


  1. Wow! That's a great language barrier story! Gee, I need to brush up on my French in case I ever end up in a similar situation.

  2. That's crazy! That was definitely a "You're not in Kansas anymore" moment!