...I suspect I may be the luckiest kid in the world

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Life with Different Sized Feet

I knew it was time for a visit to the Brocki House/Salvation Army/Opp Shop/Second Hand Store.
I know this because yesterday I was walking in our village and my heart quickened when it saw second hand clothing in the window of a shop. Thankfully I have a quicker brain because it was a Dry Cleaner's shop.
Close call. That could have been embarrassing.

It did make me wonder if many people ever go into clothing repair shops, dry cleaners etc and just browse through the items.

And so today i set out in search of a form of heaven on earth and went to one right next to the main train station in Zurich.
I did discover that my feet are not the same size as each other. Or perhaps that pair of shoes didn't quite match up.
I hope it was the latter.
I was pretty happy to discover a Europe travel book (this will of course save me money in the long run) and a cute little handbag (this will help carry my money for the long run).

And so for now I feel content. Until I see the next dry cleaner's shop.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sliding Down a Fireman's Pole is Harder Than it Looks.

After my rather eventful night on Saturday night and morning with Mr winking Policeman on Sunday, I was ready for a sleep.
I said goodbye to the policeman and looked at the time and realized that it was much later than I thought.
I had a very important meeting penciled into my diary.

Well, actually I don't have a diary, but if I did it would have been in it.

I was meeting fellow blog people face to face. Yes, we do have faces. We were meeting at the Zurich Google Office for a tour and initial meeting and then heading to a coffee shop for a larger gathering.

And now, because of worst nightmare and follow up visit from a winking policeman, I was going to be rather late.

I got out of the house and onto the train after getting ready in record time and without really finding out where the Google office was. How hard could it be? I just had to look for a big Google sign, right?

I got to the station where I knew the office was and after having a look around, I asked a couple waiting for the bus.
When the lady said, "Google....hmmm...does that have to do with computers?" I knew it had been a bad choice of unsuspecting help.
I moved onto the couple next to them and they, again, wanted to help, but obviously had no idea.
Along the line I moved again (literally) and the next lady could tell me where the old Google office was and had a vague idea where the new one was and so I followed her vague directions.
She was right, it was quite a hike, but I was only a little late. I'm not Swiss, and I've only been here for 2 months so I tell myself this is a pardonable sin.

It was quite bizarre meeting people, who, before this point, had been no more than text on a web page. But such a lovely bizarre meeting. I really really enjoyed it. Much more than I thought I would (walking into a room of complete strangers is not one my favourite tasks!).
So good to put faces to names and meet so many new friends!

And the Google offices - ahhhhhh.
I have decided I think I should work for Google.
To help me with this decision, I have started a pros and cons list.

  • Floors/Levels with themes - including a yellow one.
  • Little conference rooms in old ski gondolas.
  • A fake library with a fake fire.
  • Computer IT help on site.
  • Super nice people work there (well, the ones I met were super nice)
  • White Kit Kat Chunky bars just waiting for people to eat them in baskets everywhere.
  • 2 Firemen's poles and a slippery slide at different locations throughout the building if you're feeling the need for a lift-alternative.
  • Kitchens everywhere with gleaming coffee machines. Mmm.
  • No Engineering or IT degree.

After seeing it all so clearly laid out, I don't know why I didn't think of this before.

After the blogger coffee experience (which included us taking up half of the shop and a waiter who was obviously on a too-much coffee high) I met up with Ma and Pa and MLFs to take MLFs home via the train whilst Ma and Pa enjoyed some Cinema action.

The train - a fun experience with MLF3. She kept repeating our station over to herself and then to me to check she had it right, and whenever the voice-over would come on she would sshhhh us so that she could make sure we got home ok.

I did spend half the trip ready to make a run for it if Mr Ticket Inspector showed his face. I didn't have a ticket for MLF2 and didn't realize until we were halfway home. And I know an au pair who got caught with her ticket-less child on the train and they had to go to the Police Station where they accused her of kidnapping. And slapped with her with a large fine.
Needless to say, this story was present in my mind but thankfully we got home-free.

I plan to include a list of these wonderful blogs on this blog soon...so keep an eye out.
Also keep an eye out for white Kit Kat chunky bars and fake-order-online Engineering or IT degree certificates. I'm keen for either. Or both.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Switzerland, Safe? Pfft.

Whoever said Switzerland was safe obviously did not have all their facts straight.
Anyone interested in one of my worst nightmares?
Making the Top 5 is:
  • Waking up in the middle of the night to find someone in my room who does not belong there.
I'm not sure what it's called when your worst nightmare becomes a reality but this is what happened on Saturday night.

I woke up to the sound of my front door handle. I was instantly awake and instantly I remembered that I had forgotten to lock and alarm my door.
Normally, it is always locked but because Spring has been present, the day before I had left my door open for a while to let the sunshine in. And I had forgotten to lock it when I closed it.
This thought came crashing on me and I was then quite on edge.
I was in the process of trying to talk myself out of being silly and making things up when I saw a man's silhouette go past the outside of my window, away from the direction of my door.
And a few moments later come back.
And then my door opened and he started to come in.
I totally freaked out and jumped out of bed and yelled at him to get out!
I'm not sure what I was planning to do if he didn't do this, or if he didn't understand English, but thankfully he left.
And I locked the door. And stood frozen by it in shock for maybe 15 minutes with the keys clenched in my hand.
I couldn't believe that had just happened. That someone had tried to enter my room in the middle of the night.
Naturally I could not go back to sleep and turned the TV on just so that there was some noise in the room other than silence with me jumping at every sound.
About an hour later the thought came that maybe I should have called the Police? I decided against calling then, as I had left it a bit long. But the next morning when I talked to Ma and Pa about it, we called the Police then.
It took a good part of the morning with the whole Police process.
Firstly he tried to tell me it might have been perhaps an unwelcome friend or someone who had been around before. He was winking at me when he said this. Or maybe he had something in his eye?
I squished this notion.
I am thankful that just the previous week I had got my village registration card in the mail. This shows that I am legally allowed to be residing in the country.
They kick you out without it.
So the whole thing was put down as attempted entry/burglary in their records.
And I will never again forget to lock and alarm my door...
And I think I will buy a baseball bat.
Just for practice.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Here Comes The Sun

The John Lennon Wall in Prague was one of my favourite places in the city. Although John Lennon has never been there, it is filled with graffiti inspired by him and Beatles lyrics. It's got a cool history - check out the Wiki
It was really interesting to spend time reading lots of the writings and I went away with Here Comes The Sun in my head.

Rain? Check.

We're away at the moment. In our snowy village far far away.
I quite like it when they are on school holidays - everything is a bit more relaxed. MLF 3 sleeps til at least 9:30 and MLF1 & MLF2 play very happily until she wakes and we have breakfast.
They would stay in the pajamas and read and play with their PlayMobile all day if we let them.

Alas on Tuesday at about 4PM Pa decided it was time for a walk and everyone got out of the PJ's.
I knew I should go. After all, I had been inside all day.
But I was somewhat relieved when it was raining outside. Shame. And I was so looking forward to a bout of exercise.
Unfortunately this didn't seem to faze them. Sure, they have waterproof jackets.
I was promised peppermint cordial at the other end, at the restaurant out of the village, through the forest, and at the top of the hill.

Once we started walking I had to talk myself into the spirit of it all.
It would be refreshing. Invigorating. I could dance in the rain. I could organize a parade.
I had to try and not think about the fact that I was wearing my one pair of pants, sole pair of shoes (haha - just call me Les!) and only jacket (not waterproof, as previously discussed).
But it was good, and the view was magnificent. And the lovely lady at the restaurant put our coats to dry whilst we were there.
And the peppermint cordial? 'Twas pretty good, although it cost $5AU - for a glass of cordial!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


We arrived at around 7AM Saturday morning. I had spent the night in a coffin with 5 other people, but, surprisingly got a decent sleep.
I don't know why, but I wasn't expecting much from this city. Berlin had never made list of must-see places, and besides the Berlin Wall, I didn't know much else about it.
Perhaps due to our amazing tour guide I've changed my mind. I love Berlin and would love to live there for a little while. I was blown away by the history of the city and the beauty that has come from the ashes.

This is the moment to the Jews that were killed in the Holocaust.
It's bizarre and strange. Rows and rows and rows of concrete blocks. It cost $27 million Euros. It's an effective memorial though.
I may have gotten lost in there and almost been left behind by my tour group.
What does one do in that situation?

I don't know what I expected The Berlin Wall to look like.
Ironically, they're now doing a lot of work on the remaining portions of wall to keep it up and in good repair.
When they built the wall, they put the concrete sewer pipe halves on top as there was no way to grab onto the wall and thus climb over.

While everyone else has to double park, the little smart car just side parks and takes up a tiny amount of space. I'll take one.

We took a train to Prague on Monday morning and arrived mid-late afternoon. The hostel guy suggested a pub around the corner for dinner and recommended the garlic soup. Seriously, who eats garlic soup? Pfft.
However, as it was the cheapest thing on the menu I got brave and ... cheap.
And it was amazing. Seriously, ah-maz-ing. I may or may not have eaten there the 3 nights we stayed in Prague. And I may or may not have ordered the garlic soup each night. I'm pretty sure that a.) they call me Garlic-Soup-Girl at that pub and b.) garlic is coming out of my pores.
[Side note: did you know there is pore, pour & poor]

I felt small and vulnerable the moment we stepped off the train in Prague. I had no clue about the Czech language and it was all rather confusing.

We spent a lot of time looking for the Charles Bridge. We found many bridges and met many Charles' but the Charles Bridge hid from us until our last day. But it was impressive once we finally found it.
Here we are on another bridge.

So we spent quite a bit of time poring over this map. Searching for our place in this world, for where we wanted to go, and how we could get there. We saw a sign for the station Kouření zakázáno and looked for where that was on the map, but alas, we could not find it for Kouření zakázáno meant: No Smoking. I'd like to think that was the end of our stupidity but we may or may not have searched for this same stop later again in our trip.

I had heard reports of a singing fountain. The Krizik Fountain uses music and lights and water to put on an amazing display. So I headed in the fountainous direction one night, and I was all prepared to part with $200 korunas to watch a show. However I got there a little early and found a little gap in the fence from which I was able to watch the earlier show - and it was good! And it wasn't a bad view - for free. And so I stayed to watch the next show, from my gap in the fence. A few other el-cheapos saw what I was doing and searched for their own gap. Alas, none to be found. And so I had them lining up behind me asking for just one minute.
I'm serious.
Then I got wise and decided to charge for my gap.
I made a fortune!

Nah, not really, but I should have charged them all.

We also visited the John Lennon Wall, which I loved. But I think I'll save that for it's own blog sometime...

....was an expensive city centre filled with amazing buildings that reached the sky. It was narrow streets and tall buildings. I did escape to the Danube for a short while which was lovely.

I'd heard that you could get in to the Staatsoper for standing price if you lined up early enough. I got there almost an hour and a half early and there was already quite a crown lining up for these 4 Euro tickets. But I did get in and got to see an Italian Opera.
I also sat near Meryl Streep. I may or may not have spent a substantial amount of time during the Opera deciding whether it was Meryl Streep or not.
But I'm going to stick with yes, it was.

I'd also heard that you could get cheap tickets for the Volksoper - if you were willing to sit in the not so favourable seats. But after standing for the previous night I was willing to sit!
We got tickets to see the Nutcracker ballet, or Das Nussknacker. I was sharing a platform with a lovely old couple who for some reason had bought a third seat on the front of the platform for no apparent reason and allowed me to sit with them.
Very lovely. She spoke a little English but tended to mix it with a lot of German and so I am quite proficient at smiling and nodding.
But the Nutcracker was truely amazing and I felt like I was whisked away to a fairytale for a couple of hours.

I also got to spend some time with George Clooney.

And after taking the night train home from Austria I am glad to be home in the land of the familiar. Ironically so. I'm glad for some clean clothes and my.own.bed.
And - whilst away - spring seems to have sprung in Zurich. Amazing colour everywhere and tonight I am going to the Burning of the Böögg.
More on this later...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Chapter 25

Almost to the end of my BERLIN-PRAGUE-VIENNA journey.
Almost time for a hot bath and my own bed.

I got a sneak peek at Don Miller's new book today. A Million Miles in A Thousand Years. He posted part of a chapter on his blog and it's good. Really good. And I'm really really really looking forward to the release. You can read it all here but here is a little bit:
It’s like this when you live a story. The first part happens fast. You throw yourself into the narrative and you’re caught in the water, the shore is pushing back behind you and the trees are getting smaller. The other shore is inches away and you can feel the resolution coming, the feeling of getting out of your boat and walking the distant shore, looking back to see where you came from. The first part of a story happens fast, and you think the thing is going to be over soon. But it isn’t going to be over soon. The reward you get from a story is always less than you thought it would be, and the work is harder than you imagined. It’s as though the thing is teaching you the story is not about the ending but about the story itself, about your character getting molded in the hard work of the middle. The shore behind you stops getting smaller, and you paddle and wonder why the same strokes used to move you but they don’t anymore. -You got the wife but you don’t know if you like her anymore and you’ve only been married five years. You want to wake up and walk into the living room in your underwear and watch football and let your daughters play with the dog because the paddling doesn’t move the boat anymore and the far shore doesn’t get closer no matter how hard you work. The shore you left is just as far and there is no going back, there is only the decision to paddle in place or stop, slide out of the hatch and sink into the sea. Maybe there is another story at the bottom of the sea? Maybe you don’t have to be in this story anymore? Maybe you can quit and not have to paddle in place anymore?
I think this is when most people give up on their stories. They come out of college wanting to change the world, wanting to get married, wanting to have kids and change the way people buy office supplies. But they get into the middle and discover it was harder than they thought and they can’t see the distant shore anymore and they wonder if their paddling is moving them forward. None of the trees behind them are getting smaller and none of the trees ahead are getting bigger. They take it out on their wife, on their husband, they go looking for an easier story.
He said you have to go there, you know. You have to take your character to the place where they just can’t take it anymore. He looked at us with a tenderness we hadn’t seen in him before. You’ve been there, haven’t you? You’ve been out on the ledge. The marriage is over now, the dream is over now, nothing good can come from this. He got louder. Writing a story isn’t about making your peaceful fantasies come true. The whole point of the story is the character arc. You didn’t think joy could change a person, did you? Joy is what you feel when the conflict is over. But it’s conflict that changes a person. He was shouting now. You put your characters through hell. You put them through hell. That’s the only way we change.

Monday, April 13, 2009

See. Remember?

I'm in Prague.
And once again I feel surrounded by that which is unknown. The difference in language really throws me - whilst we were in Berlin I at least felt like I had some idea of what I was reading - signs, directions, ads etc.
And so I am content to walk around in hazy confusion. And to just watch. And eat.

Berlin was ah-mazing. To visit the Berlin Wall was something really special. Even as I type I'm not sure what to say about it. But I felt like I was reliving history. To see this part of history that is relatively recent was eye-opening. We went on a fantastic tour with a fantastic guide and I felt like I learnt more about WW2 especially in 4 hours than I ever learnt at school. (No fault of yours, Mum & Dad! :))

I stayed with a friend of a friend and was able to get the inside info (yay for me!) on Berlin which was pretty cool. And more of a feel for the place. And so lovely of a stranger to put me up in their apartment!

I woke up on Sunday and felt a little sad that for the first in many years I had not attended a Sunrise Service on Easter Sunday. I felt very far away from home. But perhaps more than other years I spent much of the weekend remembering. I saw a poll on the internet that was asking if Easter was a time for reflection on your faith. I'm not sure why, but this stood out to me and has been a good reminder to reflect on my faith.
The two phrases that have been running rampant in my head are
King of my Heart
and Hallelujah - for all You've done.
And its been really good to reflect upon these.
-To ask myself, is Jesus the King of my heart, and thus my actions? And, if this is true - what does this look like? How does that play out in life, in reality?
-To be reminded of what I know He has done - in my life and in my relationships. And to be thankful, and grateful. And to stop and be in awe of a God who is unable to be boxed and who is worthy of awe.

I went to a German church on Sunday night. A friend from Zurich had connected me with a friend of hers that went to this Youth Church. Her friend translated much of the service for me which I am so thankful for. It was just a good reminder of truth and good to be surrounded by unknown friends who are on the same journey.

On the way home from the Church I felt something of missing home. Of missing friends and family. And I actually verbalized to God that I really really wanted something of Him in another person. That I wanted something familiar and true and good and friendly. Perhaps a friend?

I bought some food and the lady who served me was so lovely. Her face was so - kind. And then she gave me extra chicken. :) I felt some extra love inserted into me at that point.

The tram driver went out of his way to show me the way home. He even got out of the tram to point me in the right direction. And, again, somehow I felt loved.

And then it was almost like God said me: See. Remember? Sometimes I work like that. Sometimes I work through people. Perhaps even people who aren't even conscious of it. See. Remember?

And so I want to see. And I want to remember. I want to look for ways that this God, this King of my heart, is working. I want my eyes to be opened to goodness and to truth. I want to search for it.
I want to see. And I want to remember.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A 10 Minute Blog

I have 10 minutes and am about to catch the train to Berlin. I've got a most likely small and uncomfortable bed on the train but hopefully will sleep as it is the night train!

Happy Easter! Unfortunately, I came to the realization that they do not sell hot cross buns in Switzerland. I am sad about this. Sad that I cannot sing the hot cross buns song. Because, of course, this is what I did when I had access to hot cross buns.

I had my first German class the other night and now am a pro at all things German. Well...maybe not everything. But the teacher did speak nothing but German the whole class, and so I paid for the privilege of not understanding anything for 2 hours. But at least I did it with 10 other people.

Announcement: There are new words to Mamma Mia
Mamma Mia, Here we go again.
My my, how how you are my sister.
This is according to MLF3. Btw - I LOVE that she wants to listen to ABBA all the time. Not sure what Ma and Pa think about this.

I'm off to Berlin, Prague and Vienna for the next 9 days. Have no idea what I'm doing whilst I'm there but will be living it up as a tourist! Side note: If anyone has a spare copy of Europe on a Shoestring I'm catching the night train to Berlin in 40 minutes. If you could meet me at the platform, that would be great!

And, in other news: I just ate fish fingers and spinach for dinner. Popeye would be proud!

Good Friday! - because Sunday is coming!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How To Stick Out Like A Sore Thumb (And Other Helpful Tips)

As much as possible I try to stay under the radar. Do my own thing, keep quiet, go with the flow.
I've worked out that this is more likely to happen here in Switzerland if I don't open my mouth. As long as I don't say anything, I'm safe. I just smile and nod. I look normal.
But, in case you were wondering how to not do this, I've got a few tips.

1.) Go to the Post Office and ask for a redirection form. They have many possibilities and you won't have a clue. But if by some miracle, and with a little help from overly emphatic gestures you manage to get the right one - you'll still be up the creek. Because then you actually have to fill the form out. It's like a multiple choice test in German - without the multiple choices.

2.) Look after MLF3 & friend on a play date. Friend can't speak any English, and we already know the extent of your German. When it is time for Friend to leave, instruct her to put her shoes on. She will then look at you confused and wave goodbye - Tschuss. Then, say, no - shoes. Emphasize the word too, if you want. Even use more gestures. She will still be confused and say goodbye to you again. Tschuss.

3.) Walk around with your IPod on, listening to podcasts of radio shows such as Hamish and Andy. You will laugh out loud in inappropriate places and wear a big grin and walk around chuckling to yourself. I suspect people will actually think you have problems.

4.) Ask the Swiss Assistant at the Travel Buro for help in booking your train tickets. She will look surprised when - A. You're booking only a few days in advance and B. You want to leave the country.
Why would you ever want to holiday anywhere other than SwissLand and Why would you not be more organized that? What were you thinking?

5.) Leave it til the last minute to catch your last train home. Then decide you absolutely must have a cheeseburger. You can then run at full speed through the station yelling Excuse Me! and Coming Through! Bag, coat, wallet in one hand and cheeseburger in the other. People will look angry, frustrated or annoyed, but really they're just jealous that they didn't think to get a cheeseburger. Trust me.

You can thank me later.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

You Know You're in Switzerland When...You Wave Money At Jesus.

Spring. Glorious Spring.
I think it's almost here. Today we spent a lovely lovely afternoon down by the lake and we turned our faces to the sun for the few seconds that it appeared through the clouds.
We played Frisbee. I had to apologize to a few people that got hit by the Frisbee. I know the German word for sorry, which I used a number of times. However, I have no idea what their reply is.
No worries. Nice dress.
Stupid Cow. Can't you control that thing?!!
Who can tell? Thank goodness German classes start this Wednesday.

I went to a new church this morning and really liked it. It was Palm Sunday and all the kids were up the front singing a few tunes. The Pastor had a few questions for them. He was talking about the original Palm Sunday (Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey in a parade-like atmosphere with people waving palm branches). He then asked the kids what they thought a parade would look like in Switzerland if Jesus came and what people would wave, since there are no palm branches here. The first answer?

I've got 10 days off in 5 days time. I'm not sure what to do with this time. I'm hoping to join a couple of other au pairs on a trip to Berlin, Prague and Vienna. I'm hoping to buy train tickets tomorrow. I have no idea. How does one plan a trip like that?! Where do you even begin?!

Oh, and in other rather exciting news, I went to France yesterday. To the toilet. I walked across the border. Toilet. And back. And repeat sometime later in the day. I'm glad my first experience of this great country was so fulfilling and enthralling. It's a memory I'll treasure forever.
More on yesterday perhaps tomorrow. 'night.

Friday, April 3, 2009

It's All German To Me

So I've been trying hard to sign up for German classes. I tried a few weeks back and their classes were all either full (no room for moi) or empty (can't start without enough people). And so I fell beneath the crack and waited a while before I called again.

This time I had to come in to do some sort of test. I explained that I knew no German and just wanted to sign up for the beginner's class but they insisted that I come in for the test.
Their testing time was quite inconvenient but we managed to shuffle kids around like a good deck of cards.

Miraculously, somehow I arrived too early for the scheduled time but presented myself anyway. Incidentally, I was able to meet with the testing lady immediately because the previous appointment was a no-show.

I followed Testing Lady down the corridor as she chats away to me in German.
This is a test,
I think to myself. Do not cave, don't give in. Just smile and nod.
We sit down at her desk and she introduces herself - I think - in German. She also gives me half her life story - I think. She may also have been commenting on my fabulous hair that day or my amazing shoes, but I can't be certain.

She holds out her hand to shake mine.
"And I'm Kylie."
"Oh...You don't speak German?"
"No." This is why I want to sign up for the beginner's class.
"You didn't learn any at school?"
"Did you learn any language at school?" Her tone of voice may have reached incredulous at this point.
"Any extra-curricular language activities?"
I want to disappear under her disdainful, incredulous look. But I chose good looks over special powers when I was born.
She does her best to cough politely. "Oh....Ok."
It is at this point that I resolve to myself to do better in my next life. To take private language tuition as a four-year-old. Or at least to become good friends with Rosetta Stone.

"Well, then. You will need to join a beginner's class."
Dang. And I was so hoping to be put me in an advanced class.
I thanked her and left. Two minutes and this compulsory test was all over.
And with my spare time? The Opp Shop.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Lady Muck & And A Stuck Truck

Yesterday I walked past Napoleon Dynamite. I'm serious. I know he's a fictitious character, but I saw him for real. He walked past me in the street.
I was so busy looking at Napoleon Dynamite that I almost crossed the road without looking.
I stopped in time.
The elderly lady in front of me, however, almost got run over by a tram. I yelled, 'No Wait!'
In hindsight, I realize this was not a clever thing to say. I need to learn to say this in German. You never know when it will come in handy.

After this close call, I sat down to wait for my train. And smelt the woman next to me. And she smelt really good. I do not normally go around smelling people but this was an exception. I was all over her like a dog his dinner. I could drink whatever perfume she was using.
Note to self: Start wearing perfume. And, no, going into the Perfume section at Co Op regularly to test does not count.

I knew Pa was going away for a few days. The suitcase gave it away. I thought he was going to a neighbouring country. However, as he was walking out the door yesterday morning he mentioned he was going to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. As you do.

She seems to have it all. Her clothes make me drool. I often think about stealing them. And her shoes - to die for.
She somehow has me doing everything she says and the world revolves around her pretty much every waking moment. How is this so? How has she accomplished so much in her life?
She's four. How can this be?

And in other news (yes, besides intense jealousy of MLF3) I saw a stuck truck.
I don't know how he got as far as he did, but Mr Truck Driver was not happy. And he kept revving the guts out of the truck but he was stuck for sure and certain. Under the train bridge. He'll probably have to live there forever.