Life has a way to keep you on your toes, I've been finding out increasingly. Just when you think that everything's good, you are reminded that at the end of the day we have but an illusion of control over what happens.
I realise that not everyone thinks like that. I also realise that I used to be one of those people who thought they were in control of their lives and destinies. I have been proven wrong.
If nothing else, life has a sense of humour. It is deeply ironic in so many ways.
My last post about happiness was followed by a very difficult month of dreams and hopes crushed. Another pregnancy, another loss, followed by complications, hospitals, endless blood tests. Still not out of that and wondering if I will ever be.
But as we battled with that we are also faced with the harsh reality of a country in crisis. The financial crisis has finally affected us. Our salaries have been cut, so that we can carry the burden of debt along with all our fellow salaries employees and pensioners. VAT has continued to rise and now even food has a 23% stamp on it.
Food bills have risen enormously. Heating oil has become prohibitive, heralding a difficult winter. Rising taxation means the paycheck at the end of the month has seen a decrease. Family members are losing their jobs, some others have been unpaid for months. My mother's pension - something she worked for for almost 40 years, has been reduced repeatedly.
And on top of that the government keeps sending emergency taxation bills. And emergency bills for the unemployed. And, as if that wasn't enough, emergency property taxation which is attached to our electricity bill and if we don't (can't) pay we get our electricity cut!
And yet, the untouchables, those who do not declare, those who have their money in Swiss bank accounts, those who routinely cheat the system, once more get away scot free. (Which by the way is an Old English word meaning exempt form royal tax, how apt!) How frustrating is that! How maddening to live in a country where only some have to pay, the ones who have always paid!
We are not sure where this is going. We are not sure how much of it we can endure. We have built a life here that is wonderful - we have a nice house, jobs we enjoy, freedom to walk our dogs on the mountain, to play tennis on a municipal court on a beautiful Friday night, to run and cycle on the mountain. We have the luxury to wake up to sunshine every day, to sit out for dinner in our garden well into autumn, to look at the sea from our kitchen window and the mountains from our bathroom. But where do you draw the line? When do you decide that you cannot go on in this situation, pack and leave?
These are not rhetorical questions, they are questions we have been asking ourselves every day. Answers much appreciated :)