Friday, November 20, 2009

Grüezi! All For the Last Time - The 11th Entry

Guten Abend alle!

Well, this is my last Switzerland entry and my last great adventure. Too bad I’ll forget all of this in five years - stupid memory. That’s why I took pictures!

What I’ll miss:

- My gremlins.
- Being so close to nature.
- The boats!
- Taking the train.
- Convenient and reliable transportation.
- Weight Watchers everything. Loved the ice cream (chocolate was the shit!), the brötchen, mayo, pudding, cervela, cheese, fondue, meats, snacks, etc. So nice not to have to add calories or nothing. I know I’m okay grabbing one of their products.
- Produce and food is cheaper here (except for eating out which I didn’t do).
- Always baking something.
- Aiden and Rafi never refusing to being my official food tasters.
- This one pan they got in Germany. I want this pan! I’ve cooked a whole chicken in it and my fried rice comes out perfect.
- Fondue and Raclette.
- Medicine that is affordable and it works.
- Going to IKEA for 1 CHF hot dogs.
- Did I mention my gremlins?
- The boys coming into my room with smiles on their faces.
- Watching them adding more and more words to their daily language.
- Going to Büsingen to go grocery shopping. It’s worth it for the drama over who is going to ride in the cart seat. Since its been Libby and I, problem solved, we get two carts.
- My German classes. I had a great teacher.
- And duh, of course Alain and Libby even though they are both retarded sometimes.
- The place we stayed at in Calabria, Italy. You can’t beat on the beach for a little over 100 CHF a week!
- The book stores in Basel.
- Shopping in St. Gallen.
- ALL the castles. CASTLES.
- My IC train. I had my spot after a while. Five minutes later, a guy comes by with a cart offering coffee.
- Montreux and Vevey.

So finally Libby and I found a really good Broki in Thayngen. It’s right behind the Bahnhof. We are having dinner Sunday with the neighbors again. Tomorrow night we are supposed to go out with Priska.

Wish me a safe flight Monday.


pic 1: the fam

pic 2: Sarah and Omenn

pic 3: Liby (the neighbor) and the boys.

pic 4: living room fun

pic 5: living room fun 2

Friday, November 13, 2009

Grüezi! 4pm of Darkness - The 10th Entry

Shönen Tag alle!

So my time here is almost done (and there better not be any huzzahs!). Yesterday was my last hurrah to Zürich. I went to the Land Museum to see a photo exhibit and the China Garden (which was closed for the winter). There’s a bog pond where they have stones that you can walk on to get to the other side, once there I ate lunch by Lake Zurich, enjoying the early sunset at 4pm. The only way I could describe my day was a line form one of my books, “…all for the last time.”

Did some window shopping and got ingredients for my cake for tonight’s dinner party with the neighbors. Tonight I am baking a lemon vanilla yoghurt cake. It’s in the oven now and I have everything I need to make the icing. I <3 dinner parties! Libby cooking two chickens and I’m not too sure what else we’re having yet, it’s only 2pm!

Earlier this week, Libby and I had our own Zürich day where we went to NONAM (North American Native Museum). It houses a huge exhibition of Native American and Indigenous tribes. Then we met Alain in Winterthur to eat at this place called the Outback Lodge where I enjoyed kangaroo steak for the first time! Ist schmeckt sehr gut!

There was tea time with Madeline twice this week. She came here and then we went over. I got to see their house for the first time. And she showed us the goulashes and dry suits she got for the boys when it wet outside, they can still play.

Let’s see, I was oinked at last week. I glared at someone Wednesday after they reeked of booze and begged me for money for the Zug. Got pissy hearing Spanish on the bus from two obviously loud Dominican Republic Gucci wearing women. And you know what they were blabbing about so damn loudly, coffee. They were complaining about this place that serves bad coffee. Get a life! I laughed when some German guy told them to shut up!

This leads to: the Swiss are as reserved about certain things like us Americas are. In public places (unless you’re drunk) you don’t go screaming about like some whacked up freak, especially on the bus and train. The only allowance is children but they like them to stay as quiet as possible in public places. Like on certain trains, they have cars for families so you can be as loud as you want without bothering somebody. We like to think we are very direct but no, you haven’t met the Germans, they have zero tact. In America we would consider them highly rude.

A good example cane from my German book where we read off a conversation about someone who was having a house warming dinner. Immediately the first question was, “how much do you pay because this is terribly small!” As we know, in America we’d only ask that if we know the person personally and even then, people get iffy. I don’t like sharing how much I pay for something and I don’t ask other people. My teacher was like, “in Switzerland, saying something like that to someone you barely know is horribly rude!”

I don’t think the directness is a bad thing, just funny how cultures are very different.

Speaking of German books, Frau Porolli is giving me Schritte 2 and Schritte 3. In Europe, when you learn a language, you get a certificate and the level tells the work place, or school what you know. You start with A1 (Schritte 1 and 2) which is basic German grammar, alphabet, simple verbs, Dative, Gehen + Infinitive, etc. A2 (Schritte 3 and 4) – is more complex verbs, writing (writing and speaking is different), etc. B1 (Schritte 5 and 6) you only take if you are going to write reference papers, do government work, write a novel, etc.

We would call these, Elementary Conversational German, Intermediate Conversational German and German Composition. I thought it was very nice of her. She did tell me that it’s nice to have a student who is serious about learning. To which I smiled.

Now, here is something we should have in America. What my teacher meant was that the people who go to these German courses are there because the government or the place of work sent them. You legally cannot become a citizen, work or have any say in the government unless you complete A1 & A2 then wait 15 – 25 years. If you’re married to a Swiss citizen its 7 years. Even then if you are married (like in Libbys’ case) you cannot be a citizen unless you get a certificate in A1 & A2.

So two more classes left in A1 Scritte 1 and 10 days to go until I return to Florida. Just wish me a safe flight. I don’t want to hear anything else.

Ich wünche alle sehr schön Abend!

Pic 1: Bathtime fun - Rafi

Pic 2: Bathtime fun - Aiden

Pic 3: Tea time with Omi

Pic 4: Almost finished waking on the pond.



Monday, November 2, 2009

Grüezi! Happy Halloween - The 9th Entry

Well, I have come to my last month here in der Schweiz.

In my time here I have learned numerous lessons:

1. You're better off being alone. Its absolutely not worth being with someone. Its terrible to see that no one i know is truly happy and content in their relationships.

2. Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies/family even closer. Everyone back-stabs you in the end.

3. Always remember to smile. You'd be surprised how just saying thank you can make someones day.

4. In Europe, there is no such thing as three feet of personal space.

5. If you know where the Bahnhof is, you'll never get lost.

6. Beware of free candy.

7. Even the crazy people need someone to talk to.

8. Happiness is what you make it to be.

So I went to Basel last week, and enjoyed the art city of Switzerland. There are tons of movie houses, museums, shopping, art stores etc. But what i loved the most was all the book stores. Most of them second-hand. I love the way books smell.

I also returned to Luzern, after seeing an excellent exhibition at the art museum, i went shopping and head to the docks to catch my boat from Luzern to Brunnen. Lake Zurich is massive and the boat rode well into the night. Clear skies and an almost full moon made the journey enjoyable and yes, i was the only idiot sitting outside in the freezing cold.

Halloween, came and we carved a pumpkin and lit it outside. I had gotten some candy in hopes that we may receive some trick-o-treaters. Halloween is an American holiday so I was told that no one may show up. Only in the big cities, they celebrate Haloween. To my delight, we did get 2 groups of kids. A group of seven girls at 7pm and a group of teenagers near midnight. Those boys were so happy to get what was left of the candy. They heard me speak English so they kept saying, "Thank you!"

I baked four batches of cookies for Halloween. Earlier that day i started making my doughs, my infamous honey peanut butter cookies, chocolate chip, oatmeal raisen and orange sugar cookies. I gave all the chocolate chip cookies to Abi & Liby next door since I am not a fan of them.

Not many pics this week. Like I said in the beginning, the only pics I'm sharing are the one on the point-n-shoot. On my blog, i will be posting the pics from my pro-camera.


Pic 1: Halloween

Pic 2: Halloween