Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Counting the Days

27 days, 23 hours, and 26 minutes until James and Thatcher get here

     Kelly and Josh have three more weeks of school and then they are out for three weeks.   Friday we move for the last time and there is a big company party up at the Gurten in the evening.  A week from this Saturday we are going on a waterskiing trip with our ward to Lake Biele.  The next weekend we are going to Interlaken to go on a zip line/ropes course for the day, and then the next weekend we are going to Austria for four days. Luckily, we are going to be busy, because a few days after the kids get out for their break, Jenny, Tyler, Thatcher, and James get here for a month.  Two days after they leave, Jana is coming.  Should be a fun few months.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lake Brienze

     Friday, we went back to the used furniture store that I had been to earlier in the week and bought more junk.  I'm afraid that's what it is, junk, but it was cheaper than what we had planned to buy at IKEA and now looking back, not necessarily smarter.  Saturday, we went to IKEA  and bought all the other stuff we need for our new flat.  We now have two deliveries coming on Friday, the junk that I shouldn't have bought, and the IKEA furniture that won't go with all the junk.  Oops.  To top it all off, the owner of the flat we are currently in just stopped by and said if we wanted any of this furniture, we could have most of it for FREE.  Oops again.
      Sunday after church we took a train to Interlaken and then a boat across Lake Brienze.  The kids and I had already taken this trip, but Keith needed to see it for himself.  It was beautiful.

In the town of Brienze there was this cool water sculptor .

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Swiss School

Kelly was SO EXCITED to start School!

Waiting for the tram on the first day of school.

     The kids have had eight days of school so far.  I went the first two days, anticipating that I would sit with them much longer.  On the third day, as we got to school Kelly said, "You don't have to go to school with me today."  As happy as I was, I was a little sad because in two days I had doubled my German vocabulary.  But knowing they would be better without me, I left.  By Monday of the next week they were taking a bus to downtown Bern, then another to their school, all by themselves.  They are doing great and are liking school just fine.  I have been extra homesick for some reason, but Friday I went to lunch with my friend Monique from Switzerland and two other American ladies whose husbands work with Keith. This definitely helped with my homesickness.
     Saturday we went to Lucern where we had gone a few months ago with Barb Hurst and her family, but this time it was a sunny, beautful day.  We walked around the town, took a boat around Lake Lucern, and then went to the Glacier Museum. A hundred years ago, this Swiss guy was trying to build a wine cellar and found these strange swirly holes in the rock. The geologists explained how they were formed by water streams beneath glaciers, and now it's a museum. The highlight was the hall of mirrors - Josh got stuck inside for a while and bashed into about 30 walls before finding his way out.

Old Bridge - Lucern

Josh & Kelly above a 17 foot deep glacier hole in the granite.

Hall of Mirrors

     Monday I was able to take my friend Renate out for her birthday and we had a wonderful time.  They invited us to spend the evening with them floating down the Aare River.  Which we did and brought along Mike and Uma and all had a great time.  The water was so refreshing and they had a great place where you could float for 15 minues, then get out and walk through a tunnel for less than five minutes, then float down again.  It was beautiful and relaxing.
      Monique, Uma, and I  went to Kelly Hale's house - She is the first of the four of us from the states that has moved into their permanent flat.  It was really nice and she did a fabulous job of decorating it and making it feel homey.  Makes me realize just how nice it will be to get into a place of our own.  Unfortunately, ours doesn't have her big, beautiful windows or her great deck, but it will be fine none the less.  Kelly also showed us a great used furniture store where I found some cool old stuff.  It may be a strange mix of old antiques and new modern IKEA stuff, but we'll see how it goes.
     Tonight we headed downtown to meet up with Lara and drop Kelly and Lara off at young women's when we ran into Keith's co-workers and their wives from the states.  We dropped Kelly off, then all went out to dinner and had some pretty good mexican food.  It ain't no Cafe Rio, but it was good.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

     That's at least what they said on Modern Family, and maybe even before then.  Is Jay right, do tough things rally make you stronger?  If yes, my kids are going to build some strength these next ten weeks.  Kelly was worried about what the other girls would be wearing the first day of school.   No need to worry, No girls, no Americans, no english speakers.  Just a class full of seven other boys, beside Josh, all very old seeming, and compared to my my toe head, all very, very dark.  From Nigeria, Brazil, Portugal, Macedonia, and a few other places I didn't even recognize.  They have sports - P.E., twice a week, Kelly is most worried how this will work.  The teachers don't hardly speak any English with the kids, and I have no idea how they are suppose to do what they are asking.  I am in school with them until Kelly feels more comfortable. (maybe the whole ten weeks.) I just want to grab them and get them out of there.  It seems so hard and, as parent's often do, I just want to protect them from anything too difficult.  The kids have 6 weeks of class, each day from 8:20 - 11:50.  Then three weeks Fall Break, then four more weeks of language class.  After this we will be in our permanent place so they will just walk across the street to go to the neighborhood school.  This will be much easier in many ways especially because it won't be a two leg, thirty minute bus ride.
     I'm not feeling sorry for myself, (maybe a little) but think of me as your are out to lunch, playing tennis, walking along Cottonwood Creek, and I will think of you as my two kids and I are sitting in a classroom with no air conditioning and a large, sweaty Heir Zimmerman trying to teach a bunch of immigrants German.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


    Saturday, we took a train to Lausanne where we spent the morning taking Rick Steve's walking tour.  It was a beautiful old town.  After going to the market and having a picnic lunch at a park, we rented a paddle boat and spent the afternoon on Lake Geneva.

Cathedral de Lausanne - the largest Cathedral In Switzerland

The largest raspberries in Switzerland

Cathedral de Lausanne

The Cathedral had this amazing new pipe organ

These were the largest grapes any of us had ever seen.

Our boat for the best two hours ever.

Don't you always have to finish off Swiss days with a Gelato?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bern Street Music Festival

     Friday night we went downtown to enjoy the street music festival.  Each of three nights they have 30 performances in 30 different locations and it was fascinating.  We heard some interesting bands - one whose songs Included "You are a Squid" and something about dunking a bagel in coffee.  We saw a mime act and another guy who was building a tower with wood poles connected with rope and he was building it higher and higher with nothing to catch him if he fell.

Our favorite band of the night - singing about squids.

Kelly watching one of the shows sitting on a ticket kiosk.
The man building a tower with bamboo poles and rope.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Our Last Week of Summer

     This week has flown by.  Monday we got settled after our fun weekend get away.  Tuesday morning Kelly's friend Lara came to spend the night.  They walked to the bakery to have breakfast, then we all went downtown where Josh and I left them to shop and have lunch.  Wednesday, we all had a picnic by the Munster Cathedral and played ping-pong, our new favorite past time.  Wednesday night members from our new bishopric came over and we had a nice visit.  Thursday we spent the day at the pool, then Keith and I left the kids and went to IKEA.  I finished using my gift card that my sweet friends gave me as a going away gift.  Thank you again.
      Friday, we had to go to our old flat to pick up mail and then stopped in at the kids neighborhood school.  They won't start school at the local school until they have had ten weeks of language class.  School begins for them on Monday.  We will take a bus to downtown Bern than another out to Spitalacker where they will be in school every day from 8:20 - 11:50.  I will then pick them up and we will head home for the day.  Kelly has already learned so much and I am assuming that by the end of the ten weeks they will both be speaking a lot, or at least understanding a lot of German.

Shopping in Bern.  Lara, Kelly, Josh
There are often street performers downtown and this was a particularly fascinating group.

Inside the Munster Cathedral
Running through the fountains after our picnic.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Locarno and Ascona

      Sunday we planned on taking Rick Steve's walking tour of Lugano, but is was raining.  Instead we took a train to Locarno where the Locarno Film Festival was taking place.  We hoped to see Harrison Ford who was there, but no such luck.  Locarno is just an hour from Lugano and has it's own beautiful lake.  We then took a bus to Ascona, which a friend had recommended, walked around the lake and had lunch.  The train ride home was incredible.  We took the scenic route through small Italian villages and parts of the Alps that were amazing.  Good thing we grabbed our passports, when we got on the train we didn't realize we were actually going to be crossing the border into Italy.


View from the train from Locarno to Brigg.

Friday, August 5, 2011


      We moved into our new place last Wednesday night.  Our new place does not have Internet, but just tonight Keith got it worked out.  Unfortunately we will not have our home phone until we move to our new place the middle of September.  Wednesday Keith took as much as he could fit in a taxi to our new place.  Later that night we headed over with our last load.  The problem was we had to take two buses, it had just begun to pour, and our umbrellas were at our new place. We waited for the rain to lighten up but by 10:30 we were all so tired we just walked in the rain with all our stuff.
     Thursday started out as a disaster.  We were showed the wrong laundry room so my laundry card wouldn't work.  I finally found someone who showed me the correct room , then after doing a load I opened the washing machine door and water just poured out.  It took me a few tries to get the door shut again and by then there was water all over and no drain.  We spent a long time mopping up, still don't know what happened, then headed to my friend Monique's house.  We had a lovely afternoon again, eating and visiting while the kids played.
     Friday at 8:00 in the morning we took a four hour train ride to Lugano.  Lugano is a small town on Lake Lugano that is right on the border of Switzerland and Italy.  We checked into this quaint hotel that my friend Carmen recommended.  It was a short bus ride from town, then a short walk down this cobblestone path before you get to this out of the way place right on the water.

This was the view from our terrace.

View of our hotel taken from the boat.

The street on the way to the hotel.

   After we checked in we made our way back to town.  We walked around a bit, then got groceries and went back to our hotel, had dinner, and played cards on the terrace.

     Saturday, we took a boat ride to a cool town called Gandria.  After walking around there for awhile, we got back on the boat and took it to Paradiso where we rode a funicular to the top of San Salvatore.


The amazing 360 degree views from the tallest hill in Lugano - San Salvatore
     We had smuggled enough food from the breakfast buffet to provide us with a nice lunch and then topped it off with a gelato when we got back to Lugano.  We took a long boat ride back to our hotel and by the time we got back we were all excited to throw our suits on and jump in the lake.  Next to our hotel was a private beach area that had a diving board that was fun for us all.

   Saturday evening we walked through the rain into town and had a great Italian dinner.  Side note - there is a smuggling museum that we didn't make it to, but it shows how they used this border town to smuggle things into the country.  At dinner, we asked for tap water and later asked the cost of this very small flask of water.  $6.00 - and the same to refill it.  Having already refined my smuggling skills at breakfast, I took Kelly's sweatshirt, draped it over my arm and filled up the flask in the bathroom sink.  I know I sound pitiful, but really, six dollars and it barely filled up our glasses a third of the way.  Keith was appalled, yet half way through dinner he used the sweatshirt technique himself.