Monday, November 28, 2011

Bern Onion Festival

On Monday the schools let out early so the kids could attend the Onion Festival in Downtown Bern.  It was crazy.  There were booths of food, onion bouquets, and anything else that can possibly be made with an onion.  The whole community gathers together and everyone throws confetti at each other and if you"re lucky you get boncked on the head with a hammer.  I thought the hammer thing was just for the little kids, but everyone was doing it. We met our friends the Brady's and had fun just being part of the craziness.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Little Homesick

 My friend Renate took me to lunch for my birthday on Monday and it was so nice to have time to visit.  We met in downtown Bern, had lunch at the first Chinese Food restaurant I've been to (I have missed my Asian Star), and even had time to do a little Christmas shopping for her son who is on a mission in Greece.

Tuesday, I enjoyed a potluck lunch with a group of new friends. We said good-bye to Sherry that was headed back to the states as she waits for her visa to be renewed.  The food was fabulous and it has been a real treat to be included with these sweet ladies.  We then met for our weekly walk up and down the steps of Bern.

Wednesday was extra fun because the three other ladies that moved here with Keith's company- Kelly, Becky, and Uma, as well as my friends Monique and Lori all went to lunch.  We talked for two hours as we ate and I didn't want it to end.  Later that evening Keith, Josh, and I met the Pratisto's at the Bundesplatz and we watched the laser show that was quite impressive.

So you would think that after three fun days I could get through one day of cooking, cleaning, and laundry.  But it wasn't housework that made me homesick, even though my chores are much more laborious here.  It was skyping with my different family members all gathered for Thanksgiving and being away from my grand kids that made my want to throw this adventure away and run home. 

Friday, I was in charge of a Thanksgiving dinner for the Relief Society.  Things like this are much more complicated when you don't have a car, need to get food to the church, need to buy a lot of groceries, and so on.  

Saturday we picked Josh up after his Primary program practice and headed for the trains.  We told the kids to pick a place as we were ready for a new adventure.  They picked Zurich because they had never spent any time there and there was a train headed that way in three minutes.  We had a great afternoon in Zurich.  Stopped at a stand for raclette.  And ended the day at the Apple Store in Zurich where we bought a computer to replace the one we had sold when we moved.  It was not easy to carry it to the train, to the tram stop. and then to our flat.

Raclette - Fast Food in Switzerland

Sunday our ward had their primary program and Josh gave the part he had written in German.  It was amazing.  There are only nine kids in the primary but they sounded so beautiful and when they sang a verse of "I am a Child of God" in English I lost it.  Actually I had lost it before then, but that really made me cry.

Sunday afternoon the Brady's invited us and the Hale's over for Thanksgiving.  This was the first time in three and a half days that the homesickness subsided and I started thinking I might survive our time here.  We had a delicious meal and then played cards for hours.  It was a ton of fun.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I am thankful.

I am thankful for my two kids that could have easily made these last five months unbearable.  I  have made them difficult at times, but they have not.
I am thankful to be married to the most unselfish man on earth.  Who only wants what's best for us and willingly gives it to us at all cost.
I am thankful for two older kids that are so capable that I don't need to worry about moving half way around the world. 
I am thankful for Monique who has been willing and has done anything to help me adjust to my new country.  She is truly one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I have ever met.
I am thankful for Lori and Kelly who have included me in their groups and have been great friends when I needed them most.
I am grateful for my family and my friends at home who claim to miss me and actually notice that I'm gone. (do you, really?)  Even if you don't, thanks for pretending.
I am grateful for the amazing group of women that I have been allowed to walk with and join the book club with.  Their stories are fascinating and they are inspiring.
I am thankful for the incredible women I have met through my ward and the examples they are to me. 
I am thankful for how tolerant the Swiss can be of us stupid Americans who don't speak their language and act like they should be able to speak my language.
I am not grateful for the mean Swiss people that have yelled at said stupid American for reasons I am still not sure of.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Grande, Majestic, Suiss Birthday

Happy Birthday to Me.  Yes it was grande - it was the big 5-0.  And yes it was majestic - the views were at least.  And yes it was in Switzerland.  But the real reason that I called it my grande, majestic suiss birthday was just because that was the name of the hotel we stayed in in Montreux.  Keith took Friday off and as soon as the kids headed off to school we headed to the train station.  It took us a few hours to get to Montreux, which is right on Lake Geneva.  We walked along the lake, had a late lunch , then sat on our balcony til the sun went down.  It was beautiful and relaxing - Thanks to my friend Lori who took my kids.  Saturday we slept late and had breakfast on the balcony.  We walked around Montreux in the afternnon and took a bus to a small town called Villeneuve. We had the best lunch at this quaint, very authentic Italian restaurant.  Then reluctantly headed home.

The Grande, Majestic, Suisse Hotel

The view from our balcony.

I finally downloaded my kids pictures from their last day of language school.

Josh and a few of his classmates.

Josh with Herr Zimmerman and Frau Grob.

Monday, November 14, 2011

What doesn't kill you....... Part Deux

So here we go again.  A new school in a new country.  

It is hard to believe that the ten weeks of language school has ended.  I don't mean to boast, but not once did I have to wake my kids up for school, not once did they whine about taking two trams totalling forty minutes to get there, and not once did they complain about going. They survived the last thirteen weeks (three weeks vacation) only to be thrown back into a whole new fire today.

Kelly walks across the street to go to her new school. Josh has a ten minute walk to get to his.  He will ride his bike when the weather permits.  Most days they begin at 8:20 and every day they come home for lunch at 12:00 and some days they go back around 1:45.  On Tuesday and Thursdays Kelly will go to school until 5:20.  On Wednesday they are both out at noon.  

I was nervous all morning waiting to hear how their morning went.  Keith took Kelly and I took Josh. I was more nervous than either of them.  They both loved it and felt that they understood most of what was being said.  Many people told me that by Christmas break the kids would be nearly fluent.  I didn't believe it, but I do now.  

Jana left on Friday morning and I was terribly sad to see her go.  Wednesday we spent the day in Lausanne, shopped along the street that Rick Steve's refers to as the Fifth Avenue of Switzerland, had lunch on Lake Geneva in Ouchy, and then hopped on a bus hoping to see some of the old town of Lausanne.  We were just too tired to walk around, but the bus didn't end up going to the places we had hoped.

Thursday we spent the day in Zurich and then stayed overnight so we could get Jana on the plane early Friday morning.  Ever since Jana arrived I have been looking for chocolate chip cookies to buy so we could have a birthday celebration compliments of Julie Pia.  Julie always brings me my favorite cookies for my birthday.  As a substitute she sent money so I could buy my own this year.  How thoughtful is that?  I tried, but hers can not be replaced.

Cookie at Starbucks - did not come close to Julie's.

Shopping in Zurich

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Three More Days of Fun

Sunday Jana and I skipped out on church early because there is only one boat all week that runs from Thun to Interlaken and we made sure we were on it.  We grabbed our picnic lunch, took a train to Thun, and then got on the boat for a spectacular 2 and 1/2 hour boat ride to Interlaken.  The leaves were bright, the sandwiches, chips, and chocolate were delicious, and except for Jana beating me at cards, it was a perfect trip.  Our plan was to take the train home from Interlaken but we were having so much fun and the sun had finally come out, we took the boat back another 2 1/2 hours to where we started.  Needless to say, we had a relaxing day and saw some great stuff - twice.

Monday was kind of dreary and wet.  We bagged our big plans for the day and headed for the mall.  I found a great purse,  Jana got a few fun little things, and then we headed home to fix dinner and do some much needed laundry.  They all can't be dream days.

Tuesday we took a train to Lauterbrunnen and then a gondola up the side of the mountain to Murren.  Our plan was to go to Gimmelwald and then Trummelbach Falls but the tram to Gimmelwald was closed and then we found out that the falls were also closed.  Rick Steve had said they were open til mid November.  Guess you can't always go by Rick Steve's book.  We had lunch in Murren and then took a really great train ride up the opposite side of the mountain to Wengen.  Jana was amazed by all the waterfalls and the great views of the Alps.  When we arrived back in Bern Jana suggested we go see the temple.  We checked the schedule and found a train leaving from the opposite end of the terminal in three minutes.  We ran as fast as two old farts can, and barely made it.  Maybe we aren't as old as I think.  We took the train out to Zolikofen and saw the temple, had dinner in Zolikofen and got home just in time to say good night to the kids.  Good timing on our part.