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

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Swiss Curiosities

I love finding new Swiss Curiosities.  Although let´s be honest. Sometimes I don´t think curiosities are the right word...they´re the cultural habits that wouldn´t stand a chance in Australia. 

I discovered my first SC on my first day here.  It was the whole recycling business.  And tying up the piles of papers with string. And then the realisation that it was more likely the Swiss government is collecting string.

There have been others along the way.  Including the constant voting, the cleanliness, and the need to always be on time.  Always. Always.

I was introduced to another today: the Radfahrer Prüfung.  MLF2 (11 years) and all the kids in the 6th class have to take a practical test around the village to see if they know how to ride a bike on the road.  Until they past this test, they are only allowed to ride on the footpath.  She was quite nervous but passed with flying colours.  It made me laugh a little to be driving yesterday evening and this morning and see lots of parents taking their kids out for their last minute practice.  I mean, who wants to be stuck riding your bike on the footpath for your whole life!?   

Congratulations MLF2.  Welcome to the real world road.

Not quite a curiosity, but I do love the Swiss farms in the Zürich surrounds.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Too many good things!

You can fit quite a lot of things into a week or two.  Hard to believe I´ve only been back in Switzerland for a couple of weeks!

Two weeks ago, I was here.
 On Thursday, we went to the Weltklasse Zürich.  I feel somewhat ignorant that I didn´t really know what this was before I went.  They offered me a ticket, I heard Usain Bolt would be there, and so I thought why not?

It was all rather cool...kind of like the Olympics in 4 hours.  Perfect for me, as I didn´t get to see a single event of the Olympics this year, as we were sailing to whole time.


 There was even a closing ceremony with fireworks.  The Swiss love their fireworks.  And everyone was given a blue torch which made it a little bit like magic :)

This weekend, I went to Lille, France, to the largest flea market in Europe.  I consider myself somewhat of a flea market fanatic, but even I was overwhelmed by the amount of people and stuff.  But its nice to spend the Euro and pretend its the Swiss Franc.

On Sunday some excellent friends planned an surprise adventure for my birthday.  The rain had other plans, but we still saw some amazing places in the middle of Switzerland. 


  And then we raced down the mountain on Trottinets! How fun is that!!

Somewhere in there I turned 21.  Or something like that.  I had the funnest birthday cake ever, with decorations made by 6 girls (and it tasted pretty good too!) - which we ate for breakfast!

I opened my birthday package from home with the girls, and they thought the contents were pretty funny.
7 showercaps
6 packets of biscuits
5 candles
4 birthday cards
3 balloons
2 packets of Australian tattoos
1 packet of corriander

I don´t want to talk about how many packets of biscuits are still in my possession, but such a splendid package to open. Thanks family!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I just love that...

Tonight, MLF1 (13 years) came down to dinner and all her thoughts just came pouring out. Sometimes she speaks (English) so fast that I can barely keep up. Seriously. 

She´s doing a project at school about Global Warming and her part of the project has been to find out the effects on the refugees caused by all the changes happening.  It created such an interesting dinner conversation; which they all talked as fast as each other (it was just me and the 3 girls tonight) ... everything from the hurricanes in Haiti to just listening to what the media tell us, to bottled water and where our rubbish goes.  It amazed me that we had such a (long) conversation - probably 30 minutes - in English! - and I just love that the end the conversation naturally turned to what we could do that would make a difference. 

Then we watched a couple of Youtube videos...The Story of Bottled Water...and a TED talk about people creating beautiful spaces in their communities. At the beginning of each video, I started to regret putting it on for them...they´re both about big concepts, in English, and directed towards adults.  But at the end, they wanted to talk about the videos and I could see that they had all grasped the ideas and had their own ideas that led out of them.  I just love that they care about such things and that I get to talk about stuff like this with them.

...and then we got to hang out and play music and sing together.  MLF2 has a piano here now (yay!) and MLF1 can play the guitar, and I show MLF3 a few base notes on the piano...I just love that there is more of a depth to my relationship with them now.  Plus they think that my (cheating) piano skills are concerto-worthy: always good for the ego.

...and in other news, I am the best problem solver ever.   In the words of MLF3.  True story.
MLF3: Oh!  Sigh!  Oh!  My toothbrush (which sits in a cup) is always wet on the bottom of the handle when I go to use it! Always! I hate it!
Me: There´s a special secret magical way to stop this from happening. 

...and so I told her to give the toothbrush a little whack after rinsing it out.  And the next morning, during teeth brushing time....

Me: So is your tooth brush handle wet this morning?
MLF3: (as the look of absolute amazement crosses her face). No!! You have the best ideas ever! In the whole world!

I know, right?!