Monday, July 16, 2012

Goodbyes & More

Our month-long run of visitors ended with Uncle Russ! We were so happy that he came to Europe to see us for a 2nd time! Andy took a few days off to show him around Switzerland & France. Also in town were some more colleagues from Charlotte. It was quite amazing to see so many current or former PWC-Charlotte employees in Zurich together!

After a fun, but exhausting month of visitors, we took a little time for ourselves on Mother's Day weekend and went to a Animal and Fun Park near Constance, Germany. The weather was great and the kids (Andy included :) had a ton of fun on all of the rides.

Some great pics of our family in Germany:

Uncle Toby came back from his study-abroad time in NC. Uncle Michael & Judith dropped by too!
Lots of laughs with Oma & Opa

Cheering on Bayern Munich!

Much of May was spent finalizing the logistics of our move. Let's just say that it's a good thing that Andy speaks German, as our relo company wasn't performing well. He handled virtually everything, which made my job easy. The moving company packed everything and we had a cleaning company too. In Switzerland, when you leave an apartment it has to be just like it was when you moved in and very clean - we're talking 1200CHF-clean! I'm glad that PWC was footing that bill. 

We spent as much time as possible with our friends and made many more great memories. Angie helped me with a hand-print project that will serve as a great daily reminder of all our little friends in Switzerland.

My closest friends joined me for a much-needed girls night out. We should have done that more often! Not having these ladies as part of my daily life will be the hardest thing about moving back to the US. I was blessed with such great friendships and the children of my best friends were truly my kids best friends as well. The only thing that makes the goodbyes slightly less painful is that I know I will see them in the future. Since we plan to visit Oma and Opa each summer, it won't be hard to pop down to Uster for a day or two :-)

Tom & Huck

Our Beauty!
It's hard to believe that our time here has come to an end. It's taken me a while to write about it because it is still so emotional for me. Despite the things that we didn't like about Switzerland, we did find wonderful community here and it's hard to leave it behind. Here's what we're thankful for from this experience.

1) God provides. The uncertainty of moving is always stressful. God provided us with a wonderful townhouse and "neighborhood," a great preschool and incredible friends that will be with us for life.
2) Family relationships firmly established. This time in Europe gave our kids an opportunity to truly know Oma & Opa and to spend precious time with them. This will provide an excellent foundation for the future.
3) Jonas is speaking German. Literally in the past 2 weeks, his confidence in German has improved incredibly. (He continues to take great pleasure in correcting my German).
4) We were able to see so much more of Europe and to provide our kids with amazing experiences and a glimpse into different cultures.
5) One great thing about moving is that it forces you to declutter and purge.

A few tidbits:

My water baby is back! After 2 years of having no confidence in the pool, Jonas began swimming again. When I told him how proud I was and that he found his confidence, he smiled and said: "It must have been hiding in my heart somewhere :0)"

As we were running errands one weekend, Jonas piped up from the backseat: That's Italian music, isn't it? M: Wow, Jonas! How did you know? J: When people speak Italian they wiggle their tongues all around inside their mouth.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Month of Visitors

At the beginning of April, I wrapped up my year of service as the Vice President at the WAC. I have to say, being involved with these women for the year was definitely one of the best things that happened to me during our secondment in Switzerland. I'm so grateful that the preschool director asked me to consider it as the experience changed our life here and brought me a couple of my closest friends. It was fun working at the various WAC events, painting and redecorating the clubroom and doing what we could to keep the club running smoothly.

Thanks again ladies: Carol, Angie, Susan J., Susan K., Anna, Heike, Ida, Jen, Judy, Danna, Stacy and the wonderful teachers that made my job easy!
More good times at the Jucker Farm

We spent the first half of April celebrating Easter! First, a wonderful Easter Brunch and egg hunt at Sienna's house. Then a long weekend at Oma & Opa's with more Easter festivities. Mind you, Easter in Switzerland/Germany is a little different than Easter in North Carolina (ex. The weather was such that one could wear the same outfit as you did at Christmas, as Jonas did :-) Sara wore her "new" dress, but the egg hunt was very short-lived as it was freezing!!!

Oma's known for setting a beautiful table complete with scrumptious cakes!
And then, we kicked off an entire month of visitors. Yes, a month! But, it was great! We are very thankful that my parents came to see us again. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate much as April was indeed a month of showers. That didn't stop us from making it to Meersburg, Chur, Kirchheim, Esslingen, etc. We also enjoyed some quality time around Uster. The kids loved all of the extra attention and Andy and I loved having extra help!

Hohenzollern Castle, Germany

The best 4 grandparents ever!
 Aunt Bev and cousin Mandy joined us as my parents were wrapping up their visit. The kids and I made sure they saw as much of Europe as was feasibly possible. We hit Zurich, Appenzell, Luzern and Stein am Rhein in Switzerland and then wrapped up with a whirl-wind day trip to Colmar, France & Freiburg, Germany. A huge thanks to Andy for entertaining the kids while we had our girl's day! Traveling is a little faster without the kiddos :-)
Family Reunion in Uster


Could you resist buying something here? I couldn't!

Lenora joined us on our girl's trip. Thanks, Markus!
 Angie turned 30 in April and had an awesome party at a local bowling alley. Who knew there was American-style bowling so close? Angie quickly become one of my best friends after we both joined the WAC Board last year. She's an incredible friend and mom and I'm going to miss seeing her on a daily basis.

Carol & Me celebrating Angie, our favorite 30-year old! She's an amazing woman!

Best buds - Sara & Santiago

Sara's a little possessive :-)
Quote from this month:

While enjoying some of Oma's leftover birthday carrot cake:
Sara: Cake, Mommy! I love cake!
Jonas: I've never heard Sara say love before.

(Actually, I think she had only said it once before, when she told Daddy that she loved him on his way out the door one morning).

March 2012

The weather was actually rather warm, relatively speaking of course, in March. We enjoyed great times outdoors with friends at the zoo & Jucker Farm. The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves while we moms were often able to sit down for a few minutes and enjoy a coffee together.

March also kicked off birthday season for us. The kids made a mosaic mirror for Oma's birthday. (Thanks again to my creative friend Angie for the great idea :0).

We weren't able to be with Auntie Wendy on her birthday weekend, but we celebrated it in style in Cannobio, Italy.

It's a requirement to have gelato at least 2x/day in Italy!

I spent my birthday with my wonderful friends and their kids. First, a celebration at Playgroup. Then, lunch with one of my best buddies, followed by an incredibly chaotic but still very special cake & coffee time with friends (and all the kids - hence the chaos :-). Then, Andy & I enjoyed a peaceful dinner at the Argentinian Steakhouse. A good day!
Connie & Lenora - the best neighbors God could ever have given

Another good one from Jonas:
M: Andy, we don't want our children playing video games and yet here you are...
A: This is different.
Jonas: This is Angry Birds!