Thursday, November 25, 2010

With Thanksgiving

It's hard to believe another month has passed. Here's a recap of November:

We visited Oma & Opa again and Sara got to meet some additional family members for the 1st time: Uncle Michael, Ur-Opa Adolf and Ur-Oma Margaret. Jonas kept Uncle Michael occupied playing trains and airplanes and loved all the attention.

We revisited the Jucker Farm, which is now all decked out for Christmas, and went to our first Weihnachtsmarkt of the season. Andy made his first candle ever. Jonas was content to watch.

We also celebrated Thanksgiving - twice! The first time was with a large group from Jonas' preschool. The food was excellent and plentiful. Here is Sara after her very 1st Thanksgiving meal. She's got the American tradition down, doesn't she?

In Germany, I found a new winter jacket (purple, of course) and some boots. Just in time because we've had snow on the ground since the day after Thanksgiving. It is exciting to wake up and see a winter wonderland. And to watch the kids enjoy it. Sara loves watching the beautiful big flakes falling. Jonas loves stomping around in it and trying to eat the snowflakes as they fall.

Sara has really been cruising around a lot. She seems to think I'm a human jungle gym, and tries climbing on the furniture now. Won't be long before she's taking her first steps. She is quite the wiggle-worm too. Changing her diaper is a real challenge now. She seems to have a stubborn side. Hmm.

This past Sunday, we had the Kelly family over to celebrate Thanksgiving again. More good food and good times! We are so thankful to have found such wonderful friends! You'll be seeing more of them, I'm sure.

In the absence of American football, the guys enjoyed watching Ireland beat Argentina in Rugby.

Sara seems to have the same love for guitar as Andy & Jonas. She enjoys playing her own, and sneaks a few strums on daddy's guitar whenever she can.

Uster has it's own festival at the end of every November. Lots of local vendors, traditional Swiss food and rides. Jonas and Jack enjoyed the motorcycles. Our friend Lenora babysat the kids one night so Andy and I could go. It was so fun to be out at night, by ourselves. We were almost giddy!

It's hard to believe that the Christmas Season is upon us. As you can imagine, Jonas is especially excited. Every day he asks when St. Nick, Christkind and Santa will be coming. And, that he just can't wait, of course :-). We look forward to experiencing all of the European traditions, and to sharing them with you!

This month's tidbits from Jonas:

1) Why didn't you just ship our house from home?
2) After hearing "Away in A Manger" for the first time this season: No. Jesus can't sleep on the hay. It's too hard. It will poke him.
3) M: You're so big. You can peel your own orange and you're only 3. What will you do by the time you're 30? Solve all the world's problems?
J: "Yes." And with a smirk on his face, a twinkle in his eye and pointing his finger at me, "And then, I'll be the boss."
4) After intently watching several minutes of a ballet performance clip, he suddenly exclaimed, "How do they do that dance? That's hard. They're dancing on one foot!"
5) J: Is dinner ready? M: Yes. J: Ok. I just have to watch one more play. (I was speechless).
6) Jonas woke up one morning, climbed into my lap and said, "Mommy, You're the sweetest big girl in my heart."
And a few random thoughts from me:

Things I love about Switzerland:

Chocolate, cheese & bread!! Yum! (you know I had to start with food!)
Bakeries on every corner - another Yum!
Nature - Farm close to our house, pasture lands and hiking trails nearby, beautiful views of the mountains
The "honor system" to buy eggs, flowers, veggies, cider from random spots along the way
Being able to weigh my own produce - much faster than having the cashier look everything up
(As a side note, sometimes I wonder why in America, a country that prides itself on high standards and moral values, we can't trust each other/ourselves to utilize the "honor system"?)
Public Transportation - safe, punctual, convenient (but not cheap - in Switzerland anyway:-)
Advent exhibits and Christmas Markets and everything that goes with it - lights, fires, greenery, candles, gluewein, cookies
Better coverage of world news
Less coverage of American politics
High quality washers
The floorplan of our rowhouse
The price of cable: Internet, phone, cable (125 channels, dvr, HD, 15+ English channels) - 85 francs

Things I miss from home:

All of you, of course! And Molly too!
Large grocery stores with huge selection and free parking
Affordable prices. Random example: I looked for some salt here just in case we need it to keep the ice at bay this winter. A small bag was 65 Francs! The Swiss franc is roughly equivalent to the dollar. Isn't that a crazy price?!
Being able to buy our Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving
My mixer and our coffee machine :-)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Today we went to a Swiss-German church with some friends we met in our apartment complex. While I didn't understand much of the message, since it was in Swiss rather than regular German and b/c he spoke so fast, I was still really moved by the worship. I guess it always amazes me that no matter where I am or what language is being spoken, God can be felt. Sometimes, I feel so far from home here, but today I was reminded that all of us are far from home. Yet God can touch us and unite us across cultures and help us feel Him right where we are. It was really cool to sing "Blessed be Your Name" in Swiss-German :-).

We had another great weekend. Friday night, we participated in a lantern parade. Earlier in the week, Jonas and his friend Jack made lanterns together. After the parade, we all enjoyed some tea, cake, sausages and bread by the fire. A great time!

Saturday, Andy went biking with John. Andy loved it, but noted that biking in Switzerland is a little different than biking in Charlotte. Many hills! A good, fun workout though. That afternoon, our friends Silke and Tobias visited with their 21 month-old son, Felix. We met Silke while working in Munich back in 2002, and have seen them a few times over the years. It was great to catch up and enjoy a nice walk, on what might have been the last nice day before The Great Unpleasant sets in. Today, the weather turned rainy and cold. They also have an extra car we can borrow! We are currently still "illegals" in Switzerland as we haven't been issued our residence numbers. The Canton of Zurich has yet to accept our US marriage licence. Hopefully, the issue will be resolved soon and we can buy/insure a car of our own.