Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Naughty Babies...

Well, today started out with Paul waking me up at what I *sweetly* informed him was the BEEP-Crack of Dawn... 8:30. He told me that I needed to stop complaining because I used to wake up at 4:30 every morning. But, I tell you - your body really gets adjusted to not having as many demands on it, and you can't do as much!

Anywho - we went over to the U.S. Consulate at 10:00 because we needed to get stuff for our house sale notarized. The security guard told us that we couldn't get it done because it was "Admin Day." I of course told him that I tried to call numerous times to determine if we could come today, but that no one answered, and that was NOT acceptable. He told me that we are Americans and we should know what Admin Day was. Paul goes "I have never heard of that before in my life." Apparently it is some obscure day once every few months where people from the Embassy come in and make sure everything is "running properly." So I kept asking for the person who was in charge and he refused to let us speak to her, so then my eyes started welling up with tears and I asked Paul if I should cry - maybe that would get us in. He said no. I said "What if I yell?!" He told me I was ridiculous. So, we ended up leaving after the man told us over and over again that we needed to send an email to make an appointment. I told him that if they had answered the phone last week and told me that was what I supposed to do there never would have been any problem. He just kept saying to send an email. I would have taken a picture of him but I was too busy. Crying.

Then I went to work and babysat the little boys. It started off with just the younger two - Elias (3) and Dominik (almost 2).

We continued fighting and throwing legos at each other which brought Elias into time-out, and Dominik, Luca and I into Luca's room to color.

There we played peacefully until Mom and Dad came home, at which point we decided to start screaming, throwing Jenga blocks, and pushing each other. All three kids were crying and I was trying to get one into time-out. Mom and Dad came to the rescue and consoled the kids for about 15 seconds, at which point they were all fine again. It was REALLY something to be upset about, apparently.

I really do like them, they're just naughty little babies!

Now it's back to watching Paul count all the money in his Savings Jar. For the 2nd time this week. And it's only Tuesday. Silly little guy.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Laundry and Lugano

Hi, all!

I realized that only people who are on facebook are able to see what Paul and I have been up to over here in Switzerland, so that leaves out my parents, Paul's parents, Pete/Kristen, Brett, Stephan, and our FAVORIIIITE southern belle of all time - JAAAAAAANE. I thought that if I established a blog account, I could post updates and pictures every once in awhile, so that those people not on facebook can still see how beautiful Switzy is and all of the fun things that we are doing. It will probably take me a while to get the hang of how to make everything aesthetically pleasing, but time is something I just so happen to have quite a bit of right now. I am getting a little bit busier, though, thank goodness - I am nannying/teaching english to 3 little German boys 2 times per week, and am now on the board of the American Women's Club of Zurich. I'm the Welcome Chair, which means that when new women join the group I reach out to make them feel welcome in the club and tell them how to get involved, and I am supposed to be organizing events, hooking ladies up with each other, etc. I just started that, so we'll see how it goes.

Anyway - something that you don't know unless you live here, is that laundry facilities are hard to come by. 70% of the people living in Switzerland are renters, because you basically have to be at least a millionaire, if not multi-millionaire to be able to purchase a home, or you have to have one in the family. Of the 70% of people who rent, most have to share laundry facilities - meaning that you don't have a washer/dryer in your apartment. It feels SO much like college, having to lug my dirty laundry down into the basement, but I've actually adapted pretty quickly to it. I remember learning about this on my first visit to Zurich, and being absolutely appalled. "I am NOT sharing a washer/dryer in a dingy basement; I MUST have my own." However, it's really not that bad, usually. The thing is, Swiss are notorious for having arguments with neighbors over the laundry room. I've already been reprimanded twice by the caretaker because he thinks that I am leaving the laundry room a mess. He doesn't speak English, and I don't speak German, so our conversations take at LEAST 20 minutes, and I can't stick up for myself to explain to him that it isn't me who is leaving the mess. Anyway, Sundays are kind of sacred here. All shops, supermarkets, etc. are closed, and you are supposed to be really quiet in your apartment. I don't know if this is for religious reasons, or what, but the funny thing is that not many people go to church here - from what I can see. Church seems to be more popular back in the US. The reason I am going into this, is because Paul and I were doing laundry yesterday. On a Sunday. Past 6 PM. SHOCK! HORROR! I kind of am assuming that we aren't supposed to be doing it, but I've read the house rules (as best I can, they're in German) and it doesn't say anything about not doing laundry on Sundays. We had an overflowing hamper because we had 2 girls stay here last week who are backpacking through Europe, and I wanted to get some of the dirty sheets/towels cleaned. Well, we went down to get our belongings and found that all of the machines had been turned off - MID CYCLE - and our electric cards were on top of the dryer. There was still water in the washers because they weren't finished running, and the clothes in the dryers of course were not dry. I couldn't believe it! Who would do that? If anything, write us a note and stick it down there that says that we are not supposed to be doing wash on Sundays (if, in fact, we are not supposed to). But don't just stop our stuff mid-cycle! Anywho, I'm now scared to go down there in case I should run into the culprit and have to try to defend myself in a broken mix of English, French and German. I have told a Finnish friend of ours who dates a Swiss guy about these laundry problems and she said that it is very typically Swiss: people argue all the time over the washer/dryer, and whenever there is an issue the newest person in the building usually gets blamed. Especially if they are foreigners. Or, heaven forbid, Americans!

Here are the washers with all instructions in German so I am probably going to end up shrinking several items.

You have to turn the electric on and off when using the machines, and open/close the pipes.

The schedule. Dun, Dun, Dunnnn. Do not, I repeat - do NOT mess up the schedule.

The slots that you stick your cards in. The slots which OUR cards were yanked out of!

The dryers.

To counteract that slightly sad story, I also want to tell you about something great from this weekend. We went down to Lugano, Switzerland, which is in the Italian section of Switzerland. Switzerland is broken up into 3 sections - French, German, and Italian, and each section speaks the respective language. It happened to be "Cantine Aperte" in Lugano this weekend, which means that small wineries were open to the public, and allowed people to come in and sample wines and walk the vineyards. Paul and I did this, and got some amazing pictures of both the city of Lugano and the vineyards. I'm going to post a link to them, so that you can see. There are way too many to post on here.

Here is the link: http://aswissamericanlife.shutterfly.com/pictures

This was a super long post, so I'm not going to say anything else about our trip - the pictures say it all anyway!

Have fun looking at them!