Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Three Stooges

Richie has friends over! We're watching two dogs of our friends while they travel to Verbier, Switzerland for the next few days, and Richie is really living it up. Today on our way in from our first walk he was making circles in the stairwell so fast that his legs slipped out from underneath him, and he kept rushing ahead of us. When he got to the door he pushed inside and ran to the kitchen. Usually Richie stops in the hallway, waits for me to take off his leash, and then moseys his way around our apartment. Today he raced into the kitchen and stood next to the water bowls looking at us. It kind of seemed like he was trying to tell Jack and Penny "See? See? This is where I live! This is my door. Okay now I go in here to get drinks!" It was so cute I laughed out loud.

Moving to Europe brings so much excitement. When Paul and I were planning our trip and I was feeling a little bit down about leaving my job and my friends, we would make lists of all of the different places we wanted to visit. Of course, one thing that we didn't really think about until we got here was what we would do with little Richie when we traveled. We've decided to take trains to as many places as we can - and have been pretty good about it so far - so that we can bring Richie with us. Flying is so much more difficult - the airline we're taking to Venice at the end of July won't allow any pets in the cabin! Of course, this is a source of anxiety for us, as Richie is our first-born. Most people probably think "Duh, just put him in a kennel." WRONG. Richie has never been in a kennel. I just can't fathom the idea of locking him in a little area where he doesn't know anyone and feels uncomfortable and scared. He's not a normal dog, he's more like a sensitive little person.

So, the issue becomes - where do we leave him? We were really scared about this before we made friends here; we didn't know what we were going to do. Luckily, we've met several couples who have dogs and are more than willing to watch Richie and give him lots of love (and couches, beds and pillows to lie on). I know that I just wouldn't be able to enjoy a trip if I knew that my little guy was scared and locked up somewhere strange. He needs belly rubs and long conversations! (I know this, because I give him both.)

I'll leave you with some pics of the furbabies, because right now I need to get off and mediate a squabble over who gets the rib bone. They're all staring at the dog who has it right now, wondering when he will give it up.

The vet here calls him "The Prince of Pennsylvania"

I let her hang out with me because I know she misses "girl time" with her mom.

Umm, Richie is the alpha male here, I swear.

Have a great night!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Spritz Shnecke?!

Not much has really been happening since Saturday when we narrowly escaped death's clutches while being chased by cows, but Paul just told me that people are going to stop checking my blog if I don't consistently update it.

So, here goes...

Two observations over the past two days...

1) I don't normally miss my car, because the public transportation in Zurich is spot-on. However, I have been caught twice now taking trains and trams home from IKEA with multiple bags that are so heavy they leave scratches and marks on my arms for the next few days. Yesterday I bought so much that a friend had to help me take them home to her house, load it all into a giant rolling suitcase, and then help me heave that on and off of the trams. Of course I had Richie with me, because who wouldn't bring their dog everywhere they go? On the last tram there was a little bit of animosity between a few of us who were all crammed into a small section. Don't you know my new home purchases are more important than you and your sleeping baby? Dummies.

I bought all sorts of shelves and jars and cute decorative things to make our apartment here more homey. "Yes Paul, these things are cute. No Paul, they may not be quite as functional. But please, install them STAT."

2) Kids love sprinklers, hoses and slip-and-slides here just as much as they do back in the good ol' U.S. of A. It was 80 degrees here today (although here they record temperatures in celsius. So if I said to anyone living here that I couldn't believe it was 80 degrees they'd think I was insane). It was SO. HOT. The first thing I did when I got to my kids' house was ask their mom if they had a sprinkler. She said "Oh, yes, we have a Spritz Shnecke!" Now, I thought "Spritz Shnecke" was probably just one long word for sprinkler. Nope - I found out that it means "Spraying Snail" and that is exactly what these little monsters had. The thing had antennas that whipped around, spraying water so hard that we were basically watering our neighbors' lawn today for 2 hours.

It was all fun and games until they started shooting me in the hiney with super soakers - that's when I had to bring out my mean voice and tell them that I would take the guns away. Didn't take any pics, because the baby didn't have a swimsuit on he just ran around nakey and I'm not trying to get deported from Switzerland for posting child pornography online. The two other boys' swimsuits were so different than what little boys in America wear. Tight, short little skivvies - actually kinda cute. Not bikini bottoms, just tighter and shorter shorts than the trunks I'm used to.

Now I'm going to take an ice cold shower to try to cool off. Our apartment is atrociously hot since there is no A/C here. We sleep with 2 fans blasting on us and no blankets - fun!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

No More Cowbell - PLEASE!

Holy Cow. No seriously - holy cows. We went hiking yesterday in the Andermatt, and were chased for several miles by cows. Not just any cows, cows with huge spiky rings in their noses. I was so scared that I was running and holding my camera, screaming "No! No! No! No!" This is the thing though - yes, I was scared, and yes we've heard stories of tourists being trampled by stampeding cows - but I just had this innate desire to GET THAT SHOT. My friends kept laughing at me because I was literally on the verge of tears, saying "This is horrendous!", slipping down into the brush off the trail, but snapping photos the entire time. I really felt like I was a war photographer, and I can understand why people put themselves in danger to take pictures. It's a bit of an adrenaline rush.

We had two guy friends that for some reason thought they were cow whisperers and could get these animals to do what they wanted. Dan kept running back and forth trying to distract them and get them to follow him, and Champ just kept trying to corral them forward. His wife, Katie, told me that because Champ watches The Dog Whisperer he has this feeling that he can communicate with all animals; it was hilarious. At one point Katie was videotaping the cow chase on her phone, and you can hear Champ in the background - "Katie, stop filming! Katie, GO! Quit filming, keep walking - don't be an idiot." It is the funniest thing ever.

I'm going to put up some pictures; a mixture of some that I took, and some that Katie took (because the app on her iPhone just makes them look so cool) and they will help to tell the story of just how scary it was. I'm telling you - we were running down single person trails, across tiny wooden planks that served as bridges, and they were FOLLOWING US THE ENTIRE TIME. Fast. Cows are not as slow as you would imagine.

Here is where the mayhem begins.

Champ is beginning to try to get the cows to do what he wants them to.

Look at the cows following us down this path. This is NOT NORMAL!

A cow cutting off Deja and Peter at the pass. In order to be in front of them, it had to cross that little bridge and then wait.

Dan is explaining that he is going to start running that way so that the cows follow him.

Look at these cows - they're GALLOPING!

A shot as I am falling down the hill into the bushes.

It was scary while it was happening, but in retrospect made the whole hike so much fun.

And of course, because we love our dogs - here are some dog pics.

Running in the fields near the hay bales.

Jack (with his little pack so he can feel like he is 'working'.)

Dan and Jack

Paul feeding Richie and Penny

Deja and Peter's little baby, Chloe.

Penny waiting for her mama.

Blazing our own trail.

The group!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Heading to the Andermatt

Has anyone seen the movie "Something Borrowed"? It's based off of one of Emily Giffin's books. I've read the book and liked it, so I was looking forward to seeing the movie. This is actually one of the first movies that did not completely disappoint me after reading the book. Usually the books are just so much better, but I loved both of the actresses in this movie (Kate Hudson and Maggy Gyllenhall). It also had Jim from The Office in it - WIN!

So after that 10k run last weekend, I'm really interested in registering for another race. Even though I run it solely to finish - and not to win - it really is motivating. I think I might have found one that is a 15k around a lake in Italy; it's scheduled for the end of July.

Tomorrow we're heading to the Andermatt region of Switzerland. Going with three other couples and our dogs. Richie has no idea that he's going to spend at least 5 hours hiking and running with 3 other dogs tomorrow - I wish I could tell him so he would understand. He would be looking forward to it so much right now!

Oh, by the way, not a huge deal or anything but..... WE CLOSED ON OUR HOUSE TODAY! THANK the good, sweet Lord. It was on the market for 6 months, and we've been paying our mortgage at home and our rent here for the last 4-5 months - so ridiculous! When Paul walked in the door today I said "Congratulations Paul, we did it! We're no longer homeowners!" We kept joking around that it is supposed to be the other way around, but at this point - and with this market at home in the US - it's really not a great thing to be a homeowner. At least, not if you're not positive you will be living in the house for at least 10 years. Such a huge burden.

Off to shower and pack for tomorrow's day in the Alps! Yippee! Burn calories... burn.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Frauenlauf 10k

Hi all,

So I'm finally posting some pictures from the race this weekend! I met three girls at the Zurich main station and we took an hour train ride to Bern. When we arrived in Bern, it of course immediately started raining. Half of our run was in wind and rain, and half was in sunshine - very strange.

I just started running about one month ago in preparation for this run - I wasn't planning on attempting to win or anything, I was just trying to prevent myself from heaving and waddling the entire way. Before Sunday, the longest I had run was 4.5 miles, and part of it was walked. On Sunday I ran the entire 6! I actually had a pace that was a little bit quicker than normal as well. I think the crowds cheering everyone on, and the small bands that were placed intermittently along the course really helped.

Three of the girls when we arrived at the Bern train station.

All of us right before the race started.

You can tell by our faces that we are REALLY serious about this thing.

Right after we finished.

Talking about how happy we were that we finished and didn't walk!

Three of us with Dan after lunch.

It was a super fun day. At the end of our run Dan met us and awarded us each with a large Feldschlossen!

On the train ride home several men boarded dressed in very Swiss-looking mountain garb. We discussed how great it would be if they began yodeling. Guess what? They yodeled. Several times. A few of the girls recorded it on their phones. It was the first time I'd heard real, authentic yodeling since I've been here. What a great ending to the day!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


I'm about to head out to leave for Bern, but I had to quickly share something.

Anyone following the Ohio State football drama?

I KNEW they had to be cheating. ;)

Anyway - I just saw something super cute online. A church out in the Centre Valley region has a sign that says "I created the Buckeyes by accident. Go Penn State! - God."

How cute?!

Okay, time to chug 3 cups of coffee and head out the door. I don't do this early morning stuff very well anymore.

Football season is right around the corner!

AirYoga in Zurich

Zurich people who are reading this - if you're looking for a good yoga studio, try AirYoga. They have two locations, one in Niederdorf (Old Town) on Oberdorfstrasse, and one on Fabrikstrasse. I attended an Ashtanga class with Michael Hamilton on Oberdorfstrasse today, and it. was. insane. I seriously have never sweated that much - EVER! Even when I run! I was dripping. Sweat droplets falling into my eyes, hair completely soaked, and I was falling out of some of the poses simply because my grip was slipping. No, it wasn't a Bikram class, just a very difficult Ashtanga. Yes, yours truly fell and thumped onto the floor twice trying to do a headstand. Oh no, that's wrong; I couldn't even attempt the headstand - I fell trying to do just the shoulder stand! Every time I thumped on the floor I made eye contact with the instructor and just shrugged my shoulders. "What do you want from me? I only took this class because my friends were taking it!" I really belonged in the beginner's Ashtanga class.

I've also been to Planet Yoga in Enge. They have one beginner's Vinyasa class in English, and I definitely feel like it gave me a good stretch the few times I went, but I honestly did not even sweat 1/4 as much. I really feel like I got a good workout today!

So you know that I am running in a 10k in Bern tomorrow. Paul left today for a soccer tournament in Weggis. Before he left his words of advice were - "Laur, remember - if you're not first, you're last." Really nice, thanks Paul!

I'm bringing my phone with me tomorrow so that I can take some pictures of Bern and the Frauenlauf runners. Stay posted!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Easy Friday

I didn't really have any plans today, other than messing around with my new camera, so I decided to get busy in the kitchen. I, being the good little hausfrau that I am, made 2 different recipes.

The first - Chocolate Chip Banana Oatmeal Cookies

These were inspired by the recent banana bread kick I've been on. I was looking for another banana recipe, and came across this one on the blog

If you want to replicate my beautiful goodies, here is the recipe.

Chocolate Chip Banana Oatmeal Cookies


1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 medium, overripe bananas, mashed
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. oats
1 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Because I live in Switzerland, I am constantly having to adjust cooking instructions to celsius! (In case you're interested, this is 175 celsius)

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, cream together the butter, sugars and banana. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Gradually add in the flour.

Lastly, mix in the oats and chocolate chips.

Scoop out onto baking sheet, bake for 12-13 minutes, and enjoy!

You can tell that the cookies on top are a little bit darker brown in color than the ones underneath - that would be because I started to fool around with my camera and kept forgetting that I had cookies in the oven! If you were a fly on the wall in my apartment, you would see the same scene every 15 minutes.

- I'm sitting on the couch. I dramatically toss camera and computer aside yelling "crap! crap! crap!" while running into the kitchen. -

In my opinion, the chocolate chips are what make this recipe. You wouldn't believe how hard they were to find here! I had to go to 2 different stores, and when I found them, they weren't the chocolate chips that I'm used to back in the United States. They're little, square pieces of chocolate that come in a pouch, with only about 1 cups worth in the whole package. Funny!

Next I made homemade peanut butter granola - can you believe it? I'm going to try to make it last until Sunday, when I will take an early morning train to Bern, Switzerland for a race. Hoping that snacking on this stuff on the train will give me the fuel I need!

Peanut Butter Granola

Microwave 4 TBSP of peanut butter and 4 TBSP of honey for about 25 seconds.
Mix together to combine.
Add 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract. Mix.
Add 2 cups oats. Mixed until well combined.
Spread onto greased cookie sheet and baked at 350 for about 15 minutes.


In case you guys are thinking - "Wow, this is not the Laura I used to know, so domestic and responsible" don't worry. After baking these things, I decided to make a fruit smoothie. I was blending and blending but couldn't get the big chunks of frozen fruit to blend down. I used a spoon to loosen things up. Put the top on and got back to blending.
I just thought I had some REALLY hard pieces of fruit for about 10 seconds so I kept going, determined not to let a crappy blender win. Then I realized that I left the metal spoon inside the blender. Oops! Looked inside and the blender was broken.

My bad!

Paul is at an office party in Zug tonight. He told me that he'll be home between 9 and 10, but that it goes from 5 PM - 1 AM. Man - these Swiss sure do party hard for an office party!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Language Barrier - Not Such A Bad Thing?

So today I was on my way to babysit my boys, when I passed by a flower stand. I walked over to the geraniums, took a look at how blooming and beautiful they were, and promptly made my way to the man in charge to ask why mine are nothing but green leaves.
"Gruetzi! Sprechen Sie englische?"
"Umm, sprechen Sie franzozische?"
"Umm, Ich habe die geranien" (I have geraniums) - and then this is where I can no longer speak german and for some reason decide he will understand french "et ils sont morts." (and they are dead.) I proceed to flop my hands and hang my head - you know, dead looking.
I told him that I didn't know why they were dead, or what I was doing wrong. Obviously he didn't understand me, but I could tell he was asking me exactly which geraniums I had. I pointed to the red ones. He whisked three of them out and walked over to where his cash register was set up. I started to panic, thinking - "I've just killed eight! I don't want to buy any more!" But get this - he gave them to me for free!
I asked him - "Gratis? fur Mich??" And he just vigorously nodded his head.
I vehemently thanked him, then ran away to catch my tram before he could change his mind. I called Paul to ask him why he thought the man gave me free flowers. His first response was that maybe he thought I was pretty, and then the second was that maybe he thought I bought flowers from him and they died. An issue in communication. Well, I know I'm going with the first option. :)

Unfortunately, since I was on my way to work I had to carry the poor babies on and off the train, to the house, back down to the train (through a downpour in which I was caught and had no umbrella) and back to my house. I am hoping and praying I don't kill these as well. Why do mine keep dying? I water them, they're in the sun, I dead-head them. I just don't get it.

My new geraniums in their own little seat on the train.

Moving on - on Tuesday I promised the boys that if it was nice on Thursday we would go for a hike/picnic. Today we packed up our bikes (had to figure out how to work the bike pump to repair a flat tire - not an easy feat and we very narrowly escaped a high-pitched screaming crisis) packed a snack and the obligatory picnic blanket and headed out.

We stopped to climb down to the river. My idea was for them to dip their toes in (sounds so picturesque, right?) but they had on socks with their sandals. I don't know, I don't get it either.

After eating our snack - and arguing with the baby (who can't speak) over whether or not eating all chips and no fruit was okay - we started to play soccer. They kept kicking into this field area. Sometimes it would go in really far, and the 3 year old would get so scared about his brother going in. He would spread his legs and arms and block him yelling "No Luca! No!" - and then push me in to get it. Gee - thanks Elias.

Quite different from my old job, but cute in it's own way. :)

Nitey- nite!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Little Baby Bear Cub

So everyone knows that Richie is basically our child. We often refer to ourselves (among ourselves) as "the Stewart Pack." Richie is the "little baby bear cub", I'm the mama bear, and Paul is the papa bear. This may be a bit pathetic, but it's all in the name of love.
Also in the name of love? Spending 60 euro to have an artist in Montmartre (an area of Paris) make a charcoal drawing of Richie. I want to frame it and put it up, but I just really don't think it looks enough like him. She made him have more of a squished nose than he really has...

This morning I had to wake up semi-early for a meeting at the American Women's Club. I was trying to make my bed before I left - but someone JUST wasn't having it.

"I hate early mornings, mom!"

If you remember a few weeks ago we were in Lugano for wine tasting. We got tipsy and ordered a few cases - Oops! Well, they've been arriving and the last arrived today. I had to carry it home from the Post Office. I received a notice to pick a package up so I went down there - when I saw what it was I smiled and told the lady "Das ist wein! Das ist gut." She looked at me and laughed and said "Ja, das IST gut!" I'm so fluent it hurts...

Well, I'm off to go for a run. I head to Bern, Switzerland this Sunday with some girlfriends to run in a 10k. I've been trying to get into shape for it, but every time I head out for a jog all I can feel is my hiney cheeks wiggling behind me. If running was just a teeny bit easier, I'd do it all the time!

Monday, June 13, 2011


Hi there!
I haven't updated my blog in about a week, I was so busy with Paris, and Paul's parents - but now I'm back at it. :)

Paris was great. It was so strange though, because I forgot SO MUCH. I lived there for a little over 3 months, but have been gone now for 3.5 years, so I couldn't remember what some of the buildings were, or how to get to some places. My french was also VERY rusty. I did okay - but certainly did NOT sound French. When you are really good at a language, you can stop focusing on searching for the right words, tenses, conjugations, etc., and can start focusing on making yourself sound more authentic - in my case, replicating the Parisian accent. But on this trip, I was so busy trying to remember words that I definitely sounded, if not blatantly American, then certainly something other than French.

I'm not going to say that Paris is a cleaner city than Zurich, and perhaps not even prettier, but it is SO MUCH MORE INTERESTING. There are so many different types of people, which makes the city so much more dynamic. In Zurich, the majority of the people are white and wealthy. In Paris there are so many more ethnicities, so many more levels of wealth, etc. There is also so much more history. Switzerland has always been a very safe, neutral country; this means that not much exciting has happened here. There are literally only two things to sight-see here - the Fraumunster and Grossmunster Churches. If you're into history, or art, Paris definitely has more to offer.

When I walked into the Metro station I was brought back so quickly by the smell. It doesn't exactly smell good, it just smells so familiar.

We had dinner with my old host mom Dominique, and son mari - Erik. I think I had a perma-grin throughout the whole meal. When I walked in and saw them I got tears in my eyes; they are just the warmest, most accepting people I've ever met. I. Love. Them.

I didn't really get to do anything new, as it was Paul's parents first trip to Paris and I thought they should see all of the major sites (Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triompe, Louvre, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, etc.) but it is only 4.5 hours away on the TGV, and we can stay with Dominique when we go, so I'm sure we'll be going back.

Hoping that I get preggo and have a little girl over here, because I want to decorate her nursery with lots of authentic things bought in Paris. I found a beautiful ballerina painting at one of the galleries, but didn't want to buy it for fear of having - *cough* - a boy. I mean, they're cute too - with trains and planes and what-not,,, but the decorating scheme for girls just has so many more options. :)

Today it's back to the real world, and back to babysitting Luca, Elias and Dominik. Also trying to get 6 loads of laundry done before I leave. We'll see how that goes.
Will update more regularly now that I'm back from "Parreeeeee."

Please notice the placement of Paul's hand in this picture. Oy, vey.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"Aux Champs Elysees"

(Can't insert accents into this blog, for those of you who are super smart and realize that 'Elysees' is missing one!)

We're headed to Paris EARLY tomorrow morning. We're taking the TGV- the super fast train that will get us there in 4.5 hours. I'm SO EXCITED! We'll see Dominique and Erik on Wednesday night. I just called her and left a completely butchered voicemail message - that I'm sure she's going to get a kick out of - because I can't remember my french!

Today Paul took his parents to Zug, where he works and to Lucerne.

I had to babysit the little boys, so I couldn't go along.

Have to make this short, so that I can go shower and pack for "Paree"! I will update you guys when I get back!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday with the Stewarts

So, the Stewart's arrived yesterday (Saturday), happy but jet-lagged. We showed them around part of Zurich, and got a pretzel and a Bugel beer at a lakeside eatery (beer, pretzels, and sausage - "that's what Zurich does.")

They were REALLY exhausted last night. I was too nice to take pictures, but they could NOT keep their eyes open. Vik passed out face-down on the couch, it was too funny.

This morning Paul woke up at 7 and I woke up at 8; both of us were nervous that his parents would be up and waiting for us, bored. Turns out these young "kids" slept in until 10, at which point Paul finally knocked on the door and woke them up! He seemed to think that they would be mad if we let them sleep in until noon. We kept joking around asking each other - "are the kids awake yet??"

We walked around a different part of Zurich today, and went to a really popular sausage stand where we got bratwursts and bread. You dip the brats in super spicy "Senf" - that's their word for Mustard.

Vikki has told us that she just wants to sit in a cafe in Europe and eat pastries, so we went into a super pretty cafe called "Cafe Felix." This place is gorgeous and has the best desserts. We chose the "Waffel Wiener, Brezel Schoggi and Nuss Shinzel."

Later we took them to the dog park where we go with Richie; he showed off in front of them by swimming through the river. His little ears floated out to the sides of his head while he paddled - HE'S SO CUTE!

Now Vikki keeps begging me to go to the Red Light District, she knows it's amateur night somewhere over there. Geez - in-laws these days.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Stewarts Are Coming! The Stewarts Are Coming!

Paul's parents land bright and early tomorrow morning! I made sure to pick up all of Richie's massacred friends (squirrels, rabbits, ducks) from the living room and vacuumed up balls of his black hair from every where in the apartment. I'm doing all of this work, while he's lying on the couch from a long day of..... what again?? It's a good thing he's so cute!

So we plan to bring them back to our place tomorrow, where we'll have breakfast and they can pull themselves together after their overnight flight. Then we'll probably walk around downtown Zurich, stop at a cafe, or do something easy. We'll do some hiking/sight-seeing over the next few days, then head to Paris on Wednesday morning! I have my Paris books out that people gave me when I studied there three years ago.

Trying to brush up on all of the major things we need to see, I am forgetting so much! When I was there, I was pretty much just consumed with trying to "vivre Parisienne" - live like a Parisian. I mean, I did all the main museums, historical sights, etc, but I just don't really remember a lot about them. Of course I do remember where to buy a good 3 euro baguette sandwich, where they have free Wi-Fi, and the most fun places to go out (le Quartier Latin. Kristen, Caroline and I did NOT dance on tables at a place in that area....)

Going to go to bed now, have to get up at 6 tomorrow to bake banana bread. That's what good little hausfrau's do! Nitey nite!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Yesterday was Paulie-boo's bday. 27!!! All day he kept getting away with stuff by saying "But it's my BIRTHDAY!"

I had a dream that I overslept and missed my hair appointment, and then woke up and only had 30 minutes until I had to leave for my hair appointment - weirdddd. Don't worry - highlights and cut only cost a mere 264 swiss francs (around $300 I think). It wasn't even a fancy place either, Zurich is insane.

Met up with my friend Allie and a girl that is new to the American Women's Club of Zurich. I am the Welcome Chair, and Allie is the Membership Chair, so we try to reach out to new members. This girl was in our age bracket, so the three of us got together for drinks. We had drinks that I see EVERYWHERE in Switzerland. They're called "Aperol Spritz." I don't think they're strictly a European drink or anything, but I've only ever seen them here. They're pretty strong and pretty good.

We all told the stories of how we met our husbands. I told them how I met Paul at Penn State and thought he was SO cute. I walked by him and said hi to his friend, but pretended not to notice him. Then I told a mutual friend that Paul would be my "next conquest." MUAH HA HA HA!

Afterwards I rushed home, wrapped Paul's present - a Swiss Army knife with all of the "essentials." A corkscrew, bottle opener, and cigar cutter.

Made a Mexican dinner, then headed out to a bar for some celebratory drinks! Our Dutch friends Martijn and Marjon joined us. We ordered Irish Car Bombs. For those of you who don't know this (because I didn't) an Irish Car Bomb is actually named after something that occurred during the Irish Revolution. Irish people put bombs in cars of British people. I had NO idea. I figured it was made out of all Irish alcohol (Guinness, Bailey's, and Jameson) and got you "bombed." Oh, no, that's not it at all. And, in Europe you're really not supposed to order them by that name in bars. Apparently British people get SUPER offended. I ordered some a few weeks ago and a guy next to me started getting angry and told me it was like ordering a "9/11 shot." I told him I had no idea, I had never heard of what was behind the name.

Anywho, we hung out at this bar for a little while and then went home. I hitched a ride on the back of Marjon's bike. Not fun - you feel like you're going to fall off and the metal hurts your hiney. They said that's how everyone rides around in Holland - she always rides on the back while Martijn pedals - even uphill! The first thing he did when he got to the bar last night was peel off his sweater until he was just in a white undershirt because he was so hot from pedaling with her on the back. She promptly told him he looked ridiculous and made him put his sweater back on. I told her that I love when she's mean to him because it makes me feel better about being a little mean to Paul. She goes "It's not mean - it's the truth!" HAHA!

Okay, time to go clean the apartment, it is an atrocious mess.