Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The time where I actually remember to post....

Okay, so it has been a little over two weeks since I've posted. Things here have been good. I'll get caught up over this week hopefully so that I don't make an excruciatingly long post so that you can pace yourself with my incredibly interesting and fabulous life!(note sarcasm)

I left off last Saturday with the whole eating chestnut meat. Sunday Olin, his friend Barry, and I went off on a tour around Basel and France and Germany for Basel's annual(?) slow-up where they close a bunch of roads and only let bikers and rollerbladers through. We rode about 50km pretty easy riding. I have to admit that my butt was EXTREMELY sore the next day. Some pictures:

Ready to Go!

Almost done!

Total KM. Not sure if that is our average speed....

The rest of last week was pretty uneventful. I continued to hit my head against a wall in German class but also learned to french braid my hair! (Mom and Dad, I know you're so proud!)I am going to try and teach myself the second half of the A1 class and then continue to A2 in November. I am moving to a different school that is only 2 hours a week as opposed and moves at a bit faster pace! As of this past Friday the class finished.

Next up Last weekend's adventures to somewhere I have only been about 5 times in the past 6 weeks here...BASEL!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Chestnuts or Wurst?

I haven't really talked about the food here. For the most part it's okay- while the other grandmother was here things got a little weird food wise- ie lots of austrian dumplings- ones that were a dough that were fried and ones made with stale bread sausage. Cream was a major ingredient for almost everything she cooked though. For the most part it was good. Except for the flour soup- this was not one that was delicious in the slightest. It was literally flour and water with some salt or spices. The recipes were sort of like this one here obviously cream in it, but not so good.
Continuing on my exploration of swiss food we had dessert the other night that was a little bit of a surprise. The whole family loves this dessert, so I thought why not. I was not really sure what was in it but it's made on the spot so as long as I could see it being made, I thought I would be good to go. BAD IDEA. H first pulls out an encased sausage like thing. Pulling it out of the casing, she stuffs it into a contraption that makes spaghetti. Let me tell you, watching meat spaghetti being made, one of the most foul things I think I have ever seen. This goes into the bowl, followed by homemade whipped cream and a meringue on the side, looking a little like this:

only bigger.

I decided to brave it. After all, what is better than a little meat with your cream. And a side of meringue. I took my first bite. And surprisingly? I didn't puke. But it also wasn't meat. It was a chestnut puree encased in the form of a sausage. Note to self: don't judge a food by it's ingredients...apparently one can be wrong...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Knabenschiessen and other things

Today is a holiday for Zurich. Knabenschiessen to be exact. I had absolutely no idea what it was about so I did some digging around on wikipedia and came up with:

"Knabenschiessen is a traditional target shooting competition in Zürich.[1] held on the second weekend of September each year.[2] The festival is one of the oldest in Switzerland, dating back to the 17th century.[2]

The competition is open to 13-17 year olds, who either reside or are enrolled in a school in the canton of Zürich. Originally reserved for boys (Knaben), the competition has been open to female participants since 1991. The shooting is with the Swiss Army ordonnance rifle, SIG SG 550."- via

The girls will not be participating in this shooting thing. For the girls, the most important part is that they get off of school for today and tomorrow (unclear why tomorrow, although I think a teacher work day.)

So with their day off I unfortunately had to miss my German class that started last week. This was no great loss. To say my German class was easy, would be an understatement. The people in the class are nice mostly in their 30s and from a variety of places- Cuba, Bangladesh, Brazil, Australia, Ireland, Singapore and Switzerland(the Italian part). There is one girl younger than me who's 16 and also an au pair (a 16 year old! SOOO YOUNG!). The teacher is nice, but the pace of the class is the slowest I have ever had. The class is intensive so 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. My favorite day of class so far? numbers for 45 minutes. 45 MINUTES! There is a lot of repetition to make sure it stays with us which is probably good, but I want to be learning at a faster pace to make sure I can get at least the basics down. Luckily, only 3 more weeks of the class!

To end on a positive note, I went to see Tosca at the Zurich Opera this past Saturday with another au pair. The soprano was quite good and I really enjoyed it over all. I really liked the minimal set they had as it really allowed for the focus on the music. The conductor was also fun to watch as his body movements were very big during the entire performance. I am hoping to go to several more operas this year as it is so close!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Weekend recap

This weekend was my first weekend in Zurich that I was officially on my own- apart from my brother and sister-in-law and not taking care of a cat! By Friday night I was exhausted from the week that I had had, full of lots of pretend-play (Mermaids and owls, anyone? no? just my kinder then...) Lots of park time and lots of cooking. I met some more family members (H's brother and 2 nephews) and played some rousing games of Candy Land with J and a little girl that lives next door.Saturday, I was invited with about 6 other au pairs, and a couple non-au pairs to go to a wine-tasting festival in Sierre, Switzerland- the french speaking part of Switzerland. With over 1200 wines- I was able to put my awesome (or lack of) wine-tasting skills (you know, swirl, smell, taste, and talk in depth about every flavor you taste) to the test. We tasted quite a few of the wines from different places all over Switzerland. Some were good and some were terrible but it was definitely a lot of fun! I found, I liked Gamay, and some of the Humagne were good. I only tried one or two Sauvignon Blanc which were also quite good.

There were about 50 tents set up around the town. 4 wineries in each tent makes for a lot of wine to taste!

L-r Kajsa, Kristina, Adam and Michelle Mid-wine tasting.

Kristina decided she was hungry


We saw a lot of stag parties around the wine festival as well. The groom was clearly having a great time.

We ended our wine tasting with some pizza and a short walk for some pretty good views.

Sunday was spent around Zurich. I spent some time down at the lake with a couple of other au pairs for awhile and then met up at a Beer Garden for a little while in the afternoon.Amie and Claire swimming in the lake. It was a little too cold for my taste!

Enjoying the river at Burkliplatz. l-r nicole, Kristina, Michelle, Nick and Adam.

I started my German classes today, and I realize they are going to be a little slow going at first. There are about 10 people in my class from all over the world (Brazil, Singapore, Cuba, Peru, and the Ukraine.) The class should be okay overall. The teacher also only speaks in German which will be a huge help in getting the basics down!