Saturday, January 30, 2010

Another Random List

1. I don’t like laptops. I don’t like how it’s hard to decide which is the “right” brightness of a picture when you’re viewing it. And I like having a mouse always, not just when you’re un-lazy enough to plug it in.

2. But I LOVE having high-speed internet!!

3. I meant to write this story on my post about food, but I forgot. So Ginger was wondering if our kids were eating all the new things…well it seems we have them just a little brainwashed. The other day I gave some peanuts to Hazel for a little snack. Soon she came back with her hand out and said, “Mmmmm!! Can I have some more? They sure make these SWISS peanuts good!!!”

4. The other day while Talmage was napping I took a bath, and Ethne was playing in her room, but then I called to her to come in so she could reach something for me. Then she stayed in with me and played that she was the mommy and I was the kid, and she washed my hair and rinsed it and scrubbed my back for me. Very nice. And then she pointed to my chest and asked me if those are what I feed Talmage milk with. I said, “Not anymore. He’s too big for mommy’s milk now.” And she said, “I don’t have any of those.” And I said, “But you will when you grow up.” And she said, “Yeah, when I get married, like Aunt Lindsay. And I’ll have a big, big, big, BIG wedding dress like Aunt Lindsay’s. And I’ll be married.”

5. Guess what! I was invited over to have coffee with a mom of one of Hazel’s classmates. I am excited (though I’ll drink something else). This lady actually stopped by one morning because she knew Kathi, a lady we know in our neighborhood from church, and they were talking one day about the new English-speaking girl in kindergarten. ANYway, she stopped by and it was TERRIBLE. It was almost 10:00, and I had not showered, had no makeup on, no bra on, just pajamas, recycle stuff was all over because Talmage had been playing with it, and I was just about to go put Talmage in bed for his nap and then shower and get dressed etc. Anyway, I didn’t invite her in and I just stood at the door and felt like the ugliest person on the planet while she was kind enough to make her overture of welcome. It quite soured my morning. So I had meant ever since to go over to her house and say hello when I was decent-looking, but we actually RAN INTO each other on the street when I was going to the grocery store. We chatted for awhile and I’m going to her house on Monday. Isn’t that nice?

6. Kathi (see above) is our adopted grandmother. She’s the only one from our small ward who lives in the same little village as us, and she is SOOOOOO nice. She has come over to offer us help several times and brought a whole lot of toys for the kids, food and snacks, more toys, and had us over for lunch one day. She also babysat once so I could go grocery shopping in town. Ethne loves her and everything is Kathi-this and Kathi-that. It makes me happy that we have a wonderful sweet neighbor close by.

7. You don’t say “th” sounds in German, so Kathi sounds like ‘caw-tea’ and people can’t really say Jethro. His friends from church call him “Yeti” which I think is cool.

8. Legos is a universal language. Just ask Jethro and his friend Noe.

9. Swiss people use a lot of French. They say ‘merci’ much more than ‘danke’ and also say ‘adieu’ a lot, although not as much as ‘tschuss.’ I can’t think of anything else right now, but it’s true. Just trust me.

10. Did I mention I have a cell phone? In Switzerland they call a cell phone a handy, which is SAH-WEET because they’re totally handy. :) Texting is fun. The first time I texted my sister Lindsay she texted back “Dude you have text?” And I was like, Dude-I know!

11. Brett also got excited one night by the joys of texting. I was sitting on the couch and he was sitting at the table, about 10 feet away, and suddenly my phone jangled and I got all excited and wondered who had texted me, and it was Brett. He said, “Hello honey.” Later on in the night I got a text that said, “Let’s go to bed.” Then, “I’m brushing my teeth now.” And finally, “I’m waiting for you in bed.”

12. And then one morning I got a text that said, “Oh my gosh I love that boy, Kate!” As it was from my little sister Lindsay, I can only assume she was referring to her fiancé Rodrigo.

13. Speaking of my sister Lindsay (how could I not have posted this already?!!?!!!) go HERE and HERE to see pictures of her in all her glorious, love-struck beauty!!!!! DO IT. NOW. Then come back and tell me how gorgeous she is.

14. In Switzerland, the smallest paper bill is for 10 franks (Switzerland uses franks, not euros). Then you have coins for 5 franks, 2 franks, 1 frank, 1/2 frank, and then rappen (which are like cents). Pretty cool. The frank and the dollar are actually close to being equal right now, so in my head I just think of them as dollars.

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15. Okay, raise your hand if you knew that Switzerland is also known as CH? CH stands for Confederatio Helvetica and I think the reason it has that name is because it’s Latin, so it goes across all the official languages here. Maybe. Anyhow, I never knew this until I met Brett. Aww, sweet memories. He had this hat that he wore ALL the time that had a CH (and by the way, don’t say ‘see’ ‘aich’ like English letters, say them 'say’ ‘ha’ like German letters) on it. He had made it himself when he was on his mission. He got the hat cheap at some sale or something, and then he pulled off the emblem or logo or whatever it was that was on it and embroidered, I guess, the CH on it. And you know, it didn’t look homemade. In fact, it was pretty sah-weet. I wish wish WISH I had my pictures so that I could scan in a picture I have of him wearing it, but alas, my pictures are in a box somewhere across the ocean. campingETA: Okay, this is hilarious. I just looked through the pictures I happen to have on my computer and I have not one, not two, but TEN pictures of Brett wearing that hat. HA HA—I told you he wore it all the time! The one that I was thinking of would have shown it better but here is a picture.

16. Umm, it’s late and I have to go to bed so TSCHUSS!

17. p.s. I was just kidding, I know your name is Sterling, Sterling (suckAH!), but Rodrigo is a sah-weet name so can I just call you that from now on? Thanks.

Resolution Evaluation (and loverly pictures)

                I thought it would be good while it is still January to look back at my year's resolutions and evaluate how well I have done on them.  Alright.

 * graduate    - check!DSCF0921

* GET A JOB    - check!DSCF1128

* sell our house     - renting it, close enough for now!DSCF0952

* move somewhere different, preferably in the west      - I think I’ll check that one.  Switzerland counts as different, and it is in western Europe, even thought that wasn’t what I had in mind when I wrote it…DSCF1061

* become real adults      - Brett tells me that yes, we are real adults.  We have graduated (I love how I continuously steal Brett’s glory and pretend like I had something to do with graduating, ha ha!) and have a job, and we own a house (though we don’t live in it), so I suppose those are some of the criteria I had in mindDSCF0981

* get high-speed internet     - check,  HALLELUJAH!!!!!!DSCF0988

* dance around the fire when we burn our couch      -I didn’t dance, because unfortunately I was too busy to go with Brett, but he did BURN IT, yay!DSCF1060

* read some good books     - Check.  Here’s my list of favorite books read this year:  The Keeping Days and Glory in the Flower by Norma Johnston, The Beethoven Medal by K.M. Peyton, Amanda/Miranda by Richard Peck (YA version), Thursday’s Child by Sonya Hartnett,  A Gathering of Days by Joan W. Blos, A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz, and The River Between Us by Richard PeckDSCF0926

* write a book    -slow and steady wins the race?DSCF1014

* maybe even SELL a book!    ---Next year, next yearDSCF1059

* take some great pictures     -check (all the pictures throughout are evidence.  Wait a minute, all these pictures were taken in 2010.  I’m still checking it though-just look at past posts for evidence.  :)  )DSCF0936

* teach Talmage how to walk     -checkDSCF1019

* train Jethro to stop wetting the bed     -checkDSCF1045

* then train Hazel to stop wetting the bed     -checkDSCF1052

* potty-train Ethne (2009--the year to save $$ on diapers!)    -check (all these were done at the beginning of the year too—it feels like so long ago. yay!)DSCF0958

* go to bed with an attractive man every night (except if he has a really good excuse, like he's at a job interview GETTING A JOB!)     -well, there were lots of nights that I didn’t sleep with him, but he always had reasons, like he was staying in Salt Lake to earn money for us.  Sheesh—excuses, excusesDSCF1050

* maybe get pregnant. or maybe not. we'll see.    -Not.  We’ll have to keep this resolution for this year too. DSCF0966

* become a responsible, organized, perfect mother and person       -Still working on it.DSCF1112

* ha ha!

Friday, January 29, 2010

My favorite video of 2009

video

I love her.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cheese and Chocolate


So, though I still have hopes that there will be many more food adventures to come, I may as well tell you about what we’ve experienced so far. First, the lacks. Switzerland does lack several things available in the good ol’ US of A. Allow me to list the ones I remember at present.
1. Baking powder
2. Corn syrup
3. Cream of mushroom/chicken soup
4. vanilla extract
5. jello
6. brown sugar
7. cheddar cheese
8. frozen juice concentrate
9. chocolate/butterscotch chips

So, I’m saddened that I can’t make chocolate chip cookies (no chocolate chips or brown sugar), scotcheroos (my favorite treat ever—no corn syrup, choc/butterscotch chips, although I did see rice krispies in a store the other day), orange julius, many casseroles and things that involve cream soups, etc. Luckily I knew about the baking powder issue and brought a package, but I should have brought more. Supposedly you can find some of these things if you go to certain stores, such as Globus in Bern, but they’re not exactly readily available. I was going to make my own brown sugar with some molasses, but haven’t found that yet either.

Anyway, moving on to the Haves. Switzerland has many delicious things I never had before.

1. Chocolate. Swiss chocolate. Mmmm. Sometime I will take a picture of the chocolate aisle in the grocery store. It is huge. It will make you drool.

2. Cheese. Many many many kinds of cheeses. Here we are eating many kinds of cheeses with our friends.

3. Raclette. Raclette is a cheese (a very delicious cheese), but it belongs in its own category because it is also a meal. You get a raclette cooker-thingee and you heat it up. You each have little pan-thingees and you put your slice of raclette on it until it gets nice and melty and bubbly. Then you take your pan and scrape the cheese off with your little wooden scraper onto your potatoes. You can add mushrooms or onions to your melting raclette for extra deliciousness. Wyatt, please come visit. I don’t want you to die of envy of this cheesy goodness. Look closely and you can see the raclette grill thingee.

4. Biercher Muessli. A traditional Swiss meal for breakfast or light supper, introduced to us by the Burris. It’s just Swiss granola in yogurt, which isn’t novel, but you see, the yogurt here is fantastic. It’s not like American yogurt at all, which I don’t even like. It’s super creamy and thicker and tastier. Also, they have this stuff called quark which is like yogurt but different. I’m not such a fan. We’ve become fans of biercher muessli and all the kids love it.5. Horse meat. Yes. Available at your local butcher.

6. Rivella. It’s a carbonated drink. Brett likes it. I don’t.

7. Some icecream stuff that is DIVINE that I’m not even sure of the name of yet. So, when we were at Brett’s boss’ house for New Year’s Eve (called Sylvester here), his wife offered me some icecream. It was plain vanilla, so I secretly wasn’t that interested. You see, I love icecream, but I love it when it’s a good flavor –not plain vanilla—mixed with milk, or with some yummy chocolate sauce on it. Not plain vanilla. BUT I decided to take some to be polite. And OH. MY. GOOOOODNESS it was the most delicious stuff I’ve ever tasted in my life. I can’t even explain it except it was more custardy than icecream we’re used to. I believe she said she bought it from a dairy store, but I’ve got to get Brett to ask her what it’s called so I can get some more.

8. Sausage. YUM. Me likey sausage. And the hot dogs are better here. Potatoes and sausage. Sausage and potatoes. Yum yum yum.

9. Nutella. I’m addicted. Basically it’s the bottom food group of the food guide pyramid for me. Now, I realize that Nutella is available in the States, and I loved it before. But I never really bought it because although I liked eating it plain by the spoonful, I didn’t think it went well with bread. But here, with crusty crusty, chewy chewy European bread, oh my. That is breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert for me. We’ve been here 4 weeks and are almost through our 5th big jar of the stuff. Brett says I have to cut back, but I say, why?It’ s very very good on banana bread too. When I first put some on banana bread, Brett said, “That’s an abomination!” But then he tried it and liked it. (I think he was just exasperated with further consumption of Nutella, not the idea of it on the banana bread.) And the missionaries came and they had 3 pieces and liked it too.

Talmage likes it too.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Picture catch-up

Here's Super-Awesome-Dental-Hygienist-Trainee-Aunt-Lindsay cleaning Jethro's teeth before we left. We hadn't had the kids teeth cleaned for too long, so Lindsay saved the day and brought her tools home and cleaned them. It was pretty awesome. At first Hazel cried and was too scared, and then Ethne went and showed her how to be brave and then she finally did it too. Good times.

Thanks Lindsay, you're my hero.
This is all the kids at Grandma's house on Christmas Eve. Only three families, so a pretty poor showing as for numbers. But jolly good fun nonetheless.
Aunt Lindsay and Uncle Ethan. Awww.
Uncle Ethan being beat up by Aunt Megan and Aunt Amy and Anders. Awww.
My kids in their Christmas p.j.'s (Jethro wasn't impressed with his).
This was at a little impromptu program some of the little nieces put on. It's Hazel and Ethne singing "Away in a Manger." Plain freaky.
So a little while before Christmas, Brett and I had a very serious talk with Jethro, Hazel, and Ethne. We explained how we were moving to Switzerland right after Christmas and had very little room, so they probably would only be getting one small present for Christmas. And they had to remember that not everybody else that was going to be at Grandma's house would be going to Switzerland, so they might get more and bigger things than them, but they wouldn't be able to go to Switzerland, and going to Switzerland's awesome and is kindof a part of their Christmas presents. (We really had more than one present for the kids, and we knew they'd get things from grandparents etc., but we wanted them to have small expectations and be pleasantly surprised by anything else.) So anyhow, as we were walking out of the room (this being at night after we had put them to bed), we heard Hazel sniffling and whimpering and she said to Jethro, "I didn't even want to go to Switzerland!" Ha ha ahaa!! It was so funny. And sad. We're so mean.
Anyway, I think all the kids were pretty happy on Christmas morning. Among other things, Hazel got Barbies,
Ethne got a purse with sunglasses and pretend make-up and Tinkerbell shoes (she was very stylin', as I think you would agree),
Jethro got a mini remote-controlled car,
and Talmage went from person to person stealing chocolates and candy from their stocking and stuffing his face with it. Seriously ALL morning.
This is the girls and Aunt Krissy.
And these are just cute. I like them because Ethne is cute in the morning eating her cereal.
And this is on the plane to Switzerland. Talmage is actually asleep, which was a rarity on the flights, and Jethro is watching Cars. We were over the Atlantic right then.
This was Ethne conked out, and Hazel was on the other side and I couldn't even see her because she was covered in a blanket.
And Brett.
And with that, good night.

Switzerland is not the USA

Hi there. According to the ticker, I've been in Switzerland 27 days--almost an entire month. Crazy. But things are really settling into a groove. Hazel has been going to Kindergarten for two weeks now, and tomorrow Jethro will start at his German-as-a-second-language school, which he'll go to for about 3 months and then start back at the regular school.

So, since I've been here I've kept a little list of some of the things that are different. It's not exhaustive, but it's some of the things that I've noticed. And bear in mind that I haven't been to Europe before, so maybe these aren't all that novel for some of you, and also bear in mind that I haven't experienced a very wide range of Switzerland yet, so I may have to come back and amend some of my opinions but here they are for now while things are still fresh.

1. Mostly everything is smaller. Cars are mostly very small, and you hardly see ANY trucks. When I was in Vernal right before we left, I mentioned to Brett on our drive to church that to live in Vernal you apparently have to have two trucks in your driveway. He drove for a little while and said, "You're right." And here we decided that we should do a punch-buggy or slug-bug thing for trucks. Also, the roads are very narrow. I shall be scared to drive I think when we get a car.
Refrigerators are tiny. Here is a picture with Jethro and Hazel standing in front of our fridge for scale (although they are standing on their toes.) And here is a picture of Talmage in front of the fridge just because he's so darn cute.Also, food portions are very small- such as sour cream or things like that. And milk! My goodness --you can only buy it in 1 liter bottles! 1 liter is something like an eye-dropper full of milk. I can drink that in two seconds, and my family could drink probably 3 at a meal. That and the small fridge means I go to the store more often, but it's okay. However, the prices for these food items are NOT smaller. Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world. When we get a car, people have told us it would probably be worth it to drive to Germany every once in a while to stock up on some groceries.

I have noticed, on the other hand, that there are a ton of words that are NOT small. They can be huge--much longer than English words it seems like. For example, a note sent home from Hazel's school had the word "schulbereitschaftselternabend." Anyway, weird to me.

2. You flush the toilet by pushing a large square sort-of-like-a-button thing. And the light switches are usually square buttonish thingees too. And the doors don't go all the way into the doorframe. And the locks are almost always keys--not just push the lock button thing, or push in and twist.

3. The school system is soooo different. When we were staying with Kathrin and Beat's (Beat is pronounced BAY-ott) family for a few days Kathrin drew a very detailed diagram for me, showing me all the different options. I should take a picture of it and post it, just so you can see how complex it is. Anyhow, to make it very simplified, after 6th grade you're placed into one of three tracks. One track, for those with the best grades, is the slickest way to university, the next track you go to a different school and get an apprenticeship, and the next track is kindof harder for you to get a good apprenticeship. And kindergarten--what Hazel is in right now--is more like playschool. They don't really start getting into reading and "curriculum" stuff until first grade. So on Hazel's first day of school when I picked her up she said, "There were NO reading groups!!"

4. Swiss people speak many languages. The four national languages of Switzerland are German, French, Italian, and Rumantsch. But Swiss people don't speak High German like in Germany or Austria--they speak Swiss German, which is a dialect but is so different from High German that other Germans don't understand them. So, Hazel's schoolmates all speak in Swiss German but when they start going to first grade they'll be taught in High German and learn to write in High German. So basically they know two langauges. And then there are different phrases from canton to canton.

And so many people know English. And they all say "My English is very bad," and then speak what sounds to me like amazingly good English.

5. It's not exactly set up in city-then-suburb type layout like places I've lived in the States. There's the city, but then there's just little villages here and there spread out that are small, but fairly self-contained. At least, that's what I've seen around here. The smallest little town, Brett says, has its own little government organization.

6. They have roundabouts ALL OVER. I knew this before we moved here because Brett would always say how superior roundabouts are to stoplights or stop signs because it's so much slicker, etc. But he wasn't exaggerating-they really are everywhere.

7. There are no bedroom closets. This is something that I think is ridiculous. Then you have to buy wardrobes and more dressers and whatnot. Also microwaves don't seem to be the thing. I am very American in that I find a microwave to be a necessity. I was saying that to a Swiss lady at church, and she said, "Oh I agree--I like microwaves too. When we built our house I had them put in a microwave above the stove, but when I came and saw after they had installed it, it was a teeny tiny Swiss microwave--I had been thinking American size, so now I have to cut things in half to defrost them."

8. You have to buy your bags at the grocery store. And you are required to recycle. And you pay for garbage collection when you buy your garbage bags--so they're really expensive. And at the grocery store you weigh your own produce and a sticker comes out for you to stick on your bag.

9. Clocks are on the 24-hour cycle, and of course the other measurement stuff is different--like my oven is in Celsius. Good thing Brett bought me a handy-dandy cell phone of my very own (I feel so proud to be entering the modern era) and it has a converter option that will tell me what 350 degrees Fahr. is in Cels.

10. Lots more people use public transportation here. There are buses, trams, and trains that are used all the time. We go to church on the bus and then a tram. I'm still very American in that I can't WAIT to get our own vehicle. It is such an enormous operation just getting to a place that by the time we're there the kids (at least the littler ones) are usually tired out and cold and ready to go home again. Let me tell you that once Talmage has decided he's through, he's THROUGH. And there's nothing you can do to keep him from screaming from that point until you get home. Not fun. At least if he was screaming in your own vehicle not everyone around could hear him and stare at you. And your vehicle can hold a lot more groceries than your bookbag or even your stroller with big old bags stuck in between children.

11. They don't use titles as much here. At least according to a friend from church. When I was staying at his house, I called him Brother Burri, which is something I would commonly say in the States to anyone in church that was older than me. And he turned around and answered my question and then he said, "Why did you call me that?" And I was a little confused, and he said that no one here really ever calls each other that, they just say first names always. Even the children to the adults. And he went on to say that you don't call doctors 'Dr. So-and-so,' you just call them Mr. like anyone else. And he said even the equivalent of the President of Switzerland, they just say Mr.

And this is unrelated, but I'll just stick it in here that our church ward or congregation is very much smaller than we've been used to. We don't have our own church building, just a rented space in a building in the city. And there are only about 5 kids in the primary-so our kids coming pretty much doubled it. The first Sunday of church Hazel whispered to me, "It's NEVER this quiet at church in Utah." Yeah, you do get quite a bit of noise when you have a million babies and kids in a ward.

12. So this is something I'm not really sure about, but I read somewhere before we came that people here are more ready to let kids be out in all types of weather, and let kids be more rough-and-tumble at recess and the like. All I know is that Hazel's kindergarten class went sledding one day, and I'm pretty sure that not a whole lot of kindergarten classes in the States would do that. Also, there was a little pamphlet sent home on safety in walking to school (made by the police) and one of the points reads "Travelling by car creates dangers and will not allow your child the experience of going to school on foot." Quite the different mindset from Jethro's school teacher in Indiana who was a little bit paranoid I think.

Here is Ethne and Jethro and some friends from the ward ready to go and sled. The kids were so so nice to Ethne.


13. You can marry your first cousin in Switzerland. You have to be sure that people farther back in your family haven't intermarried, but otherwise you're good. Just FYI.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nice Swiss people

I wrote this post a week or so ago when we were waiting for our internet to get hooked up. We were just waiting for the modem to come in the mail. We waited and waited and waited. And finally Brett called them and found out that the box had come before our name was on the mailbox and so had been sent back. Ruff. Anyhow, I'm back. Hello. Without further ado.

So, there is a common belief that Swiss people are...standoffish at first, a little bit brusque, chilly, unfriendly, indeed, a little less nice than Americans until you've gotten to know them a while and their shell comes off. (This is one of those country-wide generalizations sort of akin to all Canadians living in igloos.) Having now been here for more than a week, I can firmly attest that this is completely and utterly false. There may be some Swiss people who fit that stereotype, but I have yet to meet them. Allow me to illustrate.

Point 1 - When I was still staying with the sweetest family ever, the Burri's, (we are now finally in our apartment-yay!) I ran out of diapers. Though Kathrin would have gladly have given me anything I could possibly need, she didn't have any diapers, so I made an excursion down the road a few paces to the local Coop (a grocery store). It is very close to their house, but I took a little shortcut to the road instead of the longer driveway, and for a moment was unsure which way to go. There was a man just in front of me brushing snow off his car, so I said to him, “Vo ist Coop?” which I'm sure could mean any number of things but I hoped meant “Where is Coop?” And he spoke a bunch of gobbedly-gook that I couldn't understand, but elaborately gestured and pointed for me AND smiled and was friendly. (By the way, my first shopping venture was successful—I found diapers and wipes and a loaf of bread and a liter of milk and bought them all by myself and I was very proud.)

Point 2- The day we moved to our apartment, Brett rented a moving truck to move the few things we had purchased at the brokenhaus (second-hand store) and things people had lent us and our luggage, but it didn't have enough seats for all of us. Kathrin and Beat had to work that day, so after much explanation of where I was to go and what I was to say from Kathrin, I embarked with Hazel, Ethne, and Talmage into the world of Swiss public transportation. First we walked to the bus stop, and while we were waiting there a woman came by and must have heard me talking to the kids in English and asked me if we were on holidays here, perhaps from England? And I told her that we had moved here, and she was very excited for me and chatted for a few minutes and wished me all the best and maybe we would see each other again if I ever came back to the village. (By the way, I successfully made it onto the bus and from thence the train (although I was a little silly and didn't realize at first that there was only one train from the stop I was at, and so I had to wait quite longer than I needed to for the next time it came round, and from the train stop to my apartment.) It was easier than I had anticipated, but my shoulders were almost broken from carrying Talmage in the backpack.)

Point 3- So I already said how everybody at church was super nice and everyone came up to meet us and all, but THEN the first day at our apartment when Brett had gone to scout for more things that we need since he still had the truck for a while, one of the men from our ward stopped by during his lunch hour and brought us a big box of Swiss chocolates (I already love this guy) and then asked if I minded if he saw the papers we signed and looked through our apartment because his job is in real estate for Coop, and he wanted to be sure everything was good with the apartment and that everything that was not good was written down etc. So he did quite a thorough inspection for us and talked with Jethro and was sooooooo nice. He again urged us to call if there is anything we need, and he wants to have us over soon but doesn't want to overwhelm us if we're too busy, but please call if we can think of anything at all they can help us with. (He's the dad of the only other boy in primary, who incidentally is seven like Jethro. They also have a five-year-old girl. Isn't that awesome?)

Point 4- Yesterday I was making some dinner out of the maybe three food items we had in our apartment (well, maybe a few more than that, but certainly not many), and I realized that we didn't have any salt. I had brought some of my spices with us, but no salt and pepper. I was making a spaghetti sauce-type thing with canned tomatoes and some very delicious sausage, and knowing that no matter what other spices you put in, if you don't have salt it won't taste good, I sent Jethro with a little container to venture out into our apartment in search of salt. I told him to say “Kleine salz, bitte” which could mean any number of things, but I hoped meant “A little salt, please.” He came back later with a great bit of salt and he said that a lady downstairs had given it to him with much gobbledy-gook that he couldn't understand, but he said he did understand that she said bitte (it means 'you're welcome' as well as 'please') after he said danke. THEN later that day she came to our apartment and gave us three little toys, including a little wooden cow with a bell around its neck which is so cute. I didn't actually see her because I didn't hear the doorbell buzz, so Jethro accepted this gift. Later on, Brett met this woman, Rosa, in the hall and she said “You're son came and asked for salt from me, etc.... I didn't know this was the custom in America.” Ha ha—well, it's actually not generally the custom to send your children begging in America, but hey it seemed to work today. And still THEN- she came over tonight and gave us a little crown cake because she thought the children would like it and because she is so nice and neighborly and she inquired about Jethro going to school and we explained the difficulty we had had trying to speak with someone at his school and she went back to her house and phoned (we don't have a phone yet) her friend who works at the school and came back and gave us another number to call, etc. and was VERY helpful and friendly and kind.

SO, if Switzerland has some mean, unfriendly-to-strangers people in it, they are few and far between and are found in no more abundance than in any other country.

The end.

p.s. Except for some reason I feel I should knock on wood at this point. :)

p.p.s. It is now a few days since I wrote this post, and I must add that people have continued being nice. A neighbor was walking down the stairs as I was going up, and she introduced herself and asked about me and such, and another neighbor guy saw us carrying some of our IKEA furniture upstairs and helped Brett with all of it (it was already assembled because we bought it from the damaged/floor model stuff), and when we were sitting at the train station this morning while Brett was trying to figure out how in the world to get to church (we took the train, and then a trolley, and then got off and walked forever in the freezing cold and the kids were crying and we went back to the train station and were almost ready to give up and go home), an old lady stopped by and gave Ethne a little stuffed animal from her purse. Niceness abounds.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

We have arrived!

I am writing this post nestled inside the country of Switzerland. Amazing. I still cant reallz believe it.


And first off, the German keyboard is different from the American, so from now on all the y and zs will be mixed up, and there probablz wonät be anz apostraphes. Okaz.

So, Swityerland is beautiful. (ä=apostophe, I donät know where it is). I mean, absolutelz breathtakinglz gorgeous. Absolutelz everzthing looks like a postcard. The houses are all so cute and quaint'looking. And everyone we have met has been soooooo nice to us. We are staying with a family in our ward. They have been so kind, and everyone weve met have been the same - eager to help us with anything we need.

Traveling is hard, at least it is with kids. Mainly because zour sleep schedule is so messed up. On Christmas Eve Hazel and Ethne were both throwing up all night, in fact at one point had to share the same bucket for a minute. I kindof wanted to take a picture and label it 'true sisterly sharing'. And all I could do was to pray and pray that Talmage and I would get it the next day, and not on the plane. That would be horrible. And the next night, in Vernal, Brett and Jethro were throwing up all night. All I could do was pray and pray that Talmage and I would get it the next day and not on the plane. That would be horrible. The next day Brettäs wonderful brother Blake drove us to Salt Lake so he could drop us off at the airport, and he threw up on the way. But a miracle was granted and we somehow managed to avoid it altogether.

The flights were okay. Talmage screamed for a major portion of the trip to Chicago. Then in Chicago (to Washington D.C.) we got to the terminal a tad late, and they had alreadz given half our seats awaz, but thez fitted us in and I got to sit in the first class which was prettz sweet. Then we had our flight over the ocean to Zurich. It was long, but Talmage screamed less and did sleep finallz.

When we got to Zurich we were supposed to have a van that we rented, but somehow it had not actuallz been rented. So we were stuck in the airport for a little while trzing to figure that out and we were all verz tired. Luckilz, our hotel had a shuttle that we took. And let me just saz that that daz does not bear remembering. Jet lag is the worst form of torture ever invented, at least it is when coupled with a screaming baby boy who will NOT sleep! (And I had to search the kezboard for that exclamation point for a long time just to show how much I mean it.) Okay, mazbe Iäm exaggerating a tad, but it was certainlz not pleasant.

Anyhow somehow we got through it and then some WONDERFUL ward members came with their cars adn picked us up. Then we crashed at the house weäre at now, the Burris. But before we had contacted them, thez had alreadz made plans for guests to come for New Years Eve, so we had to find other lodgings the next night. Brettäs boss graciouslz invited us, and we had a wonderful Arabic dinner with them, and went out to shoot off firecrackers and listened to the bells ringing and watched the firecrackers in all the little villages around them (thez live on the side of a mountain). It was very nice. Ringing in our New Year in Switzerland.

Then we came back to the Burris, where we have slept, gone sledding, slept some more, ate several delicious traditional Swiss meals, visited and had a very nice time.

Todaz was our first daz of church, and it is verz small. There are hardlz anz children, so everyone was very excited to see ours. Everyone was, again, very very very kind and we have had more offers of help with anzthing we might need than we can count. Almost everzone speaks English, but they had people translating for me in all of the meetings, which makes it so I pay better attention. smile.

And tomorrow we are renting a van so we can go do all our errands, and move into our apartment. And now I had better go because my kids are being nuisances for my hosts. I will write more later and when my mom mails me my camera cord which I forgot, will even post pictures.

Tschuss!!!!!!

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