Living like a Local
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The girls had their first sleep over with a Swiss American girl named Lisa. Lisa comes from a family of 7 (with twins on the way!!), which is not very common here in the expensive area of Zurich. We met them through an expat message board, and they have been invaluable friends during our transition. We have been meeting up at parks every Wednesday, and the kids all have a blast, while Rebecca and I get a chance at some grown up English spoken conversation
Our neighbors are also dear people who have been so kind to us. Over the weekend the across the street (not to be confused with the farm next door; see Serena's egg story) was holding a weekend fair as a fundraiser for a local choir. Traditional Swiss sausages and foods along with a few things to entertain the kids (like a plastic cow to milk, and a giant hay stack for the kids to jump and get rowdy in). It was a great opportunity to people watch, try out our verrry limited Swiss German (Gruetzie! Gruetzie!), and taste some local food. Just after we finished lunch a 5 piece accordion band started up. I was surprised to hear what sounded a lot like a polka to me ---- until the yodeling started! The Swissness of it was too picture-perfect. I felt like I was in a story book.
I came back with Serena later in the day to see what the evening held
Raw Milk. The Milchomat is a little walk up vending machine where you bring your own bottle and fill 'er up with farm fresh milk. I have been hesitant to leap into the unpasteurized pasture, but after spending a day at the farm we were ready to give it a go. Well Alexander and I were – we are the only ones who have (knowingly) consumed the fresh milk so far. It was delicious, and I plan to get more so that the girls and I can make a bit of butter and whipped cream. (Science, week 5, cha-ching -- oh and they will be teaching an English lesson at a Swiss School in a few weeks!)
As much as I have loved the weekend trips we have been doing, I was glad we did not have any big plans this weekend. We ventured over to a pumpkin patch for dinner with Brian’s co-worker Binit and his family one day. The kids are already acting like long lost cousins, carousing and giggling whenever they are together. They recommended we check out a nearby castle and museum in Lenzburg, which was the best one we’ve seen yet
All this has been doing a fine job of distracting me from the fact that there is a quasi- advisory for Americans travelling in Europe. This week brought forth the news that American Intelligence recently uncovered an Al-Queda plot to target Americans at tourist destination and travelling systems in European cities. The alert is not calling for a stop to travel, but the Eiffel Tower was closed down because of a threat (so much for a weekend in Paris when my mom comes next week!). The alert calls simply for vigilance – which really is rather meaningless if you are here living in the center of Europe. As helpless as I feel, I do feel an overwhelming momma bear instinct to make my kids stop wearing their American logo tshirts and to avoid big tourist attractions for awhile. I found an article that expresses my feelings rather well. http://www.slate.com/id/2269845/ (But then again those pesky commenters make some good points as well.) Prayers for safely are always appreciated.
I guess if we are going to be like the locals, Switzerland is proving to be a fine place to do it. People are very well-mannered, chocolate, cheese, and coffee are daily enjoyments, and the Alps are even inspiring me to get back into daily yoga. (Now I get mountain pose!)