November 5, 2014


Last week Juliet and I met Jake in Berlin (he was there on business).

I found the history of Berlin to be quite painful and dark. It was nearly overwhelming to fathom and learn about the difficulties and sore trials of this country including WW1 and the deep subsequent economic depression that followed; the rise of Hitler and his  Nazi regime with the belief in superior races which led to the horrific Ethnic cleansing in the form of Jewish concentration camps (among other things); then the Soviet Union literally divided the city with a Wall (Berlin Wall) and ruled with an iron socialistic grasp, all of which prevailed as recent as 1989!!!

Initially as I toured this city I was filled with anger/sorrow/confusion and seemed to feel a palpable heavy weight in the air. However, as I walked and toured more of the city I those negative feelings began to disappear and I began to feel hope.  Everywhere I looked I saw new construction and buildings, laughter and joy, great restaurants and beautiful memorials.  I was truly amazed and touched that a city with such difficulty could change, grow and overcome.  It was through this observation that I feel I have gained a deep belief in the possibility of change.  If an entire country can rebuild, grow, change, love, overcome,  despite their "difficult/horrific upbringing/history" can we not do the same?

I left Berlin a changed and uplifted person, with a lot more hope for our world :)

October 21, 2014

Chocolate Brownies

I have to say that moving here has been no small task for various reasons.  

One in particular, I will illustrate.  The other day I bought a brownie mix (yes because I am one of those lazy-bones who prefers to cook at light-speed as I value efficiency over deliciousness and goodness) and I realized it was all in German.  Once again my efficiency personality kicked in and I decided that because it included little pictures, all I had to do was follow the pictures on the box to know what to put in the mix.  When I finished making my brownies, they were like a delicious chocolate pile of dirt, obviously I had missed an ingredient because they were soooo dry.  With the help of my friend Hollee, I realized I had missed the water (which was not pictured - but stated in German, Italian and French - duhhhh).  After adding the water and an extra egg for good measure, I cooked those brownies and they turned out lovely. 

The point here, is I never thought I would be struggling to do such basic life tasks such as reading a recipe (for babies basically) and being unable to do it.  I cannot read the dials on the washing machines/ovens etc... therefore I have accidentally dyed all Juliets' bibs with a nice "blue jean" hue (which I hate).  

I have been served a huge dose of humble pie, trying to maintain a positive disposition about it, versus throwing a tantrum about every little thing has truly become a balancing act ;)  I think the phrase "fake it till you make it" comes in really handy here (one of my favorite mantras BTW).

Suffice to say, the challenges are innumerable with a move like this, but many of them are so basic, I would have never guessed this prior to moving over-seas.  Be sure to have compassion on your "foreign" friends, because we really are "puppies" enjoying the sun and chasing our tails :)

October 8, 2014

Lucerne - Likes/dislikes

So I have now been in Switzerland almost a month (minus a week for Italy) and I have made a list thus far of likes and dislikes

1. the green hills with sprawling farms and electric green grass
2. the crisp air
3. the crystal clear lakes
4. General courteousness and friendliness
5. The Chocolate (however I prefer dark over milk and I don't like hazelnuts ... that is a Swear-word in Switzerland I think)
6. the quality of the food (I have never tasted such good chicken) - actually I think it's the butter - I It is pure liquid gold.
7. The windows - I am so fascinated at how high-tech they are opening from the top or the side
8. They keep tarps on the sand boxes to avoid "kitty-droppings"
9. I hear classical music on the streets - instead of drums and boom-boxes there are students playing in fabulous modern/classical quartets... I would have to spend sooo much money normally
10. THE SWANS!!! never get tired of swans (unless they bite me)
11. THE SWISS LOVE JULIET soooo much, especially when I put her little pig-tails in her hair (It's a good ice-breaker")
12. the trail-system here for runners/bikers/even rollerbladers (yes there are roller blading signs with estimated times on them) are fabulous and so well-kept.

1.  The doors - they sort of sit on the inner lip - so they constantly look like they are ajar to me
2. the locks all have individual keys (so in order to lock your front door you have to insert the key) - technically you could lock yourself inside the house
3. The fact that you must provide your own lighting - (not lamps people)- actual ceiling lights - our apartment just had wires coming from the ceiling holes and the fact that there were "provided lights in the hall and kitchen" was a big bonus.
4. No closets - they use wardrobes - which needless to say hinders the unpacking process greatly, trying to assemble four large wardrobes doesn't come close to compensating for closets.
5. I still do not understand the "garbage rules" apparently they are very STRICT when it comes to your waste/garbage.
6. you have to pay to use a shopping cart and they seem to be located everywhere I cannot find them.
7. The prices for restaurants are CRAZY - don't expect to pay less than the equivalent of $80 for dinner.
8. you have to pay for water - and it's 5-7 francs (for one bottle) initially when I didn't realize this, Jake and I where getting our water refilled and Juliet had a "small child's water" it was a total of +$20 just for the water (beware).
9. the appliances are so high-tech... I cannot figure out how to turn the oven on correctly (every time I swear it's a new setting... somehow I cook food though).

So far, more likes than dislikes :)

September 28, 2014


Juliet, my SIL Emily and I left Venice and headed to Rome. It is truly a gem, filled with the immense layers of hundreds of years now gone.  I adore architecture and archeological ruins especially the roman ruins intermingled with renaissance and romantic era architecture, therefore, Rome is perfect.  I have to say the pasta is perfection as well as the seafood!!! I also have to admit that I ate gelato 2-3 times a day.

The highlight was definitely a bike ride through the ancient Apian Way, and Juliet kept making "ahhhing sounds" every time we rode on the cobblestones because she loved the sound of her voice jumping up and down. She handled the rain very well, after I put a poncho over the top of her.

Another highlight was definitely the Sistine Chappel, although it was packed with too many people.

 Swiss guards at the Vatican

A hidden little church

 Appian Way

View of the vatican city at sunset

September 23, 2014

Hailing in Venice/Caught in a Thunderstorm

 Juliet, myself and my SIL Emily just went to Venice Italy, for the first time and I am in love!

I was caught in torrential down-pour that became an incredible hail storm and transitioned into a lightening storm.  I was able to photograph quite a few lightening bolts, here are my two favorites.

I am not a photographer, but have always admired photography. Jake gave me a nice camera for Christmas and I have to admit this is my first time using it officially.  I think fancy cameras always intimidated me.  But, mine is very user friendly and I can see the results of a nice camera so much more clearly!

My favorite travel buddy, she spent time on my back and in the stroller and in her sleeping tent :) Traveling with babies is harder than along, however still very possible, just a bit slower pace with some breaks.

Jules with her Aunt Emily!

I cannot express the unique nature of Venice and its winding alley-ways and canals.  Such a beautiful/compact/bustling/claustrophobic/ancient/artistic/ornate/awe-inspiring city.

My internet is very slow, so sadly I will not post more pictures tonight.

September 19, 2014

Running in Switzerland

If you know me well, you know I have ran my whole life.  It seems to be in my blood, at times much more than others.  Every time I have moved to a new place, I have found a trail/path that I begin running.  I have a hard time even straying to other trails/paths, because the one I embark upon time and time again becomes a home to me.  My personality is one that enjoys change and craves it in many ways, but when it comes to running I like to find a home and stick to it.

When I lived in Arizona I ran along the canal trail even in the blazing sun.  In San Francisco I ran a beautiful trail called Lands end that ran along cliffs plunging into the ocean and overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, in the East Bay I ran along a local Hercules path and then ended on the Bay Trail that ran alongside the San Francisco Bay.   When we move into our permanent apartment in Ebikon (just outside of Lucerne) there is a lovely lake called "the Red Lake" that I will run (It was very much a deciding factor in moving to this apartment.

Yesterday I enjoyed running along Lake Lucerne for the second time, and the scenery was quite spectacular.

I am planning to run my third 1/2 marathon right here in Lucern.  Wish me luck!  It's going to be a fast ramp-up from my current 6 miles, but I am excited.  After this training, then a new CrossFit gym will open in Lucern!!! Yay and my cross-fit hiatus will be ended :)  Looking forward to so many new things.

On another note Juliet and I shared italian pizza yesterday that was wonderful!  However, I have to say living in the Bay Area, I was sooo spoiled with the good eats, because all the food here is on par with SF.

I took these two pictures while running (excuse for a break)

Here are a couple pictures of Juliet at the pizzeria (pizza had not yet arrived) and the swans again (you will probably end up seeing many, many swan pictures because they are so regal and beautiful)

September 17, 2014

Switzerland - Lucerne

I thought I might attempt to re-kindle the blog, in an effort to share a little bit about Switzerland and my experiences here.  If you know me well I am a talker, not a writer.  But I think this will be fun and so many people want to keep updated too about my little peanut JuJu and her adventures.

Juliet has adjusted very well and my favorite moment with her has been when she squealed in utter delight at seeing the swans that are in lake Lucerne.  When Jake, myself and my SIL Emily rounded a corner and before we even saw them, Juliet spotted the swans right away started panting in her silly hyperventilating way and waving her arms and rolling her ankles and then began squealing. The swans were lounging along the side of the lake off a rock embankment.  One large swan, upon our approach, I think was able to feel her adoration, because he started ruffling his feathers and rolling his long neck on his back for her utter enjoyment.  He was preening for her (I am calling it a him, maybe a her??? who knows).  Such a lovely moment for all of us.

I adore the greenery here and the rolling hills and the sound of cow bells throughout the city and the surrounding smaller cities.  The cost of here is quite high, the best description is a tube of L'Oreal mascara was -24 swiss francs in the US I think its about $9.  That NYX dollar brand that we have in the US a palette of eye-shadow was -24 swiss francs ($25.50).  Some things are more similar to the US in price though (hit-or-miss).

Lake Lucerne where I live (not taken by me)

Lake Lucerne and their famous swans ( not taken by me)


Related Posts with Thumbnails