Archive for April, 2013

It Hit Both of us!

April 25, 2013

I hate going to the Pharmacy in a foreign country. Especially when you don’t speak the language.

You never know exactly what you are getting and you are literally putting your life into the hands of whomever you chance to come across first. And boy oh boy do I hope the 22 year old prescribing me some random drug in a pink box knew what she was doing – and meant well. Hell, for all I know, they could be magic beans!

Oh boy! Will they work??

We got sick. It hit both of us big time today. Poor Mr. Goat has been feeling somewhat ill since before we even arrived. Little to no sleep the week leading up to the move will catch up to you. He just didn’t allow it to until after a big project at work had finished. Then – bam! – it came and hit him hard. Unfortunately, it hit me at the exact same time.

Now I guess there’s a good and a bad side to this equation. Since I inevitably catch whatever Mr. Goat acquires anyway, perhaps it’s best that it hit us both at once. That way, we both take care of each other and there’s no worrying about giving your illness to the other person – because they already have it. However, the bad side here is that at least when only one of us is sick, it’s much easier for the other to take care of them. Make chicken noodle soup, go to the pharmacy, take temperature, give TLC. When both of us feel like death…well, then one of us is forced to do those things even though we really, really, really don’t feel like getting out of bed. Read Mr. Goat: really.

So…around noon today I worked up the energy to crawl out of bed. Because he sure as hell wasn’t going to make the first move. And I needed food. Didn’t really feel much like eating. But I know we both needed it. Not to mention medicine.

I felt awful. Just awful. But I inquired if he knew of anything at the pharmacy to get and he had done some research so he gave me a word to go off of: Guauifenesin.

I made it the two blocks to the grocery store and pharmacy – thank heavens it’s so close!! Then I quickly shopped around for ingredients to chicken noodle soup – including an already roasted and delicious chicken. And onward to the pharmacy.

I gave the 22 year old that word (written in my iphone, because I wasn’t even going to try to pronounce it) and she nodded and went away for a minute. She came back with a small box and pointed to an ingredients list – ok, that word was there. Sounded good enough to me. Then I tried something else. We both are producing lots of phlegm (don’t you just love that word?) and have sore throats, so I wanted to get some lozenges and particularly thought peppermint would be good. So I said “peppermint for throat” and motioned to my throat. She gave another nod and pulled out a small pink box and tried to tell me about it, but it was lost on me. It was my turn to nod. So I paid – only 14 francs for our medicine – yahooooo!! And headed home.

Always trust a pink box

Always trust a pink box

I had high hopes to make chicken noodle soup, but turns out the 20 minute sojourn took out what little energy I had, so I gave up my chopped carrots and leeks and went to lie down again.  After about 10 mins I remembered that I should probably take medicine before passing out again, so I took out the Guauifenesin medicine (called Resyl) and luckily remembered she said ten drops three times a day in water. So I drank water with ten drops in it. Then I took out the medicine from the “Iropect” pink box.  Turns out they are lozenges. But forget peppermint, these things tasted like black licorice!! Whatever, I’m sick, I don’t care. So I took one. Then I guess I had the strength to get the soup stewing – I took the meat off the chicken carcass and threw the bones in.

Fast forward another 4 hours (of sleeping) and I woke up feeling oddly refreshed. Well, I don’t remember the last time I slept that much, so I darn well better have energy after sleeping the whole day! I finished the chicken noodle soup – added the chicken and noodles – and it turned out to be delicious. Mr. Goat seemed to enjoy it too. Very glad I added ginger and (well, of course) garlic.

Those noodles were the best

Those noodles were the best

I seem to be feeling a lot better and it’s 6pm now, so maybe, just maybe I was able to fight it off effectively. I guess only time will tell.

Has anyone else experienced getting sick in a foreign country? How did you deal??

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The Result of Mexican Cravings

April 21, 2013

It has hardly been over one week living here and Mr. Goat had such overwhelming Mexican cravings that he declared we needed a Mexican night. Seeing as there is an extreme lack of good Mexican food around, we hit up the local Mexican food store (yes, I know – thank God there’s at least that!). And for a meager 60 francs, we were able to enjoy a small taste of home.

Don’t get me started. I, at least, was rational enough to try and get my fill of Mexican before I left Seattle, as several of you reading this blog will recall. Anytime there was a lunch/dinner/happy hour proposed in the weeks leading to my departure, I would default to a Mexican suggestion.

But not so for Mr. Goat. He just had to have some right away. And as I mentioned above, Mexican, whether eating in or dining out, is not at all the go-to cheap meal that it was in the states. No. It comes at quite the price.

That being said, it was quite delicious.

You can't tell from the image, but it was smoking quite a bit and here's an interesting fact: Swiss apartments appear to be smoke detector free!! Now that sounds safe...

You can’t tell from the image, but the poblanos in chipotle dish was smoking quite a bit and here’s an interesting fact: Swiss apartments appear to be smoke detector free!! Now that sounds safe…

Ta-da!  One taco meal to satisfy your obnoxious husband's cravings: 70 francs The satisfaction of enjoying a taste of home - and not burning the house down: (almost) priceless

Ta-da!
One taco meal to satisfy your obnoxious husband’s cravings: 60 francs
Enjoying a taste of home – and not burning the house down: (almost) priceless

Can you believe we paired this with a Rosé  from Geneva? That's so Swiss

Can you believe we paired this with a Rosé from Geneva?
That’s so Swiss

To be fair, the ingredients did last us until dinner on Sunday – so that’s two dinners and breakfast/lunch in between. And with that knowledge, this was definitely waaay less expensive than it would have been to go out for Mexican here. But more on that later, as I plan to expand on my thoughts about Mexican food in Zurich in a post once I have a chance to do some more investigating.

—-

Aaaannd in other news…

My husband decided to open a bottle of wine tonight – MacGruber style. The rosé last night was a screw top, you see. But tonight with our leftover Mexican, he wanted a red.

So, ok, we had forgotten to pack a corkscrew in our luggage. Whoops.  Especially since we made a point before we packed that we needed to remember this due to the, oh I don’t know, 10 or so corkscrews that we had just lying around the house. Many due to instances such as this, where we fail to bring one traveling and then find ourselves once again buying a new one.

And because Mr. Goat is, well, also known as Mr. Practical, he decided that we didn’t need to buy another corkscrew – even after he came home with half a dozen bottles of Swiss wine one day. No, no, no, you don’t need a corkscrew to open a bottle of wine, he insisted. Even if it is just 5 francs. It’s the principal of the thing.

He spent some time researching how to open a bottle caveman style.

Oh yeah, stabbing the cork ought to do the trick!

Oh yeah, stabbing the cork ought to do the trick!

Then he decided he knew how it was done.

haha, my wife has NO idea what's coming! Look at her, standing so close.

haha, my wife has NO idea what’s coming!

The result?

Oh yes, I'd like some more cork with my wine please

Oh yes, I’d like some more cork with my wine please

I was ready to capture the moment, but when it happened, it caught me so much by surprise that I was left wiping red wine off of my camera phone (among other things). The bottle exploded all over our kitchen – floor, cabinets, counter, you name it. And my shirt got the worst of it. So, you know, I went around the rest of the night topless.  To which my husband responded, “Mission Accomplished.”

Snowmen are Meant to be Burned

April 16, 2013

Much to my delight, it appears that we timed our arrival in Zurich with a traditional holiday called Sechseläuten where they burn a Böögg to signify the ending of winter and coming of summer. So yesterday, Mr. Goat (having received half the day off) and I went to enjoy the festivities.

We first visited the Lindenhof where there were tents set up with vendors selling sausages, spaetzle, cheese, wine and beer. We got a sausage, a spaetzle dish with beef and applesauce, and a couple beers. The Schützengarten St. Galler Landbier was on special for 5.50 francs due to the canton St. Gallen hosting the event (every year, they switch cantons) so that’s what I chose. I must say, based on my first impression of Swiss beer last summer, I did not have high hopes for this beer, however was pleasantly surprised. A golden color, quite foamy, and not nearly as watery as I was expecting. Overall, very drinkable (though those at ratebeer.com would disagree with me it seems). The unfortunate news is that Mr. Goat says this beer will be nearly impossible to find in stores, like most good beer (or any, for that matter). 😦

Tents at Lindenhof

Tents at Lindenhof

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Mr. Goat and I at Lindenhof with the parade by the river behind us

Mr. Goat and I at Lindenhof with the parade by the river behind us

Something to note if you’re ever in Switzerland during a festival and you’re confused why the vendors are charging you 2 francs more than the beer price: no, they’re not just trying to take advantage of tourists but rather the extra 2 francs are a “deposit” on the cup they are pouring your beer in.  The Swiss, who are most certainly orderly recyclers, want to encourage people to hand the plastic cups back in to ensure they are properly recycled. That’s great and all, but you should have seen the look on Mr. Goat’s face when the woman handing him the beer was demanding more money. He ended up just laying a bunch of coins on the counter and she took what she needed – hah!

After we had our beer, we walked across the river to check out some of the parade. All the guilds of Zurich (only men, with a few “honorary” women) were parading and we saw some amazing outfits! Also, we walked past quite a few children frolicking around a fountain. No, this was not a film set or a strange Swiss utopian-type dimension, there were actually children dressed up in 14th century outfits – frolicking around – AND throwing flowers into – a fountain. Once you get over the strangeness of the scene (which actually come to think of it, is probably not so strange here in Switzerland), it was rather cute.

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Children frolicking around the fountain

parade chainmail

Mr. Goat was psyched to see soldiers with pikes in chain-mail in the parade

We made our way to Bellevueplatz where the Böögg was staged for burning. We got ourselves a cozy spot next to thousands of others just in time for the burning at 6pm (and not a minute later).

Böögg

“Burn me!”

Now, let me elaborate just a little more on this tradition (in case you’re not patient enough to read the wikipedia article). Back in medieval times when working hours were strictly regulated by the city, in the winter the workday lasted as long as there was daylight. However the Monday following the vernal equinox marked the beginning of the summer semester, where the law proclaimed that work must cease when the church bells tolled at six o’clock. Sechseläuten is a Swiss German word that literally translates into “The six o’clock ringing of the bells.” The holiday was later moved to the third Monday in April.

The burning of the Böögg (bogeyman) in the figure of a snowman was added to the holiday in 1902 and folklore has it that the length of time it takes for the Böögg’s head to explode (the entire figure is filled with fireworks) is indicative of how nice (or poor) the coming summer will be. The shortest time recorded was 5:07 minutes in 1974, the longest time was 26:23 in 2001, with an average time being around 12-15 minutes.

The conditions of the day appeared to be rather promising – it was a warm, dry 70 degrees. However, 15 minutes after the pyre under the Böögg was lit, it became clear that perhaps things would take longer than initially thought. No one knew just how much longer…

"I'm burning!"  Also, note the Swiss air-force flying above

“Why am I not burning yet?”
(also, note the Swiss planes flying above)

Turns out, maybe it was just a little *too* windy for the flames to really catch and make their way up the pyre. Instead, the pyre appeared to be burning down without a lick of flame reaching the poor ol’ snowman. As I said, after 15 minutes, the crowd got noticeably nervous and we noticed they started throwing flame accelerant on it! No fair – cheating! Once it passed 20 minutes, people got actively restless. And then once it passed 27 minutes, and we realized it had broken the old record, all hell broke loose.  Ok, so maybe not actually. We are talking about the Swiss, after all. And as upsetting as it is to realize that the snowman is predicting the worst summer in history, the crowd couldn’t seem to care less. Meanwhile, Mr. Goat and I were pretty upset.

The question on everyone’s mind was – just how much longer could this take?

Well, 9 minutes past the record it seemed. The flames finally reached the snowman close to the 30 minute mark and we started hearing (and seeing!) fireworks exploding as it slowly crept up to the head. Then, just when you were seriously considering saying “f it” and going home – at 35:11 – the head burst into flames with a giant explosion! It was indeed pretty spectacular to see.

So, I guess we’re stuck with a pretty crappy summer here in Zurich. I do hope those of you at home get a good dose of Schadenfreude from that.

Well, I guess Mr. Goat and I brought the Seattle weather curse here with us. Anyway, all in all, a fun festival and a great welcome to the city for us. If you ever find yourself in Zurich the third Monday in April, be sure to check this out!

I filmed the explosion of the Böögg for you to experience. 🙂  Please note that I had to cut this video down significantly as I was filming for about 6 solid minutes thinking the head could explode at any time. Enjoy!

The Beginning

April 12, 2013

And so begins a great adventure. The husband (Mr. Goat) and I landed in Zurich yesterday amidst a steady stream of rain to rival many a day in Seattle. It was as though the 14 hours of (flight) travel had not passed and we had yet to leave home.  Though Mr. Marius would certainly disagree. The poor little pup was certainly looking forward to being released from his cramped quarters.

Super traveler dog much exceeded our expectations of his very first flight.  He took to flying like a pro and didn’t whine, bark, growl, vomit, urinate, snort, cough, sneeze, you name it. He mostly slept. But he was also quite content with just laying there, occasionally sneaking a glance at mom and dad to reassure him that all was well. And things couldn’t have gone smoother at the airport regarding bringing him onboard with us. Really, with how worried I was about what could go wrong, it seemed as though a minor miracle had occurred.

We exited the airport, and it appeared that fate was still on our side, as there was a taxi van next in line waiting just for us – which was absolutely necessary with our 4 checked items and two carry-ons each. We took an 80 franc cab from the airport to our temporary housing in Kreis 3. The apartment turned out to be everything we had hoped for. Nicely furnished and decorated (check out the globe below. I must find one of my own), and with a little “garden” area outside which is perfect for letting Marius out.

photo 2(15)

Awesome Globe

Patio Seating

Patio Seating at our apt

Garden View

Garden View

I learned today, as we were registering ourselves as official residents of Zurich, that the street we live on is translated in English to “boatbuilder’s street.” And the street off of that is Uetlibergstrasse, which literally leads straight to Uetliberg – the popular hill/mountain area that overlooks Zurich. It’s so close I could nearly touch it. And in fact, I did just that today.

Screenshot of where our apt is located in Zurich - note Uetliberg mountain in the lower right (ie. next to our home)

Screenshot of where our apt is located in Zurich – note Uetliberg mountain in the lower left (ie. next to our home)

The place to register Marius was up at the beginning of Uetliberg park and it only took me about ten minutes to walk there. So after visiting it and seeing that people came here and let their dogs off the leash, I decided to take Marius on a walk. As I was drawing near, shots were heard in the distance. It became very clear to me that there was a shooting range somewhere on or around Uetliberg. Not surprising seeing how the Swiss feel about their gun laws. Anyway, I chose a cozy bench to sit down on and start writing this entry while Marius ran around eating sticks and grass; the dog skips meals of high-quality freeze dried meat, but give him some grass and oh, that pup will go wild.

Marius Uetliberg

Marius at Uetliberg

The weather here is so variable that I entered the park wearing sunglasses and my coat off, then promptly after I sat down found myself thanking God I had brought the umbrella as I fretfully sheltered my computer, then suddenly as the rain stopped a gust struck up that had me at once closing the umbrella, and minutes later I was wearing sunglasses again.

Hey, I won’t complain. Worlds better than days on end of nothing but rain.

As I sign off to put my computer away and make my way back home, I thought an explanation of the name of the blog was in order. In searching for essential German and Swiss German phrases to learn, I encountered one phrase that struck me in a most peculiar way: “Das schleckt keine Geiss weg” which means “you can’t avoid the inevitable,” or literally translates to: “no goat’s going to lick that off.”  I found myself laughing at the phrase and thought it would be an appropriate blog title. It is similar to the phrase “what will come will come,” but also it strikes me as meaning that you must take full responsibility in your life, especially with things that are unavoidable. Like taxes. Or like going through security at the airport. Or like climbing down a mountain once you have climbed up.  Moreover, I’m taking the phrase to mean you should not put things off for tomorrow that you can live today.

After all, when life hands you lemons, what else are you meant to do?