Archive for the ‘Zurich Life’ Category

Tis the Season

December 7, 2013

I’ve been enjoying walking around town and taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells of the holidays. I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you.

Blinged out Swarovski Christmas tree at the main station

Lights all the way down Bahnhofstrasse

The Santa tram in motion

My kind of Christmas market booth

Ice rink and market in front of the Opera house

Pop-up bar in front of the Opera house

Check out those icicles!

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

November 22, 2013

We had the first snow of the season yesterday in Zurich!

Marius loves the snow

View when I woke up this morning

A trip towards Bahnhofstrasse showed that the Christmas season was now in full swing. These holiday huts are EVERYWHERE.

Glühwein on every corner

In the spirit of the season, I was motivated to put up my little tree this week. Classic Rachel fail.

See, I brought my tree from home with the (American) lights on it. I put it up, find an adapter and plug it in. All is good. Then 20 minutes later, I notice a shift in lighting in the room. I look at my tree and suddenly one of the light strings is not working. “Odd” I think. I go over and see if any lights are loose, plug and unplug, that sort of thing. I decide to unplug and try again tomorrow. The next day, I plug in my tree and neither string lights up. Frustrated, I decide to go out and buy lights. I do a quick search on English forum to see where I could get (inexpensive) lights and in the comments I read that even using a transformer, American tree lights nearly always blow out. Ooohh, right…the difference in voltage.Whoops. I didn’t even try it with a transformer! My poor lights didn’t have a chance. Well, I certainly can’t be the only expat who has blown something out. 🙂

Anyway, after re-stringing my new (Swiss) lights, my home looks a little more ready for the season.

Cannons and Bonfires: Swiss National Day

August 2, 2013

So, I woke up yesterday bright and early at 7am (I know some of you who work earlier than that are snickering at me right now). The cause of why I woke so suddenly was what sounded like people setting off fireworks at very precise spacing apart from each other. I wrote it off as excitement because it was Swiss National Day (much like the predictable occurrence of hooligans setting off fireworks bright and early on the 4th of July to the extreme delight of their neighbors). It went on for, I want to say, a solid half hour, in unison with groans from Mr. Goat.

It wasn’t until later when I was looking up the festivities for the day that I realized exactly what it was. And it wasn’t fireworks. Please click here for pictures and a better explanation than I can provide (although you will need to translate this page with Google Translate or read in Chrome with translator on, as I couldn’t find it in English). I am so going to this next year! Cannons and a 38-shot gun salute? Count me in.

Leading up to the day, I didn’t know exactly how Zürich celebrated August 1st. All the blogs I was reading were telling me to spend the day swimming on the lake, at concerts, or at some party a bar was hosting. Thanks to the Canton of Zürich for posting an official program of the celebratory activities — in English! You can find the Bundesfeier 2013 program here.

So after learning that I missed the awesome wake-up call, I decided I wasn’t going to miss the rest of the day! I went down to see the procession near Bürkliplatz around 10:30 and then the following program at 11. Aaaaand now I know why fellow bloggers weren’t recommending the official program. It was a yawn fest. Note to self: don’t need to see all that next year.

Here are some photos of the day:

Procession through town to Bürkliplatz

And what day celebrated by the Swiss would be complete without the obligatory Alphorn performance?

As night drew nearer, we were looking for ways to celebrate, since much to Mr. Goat’s disappointment, we weren’t able to get fireworks to light off ourselves. At 8pm, sitting outside eating dinner, I began hearing more bells than I have ever heard before in our new home. These bells continued echoing on from all directions for at least 15 minutes. It was quite magical, really. Then, as night fell, we made our way out to Altstetten’s neighborhood bonfire. It’s pretty awesome that neighborhoods put on bonfires for National Day. Next year we are totally bringing s’mores supplies.

And then we came home to this. Poor Marius was cowering in the smallest area he could find in response to all the fireworks.

How Did This Starbucks Appear in My Hands?

June 3, 2013

Yes, I hail from Seattle: Starbucks center of the world.

What the world imagines a typical Seattlite to look like

No, I was not a huge fan of Starbucks back home. There is much more interesting and artisanal coffee to be found. And dare I say, many Seattlites would agree with me. Come on Seattlites reading this blog, back me up. Starbucks is the root of all evil, yes?

So then tell me: WHY did I end up with a Starbucks in my hand?? Not just one time, either, but I’m ashamed to admit that on average I’ve been getting a grande latte once or twice weekly since I’ve been here. Yes, I know. A grande. I was never more than a tall type of girl.  But fear not, I haven’t yet degraded to fancy-shmancy coffee orders which would really single me out as an arrogant Seattle coffee snob.

Taken at my most recent Starbucks visit. And yes, the prices are outrageous.

Well, besides the fact that I think I had been subconsciously seeking out anything that might remind me of home, it’s because I *desperately* need coffee in order to get in any state of mind for my morning German classes. And, much to my surprise, it has been nearly impossible to find coffee around Bellevueplatz. I have spent countless mornings walking around for nearly a half an hour all the way up into the Niederdorf. I have found a few decent looking cafes — which were not open before 9. -.-  There are a couple restaurants open that early which I have not checked out yet, but who knows, may sell decent coffee to go.

Anyway, point is, unless I’m clearly missing some amazing place (and please point it out to me in the comments), I cannot seem to find coffee around Bellevueplatz. Except for Starbucks, that is.

And then one day in German class, when I come in with my grande latte, I strike up a conversation with the only other American in my class (who I have consequently seen with Starbucks in hand). I vent to him about the difficulty in finding other coffee options nearby and he says “well, did you try the coffee shop at Bellevueplatz?” My head spins — what coffee shop?? I’ve searched this whole area nearly every morning. I don’t understand.

It takes him about 5 minutes to explain this to me (and that’s in English), but apparently I’ve been blind to a coffee shop right in Bellevueplatz. Like where my tram drops me off. Very confused, I decided to check it out the next time I’m having serious issues waking up in the morning.

Coffee shop right IN Bellevueplatz (in the background – see the glass doors). How did I miss this?

Indeed, he was right. There is a coffee shop RIGHT there in Bellevueplatz that I have walked by every morning and ignored. Well, wouldn’t you too? I mean, come on, you can’t see into the coffee shop. It’s just this small round thing in the middle of all these tram stops. I had written it off as a ticket station or something.

Coffee verdict: I got a latte, which had waaay too much milk in the milk to coffee ratio, but when I *could* taste the coffee, it was worlds better than the Starbucks I had subjected myself to for the last month. Next time I think I’ll just go for drip.

So tell me Zurichers: where is the good coffee??

Note to Self: Always Take Weather Forecasts Seriously

May 28, 2013

You are not in Seattle anymore.

P.S. Get yourself an umbrella.

Zurich rain is some serious stuff. None of that sissy Seattle “oh I think I’ll take a sprinkle today. For the entire day.” I mean, that Seattle has over Zurich for sure. That is, the amount of day taken up by raining (drizzling). But many in Seattle really see umbrellas as unnecessary. Or even as “a quick way to spot someone not from Seattle.”

Seattlites: “You’re joking, right? My sprinkler produces more water than this.”

Seattle’s got nothing on Zurich. I’ve found that Zurich is the type of city where when it rains, it pours. And unlike in Seattle, where you really never know what the weather will be like regardless of what the weatherman says, Zurich, I have come to realize, actually has relatively reliable forecasts. And if it was sunny and warm with a bright happy blue sky at 5pm and you go in for an hour and a half yoga class without a coat, umbrella, or a care in the world, thinking: “there’s no way that silly rain prediction will come true,” then you’ve got another thing coming.

FML

I found out the hard way.

Yes, I specifically took the long way home with two trams just to minimize the time spent in that downpour. Yes, my already slightly see-through shirt was soaked even still.

Just imagine if you will, a poor bewildered — and very chilled — girl clutching her yoga mat fiercely to her chest as if to ward off the bucket-loads of water carelessly thrown her way.

See her shivering, the water streaming down her hair in constant rhythm as if reflective of her state of being and regret upon deciding earlier to not pack a jacket. See the wise ones shaking their heads, safely under their umbrellas, as they watch this pathetic creature desperately waiting for the warmth and dryness of the tram to take her home; defenseless and without even a fricken tram shelter to stand under (I mean, come on Switzerland! In Paradeplatz, no less).

You see that? No shelter on the left side! Yes, yes, I know, 1st world problems.

Watch as she frantically leaps into the arriving tram, hardly waiting for the doors to fully open. See her seek sanctuary in the nearest seat and then abruptly make a concerted effort to appear as though everything is normal. After all, everything is fine now. She is dry. For the moment.

Look how she rides the short distance home, all the while dreading the torrent that awaits her merely minutes later.

Her stop arrives. The time has come. Back into the storm.

She sees the doors part and cautiously sets a foot on the ground.

Wait. What is this? Can it be??

It has stopped raining.

Never thought I’d say this, but I love (this kind of) rain!!  Really, I don’t care how hard it rains, as long as it passes quickly. No more 40 days and 40 nights of miserable weather for me, please.

Though my next purchase is most certainly an umbrella. That I will always carry when the forecast has rain in it.

Myths About Apartments Debunked

May 17, 2013

In Zurich, it can be tough to find an apartment, no doubt.  There are several pieces of advice I have heard from others regarding the rental search process as once you have gone through it yourself, you understand just how much of a pain it can be.

However, there are some things — let’s refer to them as “myths” — that I have heard and some that I likely just imagined myself; several of which I have shared with many of you in conversation and now I would like to take the opportunity to clear it up.

Myth #1.

Apartments in Switzerland do NOT come with any appliances!! You must buy your own fridge, stove, oven, etc.

This fridge cost me more than the apartment itself

Fact

ALL Apartments we looked at in Zurich came with a fridge, stove and oven. Many even came with a dishwasher. Only a handful offered to sell the washing machine in-unit.

Myth #2.

If you do not search for an apartment during the two “moving months” (March and September), then you are out of luck because the market will be severely limited.

Why can’t I find a single listing!!??

Fact

While it may be true that there are not as many places listed, we certainly were not lacking for apartments on the market. We signed up for homegate’s daily mailer with our search criteria and received an average of 5-8 new listings per day. We considered close to 100 apartments before finding “the one.”

Myth #3.

That is your price range? Yeah, you might want to consider expanding that…  (I.e. Apartments are very expensive here)

I’m worth *much* more than I look

Fact

Sure, if you want to live in the heart of the Niederdorf, you’re going to pay for it. However, there are quite affordable options in and around Zurich city. Several apartments we considered were well below our anticipated price point. When you look in Oerlikon, Horgen, Schwamendingen and Albisrieden you can find particularly good rates. And all are within a 20-25 minute tram/train ride to downtown.

Myth #4.

World’s smallest kitchen.

Enough space for bananas in the windowsill

Fact:

Yeah, this was pretty much proven true. Kitchens in Europe are tiny.

Ok, so in addition to myth busting, there were a few new things I learned about apartments here.

Interesting Fact 1.

Nearly all apartments here come with storm shutters!

Safe for the winter. Or to sleep in until 5. PM.

Interesting Fact 2.

Previous tenants will sometimes offer to sell you things they would like to leave behind in the apartment. For us, this means we will get an extremely discounted washing machine! Several others we saw offered to sell such things as wardrobes (which most apartments do NOT have built in), lighting fixtures (also not guaranteed to come with your place), tables, coat hangers, shelves or curtain hangers they installed.

How else would you inherit funky ceiling lights?

How else would you inherit funky ceiling lights?

Interesting Fact 3.

Nearly all apartments we saw had balconies. It seems a standard of living here is that you are expected to have a large balcony.

You get a free balcony. And you. AND you! You ALL get free balconies!!

You get a free balcony. And you. AND you! You ALL get free balconies!!

Interesting Fact 4.

Bomb shelter!

Yep, you heard right. Apartments in Switzerland are required to have a basement storage unit that serves as your fallout shelter. You are expected to keep food and water rations there. (In addition to your bikes, ski equipment, furniture and other goodies that won’t fit in your apt.)

Enough space for all your boxes of miscellaneous stuff. And you of course.

Apartment searching is always stressful. We suffered through just over a month of stress and then – hooray!! – we found the place. The good news is it has nearly everything we were looking for and we are very happy with it. The bad news is we will not move in until the last week of July. Thus begins the search for a temporary sublet.

Volunteering in Switzerland Shouldn’t Be So Hard

May 1, 2013

Since I followed my husband who got a job transfer to Switzerland I find myself in a boat with many other expat women I am meeting here.

Jobless in Zurich.

Hmm….not nearly as catchy as “Sleepless in Seattle.” I’ll have to work on that.

Anyway… I knew one of my first tasks was going to be getting involved by volunteering. Easy, right?

Apparently not.

After a little over two weeks here I can be quite certain that I have hit up nearly every expat site, every advice column for English speaking wannabe-volunteers, asked every jobless woman I’ve encountered, and looked in and under every nook, cranny, corner, and rock that I could find.

The consensus? Unless you want to volunteer at an expat organization (which, don’t get me wrong, I’m working on), you need to know German. And likely Swiss German at that. For English speakers, the list is limited. The American Women’s Club lists donating blood, driving food to charitable organizations, driving elderly to doctor appointments, helping with parent support groups, and donating articles of clothing. Nothing very sexy. Nothing you can really put on your resume and say “hey, while I was jobless in Zurich for three years, I did X. How cool is that??”

Except for the Red Cross that is. Hallelujah -I am in the land of the Red Cross!

I knew I would get involved with the Red Cross before my plane even landed. So I started emailing with the volunteer coordinator the first week I was here. And last week I went to visit their Zurich headquarters! Turns out they just started their English speaking volunteer group in 2011 with the fundraising team (which has a grand total of 1 staff member at this location). The fundraising team has since established school charity runs and Christmas gift wrapping and is working on organization/company sponsored runs. Andrea, the volunteer coordinator, invited me to come to the next meeting with the group arranging a school run for May.

So I came, met several other English-speaking volunteers and listened as they discussed all the many pieces that go into setting up a charity run. Sounded awesome and I’m very thrilled to now consider myself an official volunteer of the Red Cross! The one thing I will say – this program has a lot of room for growth, as right now there aren’t a whole lot of activities for volunteers to get engaged with. Not a problem! Room for growth = potential awesomeness on resume. That is, if I can come up with some amazing new idea for them to incorporate.

Red Cross aside, I’m really quite shocked that there’s such a lack of volunteer opportunities here. It seems like most women I’ve come across haven’t really become engaged in volunteering here. So I’ve been on my own to try and figure this out.

If anyone is out there who has gone through this process and especially if you have managed to get involved with an amazing volunteer opportunity – let me know your thoughts in the comments!??

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??

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

P1040751

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.

P1040748

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?