Saturday, July 29, 2006

Love the Bells, Could do without Smells!

Good Morning! Rachel and I are having a quiet morning while Kendra & Bart sleep in. They should after all, Sundays here are not about work. They are for church, family, friends and relaxation - this was made clear in our lease agreement as well; no yard work, washing cars, etc... is considered acceptable here. So I will sneak in a bit of yard work today - we are up top and no one can really see us anyway.
Our back yard borders a farm that we discovered has goats and cows. I LOVE the sounds of the bells - some of the goats and cows wear them, not all. In the evenings especially you can hear the tinkling and it is very nice - lovely, lovely. But like all good things they come with a price. When the wind blows a certain direction, you definitely know we live next to a farm! The wind seems to shift early evenings when I am making dinner - dinner doesn't always smell good in the kitchen.
We would love to go to church but have found that without a car, it is near to impossible to visit the ones nearby. There are of course, Swiss churches nearby but the language thing... Finding that the language is definitely more of an issue in these smaller towns, need those lessons.
We are now sleeping in our own beds!!!! They feel lovely and the girls are loving their own rooms. So much togetherness over the past month+ has fostered a desire for private time in all. We had a good trip to Germany and the girls enjoyed meeting and getting to know their cousins Julia & Natalie. Of course, my "deathly scared of bugs" girl, Kendra, would be the one to get stung by a meat bee - while swimming of all things! We pray that both girls get over their bug and bee fears. I will address that topic in another blog - a misconception about Europe (Switzerland) and bugs!!!!!
This move has established what is now a proven fact - Bart takes up WAY MORE closet space than Susan does. I wait until he gets all his stuff in and then I take up the leftovers. Isn't it supposed to be the other way around?! I will admit to more shoes but I even gave him an extra shoe rack!
Mmmm and no pic's til I can figure out a download from the pic printer to Bart's US laptop. Our hard drive got plugged in and promptly blew up - loud pop, spark, smoke and lovely smell of burnt plastic. Sooooooooo, I have no computer of my own for the time being.
More later - Love you all and God bless!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

New Home!

We moved into our new home this Thurs. and have made ourselves comfortable (comfort is relative) with 2 airbeds on the floor, a card table, toys to keep the kids occupied, enough kitchen supplies to cook with and thank goodness there is a washer and dryer. We will be getting our surface container this next week - Yeah! - a little earlier than expected. Our backs will be loving it.
There are always so many things I want to write and yet when I sit down to my little time with Bart's work computer, I forget - or I get interrupted. Bart gave me a much needed break yesterday in which I got to go into Zurich by my lonesome to run some errands while he and the girls stayed at the house. Sit. is also this - with no car and the bus not running by our stop due to road repairs I must walk down to the train station and back from the train station. I actually like the publ. trans. - I road the city bus for almost 5 years in Sacto. during Jr/High school and lets just say it's so much better here! It took about 15 mins to walk from our house downhill to the train station - not a meandering hill, straight downhill. I went to Zurich, purchased our patio set and arranged delivery, checked out the flea/antique market (same as US flea markets, just with old Swiss stuff - and they don't have yard sales here so some of that atmosphere as well), bought my kiddo's their very own straw broom at the toy store(they need it) and headed back to Wadenswil to pick up some veggies and a fan at the market then headed home. Well, by now it is at least 90 + degrees, no air conditioning most places and I am trudging straight uphill with a broom stick sticking out of my backpack, hauling a fan in a box and trying to figure out if I am heading uphill in the right direction. So I got alone time but had to finish it off in front of our portable air conditioner followed by a nap. I know everyone all over is suffering from the heat but it is different without central air or an air conditioned car! I'm glad no one is around to take pictures of the Olson family packhorse. Every day I have to decide what the priority is and what I can reasonably carry - the new granny cart helps. Today is cooler - Thank you Lord!

Girls are doing better with each passing day. Their devotion last night talked about our very situation (with Engl. as destination). They totally got into it and responded so well - another prayer answered. They devoured their lunch yesterday - one of our precious boxes of Kraft Mac n Cheese. Funny how little things can make such a difference.

We miss everyone. We miss going to Valley Church. And our neighbors. And getting help from people who speak the same language. I am on a mission to get someone to help me translate all our garbage and recycling instructions. I will probably take them to Germany tomorrow as the girls and I go to visit with Bart's sister and her girls. What Kara can't help me with, we will convince Claus, her husb., to translate for us. Anyway - hope all is well. I am still praying for cooler weather and a car!

Friday, July 14, 2006

We're Here!

We are finally here - VISA's are stamped and we should receive our actual VISA cards within a few weeks. Had to register with the local authorities today - they make sure they know who is here, where they live, what job they have and how many TV's/radios the household has (no joke). It has been hot this week and as not many places (virt. none) have air cond. we spend time in our air cond. hotel room, in the shade, eating outside, etc... It is not always easy being in a different place living in a hotel room with kids while one spouse goes to work - doesn't matter where you live. But I'm dying to explore and the kids can only handle so much per day. But each day they get better about the walking - they do like the tram & train. Speaking of which, it will be a few weeks before we have a car. Explanation is too long for this forum but you take what is in inventory and there's not a lot on hand - so you order and wait. Sooooooo - we'll see how we perform as a no car family once we move down the lake and it's all bus, train & walking.

We got the keys to our place today. It turned out very nice - repainted, bushes chopped, new bathrooms, etc... Of course, as luck has it, not all the renovations are complete and until the showers are running, we have no desire to stay and may extend our time here at EMA house by a couple days - AHHH! Ask me how many trips up and down stairs for one tiny load of laundry and then still hanging the clothes all over chairs by 10pm (started load at 9:45am!) - or don't - would rather forget all about it. But our air shipment made it and we will move that in on Mon. and the surface shpmt may not be but a week or so behind which would be great. Will send pic's as soon as the computer arrives and is set up (and we get the modem.......) We are getting by fine with our polite words in German here in Zurich but are informed very nicely that more German will be good for where we will be living - Yikes, need a class/teacher. Have been eating good food and ice cream and it will be a little sad when we "retire" out to the 'burbs.

Funny things: a) The girls get a lot of looks - not many children seen around the city and they don't wear colorful european kid shoes - oh yeah, and their clothes match. Other than that, not sure but I keep them close. b) People walk down to the lake fully clothed, strip down to their swim suits and jump on in - middle of the work day. We won't talk about the old man wearing not a swimsuit but his briefs or the business man changing into his lakeside - the girls don't seem to notice or care. c) Bart actually drinks Coke Light or Pepsi Light (maybe he'll try a capuccino before our time here is up).
It's getting late and I must pay bills - internet is a wonderful thing.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Leavin' on a Jet Plane

Well - We are finally getting on a plane today for Zurich! One more week of living out of suitcases as we should be able to get into our place next weekend and have beds(airbeds that is) by the 17th or 18th. I've not had tons of free time on the computer so a quick update. We truly enjoyed our week at my girlfriend Sissy's in Sacto. We got in some visits with friends in Orangevale and West Sacto(family) and that's about it. Some little people in our family did not appreciate getting in the car at all, for anything, once we got to CA after spending 4 days driving and I needed time to breath and recuperate from weeks of constant activity and planning. Didn't know how tired I was. My cousin Holly's wedding was beautiful and a hot 108 degree day. Then we spent several days alone as a family at the cabin in Twain Harte - played in the lakes, hiked and went to the infamous Twain Harte mini-golf course - girls get better every year. On to Fresno for more visiting with friends, back to Sacto. for more visiting with family and then flew out to DC. Our week with my mom has been great. Spent the 4th of July with thousands of others on the Capital Mall, were "strongly encouraged" to stay in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History (ie.. they wouldn't let anyone out) with again, multitudes of others, while several severe thunderstorm cells passed over and then watched fireworks from the VA side of the Potomac over the Washington monument - Did I mention that it was REALLY HOT as well? But it was a rare opportunity and we are glad to have taken it. So we have spent the rest of the time shopping for essentials (taking a jar of PB and some Mac'n'Cheese), swimming and enjoying time with Mom. No pic's until we get our home computer back up and running - didn't realize how much I depend on that machine. All for now - have to stuff everything back into suitcases!