Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Update - Mid Nov.

Well - for those of you wanting a pic - I give you the girls on Halloween night. They don't do Trick or Treating here (but the Catholic Cantons observe All Saints Day as a holiday, Nov. 1). The girls did have class Halloween parties at school to dress up for and there was a "trunk or treat" held at school, but, it was on Sat., 11/4 and Mom & Dad had a date (1st one in 5 months!) so - no giant bags of candy to deal with this year. But we did carve pumpkins that night and had a candlelit, candy hunt at home so they had fun.

So - the blog has been a little silent. You will have to use your imagination for images portrayed over the last couple weeks. Our weekly lives revolve around the usual - work, school, etc... and weekends are up for grabs and usu. what I blog about - Hence the silence - not sure what I would say or how pathetic we might sound :) .

2 weeks ago - After 3 months of watching a 20in. screen TV, Bart & Susan, who admittedly like to spoil themselves with a bit larger screen than that, decide to look for a new one and try to buy a desk. While all the little villages have most of what one might need, you have to go into certain other towns if you want anything of variety. So just as someone in a small town in IA might venture an hour or so into Des Moines to hit Best Buy, we ventured into Dietlikon to check out MediaMart. We stop first at Ikea to check on desks - didn't find anything that would fit/we liked - Image 1 - Bart trying to race thru the Rat-Maze of Ikea where every "Ausfahrt" (exit) sign simply leads you thru another section. Took us 30 min. just to get out of there - Bart has declared he will NEVER go in there again. We cross the street to MediaMart - After a good bit of looking, we decide on a TV, find someone to help, are given a good deal and while I get the car, Bart goes to pay for it. Image 2 - I return to find Bart (uhm, perturbed) with the girls and no TV. They only take cash or their own Credit card and he didn't have his B-permit on him to get thier card (B permit is our residence permit - required by foreigners living in Switzerland). So we went home. And had family movie night watching "Empire Strikes Back" on a 20inch screen TV. At the time, it was too pathetic to blog about. But we just figure it's another "American" learning experience for us here.
Image 3 - Susan returns to Dietlikon the next Wed. armed with her B permit to buy the TV only to then be told that we must have resided here for 2 years!!!!! She is somewhat consoled by finding a desk (that Bart will get later) and going home with a basket of cute Christmas decorations.
(I won't mention that gas is about $5.22/gal - sounds like a cheapskate)
Image 4 - Susan calling Bart last Fri. morning to tell him that she does not feel better and in fact has a fever and thinks we need to cancel the weekend plans to Barcelona(with cheepo, nonrefundable, nonchangeable plane tickets - ouch)!! We won't go into images of Susan with a fever for 5 days but good news (sort of ) is that it was not flu but a bact. respiratory infect. (less contagious in this case anyway & antibiotics can be taken) - most likely the result of the allergic reaction to her grooming of the ornamental grasses on the roof. She has been plagued by these grasses since moving to IA - they are here too. Next house will have NONE of them and she's been forbidden to touch them ever, ever again no matter how zealous she feels about getting them cleaned up.
Image 5 - Since Barcelona is canceled, Bart goes to the bank to pull out enough cash and drives back to Dietlikon where he picks up the desk and gets the TV - for a better deal than the weekend before as he found the same saleperson. But surprises the cashier when he pays cash - go figure.
Image 6 - Family movie night again. Rounding it out with "Return of the Jedi" on the new TV (Susan under blankets, quarantined away from family on the other side of the sectional).

Lessons learned: Ever so often, we are reminded that things are not as easy for us as expatriates/foreigners. We are not used to using a lot of cash as Americans - here they don't blink when you pull out a 100 or 200 chf note. Just think on this - we were not able to lease our car or get our credit card here until after our legal residence permit came in: we had to register our arrival into the country within 8 days of entry then wait 8 weeks for the permit.

We have grown so accustomed to swiping a card and having what we want, that we forget it is a privilege (as well as a responsibility). And in Switzerland, we are welcomed guests but guests do not always have the same 'rights' as residents. So don't take what you have at home for granted! Enjoy your conveniences and your choices (though I've found with less choices, I have less "wants").

And - I promise to never, ever, EVER touch the grasses again. I am praying for a peaceful night of sleep tonight!

Next pic's should have Susan's mom, Elaine, in them - YEAH!!!!!!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love your blog updates as they make me smile. I laughed that your expat life in Europe is just like ours in China. Cash, cash and cash. I have to stock pile cash to pay for everything, as I am only allowed to get $4,000rmb/@$500US at one time. Doubled laughed at the Ikea story. The Chinese think IKEA is an outing, a place for the children to play...in the rat maze!!

love, Brenda