Saturday, December 02, 2006

Christmas Mart/Funnies

Mom & I found this amusing in Lugano - a bust of Giorgio Washington. A gift from the US - not sure why they chose to give it to the city of Lugano, and we don't think he ever went by "Giorgio" but it was one of those things that make you stop and say "Hmmmmm."

Here are a couple pic's from the Zurich Christmas Mart - one of the largest in Switzerland. It is held at the HauptBahnhof (Zurich Main Train Station) and has over one hundred booths of cheeses, sausages, baked goodies, international gifts and the Gluwein (spiced hot red wine - very hot, lots of flavor but low alc. content). The Christmas markets are very popular throughout many of the European countries and many make a vacation/travel tour of it. We love the giant Christmas Tree - is sponsored every year by Swarovski and is hung with over 6,000 crystal ornaments (all on white silk cords-much prettier than many of my ornaments hung by grey metal hooks) - and some of their bigger crystal figures are displayed at the foot of the tree - beautiful.

Again - we had some funnies/incidences/experiences with living in a foreign place this week:

  • We have a lot of roundabouts (traffic circles) here in lieu of traffic lights/stop signs and we have learned the rules about right of way BUT last night, there were two horses w/ riders waiting their turn - makes you think twice as we didn't see that one in the traffic book.
  • I (Susan) got to drive home from the KPMG Holiday party - the other partner's BMW 540 - Sweet!!! Dear Santa, This year I would like BMW 540...... Wake UP!!!! But I was very nice and careful as I do not wish to have my license pulled - they yank it at 30km over posted limits.
  • A lady in Lugano whom my mom & I asked to take our picture asked where we were from. On learning we were Americans, she said "Thank You - I cannot explain in my heart what I feel for you and Australians and what you did for us in Albania. My heart is full toward you and we have nothing to give, we are so small and you are so big. Thank You." Her eyes were starting to tear. Many times we are led to believe that people would rather spit at us (it is better to keep a low American profile here as an Expat - if you wonder about this - email) but there are others who have been helped by our country that are very appreciative.
  • After going into Zurich to say I would like to buy the sewing machine I looked at the previous week, I was asked to "please come back the next day" as they must have it delivered to the store. So I went back on Thurs. and found out they only accept payment by Postcard (many payments are done thru the "post office" - too much to explain now) or cash. I zipped to the "Bancomat" around the corner to pull out cash (we are now starting to hoard cash for when needed- thanks for the tip Brenda (Shanghai). And proceeded to spend an hour learning about the mach. with the nicest people who spoke very little English. Fortunately, I have been sewing for a long time (thanks Mom) and we had great fun - my working on my Deutsch and she working on her English.
  • Kendra crying this morning while waking up because last night's babysitter, Katelyn, was gone. Sounds like Bart & I need to go out some more!
  • Silly thought but - I am always talking to dogs here - they don't understand English words! Sounds silly but Max "understood" a good 35 words or so - I am just mumbling nonsense to the dogs.

Busy week ahead - Christmas program at church, Nutcracker performance and" Winter" Concert. Hope you all have a GREAT WEEK and MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!

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