Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A typical day

Went for a long walk on Sat. afternoon. One of the main "Wegs" or walking trails runs right out out backyard gate - very convenient. The fir trees seen in the lower right of this pic are in our backyard - part of the girls 'hideout.'
The weather has been sooo nice. Of course, no snow and no skiing, this is driving the Swiss people crazy and the vegetation is all confused - Spring bulbs are emerging, begonia's & hydrangeas are leafing out. Well, it should snow this week and mess up the 'blumen' for the season basically.

I sit at my computer, set in the corner of two large windows overlooking the lake and the mtns in the distance, and am thankful for my wonderful family. And the yummy treat from the bakery with my cappucino. It was something with plum in it, kind of like a strudel, and had a 16 or so letter name which started with "Phlanz....." About once a week, typically at the bakery, I like to try something new so I get the whole "flavor" of being in a different country. I must say I wasn't keen on the pastry with the prune filling - how was I to know? My one requirement is that there are no walnuts - allergic. As everything seems to have nuts here, it is an adventure in ingredient checking. All this enjoyment comes after making lunches, getting kids off to school, dishes, folding laundry and is prior to the German homework I have before I go to class today.
I figure I'll write enough to get someone interested in visiting (to eat yummy things) but can't make it look too enjoyable as Bart will decide he should stay home and I go back to work.

I am an "Auntie" again. My sister Debbie in Hawaii just had Baby #3 - a girl named Teihanni. They are doing fine and Auntie Kris flew in from Australia to help out before Gma Elaine can get there. Three kids, 3 yrs and under - a lot of work but they sure are cute! I would post a pic of the cute little thing but - I haven't seen one yet!!!! No, really, there has been no one there to get pic's loaded. Just shows our impatience in this world of technology. And I'm jealous as we probably won't see them 'til next Christmas.

This blog was set up to keep you all up to date on our family, where we are traveling and fun happenings. Of course, a little of our international education is going to creep in. We are feeling a little less "US-centric." Doesn't mean that we are not concerned citizens of the US, have pride in our heritage or feel patriotic. It is simply a growing awareness of the world, its good and bad, and the complexity of it. That decisions good for one, are not necessarily good for another. That by listening to others who are different than you, you can gain an appreciation for their point of view - does not mean you have to agree. That there are those in our country and many other countries who need help - every day. That we are blessed to be US citizens.

A concern many parents here have is for their children who are of one Nationality but have lived in another country all their lives. They wonder where there children will find themselve fitting in - there are those who are US, Dutch or Spanish citizens but have lived in Switzerland or other countries for all their young lives. They claim they are "from" the country of their citizenship and speak their parents native languages but have never lived in those cultures. The culture you are familiar with brings you much security - think back to your sociology classes and how you relate to those around you. Much of our angst here is fitting into a different culture/social norms - Example: in the US it is considered polite to eat with one hand holding the utensil and the other in the lap(I am not trying to comment on anyone's table manners). In Switz. at least, this is poor manners as one should eat with both hands present on the table (not elbows) and utensils are used 'European' style when 2 utensils are required - fork in left hand for cutting, twirling or eating and knife/spoon in right hand. This is a mild cultural example compared to ones use of time, space and property norms. Or the children who in some countries have had household help do everything for them (remember Eddie Murphy in Coming to America) and they are slow in learning to 'do' for themselves.

Our girls are so definitely American (they are loud & proud) but are really enjoying Switzerland and are very aware of the different countries their friends come from. I hope this experience will give them an ease in settling into wherever they might land in their future.

One final note: We watched the season premiere of "24" !!!!!! Of course, it was at 10 - 12 pm Sun. night but we found that we are willing to sacrifice some sleep for our silly indulgences. He's trying to decide whether to watch the Super Bowl live or not - starts here around 1 or 2am. Think I'll pass.

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