Tuesday, December 08, 2009

December Weekend

Bart took off for NY last week to escape the snow.

Actually, this was the second of his two business trips in two weeks. He should be getting on the plane shortly at JFK and home with us sometime tomorrow morning - Yeah!!!

I remember the days when he was gone ALL the time. Since we moved to Switzerland and he has only one client, it has been great having him home almost every night. He may work late and there may be late, late nights. But - he's home. We like it.

Please meet Slushy. Kendra's friend. Slushy has suffered a fateful demise but I reminded her "he'll come back to life one day..." Oh My Gosh! Elves running around downtown Zurich! On the Bahnhofstrasse no less! I wouldn't be caught dead in one of those get-ups. Problem is, I was alive and yes, in one of those get-ups. The hats are itchy. I don't like them. All I can think of is the "lice letters" that come home from the nurses at the beginning of each school year and think that someone I don't know wore this hat before me and someone is going to wear it after me. Eeeeeewwwww!

Does wearing this ensemble count as sacrifice for the Lord? Doubtful.

OK, OK - our choir was performing at the Singing Christmas Tree in Zurich this past Sunday afternoon. We had a great time and I trashed my voice again. I was not meant to sing outside with threat of rain in 36 degree weather. Last time we did this it was pouring and freezing. I do it because it's fun and a great ministry. But each year I say " I can't do it anymore" and yet.... there I am again. Out there in my little Santa's elf costume provided for ALL Singing Christmas Tree performers.

Costume kidding aside - we really enjoy it and the girls had fun with friends from the church while we were up in the tree. There were familiar faces in the crowd and I was pleasantly suprised to see how many people were singing along with us - terrific. A very enjoyable way to pass a Sunday afternoon.

Santa's were out in full force on the Harley's. Several clubs rolled through making a great bit of noise and adding to the fun.
Samiclaus and Schmuezli showed up at the Singing Christmas tree.
I'll try to briefly explain Samiclaus & Schmuezli. Samiclaus tradition is similar to that of some Scandinavian Countries (St. Nicolas in most) where the man in the 'red suit' brings gifts for the children on Dec. 6th - in Holland they leave a shoe out the night before which he fills with goodies, in Switzerland it's usually in a burlap sack - looks like what I received in my Christmas stockings as a child: oranges, nuts, candies..... Schmeuzli is part of the Swiss tradition - he follows Samiclaus and has a record of the children's deeds for the year. If the child has not been good, Schmuezli reportedly puts the child in the big burlap sack he has and hauls him off into the woods for a year. Doesn't that sound precious?
Santa or St. Nicolas doesn't show up at all around the Dec. 25th date here. The 'Christ Kind' or Christchild arrives on Dec. 24th with gifts for the family. Dec. 25th is a relaxing day for visiting, food and church. So, they can track Santa all they want from NORAD but, he actually skips much of Europe on Christmas Eve/Day.

Back to the weekend: They have a mini-donut stand outside the Franz Karl Webber Toy Store downtown. They are fresh - fried right there in front of your eyes and you can have them with cinnamon/sugar, vanilla, chocolate and ...I forget. They are bite-sized - pop a whole one in your mouth. Yummy!
Sunday was one of the two shopping Sundays of the year in downtown Zurich. Both are right before Christmas - unless they added a third. 4pm on a Sunday afternoon would usually see a deserted street but as you can tell, the streets were packed:
Think about how your life would change if there were no stores opened on Sunday. All you had was a Casey's or Stop'n'Go available for emergency items. That is life here. If I forgot something on Fri. or Sat. at the grocery store, I'm off to the gas station or wait until Monday morning. And don't expect much out of Monday morning apart from grocery stores as many shops are closed until Monday afternoon.
So = a shopping Sunday is a BIG deal for the local population.
I love this part of Zurich - heading down to Old Town and St. Peter's.
During the holidays, several of the old trams are put into service - complete with doormen/bellmen. This gentleman below (sorry for the blurry pic) was just delightful and cheery, encouraging everyone to take a ride on their regular route.
We needed a different tram and the one we caught was a brand new one. The girls like to sit in the back which is fitted with window box seats.
And look what I found on the camera when I downloaded: A pic of Bart's hotel bathroom in Singapore:
And the view outside his hotel room. I see what he meant now by the haze - and it was around 90 degrees. Ugh!
So we had a great weekend and are well into our busy week. Hope you are all enjoying a very Merry Christmas season! See you in a few days.....:)


Judy said...

Well you had to know I would comment on this post! Oh how I don't miss that view, haze, heat and humidity! That view is basically the same all over Singapore. Buildings every where! What hotel was Bart at?

I also enjoyed reading about the Christmas traditions of Switzerland. Not sure I'd want to tell my children about being taken off in a burlap sack...

Olson Family said...

Bart HAD to stay at the Shangri-la - the trip was SHEER torture. Hah!
Maybe that's how they discipline their kids here - threaten them with Schmuezli? I haven't seen much discipline otherwise....different culture, different culture.

Susan said...

You all sounded wonderful on Sunday, singing for Zurich - I was one of the folks singing along! Sorry about your voice, though.

I love the lights on Renweg. It's fun to wander around this time of year, especially when there aren't many people around. I guess that would be early morning or after closing!

OR a typical Sunday!

Judy said...

Oooo! I have stayed at the Shangri-la twice. Poor Bart! :)