Thursday, December 13, 2012

I got beat by a Krampus this weekend. How was your weekend?

This weekend, Andre and I headed to Munich to do some Christmas shopping!

I feel somewhat guilty about the lack of sightseeing we did (i.e. none).  This is the first city that we've visited and haven't done any big tourist activities.  We went mostly for the food and the European Christmas market experience.

We tried new foods:

Dampfnudeln - not a noodle at all but a light springy cake drowned in vanilla syrup and topped with a sprinkle of cinnamon

and had plenty to drink:

Gluhwein (aka spiced or mulled wine) - why yes we did "forget to return" some of our glasses - shhhhh - don't tell!

Of course, this being a major city in Europe, we couldn't avoid the tourist sites.  In fact, there was a giant castle in the middle of the Christmas Market!  

And then on Sunday, we're walking along minding our own business when we hear this giant racket and all these creepy goat dudes start running by banging chains and ringing bells.  Apparently, this is the German version of the Schmutzli.  It's called a Krampus and if you are a naughty child, it kidnaps you and takes you away.  We heard several children scream when they came by.  They stopped running not too far ahead of us and so of course, we had to get closer to check them out and take photos!  And that my friends is when one of the Krampuses/Krampi (?) beat me about the legs with his bundle of sticks!  Rude!

And then we came home.  And this is what greeted us.

Walking in a winter wonderland....all day...every day....

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Samichlaus and Kit Kat

It's a good news and a bad news kind of post.

Good news first - Guess who came to visit me in the office this week?!?!

In Switzerland, they celebrate St. Nicholas day on December 6.  If the kids are good, Samichlaus comes to visit and brings them chocolates, nuts and oranges.  If the kids are bad, Samichlaus's helper, Schmutzli, comes to visit, kidnaps them and then beats them with sticks!

Apparently, all of PwC was good, so Samichlaus came to visit!

the gift

and the contents!

In the bad news arena, my poor Kit Kat had to be put down last week.  One of the hardest things I had to do when I moved over here was make the decision to leave my two kitties behind.  Mentally, I knew in my head that it was the best decision but it was still really hard to do.  On the bright side, I know both cats totally got an upgrade in life quality.  Armand is currently living it up in Raleigh and Kit Kat spent the best ten months of her life with my friends Kim and Matt.   Kim put up an amazing blog post about Kit Kat (Cardigan Chic: Its So Hard.............) and her totally spoiled rotten last ten months.  I could not have left her in better hands and for that, I am extremely grateful.  

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Random Christmas Related Pictures

Woooooo!  Christmas in Switzerland!  That is all.

They had a Christmas market here in Uster on Thurdsay and Friday.  They set up on our street.

me walking home on Thurs....taking deeeeeep breaths and chanting "patience is a virtue"

taken from the safety of my living room

Sophs checking things out

meat on a stick!  

bread dudes are super popular for Christmas here - no idea why...

It's Santa & Schmutzli

aaaand their pet donkey!

Zurich with snow

Cuckoo Clock!

the snow is real folks - 2nd snow of the season!

Wooooooo!  Christmas!  :)   Come visit!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Never a dull moment here in Zurich

Last Saturday night we had a bunch of friends over for Mexican Noche!  Andre cooked up quite an impressive feast and we all sat around eating and drinking and being merry.  There are purposely no pictures from this event.  :)  I think everyone who attended brought us a bottle of tequila so even though we made margaritas, Andre and I are left with what we expect to be a lifetime supply of tequila:

Who wants to come have some margaritas!?

On Thursday we celebrated Thanksgiving with our Australian friends.  I'm not sure what inspired them to buy a turkey and cook it but I will be forever grateful that they did.  I contributed some typical unhealthy American desserts and a casserole to balance out the healthy salad and brussels sprouts (ew) that our wonderful friends cooked up.  The dinner was great and I was so thankful to spend the evening with them.  The day itself was kind of difficult.  We had to go to work on Thursday and Friday although I certainly didn't get much work done on Thursday.  Friday, I "worked from home" and actually got some things done.  Probably everything I should have done on Thursday......

After preparing my pie dough, I realized I didn't have a rolling pin so I improvised!
the delicious turkey!
Sophie's Thanksgiving Dinner
dessert time - yum!

We ended our week by starting our Christmas celebrations.  I am really looking forward to the Christmas season here.  They've already set up the Christmas market in the main train station and some smaller ones all around town.

the Swarovsky decorated tree in the main train station
love this - it's decorative and functional - stop on by and buy your hot beverage for the evening!

count the kids climbing the tree!

Sophie is ready for Christmas!
Coming up, Andre plans to go skiing as soon as we can possibly fit it into our schedules.  The slopes are already open!  We head to Munich for my birthday weekend and to Chamonix for skiing over New Years.  Hooray for the holidays!  Come visit!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Best vacuum ever! Oh, and some wine.

Sooooo, once upon a time, two Americans moved to Switzerland and suffered from price shock.  During that time, the Americans bought the cheapest vacuum available.  Unfortunately, the vacuum turned out to be a dud (shocking I know).  Also, unfortunately, the Americans don't like to vacuum so it took another 8 months before the Americans ventured out to buy another vacuum.  Mostly, the Americans realized they were having friends over in two weeks and the friends might prefer a clean floor to walk on.  Soooo, the Americans headed back out in the wilds of Switzerland to find themselves a decent vacuum.  When what to their wondering eyes did appear?  But the world's easiest vacuum, one that can be used while drinking a beer!

Seriously - best purchase ever!  I can tell you that it works 100% better than our prior method of vacuuming (aka - not vacuuming).  Annnd - it comes with a remote!

It even comes with a camera so that it sees things and doesn't bump into them.  It also returns itself to its charging station when the battery is low.  We're in love.

In other news, for 59 years, Zurich has been docking a bunch of yachts and holding wine tastings on them.  We were quite happy to participate this year.  It was really quite nice.  About 9 of boats had different wine tastings sections and the other 3 had restaurants.  We "tasted" plenty of wine and had a really great meal too.  Much better than my normal German lessons on Wednesday night.  Nerk Nerk.  A few shots of the boats:

this is the inside of the boat

That's it from this side of the pond this week!  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Schnee, Schnee and more Schnee!

I'm not gonna lie, I totally dig the snow.  Annnd it's really pretty on the fall trees!

A few "before" photos taken on Sat morning and a few "after" photos taken on Sunday:


 Sophie likes the snow!

checking out the view

dodging the snowball Andre threw at her

 And a few pretty shots of our neighborhood walk this afternoon:

Today we went on our train ride.  We had a nice English breakfast while riding around the country in an old train that's been refurbished.  We brought the average age of the attendees on the train down by at least 20 years.  :)  The train is called the "Churchhill".  It was built in 1939 and was used to transport Mr. Winston Churchhill himself around Switzerland.  It was a nice ride and we sat next to a Swiss couple who we enjoyed talking to and getting good insider information about the Christmas markets!  A few shots from the train ride:

the "Churchhill" - photo borrowed from the sbb website

I'm ready!
and so is Andre!
they let us come up front and hang out with the conductor!

uhhhh - shouldn't his hands be on the wheel?

That's it from Switzerland.  Unfortunately for us, even with the snow, we'll still be going to work tomorrow.  Dang.