July 18, 2008
Miles and miles
or should I say kilometres and kilometres?
That is how long my to do list would be if I had one properly put together. Right now it's more like sticky notes stuck to scraps of paper and scribbles on the edges of shopping lists, in a pile, along with an out-of-date computerized list which I want to update before junking the bits of paper. I need to prioritize!
Anyway, we're making a little progress every day in settling in.
David picked up our new (used) car today, our telephone and DSL internet connection now BOTH work AT THE SAME TIME (major victory), and we have just gotten our new bank cards and codes (have yet to go to an ATM to change the code...), we're due for the next IKEA run tomorrow...and our first houseguests' stay was a lot of fun.
My 18-year-old nephew Mark was very helpful and polite, and baked a cake with Jason and Emily and helped cook dinner and set the table and grocery shop, and is of course always up for games! So various of us played Settlers of Catan, Nerts (a new game for him), O'Hell/O'Well/Up & Down The River, Apples to Apples, Quiddler, Monopoly, and Poker, and we went bike riding and visited the wild animal park nearby.
I love the Swiss flags here (the national holiday is August 1st, so they are in preparation) and the geraniums on the lampposts. Outside my bedroom window is a gorgeous bluish purple hibiscus tree, just bursting into bloom. What a gift. Almost as if the color were hand-picked by God for me.
I got into the car on the wrong side once this week. I mean all the way in. Hey, where's the steering wheel??? The first few days I kept reaching for the gearbox on the left instead of the right, and it is taking serious retraining to find the ignition button to the right of the keys instead of the left (our rental car and our UK car and our new CH car are ALL Toyota Corolla Versos! I have found a car I really like!). So it's the same but all backwards due to the UK driving on the other side. The actual driving on the proper side of the road here has been pretty much okay (which is the most important thing, I guess, after all!). The roads are quite narrow here, most especially the tight spiral entry/exit ramps of underground or tall parking garages. Exciting.
Doing fairly well remembering to bring my reusable shopping bags (otherwise you have to buy bags), my token to put in the shopping carts (to release them), and my parking ticket (you have to pay at a machine before getting back in your car and driving out with the validated ticket). Getting less stressed at check-out at the grocery stores, packing my bags fast before the next two people's stuff comes rolling down on top of mine (they have two lanes usually for people's purchases, so you have just enough time to pack up before the third person needs your lane). In England, the cashier always waited until I had unloaded all my goods before starting to scan items (unless there wasn't enough room on the belt). Here, they just go right ahead and it's a race to get all the items out of the cart before all your goods are squashed on the other end and you have to pay. Shopping is good exercise here.
We made our first new church visit here last Sunday, at the International Baptist Church of Zurich. It had a lot of great things about it. Close by, lovely genuine people, good teaching, and it was wonderful to join in worship with old hymns I remember from growing up in the Evangelical Baptist Church of Geneva. However, I think Jason may have been the only teenager there. We will look around at a few other churches to see where it seems our family will best fit. In any case, it is super to meet other Christians from around the area (and other English-speakers ;-) ).
Two new German words for today:
Generally, Schmetterlings don't need Versicherung, but humans in Switzerland are required to have several types.
A favorite verse from today's reading:
Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
Be my strength, O God! I need You every day! Never more than today (every day).
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I know no one like you who is able to so totally intricately describe the quirky details of the different ways cultures (countries, people, places) work. You always make the different places you visit and inhabit come to life. :-)
Blessings in your settling in....
Posted by: Susan | Jul 18, 2008 7:26:15 PM
I know it all seems topsy-turvy now, but it won't be long till you settle in and it is all old hat. Had to comment from the Japan perspective on a couple things...first, about driving on the other side than you are used to - whenever I go to the US or back to Japan, the hardest part for me is that I turn on the windshield wipers every time I go to make a turn! I agree that driving on the wrong side isn't much of an issue, unless, there are no other cars on the road to give you your bearings. Parking and shopping work pretty similarly here, although you still get free bags at a lot of places, Bringing your re-usable bag ten times gets you a small discount at one place I shop. My problem is that I do have a re-usable bag that I use, but I never buy just one bag's worth of groceries, with two teenage boys, and living far from the stores! Gas is really going up here too, so we are trying to use the car less. We also have 100 yen parking, (worth about a dollar - some places it buys 20 minutes, some 15mins) Once you park, a small ramp under your car stands up straight, so that it would damage your car to drive away without paying. Paying is at a small computer kiosk, but each place has their own interface, so if you don't read kanji, it can be tricky to pay! Sometimes I have to ask passersby for their help! Somehow it always works out though - one good thing is that we always have the Lord paving the way for us! Right, Katherine? Enjoying your posts as always!
Posted by: Andrea | Jul 19, 2008 4:58:36 AM