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September 29, 2008

Confused Class Locations

My son is in 9th grade in Switzerland, at an international school in Zug.

His P.E. class meets in the English Room (for theory lessons).

His English class meets in the Humanities Room.

His Humanities class meets in the Math Room.

His Math class meets in the Physics Lab.

He's taught German in the Library.

His tutor group gathers in the Computer Lab.

Drama erupts in the Dance Room.

Science meets in the Chemistry Lab - wow, one that makes total sense! Except Jason says he's not doing chemistry, it's biology at the moment.

His French class meets in a room called "Aula East" which is neither here nor there, as these things go.

I don't know how he keeps it all straight. Habit, after a while. But I do find this class placement hard to fathom. I think it has to do with the fact that the school building is small for the number of classes, and it has been growing fast. The school is in the process of building a new, larger facility, which I am sure will have less confusing classroom names! As long as the teachers keep straight what they're teaching, everything will be fine. A rose by any other name...

September 29, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 28, 2008

Yippee - Zurich Restaurant Smoking Ban Passes in Vote Today!

You can't imagine how happy we are! Zurich voters today decided to ban smoking in restaurants and cafés here.

Voting on a Sunday??? This sounds weird to this American voter. But Wikipedia's Voting in Switzerland page confirms it: "Voting takes place over the week-end, with emphasis being put on the Sunday. At noon on that day ("Abstimmungssonntag" in German), voting ends." For a country which generally has no stores open on Sundays, this seems odd. But I guess if no stores are open, all the shopworkers can vote. Makes sense. Everyone is available. Indeed, I have seen posts by expats here asking desperately, "What can I do on a Sunday around here?" (maybe try worshipping with a church? :-) Resting? Hiking? Reading? Playing games? I could go on...)

But what my family really wants to know is, WHEN will this decision actually take EFFECT? We await that news with baited (fresh) breath! I can't find any more info on it yet. In the meantime, we thank God for the answer to our prayers. Fresh air, fresh clothes, fresh food, all with no tobacco smoke in them.

September 28, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 26, 2008

Fireproof

The makers of Facing the Giants and Flywheel have come out with their next movie: Fireproof. It apparently comes out tonight in the U.S.

The star, Kirk Cameron, who was famous as a child actor on the sitcom Growing Pains, has a commitment not to kiss any women but his wife, whether onstage or off. So they flew in his real wife for him to kiss for a scene in the movie, shot in silhouette. Is that cool or what? :-)

Here are the articles on Fox News and MSNBC, based on the Today Show interview. And here's a more detailed Cinema Blend interview.

Can't wait until we get to see this movie.

September 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Yellow Tree

At first I thought this tree on the neighbour's border line might be a Ginkgo, because the color transformation is so similar. But I don't think the leaf is quite the right shape. The green was gorgeous in the summer, and the yellow is fantastic now. I noted on my Facebook status that I was "uploading" autumn foliage photos, and a friend got all excited, thinking I was uploading them to Facebook - but I just meant uploading them to my computer from my camera! For my blog, of course. But loading photos in Typepad for this blog is long and slow, since you have to do one at at time, while it's fast on Facebook, so I ended up putting more on Facebook than here. If you know me, you can see them over there...but this is probably enough for anyone anyway.

Yellowtree0Yellowtree1Yellowtree8Yellowtree5

September 26, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 25, 2008

High Ropes Course - Seilpark Pilatus

What a blast at the "Seilpark Pilatus" up the mountain above Luzern last Saturday. See the cablecar disappearing up into the clouds? We got off it halfway up to do the high ropes course. In one of the photos Emily looks like she's walking on air (or thin tree branches).
SeilparkcablecarcloudEmilywalkingonairDjehighropescourseDjehighropescourse2
Below see Jason, Emily and David going down one of the zip lines...before jumping off the platform way up in the air, we carefully checked that we were attached three ways - two carabiners (attached in opposite directions) plus the pulley...but quickly, before we lost the nerve to go!
JasonziplineEmilyziplineDavidzipline

September 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Höllgrotten Hike with School Mothers

On the Friday hike, we passed some friendly cows, some exquisitely colored ducks, straight through a farmer's barn, and through a lot of woods by a stream:
FriizslhikecowFriizslhikeducksFriizslhikebarnFriizslhikewoods

September 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Oberaegeri Hike with School Mothers

Last Tuesday's hike in Oberaegeri - whose town motto on their website seems to translate to something like "be at home in the sunny spot" because it is up higher, above the fog that apparently descends over Zug for months in the winter - nonetheless had me thinking it might rain on us at any moment:

Tuesiszlhike1Tuesiszlhike2
Tuesiszlhike3Tuesiszlhike4Tuesiszlhike5Tuesiszlhike6

September 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Horse Across the Street

Four horses and a donkey live across the street from our house, in a small green field in the middle of our residential area. In honor of my sister-in-law's birthday today (she loves horses and riding), here is one of them. It's really green here (because there isn't a dry season, like there is in California). Perhaps you can see in the first photo the laden apple tree on the left :-) Those belong to our neighbour and look delicious. I bet the horse wishes he could reach them.
HorseacrossstreetHorseacrossstreetcloseupHappy Birthday, N.

September 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Swiss September Flowers in My Garden

LangnaufuchsiaLangnaulawnflower
LangnaupinkflowersLangnauhydrangea
LangnaupurpleflowerLangnaumtnviewAnd this is the mountain view we glimpse from the top of our village on very clear days. Which don't seem to happen too often, but when they come around, what a reward for waiting out the grey days. And now Autumn is upon us...some beautiful foliage coming up.

September 25, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 21, 2008

Oh my goodness - an entire week went by!

Quick, what happened in the week since I last posted? I have just a few minutes to share...

Last Sunday afternoon: Jason played drums unexpectedly for Club Lift, the monthly kids' games afternoon of our church. The pastor heard him and said he was good enough to play on the worship team on Sunday mornings and asked him to do it for today (a week later)! Wow, Jason came out of there glowing.

Last Sunday night: Since the four visiting Covenant Players brought the household total to eight bodies, we invited them to join us in the wooden-floored basement for a mini Civil War Era Dance Evening. We taught them the Jolly Gordon, In-Out-and-Across, Sheena's Saunter, the French Girl, and the Jolly Gordon as a jig (I hadn't laughed so hard in positively ages), and finished with the traditional waltz. What fun, what good exercise, so many smiles. Thank you again to the fantastic Elizabeth R of California who taught us all these dances.

Monday: Emily went off to her 5-day field trip to Verbier (it was changed at the last moment from Anzère).

Tuesday morning: Tried a hiking group of moms from Emily's school. There were seven of us, and I was the only American. All the other ladies were new to me, from the UK, Australia, and Hungary. A beautiful view over Aegerisee (Lake Aegeri). Very kind people.

Tuesday evening: I made a real South African dessert for the first time: Malva Pudding. Yum! Took it to a ladies' potluck evening from church, for which everyone had to bring some kind of South African dish. We have a lot of South Africans in our church here! Jason and I liked it a lot, but David, non-plussed, said it was kind of like a wet sponge, and Emily grimaced at her one bite, after taking in David's description.

Thursday: our first Moms in Touch prayer meeting for the International School of Zug & Luzern (Baar and Riverside campuses). Three of us. A good time. By the end of the day God has answered two of our specific earnest requests, to our great delight and rejoicing. There may be three or four more ladies who might join us this coming week.

Friday: Tried another different hiking group (there are three, believe it or not, all composed of moms from the same school - I guess Switzerland is the territory for it!). British and French ladies, again all new to me. And an exceedingly well-behaved yellow labrador named Peeps. We discovered how to get to some local caves (the Höllgrotten), to be explored another time with the kids perhaps. That afternoon, Emily got home safely from her trip, tired but happy. Yay. It was rather quiet without her home all week.

Saturday: A much-needed relaxing morning, then an afternoon of high ropes course on the mountain above Luzern, the four of us - a 45 minute drive, then a 30 minute cablecar ride - by which time it was down to 5 degrees C (41 F)! Pretty chilly. First turtleneck of the season for me. We were very thankful we'd brought our hats and gloves. We swung around in the trees and did the long zip-lines to our hearts' content for two hours until they kicked us out at closing time. There are still three trails we didn't manage to get to, and we'd all like to go back sometime. They close at the end of October for the season. Afterwards, we looked up smoke-free restaurants in Luzern on David's phone, and saw there was an Argentinian one only 5 minutes from the bottom of the cablecar in Kriens: El Rincón Argentino. It had lots of black and white tango dance photos on the walls. Although it took us an hour to get our food, it was tasty (organic Argentinian beef, salad with pear and sautéed mushrooms, empanadas with chicken and spinach...). And smoke-free as advertised. What a difference to most Swiss restaurants! (by the way, saying "different to" vs. "different from" is a Britishism that I have apparently picked up).

Today, Sunday: Happy Autumn! Got to church early this morning for two reasons: One, it was our first Sunday in a new location (much bigger, much needed - we were really cramped before), and two, in the end all four of us helped out on the worship team for the first time. Jason on drums, David on bass guitar, and Emily and I on vocals. Fun and a little scary. Two guys joined us on guitar, and another two on vocals as well. I am thankful to God for catapulting us into His service like this. He is certainly worth all the worship anyone can muster, and way beyond.

Then this afternoon we took an hour's walk as a family up the hill from our house for the first time into the forest. The kids had fun arguing with each other about whose turn it was to propel the other up the steep hill, and also throwing rocks into the stream we crossed over. We threw a tennis ball and a softball back and forth and Jason ran down the hill after it a few times to stop it escaping into the next Kanton...this marked the fourth time this week I donned my hiking boots - wow! Other than trips to Colorado, that must be a record for me.

Now David is packing for a business trip to the U.S. - his first business trip anywhere since we moved here. Great timing, now that we have the B permits, that let him come back into the country as an official resident.

Phew, I have got to post more often. This gets too long. But then you don't have to read it, do you! Will have to add photos another time. Now must brush teeth and get to sleep!

September 21, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack