May 16, 2009
Catching up: Sechseläuten, Dance, Alpenhorn Band, J's Top Braces Off
I've had trouble writing about my life in the past month, because I've been so busy living it. But, "An unexamined life is not worth living," right? (Know who said that? Socrates).
I went to a baby shower, got the snow tires taken off both cars, sent a lot of birthday cards (every late April we celebrate four days in a row of family or quasi-family birthdays), and picked a lot of unwanted dandelions out of the lawn. I drove to France for the day with a friend, to obtain some supplies not readily available in Zurich (and to speak French; it's only 1.5 hours to the northwest). We had our piano receive a well-earned mechanical overhaul (it's 24 years old and served well in five countries, for four regular players at different junctures). The Swiss gentleman who took care of it is very kind to speak to us in lovely English.
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I mentioned this before the fact, but now we've experienced it: 20th of April - Sechseläuten - a Zurich half-day holiday in which they ring the bells at 6pm and light a bonfire under an effigy of a snowman packed with fireworks - how long it takes his head to explode determines what kind of summer it will be. (?????) Sort of a cross between Guy Fawkes Day and Groundhog Day. The city was PACKED with people watching the bonfire and counting the minutes until the firecrackers started going off. Bang! I think it took 12 minutes or so, this year, which signifies a good warm summer. Excellent.
After we witnessed the bonfire explosions, we fought our way through the crowds to find an al fresco seat at the Spaghetti Factory for dinner. The kind of place with 30 or so numbered spaghetti dishes written on the placemats. Fun. I absolutely love pasta. This place also lets kids design their own dishes and have a smaller amount with a smaller price.
From the table, we could hear marching bands coming along, and one or more of us would leap up and go check out what kind of costumed musicians were passing by, with horses, flags, flowers, and various guild symbols (bakers, millers, shoemakers...).
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Then on April 25th, we had a significant event - our first family "Civil War Era" Dance Evening in Switzerland. If you read my blog when we lived in England, you might recall that we dreamed and prayed, and then organized four 18th-19th Century Family Dance Evenings during the course of our two years there. Our lovely friend Elizabeth taught the dances (as she did in California) and did the calling, for our first dance with 18 people, and later up to 53 people gathered in an old stained-glass-windowed chapel refitted with bastketball court flooring.
Well, here in Switzerland, we got permission from our international church to host a dance in the sanctuary - we actually meet in an office building, on the premises of what used to be a dance studio, so the floor is just right! 22 people came and had fun, and we have another evening planned for Saturday, June 6th. The difference here is that since Elizabeth is back in California, that leaves me to do the teaching and calling. I was filled with trepidation beforehand, and thus filled with constant prayer requests...and God came through. Apparently I am capable of teaching the dances, because the dancers got it and did it...and they looked great. Thanks be to God who provides training even if we are unaware it is happening (I didn't know that was what I was learning in England!) and holds up his children as they do what He calls them to. We are hoping people will bring guests to the next dance and it will be a fun, non-threatening outreach event.
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We celebrated my birthday with dinner out at Wagamama in Zurich. It's a great Asian fusion noodle bar restaurant chain that started in the UK, and I believe there are three in Boston now, and one coming to Washington DC next year. They already have about 70 locations around the UK and about 40 in the rest of the world (Europe, Middle East, and Australasia). On our way back to the car from the restaurant, a serendipitous gift: a shortcut took us through the Alter Botanischer Garten (the Old Botanical Garden), streaming with wisteria.
Only a few days later came Mother's Day - I asked for what every mother wants to do on Mother's Day: a visit to Hell's Grottoes. It doesn't sound so bad in German: the Höllgrotten. And in fact, it's just some caves that take 45 minutes to tour, in the middle of a beautiful forest by a stream (20 mins from our house, in Zug). First we ate lunch at the restaurant in the woods, with a field of buttercups nearby, and received yet another unexpected delight: a ten-person Alpenhorn Band playing in lovely harmony, in full traditional costume. I had never experienced this before, thinking that Alpenhorns were only played solo. I loved it. The caves were interesting, too.
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Then this week, Jason's top braces came off, to reveal his white, straight teeth! Exciting, after one and a half years of metal up there. The rest come off in two weeks or so, after he gets used to the new internal retainer on top.
And today, the parents' association at the kids' school put on "International Day" - with food from all over the world, games, entertainment, casual soccer, and an art auction. We ate three types of Indian curry, then German apple strudel, French Nutella crêpes, and British scones with cream & jam for dessert. The art auction was fascinating to watch. Each school class (multiple classes each from preschool through 5th grade) had made one collaborative artwork, and the parents bid on the pieces. Some sold for the beginning price, but others, with two or more competitive and proud parents bidding, went sky high. Very interesting. We just watched. The proceeds benefitted the art program at the school, I think.
Simultaneously, my high school in Geneva held its own similar festival, called the "Kermesse." Both my brothers were there, and I would have liked to go, but it was just too far for a day trip (over 3 hours each way).
May 16, 2009 | Permalink
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Burning a snowman (sort of)? Why not?
Posted by: Martin LaBar | May 17, 2009 1:52:26 AM