Bonjour de la Suisse

Hello from Switzerland! ~~ The adventures of a California girl who got married to a great guy, G, and traded in her old life for the chance to live in a foreign land and live the expat life for a couple years. We live in Geneva, Switzerland with our globe-trotting cat, Scout.

Ma photo
Nom :
Lieu : California, United States

"The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country as a foreign land." ~ G.K. Chesterton

vendredi, décembre 30, 2005

Good times!

Well, we are back from our Christmas travels and are about to head out later today with Pat & Kevin to spend New Years in Grand Paris! (pronounced "Pari" in French) Since we don't have much time, I just wanted to send a quick update and I will be writing more when we return in the New Year.

Gary and I left Geneva the week before Christmas and traveled through Amsterdam, Belgium and England. We eventually arrived in Burwell, England where we spent three days (including Christmas and Boxing Day) with Gary's cousin Erik, his wife Karen, and their very cute kids, Jessica & Hannah.

The next day we met Kevin & Pat in Geneva where we have been taking in the local sights, including castle hopping, relaxing at a 3,000 year old Roman spa, ascending 12,602 feet above Chamonix, France and then we ate in a castle in Italy! We have had a great time so far and we are looking forward to ringing in the New Year with such good friends in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe!

We have to run, since we have half a day of sightseeing left before we go, but I promise to write more on our trip when we return!

Happy New Year everyone!

samedi, décembre 17, 2005

Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and all the rest!

Hello all! This a super fast post to let you know that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth, but I just got a little busy, then, WHAM! I got the worst case of the stomach flu ever! It had me knocked out for the better part of the week! All is well now, thank goodness.

In typical Debbie fashion (last minute to do's before major vacations), I'm witting to you just before Gary and I are about to catch a cab (in a half hour) to the airport for our big holiday vacation up North. We are visiting Gary's cousin and his family outside of London for Christmas and are stopping in to Amsterdam and Belgium on the way.

Quick update as to what we have been up to: We spent last weekend here celebrating the big L'Escalade weekend (I will write more on this later). Gary and I attended a huge dinner function at the Geneva Welcome Center which was fantastic. Then I met up with some people from the "Geneva International" group at a local bar on Monday night to celebrate a girl's birthday who I have recently met. Everyone was so nice! The community is very inviting and we are definitely trying to make the most of it!

French is going well and all in all things are pretty good! Well, I will be writing more when we return in nine days. Have a wonderful holidays everyone! I miss you all, especially now with all the festivities of the season.

Happy Holidays!!!

mardi, décembre 06, 2005

The Surreal Life

This weekend, we took a train over the Italian boarder to Milan. It was a breathtaking 3 1/2 hour ride through the Alps that are dotted with small villages, castles, and lakes. The city of Milan was covered in snow and very, very cold. But that did not stop us from enjoying this wonderful, vibrant and very stylish city.

The reason we chose to go to Milan was because we were told it's a big shopping destination for the Genovese (since clothes & shoes are SO expensive here in Geneva). Most people actually go for the day to take advantage of the cheap shopping, but we stayed over night so we could get a little sight seeing in too. Both Gary and I are in desperate need for warmer coats and boots, so we figured Milan was the place for us!

We dropped our stuff off at the hotel and we were off to shop (even Gary was excited)! After several hours of tromping around in the snow (my feet got wet!) and dodging into one store after another, we found a great place that had wonderful, cheap coats! Gary and I each bought one and we were thrilled. It was already dark, so we started our way back to the nearest Metro station, which was about a 1/2 hour walk in the cold, snow and ice.

Finally, back at the Metro station, I took a closer look at my coat and much to my horror, I realized the collar and sleeves were lined with REAL FUR!!! The coat was only 60 euros, so I never imagined that you could get real fur so cheap! I insisted that we go back to return it, since I wasn't sure if the store was open on Sundays. Poor Gary had to walk with me for an hour (round trip) in the slush and cold so I, the animal activist, could stand by morals and return it. I was bummed because, besides the fur, I really loved that coat! Lesson learned: Always check the faux fur in Italy!

The next day was all about seeing the sights. We went to the historic, Piazza del Duomo, where the gothic Duomo Cathedral sits on one end of the square (it's the third largest church in Europe). We explored the church and climbed to the top, where you can walk out onto its roof and see all across the city. Then we wandered around to see more historic buildings and grab a bite to eat.

The square (piazza) itself was a hub of activity! The 2005 Milano City Marathon was taking place and the finish line was adjacent to the cathedral. There was techno music and a VERY excited announcer (all in Italian, of course) that was screaming about this or that for at least two hours! We were cheering from the sidelines when the front runners entered the piazza and crossed the finish line, the crowd roared with excitement!

The excitement at the piazza was not only about the race, but unbenonced to us, Ryan Lee was also there, making an appearance from a balcony high above! Who is Ryan Lee you ask?!? We had no idea, but there were about 300 screaming teenage girls who did! They were holding banners that professed their love for him, begging him to stay in Italy, to choose them as a girlfriend! It was all quite amusing. (After consulting Yahoo, it seems that Ryan Lee is a singer of some sort.)

All I really wanted to see was Bridgette Nielsen & Flava Flav! Does anyone know if they are still together? I'm not up on my Surreal Life gossip, but I figured, in Milan they were the most likely celebrities we would see.

Oh and here is something I didn't realize... you have to make a reservation a month in advance to see The Last Supper (which is in Milan). So, next time we'll plan a little better so we can see it. Well, that's about it from Italy! We are back home and I'm off to French class. Ciao Baby!

samedi, décembre 03, 2005

Are we in Disneyland?!?

About a week and a half ago a strange metamorphosis began to take place in town. It wasn't so obvious at first, but slowly, surely everyone here has gone Christmas crazy! It's wonderful, but I kind of feel like I'm living in a holiday Disneyland. Every time I think that there cannot possibly be more decorations, the next day there are more!!

First, 20 foot live trees were inserted into the sidewalks all over town (they look like they are growing right out of the ground!) and covered in lights. They are massive, spanning about 2/3 of the width of the wide sidewalks and they are so many! There are about 20 in our short block alone. As for the trees that were already here, almost all are decorated and many have been surrounded by giant snowballs of light or giant snowmen.

Absolutely everything is covered in lights and many buildings have white lights that cover every inch of the facade. There is a small island in Lake Geneva that is about a block or so from our house. All of the trees on the island are covered in blue lights and there is some kind of light show that goes on here almost all night. When it is snowing it's really beautiful.

There are little wooden huts that have sprouted up all over town where people sell all kinds of holiday wares, a holiday ice skating rink was put up last weekend near the old part of town, and the department stores have cleared entire floors that are now dedicated to Christmas goods. I really love it, but I have never seen a city with more holiday decorations in my life! The level of detail is just amazing, even the ceiling of the train station is covered with green & red.

That’s what's new in Geneva! This weekend, Gary and I are heading to Milan, Italy for a weekend away. I'm eager to see how many decorations they have up! :) Next week I start intensive French lessons. I'm a little nervous, but I can't wait to get started.

Oh, and the highlight of the week: Gary and I went to our first "America's Club" meeting! It was fun, we mingled with people and then met a great girl from San Diego who also just moved here. We met some other really nice people too, including her very international friend who brought along her Swiss boyfriend. We all went to a big, traditional fondue dinner and drank some fantastic local wines! I sat next to one of the organizers of the dinner who grew up in a nearby town (and went to school in the states). They were all teaching us local customs and more fondue etiquette. We didn't get home until late into the night! It was great!

Have a wonderful weekend!