21 November 2007

swiss cheese and efficiency

although recent political events have left me less enamored with my adopted country than before, i still find myself reacting to it positively now and then.

last night i went out for my annual fondue. i can only handle it once a year because it's so horrifying how much cheese gets consumed. there's only one place to do it: le dézaley by the grossmünster. (keep that in mind, my legions of future visitors!) another thing to keep in mind: fondue can only be consumed in winter -- even i've become swiss enough to gag at the thought of cheese fondue on a warm day. yuck! anyway, as soon as you walk into a fondue restaurant, this terrible cheesy stink engulfs you. it's really gross. but, in my third winter in zurich, i have to say i've gotten used to it, actually kind of like it, and am considering having fondue more than once a year now! (eww)

as for point #2. i went to the equivalent of the swiss DMV today to apply for a swiss driver's license. (and oh NO, i horrified myself just now by almost typing "driving license" because i'm surrounded by all these europeans who say that instead.) it was an amazing experience. i printed and filled out the application at my office, walked into the DMV, stood in a line with one person who then immediately got an open counter, waited about 10 seconds for another counter to open up, gave my documents to the lady, waited about 3 minutes while she typed some stuff and made copies of my docs, and then she said i'd get it in the mail in 2 weeks, goodbye! it was astounding. go switzerland.

01 November 2007

mesopotamian video potluck

three things to talk about today!

1. i'm not really a nerd, just a nerd wannabe. however, i have a few nerdy tendencies, one of which is strategy board games. my latest obsession is tigris and euphrates. for a long time i couldn't win, which made me even more obsessed, but even now after a few victories, i'm always looking for chances to play it! since getting the game, i haven't looked twice at my old standby puerto rico, which is also really good but (at the moment) doesn't compare with the complexity of T&E. not that complexity is always good -- i don't like chess at all. but oooh, T&E is just excellent!

2. mr. button, inspired by my past life in moviemaking, made one of his own! please be so kind as to give it 5 stars. :)

3. last sunday was my first potluck in zurich! i instigated it, of course. these europeans don't seem to be familiar with the concept, and mr. button actually considers it socially questionable. but despite the fear, uncertainty, and doubt, it was lots of fun and brought back all my best memories of the potlucks we used to have at the beanpit. i hope to make it a monthly tradition, but i've said that about lots of things that never ended up happening again. we shall see! it's a chilly autumn and there's not much to do before the snow comes other than going to people's houses to eat and play board games... hee hee.

12 October 2007

month of adventure

september was filled with fun and adventure! the first week was a sailing trip in croatia. it was by no means glamorous, as some have suggested it might be. actually, i would say it was really roughing it! cramped sleeping quarters, using water sparingly, tiny bathroom that couldn't be used when parked in marinas, zero noise insulation,... but somehow the six of us survived the week with no casualties. we started from the city of split, and hopped around to some nearby islands, distance varying daily depending on the weather. one of the best days was when we didn't sail at all, instead renting scooters on the island of hvar. that was lots of fun until it started raining... really hard! poop.

in the second half of the month, we discovered two really fun things to do in switzerland! (this is directed at you, prospective visitors!) the first is a self-serve ropes course above the most beautiful swiss city (luzern, if you've been paying attention). i learned that doing ropes courses in teams (one person belaying, to "build trust") is purely a moneymaking maneuver
on the part of companies out to collect corporate dollars under the banner of "team-building." actually you can just clip yourself onto a safety line and it's much safer that way. anyway, this course has plenty of challenging bits, plus some fantastic zip lines! my favorite! tb and i had so much fun that we went again the next weekend. :)

the second discovered really fun thing to do is canyoning! this is an impossible-to-describe excursion that involves "following a river down a canyon." that's how it was explained to me, but it doesn't describe it at all really. it's more like jumping, sliding, and abseiling down waterfalls and into natural pools. definitely terrifying at times ("don't think, just jump!"), but unforgettable (you actually slide down ropes *in* waterfalls), and i can't wait to try it again! the slides were the most fun for me... the highest jump was 10 meters (32 feet) !!! but i was too chicken to do that one. but anyway, the next time someone visits me in the summer months, we're there.

p.s. when i used to work at HQ and there were enormous bins of junk food around every corner, i once overdosed on peanut m&m's and was unable to eat m&m's for a couple years. but i just ate a little bag right now, so it's time for me to announce that my m&m OD has been cured. thank you.

22 August 2007


oh dear, has it really been over 3 months since my last post? it's been a nice lazy summer, and the season's laziness has transferred to my blog-writing. (i'm usually so diligent, after all.) i passed my 2 year anniversary of moving to zurich, and now that i've been in europe for a while i'm traveling a lot less and doing more around here. the days of the lightning weekend trips are over! (sort of) since my last post, i've still traveled a little for work (israel), family (korea), and friends (romania, vienna), but i've also finally started doing things that make zurich feel a bit more like home: starting a [balcony] garden, celebrating birthdays, inviting myself over to friends' places, and getting up close and personal with (read: nearly smothered by) seething masses of swissies during the once-every-three-years züri-faescht. yum.

i also just got back from 2 weeks in california, and despite one sleep-champion night of 17 hours of sleep, jet lag has been plaguing me ever since. good thing i have the jeeves and wooster omnibus to entertain me!

14 May 2007

even prettier than zurich

to prepare for our sailing trip to croatia this summer, last weekend we did a practice run on the vierwaldstättersee, also known as lake lucerne. now, why did it take me almost two years to realize that lucerne is even prettier than zurich?! the town and lake are just as picturesque, plus it has stunning mountains right around the lake, rather than visible off in the distance on a clear day as in z-town. also, the lake is bigger, more interestingly shaped, and has enough wind for sailing. perfect!

hmm, now i've made it sound like i actually like sailing... but it's more complicated than that. the entire time (that would be for about 8 hours last saturday) i'm either screaming in terror or barely holding in my screams of terror. but part of me still manages to like it. it's a bit stressful, being so torn. anyway, we didn't flip over, thereby accomplishing my primary goal, and even though some people say this boat actually can't flip over, i was proud of our crew. unfortunately, there's now some talk about practicing next time "in rough conditions"... eek!

07 May 2007

settlers and trains in rainy zurich

after skipping spring and jumping straight from winter into summer, we now seem to be either back in spring or fast forwarding to fall. it's going to rain all week! therefore, there was nothing better to do last weekend than play games and eat a lot. settlers, scrabble, and trains, hooray! a very strange wii game was also thrown into the mix (wario something), and there were some delicious pancakes in there too. that, plus being terrorized by moths and nightmares, was my weekend.

30 April 2007

the best weekend trip in europe

i couldn't let a second year go by (my visit there last year also coincided with one of this blog's hibernation periods) without mentioning that the best weekend trip in europe is without a doubt catching the keukenhof gardens during the two months of the year that they're open. (late march to late may) lots and lots of flower pictures here!

now that i'm a boring permanent swiss employee, i can no longer claim to be living the exciting life of being on an international assignment. so this blog may degenerate into something like a weekend update, but hey, one of my favorite blogs is a weekend update! (hi hwh) and i still manage to sneak in some interesting destinations over weekends, although i've seriously calmed down my travel schedule since last year. there will be much more simply enjoying the zurich lake, trying to learn how to take care of plants, and hanging out with friends now that i have some. :) but anyway, this is just to say that i'll try to write more regularly!