Monthly Archive for May, 2008

Some lightning for you

There was a good long electrical storm tonight. Here are some photos I took out our bedroom and bathroom windows:
Lightning 1 Lightning 2 Lightning 3
Click to get bigger ones.
As you’d expect, the best lightning strikes happened while the shutter was closed. Ah well.

Bern Baby Bern

Our last ‘big’ excursion before Daniel starts work next week. We caught the train to Bern and back, much to the boys delight. We walked all over the place, quickly checked out Albert Einsteins old apartment and the famous bears. The coolest thing, I reckon, is the water ‘fountain’ outside the Parliament buildings. It has 26 jets, one for each canton and shoots up water randomly. We discovered it is a bit of a playground for kids: mums come there with their kids, togs and towels. Toby had a ball running round in his undies with all the other kids and getting thoroughly soaked. The square is surrounded by busy roads and restaurants, a very public place in the beautiful altstadt. Quite funny really. Imagine Helen Clark having lots of half-naked wet screaming kids running around outside her office in Wellington.

No doubt we will go back on another hot sunny day to cool off.

Some photos (of course!):

Hallwilersee

Had a 30 degree day yesterday and 29 today. There is a wind called ‘Föhn’ which is common here and is a really dry, warm wind that makes it so hot. (apparently Christchurch gets that as well, Daniel tells me). So we decided to go to a lake called Hallwilersee, fairly close to where we stay. My granddad has a boat which he built himself and sailed there for 20 years. Grossmueti & Grossvati decided to take us for a ferry ride around the lake. Was so beautiful, seeing all the Swiss villages up on the hill and we could see snow-topped mountains in the distance. Just blown away by the beauty. We also went for a bit of a walk. A couple of photos: Toby, Noah & Grossmueti on the ferry, Where my grandad’s boat lives, The calm before the storm There are heaps of cool things that they do in Switzerland. They are so ‘outdoorsy’ here, all around the lake are campfire sites, a big floating stage out in the middle of the lake where they perform shows during the summer. The swimming pools everywhere are so well done. Walking tracks, bike paths absolutely everywhere… the list goes on.

My Grossmueti is an incredible lady. She is really someone who I look at and hope that I will be even a little bit like her when I am older. Well, I am older already, I hope I am even a little bit like her now. So generous, nonjudgmental, always always thinking about everyone but herself. She keeps really fit and healthy so that she can continue to look after Grossvati. She is a Christian too, which is so exciting, I think the only one in our extended family. So a mission field for us just here!

The boys are doing great. I am kind of surprised that they haven’t been asking about New Zealand. I guess they just adjust real easy. Toby does ask everyday if we are in Switzerland, and every time we go for a walk or hop on a train he asks again. Just to make sure we aren’t somewhere else, like Hong Kong.

Noah is very good at saying ‘Yea” and ‘K’ and nodding his head. He yells ‘Hi!’ at everyone and ‘Bye train’ every time he sees a train. He is a real charmer with his big smile and everyone just adores him. Toby is loving the freedom of playing on the street (it is a quiet street with lots of kids) and hanging in hammocks. I found him this morning with a pile of books he had taken from his room, lying outside in his hammock reading. So cute.

Roggenhausen

Just a quick post to show my sisters that ‘Roggehusa’ is still the same. We went today with my grandmother to a small animal / wildlife park in the forest in Aarau. I have been going there since I was a young girl and have simply the best memories of this place. But they have the coolest play area with the coolest rides and so the boys didn’t care too much for the pigs and rabbits and horses and ponies and mountain goats and peacocks and deer. AND… I get to ride on those cool little electric powered cars with my own kids and they can build their own awesome memories (by the way, the best thing about having kids, nieces or nephews is you have an excuse to go on kiddie rides and playgrounds and stuff!). AND… the little cars still cost $1 swiss franc. They cost that 25 years ago too! Wow.

We were quite surprised to see how well Toby could maneuver and steer a vehicle. I think Daniel wants to enrol him in go kart racing!

That was a bit of a childish post. All good though, right?

Some photos (now a smaller size for you southerners with dial up!): Dan and Noah in tyre swing, The famous wee cars, Toby in carousel

The Chocolate Index

I’ve added a ‘chocolate index’ to the sidebar to track our chocolate consumption.

Church & Hammocks

For those of you interested in our church hunting mission… We attended the Freie Christengemeinde Aarau this morning. It is a ‘free’ (as in, not a state) evangelical church. Probably one of the largest ones in Aarau (about 400 attend, I believe). It was so great to sing familiar songs – try singing ‘My Redeemer Lives’ in German! People were friendly and they had a special baptism service. The church is great and also serves a beautiful lunch afterward in their own restaurant. They have a wide range of ages attending which is good to see, although they believe strongly that children shouldn’t be in the church service with the adults. That was quite new for us, coming from Trinity where there are so many kids around. The younger kids (up to the age of 4) go to a creche and just play so I felt that Toby & Noah really missed out! Toby loves the music and Noah loves the praying! A bit sad. Daniel was able to listen to the service in English; they offer translation into a number of languages through headphones. I think we will keep hunting in the meantime. Next week we go to Minoritätsgemeinde Aarau, which i think is an evangelical ‘state’ church but it is very ‘free’ if that makes any sense. It is a bit smaller but that is all good for us Trinitarians.

During the service this morning, some of the youth shared about their latest youth activity. Listen to this – so cool! The activity was based around the Luke 10 mission where Jesus sends out the 72. The youth left Saturday morning and had to travel to different towns in a mission to share the gospel with random people. They took nothing with them – no money, food, extra clothes etc. and had to trust in God to provide. All of them turned up at church this morning having made it through the night, well feed and looked after. They were able to share the gospel many times too. I think one group was given a room at a 4-star hotel and a beautiful meal too. Wow. Cool thing is how God led them to all the right places and right people. Divine I say! There is a youth activity for all you brave Trinity girls!

Doris, a good friend of Corina’s, is coming to visit soon. Can’t wait. She spent some time in New Zealand about three years ago. Really cool chick.

Apart from that just been hanging (literally!) around in hammocks out in the beautiful, hot, sunny weather (a mere 26 degrees!). Don’t get too jealous Corina… it is meant to pack up on Tuesday and be raining and cold for the rest of the week. Hammocks are so great. So relaxing.

A couple more photos: Toby goes hammock flying, Hammock Time , A cold day on Toby’s trike (one for you, Corina),

Catch ya later.

Life

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart for what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdom’s cause
As I walk from earth into eternity’

From the song “Hosanna” by Brooke Fraser

So many things are going on in this world. I am so much more aware of them somehow being away from ‘everyday normal life’ and surrounded by the big wide world. We are such stupid humans sometimes. I see how fragile life is and how there really is only one purpose on this earth. I think Brooke Fraser sums it up perfectly.

Luzern and the Verkehrshaus

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Daniel was brave and drove all the way to Luzern on the right hand side of the road (which is lucky, since they drive on the right here!). It was cool and the boys loved the tunnels and mountains and lakes on the way. We had a beautiful hot day and had a great view of Pilatus mountain and the Vierwaldstattersee (lake in Luzern). Daniel wanted to take the boys to the Verkehrshaus (transport museum). It is pretty awesome seeing all the steam engines and cars and stuff. They had a massive cool play area for the kids where they could collect different shape blocks and deliver them to houses and collect and sort and distribute using various means of transport.

We then went for a walk around Luzern and across the famous old wooden bridge. It has to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I heard some Swiss guy say that he had travelled around the world for over 4 years from country to country and still reckoned that Switzerland was the best.

Here are some photos: boys on a wee train, Dan & the Noah on a nice bike, michelle on a bike!, Noah doing some hard work, By the old bridge in Luzern

The hippo did do a poo

We took a day out and went to Basel on the train. Went to the Basel Zoo and checked out the local sites. Was quite cool, really really cool actually. The boys loved it. Toby reckons his favourite part was when the ‘hippo did do a poo’. Typcial kid. Although, I have to say it was quite an experience. Apparently when hippos poo, they wave their tail around and scatter the poo everywhere. Some unfortunate school kids were a bit close and got hit by some flying doodoo. Toby thought that was hilarious. I have to say that the Auckland zoo definitely beats the Basel zoo (which strangely enough is the 2nd most visited attraction in Switzerland, the first being the Rhinefall in Schaffhausen). Some photos of the boys at the zoo: Toby kid with goat kid, African Elephants, Little monkey looking at big monkey, By the Rhine River (close to German and French border)

I am sitting here eating Swiss chocolate – I know… but I have to make sure I do my Swiss duty and eat the 12 kg quota for the year and I have some catching up to do since it is already May! (the Swiss eat a crazy average of 12 kgs a year per person which is the most in the world, second on the list is the USA which only eat 6 kgs a year, still the Swiss are one of the fittest and healthiest nations).

We have done lots of boring but necessary official stuff over the past week like registered with the Gemeindehaus Oberentfelden (local council) to get a B Permit for Daniel, which is going to take a couple of months to process. Organised train tickets for the coming months of daily travel to Zurich and back.  Opened a Swiss bank account yesterday. Don’t be fooled by it though, its sound fancy but it currently has $0 in it… Trying to sort out getting some bikes and a kinderanhänger… etc.  It is quite a different feeling coming here with the intention of staying and working rather than holiday making.

Anyway, read a couple of interesting things on the Family First midweek update. A couple of links to articles in the Sunday Star Times (18 May). Here is one on how NZ is ‘drowning in depravity‘. Major issue. And another on the 10 top activities kids want to do as voted by kids and parents. Note that they are all outdoor things and nothing electronic mentioned! Wow. I notice that Toby often gets easily angry and grumpy when watching TV or playing games on the computer. Fresh air is definitely the best thing.

Ok, till next time.

Tschüss

Mmmh, Zwetschge Glace!

We went out for dinner tonight with the cousins, Aunty Maja and Grossmueti & Grossvati and Picasso (the dog). To a typical Swiss (Italian?) Pizzeria. Man, the pizza is so so good. Had heaps of fun. Trying to speak Swiss and deciding which flavour glace (ice cream) to have (I had a Toscana Pizza then Zwetschge (plum) and Strachiatella ice cream for dessert).   Carlos and Julia (his friend) left about 8 to go to a Hip Hop concert in Olten.  They are really into hip hop, rap and techno here.  But man, it sounds so funny hearing rap in German, and Swiss German – is quite terrible really!

It rained a bit today. That was cool though as we had a pretty quiet indoor day anyway. Our awesome Phil & Ted buggy has had a mysterious tyre blow out which has been a bit of a bummer. I now know how to ask for a child buggy wheel inner tube in Swiss. And know all the bike shops in the vicinity (we had to go to a few to find one that was open with the correct tube). Anyway, it has meant we have been stuck at home a bit more than we would have liked.

We have about two weeks now until Daniel starts work. Trying to decide what to do and where to go. Lots of awesome options. Can’t wait! Will let you know.

Going to church tomorrow with Grossmueti, to the local church here in Oberentfelden. They have a monthly Sunday service at 11 minutes to 11 (that is Swiss timing for you!) where children can come along.  I don’t think in general children are that well catered for in the state churches.  But i may be wrong.  We have found a couple of ‘free’ churches that offer children’s church and translation of the service into English  (both important for us!) so that will be on the agenda to check out the next couple of Sundays.

All people (unless you really don’t want to) belong to a state church – either Catholic or Reformed (none of the presbyterian, baptist or methodist stuff).  You pay compulsory tax to the church out of your wages.  The pastors here are quite well paid compared to some small NZ churches I guess.   Problem is that not all or many of them are truly bible believing, gospel preaching, evangelical churches.

So here begins the mission to find a church.  One like Trinity would be great but hard, near impossible to find!

Our naughty kids are still up (10pm our time).  Too much good food probably.  Better go sort them out!

Love you all