Monthly Archive for September, 2008

A reason to return home…?!

Ok. Don’t get too excited! Not like me, I couldn’t stop thinking about the possibility of Ikea opening a store in South Auckland. Here is an article I found in today’s New Zealand Herald which is the reason for my, perhaps premature, excitement. As you probably already know – I love Ikea. Perhaps they haven’t the best quality furniture. But definitely cheap and very minimalist type design. Not all this fluffy stuff I seem to find everywhere in NZ.

Anyway. Back to reality.

The Oldtimer Grand-Prix

On Saturday 6th of September we went to the Oldtimer Grand-Prix at the Emil Frey Autocenter in Safenwil.

Switzerland has a particularly rich automotive heritage, especially since motor-racing has been banned since 1955, following an horrific accident in the 24-hour Le Mans.

So while this wasn’t the biggest of events, there were some awesome cars present. They had configured a circuit around the complex, and so while there wasn’t any official racing, plenty of fun was being had by those behind the wheel.

There was a great turn-out of classic motorcycles; plenty of British metal; BSA, Norton, Triumph (and even a Triton, which appeared to be a Triumph/Norton hybrid), and Royal Enfield, with plenty of European and American bikes too; BMW, Harley, Ducati, et. al.
And they just sounded amazing, revving up in the pits. It literally gave me goosebumps!

There was a Ferrari, a couple of classic Aston Martins, a few E-types, and XK150. There was also a Morris Minor van re-powered with a Mazda 12A rotary engine, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

The Emil Frey Autocenter is a large sales and service center, and so all the showrooms and workshops were open to the public, also. Being a strong Ford dealership, there were plenty of new and near-new Aston Martins and Jaguars.

I’ve gone to the effort of writing half-decent descriptions for these images, so please browse through them. I also have a bit of a challenge for you. What is the red car in the first photo?

Aarau Bachfischet

Ok, this has to be one of the coolest traditions that Aarau has, one that has been going for over 150 years. There is a long story behind it… but basically the ‘Bach’ (stream) was a gift that a group of nuns from Aarau gave the city. Flowing water into the city. Annually, the Bach is emptied and cleaned by city workers and volunteers. Then, in the evening, the water is ‘turned’ back on. The children make lanterns and then parade with leafy branches and their lit lanterns along the river to celebrate the fresh water running back through Aarau. A lot of the Bach is now running underground. The children sing a cool tune as they parade down through the town (which is doesn’t make much sense):

Fürio, de Bach brönnt.
D’Suhrer händ en azündt.
D’Aarauer händ ne glösche.
D’Chüttiger, d’Chüttiger rite uf de Frösche.“

The parade is followed by a bonfire, fireworks, and the Mords-Chlapf (loud bang!). Here are some photos but they don’t give much credit to the very impressive lanterns the kids made. Even Toby got to hold one. Must try making some ourselves once.

Amazing how you can mix hundreds of fiery lanterns with tired children (in the dark) and still no one gets hurt. Only a few kids, I mean lanterns, caught fire! Haha.

Breast-milk for Dinner?

That is the title of the email I received from my good friend Louise. A little concerned what she was cooking up for her family I had to keep reading, fast… Actually, she sent me a link to an article about some crazy Swiss restaurateur who serves meals cooked with human breast-milk. He pays woman money for their breast-milk. Hmmm. I think I might find it hard to eat his meals. Dunno. What do you think? Here is the link to the article in the UK Telegraph. Thanks Anita for sending me this link too. So funny to get the same article from both you and Louise! You must know my love of hospitality and restaurants well!

Thanks for checking in on us.

Anyone need a job (in NZ)?

Here is an interesting / funny job ad. Pretty much the most straight-up job ad I have ever seen! Check it out. Except I don’t know if I’d want to work for a company called Murder Burgers with a cat in their logo…

Swiss Houses

I love Swiss houses. I love the old-style traditional ones with flower boxes. I love the modern ones. I love that they all have cellars and cool windows. Well built and easy to heat.

On Sunday afternoon we headed out to the Home Expo in Suhr to have a nosey at the cool show homes.

They had some very different ideas and we were blown away at the size of the bathrooms, some larger than the master bedroom. There was one where the bath was in the master bedroom.

Toby loved the house with the big front door for the adults and a little red front door for the kids. Good thing I read Philippians 4:11-13 the other day about being content in everything otherwise I would have bought one on the spot (haha!)

By the way, what happened to the weather? I was in shorts and t-shirt last week, at the badi enjoying temperature in the high 20′s. Then yesterday it was freezing, like 11-degree high and raining all weekend. Grrr…

Aarau wird zum Bauernhof

Aarau has a thing every year in conjuction with a training college called Liebegg (where you can train to be a ‘farmer’). They turn parts of the city into a ‘Bauernhof’ or farm. They have animals for the kids to pat and play with, pony rides, horse and carriage rides. Pig racing, alphorns and a bit of a talk from the major. We headed (in the cold and wet) to Aarau, first to the Saturday morning markets (so cool!) and then had a look around the altstadt turned farmyard. The boys loved it. Toby wouldn’t get out of the sheep pen!

They also had an apple press making apple juice to try and buy. Very fascinating. It is amazing how much juice you can get out of apples.

Top 10 things foreigners find remarkable about Switzerland

These are from a newspaper article back in 2007. I haven’t experienced all of them as yet. I love no. 10 though – so true! And I have added a few of my own…

  1. How early people get up, even in the weekends.
  2. That nobody complains, even when he/she can wash only once a month. (referring to the community washing machines in apartment blocks, i think – they often have strict rules and rosters as to who can wash, when etc.)
  3. That no Swiss person understands that people eat cheese-fondue other than in winter (i know, I wanted to eat a Raclette in summer and that was weird enough for my Swiss relatives but they let me anyway)
  4. That Swiss people always dress up..even if they get some milk (yip, no pyjamas and barefeet at the supermarkets or petrol stations here – not like NZ where that is quite normal – believe me, I have worked at both!)
  5. That entire Switzerland finds it normal that there are lots of traffic congestions in summer due to road works. (well, I guess everything is covered in snow in winter)
  6. That after 6 months in CH you are annoyed if your neighbours flush the toilet after ten pm. (we have read in our apartment contract that we should refrain from running water after 10pm)
  7. That Swiss parties end 11.30pm latest.
  8. That Swiss hosts start cleaning up during the party!
  9. That Swiss hosts expect guests to help with washing up. (haven’t experienced that yet…!)
  10. Swiss really like if you are spontaneous-as long as it is planned!

and some more:

- they still have intermissions at the movies here.

- that it is quite normal to work less than 40 hours a week. And there are heaps of part time jobs (even 10, 20 & 30 percent).

- the shops are actually shut on Sunday (and people are outside doing outside stuff – not shopping!)

- they don’t race cars here. It is illegal to have legal car races!

- that you can drink a beer on the tram on your way home from work, and no one thinks you’re a homeless drunk.

the list could go on…

Top Baby Names

It seems I get an email / text / call a day telling me about another friend / family / colleague who is pregnant. So, I thought you pregnant ones (congratulations, by the way!) might like to know what names are popular in Switzerland. Check out this article for the Top Swiss Baby Names. Perhaps some ideas on what to name your kid… Or not to name your kid if you don’t want them to have 7 other same-named kids in their school class!

Interesting how names are getting shorter. Maybe we are getting lazy and can’t be bothered saying long names anymore! Noah is still one of the top names here in Switzerland (we didn’t realise that when we named our second son). Actually Noah has been calling Toby ‘Tobias’ lately, his full name, which a lot of people here call him because it is well known and easier to say then ‘Toby’. I guess we were just being lazy shortening his name to Toby!

English language is DUM

Daniel started his German language course yesterday. He did a beginners course back in NZ and is now doing Stage 2 in Zurich.

I find it interesting how a number of Swiss have said that English is easy to learn. I don’t quite understand why, English makes no logical sense and the grammar is so hard to understand. German, on the other hand, is easy to learn (I think) because it makes sense.

Check out this video of 102 year old man explaining how DUM English is.  It rocks.

Warren, Noah watched this and kept saying ‘Papa’. I really don’t think you look that much like Mr Rondthaler, or nearly as old. But Noah was convinced and kept asking to watch “Papa again!”