Archive for the 'Family' Category

Did you know that…

MOTHERHOOD MAKES WOMEN BRAINIER! Just wanted to share with some of those readers who are mothers and like me, in my last post, find it a little bit tricky at times.  I was sent a link to this article which reckons being a mum makes us brainer.  Woo Hoo, there is a up side!  Haha, ok, being a mum is more up than down – don’t want to put any of you off.  The article also reckons that being a Mum can protect against degenerative diseases.  Nice.

Rest for the weary

Women who choose the profession of motherhood, a profession that is supposed to be more stressful than a top management position (except it is a 24/7 job!), are legends.  I am currently trying out this profession and man, it is tough.  Up until we moved to Switzerland I had always been working, part or full time.  Then we had grandparents, aunties or friends around to babysit when we needed a break.   Now we have none of that, not even preschool (the kids don’t start preschool till they are 5).  I am a wee bit embarrased that I find it so tough at home with two young boys, considering there are heaps of mums with more kids than me doing an amazing job with great love and ease.

Anyway, I was allowed a break – thanks to my wonderful husband and generous Grosi.  My mum, grandmother and I (three generations of women!) spent two wonderful days and nights at a wellness hotel in Sigriswil, overlooking the mountains and the Thunersee.   We soaked in the pools, had massages, went for walks, ate four-course dinners (healthy of course!).  It was great to spend time with my mum who is soon heading back to NZ and my wonderful Grosi.  It snowed too, just a hundred metres up from where we were staying.   A bit of a change from warm days in Tuscany a week earlier!

Why is he black?

That is the question Toby asked me today, very loudly on the tram home from Aarau after seeing an African lady sitting at the tram station (Toby says everyone is a he!). It is the first time he has ever mentioned anything about race. I am kinda surprised since he was practically the only white kid in our church and street in NZ.  I am glad that he noticed though, out of his own accord. I found it hard to explain without feeling like I was making him racist. I casually told him that God made us all different but equal. Some of us are boys, some are girls, some are white skinned, some are brown, some are from NZ some are from Africa. Hmmm.

It is definitely noticeable, coming from NZ to Switzerland, the lack of foreigners, although, the Swiss would say there are heaps of foreigners here (and I don’t think they like them much either, although, it was suggested to me that perhaps they are scared of foreigners, being so country-proud / nationalists). But I am treading on dangerous ground…

Back to something a bit more lighthearted…. Toby just said something funny. When questioning ‘what is that?’ to my tummy (when I bent over, I had a bit of an overhang of skin, a result of a big dinner and two kids!). I replied that it was because I had two babies. Toby said ‘but mama, you only had one baby – Noah’. I then asked him “then where do you think you came from?’. He quickly answered, laughing, ‘I am too big to fit in your tummy’.

Happy Birthday Noah

Noah turned 2 last week. He was very spoilt and had a lovely day. Thank you to all my wonderful relatives and the ladies at the Muki Treff in Aarau. He is now official allowed to be a ‘terrible two’, although, he has been a bit terrible before turning 2 anyway, saying lots of ‘I not’ and ‘No’. But we love him heaps and are so thankful for these two precious years of having him in our family.

Jugendfest

the-massive-ferris-wheel cute-kids-all-dressed-and-white-and-flowered-up gorgeous-girls

Having an incredible day celebrating summer and the start of holidays with all of Aarau. Went to the Maienzug this morning and watched the parade. Then coffee in the Altstadt with Marianne, Grosi, 2 New Zealanders and an Aussie! Then down to the fair ground for a ride on a ferris wheel and bratwurst. Out again tonight (when the kids are in bed!) to party on with some Swiss rap, rock and disco bands.

Also went into the church where I was baptised as a wee babe. So cool to see. Beautiful old church.

Here are some photos:

for-you-dad-the-best-ever-oberentfelden-band the-clan-by-the-fountain

the-boys-having-funtain boys-having-more-funtain boys-driving-round-and-around-again-and-again

hopping-on-the-ferris-wheel standing-next-to-the-fount-in-church-where-i-was-baptised

2 New Zealanders and an Aussie

Yay, Melissa and Simon arrived safely from New Zealand this morning.  So cool to see them.  And Alana is arriving in Zurich by train (from her travels in Vienna, Salzburg and Munich).  Daniel is bringing her to Oberentfelden at this moment.  Awesome.

Off to Aarau Jugendfest tomorrow, kind of end of school year, beginning of summer holidays celebration. It is an annual parade of school kids dressed all in white, all the fountains decorated with beautiful flowers, music, dancing, food, rides, ferris wheels and partying all night.  Hope these crazy (and impressive) thunderstorms go away by then.  Nice to have a bit of a break from the heat though.

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

In Hong Kong airport

Just a quick post from Hong Kong airport, courtesy of PCCW’s free Wifi, written on my E90.

The camera-purchasing adventure came to an end this morning when it became apparent that the cheap-as 450D prices were simply a lure to get me to spend more money on better lenses and to get a better model. None of the shops promising cheap prices actually had any stock, and for some reason the “warehouse was closed today”.

The shops that did have stock seemed to have less persuasive staff and more realistic prices; i.e. they were comparitive with the parallel import prices in New Zealand.

So I remain without camera (except for my current digital compact, the venerable Canon Powershot S50).

The boys are really tired, but are having a ball on the playground at gate 23 here in the departure lounge.

We’ve still got three hours to kill before we board, so are hoping the wee chaps will soon wear themselves out and have a sleep. We seem to be travelling very well, so are quite grateful.

Catch you later!

We’re in Hong Kong!

I love Hong Kong!

We arrived in Hong Kong early this morning, and after a mini-van trip to our hotel, we’ve pretty much been resting, exploring a little around the hotel, and basically taking it easy. The boys are very tired, and slept through dinner tonight, although they’ve both been really great to travel with.

I’m very impressed with the friendliness and quality of service we’ve experienced here in Kowloon. We had dinner at The Spaghetti House, just around the corner from our Hotel, Holiday Inn, Golden Mile.

A couple of photos I’ve snapped on my new Nokia E90:

Looking for a camera

So I’ve always had a hankering for a Digital SLR. I’ve had my eye on either the Canon EOS 400D (Digital Rebel XTi / Kiss X Digital) or the Canon EOS 450D (Digital Rebel XSi / Kiss X2 Digital). I’d tried to do a little research on prices before I left, and had determined that they were cheaper in Hong Kong than in New Zealand. But a short walk down Nathan Road
found several retailers selling the 400D and 450D for seriously cheap prices, e.g. $3800HKD for the 400D with lens kit – that’s $637NZD. The cheapest parallel import 400D kit in New Zealand is about $879NZD.

Being rather cautious, I went back to the Hotel, found some WiFi and did a bit more research. I found Roland Lim’s post on camera shopping in Hong Kong, and he recommended Echo Photo & Audio on Hankow Road, which was just around the corner from our hotel. I talked to the chap there and he had neither the 400D nor the 450D in stock, but had a price of $4500HKD for the 400D. When I asked why the guys on Nathan Road were much cheaper, he said a couple of things; firstly that the units they sell were sometimes Canon factory seconds, and secondly that they’d would try their darnedest to up-sell you, so if you know what you want, stick to it and don’t be swayed.

So while the “gray market” sales are heaps cheaper, they may be of dubious quality, and most probably won’t have any sort of warranty. And yet the genuine official retail units are still about as cheap as parallel imported units are in New Zealand.

So, I’ve not bought anything yet, but I have a few more places to check out tomorrow – Tin Cheung Camera on Carnarvon Road, and a couple of other places, as per Roland’s recommendation.
Anyway, enough camera talk – it’s time for bed.

We’re flying out to Zurich late tommorrow night – until next time, bye!

One more sleep!

So we’re finally packing our bags. The reality of it all is starting to sink in. I think the boys are feeling it, too. They’re a little unsettled, watching all their stuff getting stuffed into suitcases.

Thank you to everyone who came to say “bye!” last night; we’re going to miss you all lots!

Perhaps my next post will be from Hong Kong or Switzerland?