Sometimes (OK, lots of times) Baffled in Basel

I never know what I’m doing here, but one of the perks about plucking yourself out of your normal routine and plopping yourself down in unfamiliar territory, is that you can immediately feel OK about not knowing what you are doing. Living abroad can be confusing (and embarrassing), but it is also comforting to know that it’s not (all) just me being ridiculous. Sometimes I think I could write a book about how to embarrass yourself abroad, but then I realize that for me it would simply be one instruction: walk outside. Here are a few examples of me doing just that. Continue reading

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Swimming in Thermal Baths: Heavenly or Hot Mess?

Going to a thermal bath/pool was at the top of my list of ‘Switzerland Goals’ this year, and it overlapped quite nicely with our girls’ constant drive to find a pool. Finally, in Locarno near the Swiss border with Italy, I found my opportunity. Even though it was February, the pool was warm (a terrific 95 degrees F), and you could swim to both indoor and outdoor sections of the same pool. The outdoor part had an *amazing* view of Lake Maggiore and the nearby mountains of both Switzerland and Italy. It was the perfect thing to do on a February afternoon that was a bit too cold to spend outside. What I didn’t realize is that what I thought of as the perfect confluence of relaxation and fun, turns out to be my husband’s own personal hell. In retrospect, I can see where our paths diverged.

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Guest Blog: H takes over for a post

IMG_4071The following was dictated to me by H, she is four years old and her attention span is four words long. She giggled constantly through the post and insisted I share it. This might be a terrible idea, but hopefully the reader might relate to trying to work on a laptop near a small, attention-seeking child who is sometimes homesick and is mostly into fart jokes. Some things stay the same no matter where we are in the world. Continue reading

Cheese and the Apostles

“Mommy, talk about cheese.” H (3) asks as we pass a quaint church with cows on the train up to the mountains.

“Well, let’s see…where to start?” I then launch into a twenty-minute ramble about rain, and grass, and cows, and milk, and pectin, and salt, and cheese robots, and aging, and then shipping it to Costco. She listens patiently, prompting me to continue on after each section with a cute “Say the next part, Mommy.”

When I finally say that is all I know about cheese, she asks “But what about the part where they kill him?” Continue reading

The Tippy Top

On a day threatening to rain we thought we’d stay (relatively) close to home and explore Basel a bit. We first went to find my work on public transportation so that on my first day I wouldn’t arrive two hours late after being overtaken by tram-pirates (I have not heard that is a thing, but I imagine it might be, and so am now worried about it, which is totally normal). We found work without incident but it was closed, which makes sense since it was a Swiss holiday. (Whit Monday; apparently that is a thing, but I don’t know enough to worry about it. Perhaps that is when pirates take the day off to plan their next tram attack? OK, now I’m worried.) Continue reading