Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Circle Around

According to DailyWritingTips.com the idiom 'circle around' means "to move in a circular motion to engage in reconnaissance or to figuratively evaluate a situation." I feel like that is what we have been doing since moving to Switzerland - engaging in reconnaissance as we evaluate our situation.

As we've been circling around we have encountered many circles! I'm not sure why, but the following random round objects caught my eye...enough that I took pictures of them and wrote the circle inspired poem below. Enjoy!
Mall corridor in Zug.
At Transportation Museum in Luzern.

Ceiling of Zurich Bahnhof.
From Dots of Happiness room at the Chocolarium.

Sculpture in front of Roche.
World sculpture in Zug.

Freaky store display in Zug.
'Chocolate' ceiling in Chocolarium.
And an All American Apple Pie made in a Swiss Kitchen.


©2017, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Danke Day in die Schweiz

In my unique Bridgeutsche way, I wish you all a "Guten Danke Tag!" in honor of Thanksgiving.

As a family we've been very nontraditional (and creative, in my humble opinion) in how we have celebrated this holiday in the past. In fact for the last two years we have had Turkey Taco Thanksgivings instead of the traditional bird and all the fixings.

Now that we live in Switzerland, our celebration has had to become even more creative because, well, they don't do Thanksgiving here. The fourth Thursday in November is just like any other Thursday - no days off. There are no Black Friday sales. And unless you want to pay big bucks (~24CHF/kilo) and order from a butcher weeks in advance, there is no turkey. The closest thing I could find to Tom Turkey in the regular grocery store was his fowl cousin, Chad Chicken:

Besides, the standard Swiss ovens are not even big enough to cook an average size US turkey.

And since we are not big on the traditional foods of Thanksgiving, we weren't too worried about not getting a turkey. But Maureen wanted something quintessential American to mark the holiday. She wanted In and Out Burger. But alas, Switzerland doesn't have In and Out, but they do have:
This is what we had to settle for...which made Mo happy.

Because, really, how could we say no to this sweet face?
Do you like her new glasses?

So here we are celebrating Thanksgiving in the most American way we could find in Switzerland:
Gobble-gobbling down burgers!

We are thankful for each and every one of our family members, friends, and Wee Word readers.

thankful for our
whopper celebration
she got it her way
©2017, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ssswwweeet! Part 1

It has been said (and it is very true!) that Switzerland is the land of chocolate...and by extension, chocolate factories. And being a family that fully appreciates the blessings bestowed upon us, Joe, Mo and I have begun to investigate the many wonders of these delightful facilities...for the manufacturing processes, of course! Joe is an engineer after all. : )

Luckily, we didn't need a golden ticket and there weren't any creepy orange oompa-loompas or Johnny Depps lurking about when we visited Maestrani's Chocolarium just outside Zurich.

The tour began with an inspirational quote (that carried over to today's poem) :

and a sweet seat:

We experienced the chocolate making process from 'milking the cows':
Udderly hard work!

To sugar beet explanations: 
Makes your teeth hurt, doesn't it?

Then on to where the magic happens:
...I see you!

Unfortunately they wouldn't let us take pictures of the manufacturing floor - secrets and stuff, but believe me, Joe was drooling. Well, maybe he was mostly drooling because just about every 5 feet there were chocolate samples provided for your tasting pleasure:
Not one...
...not two...

...but SIX sample stations where you can taste as much chocolate as you want!

But what really got Joe's mouth watering was the chocolate fountain room. There were three fountains: dark chocolate, white chocolate and milk chocolate. And we were in the room...alone. You'd have thought Joe had died and gone to heaven! It was hard to get him to move on...

...sample some more.
Repeat x 20!

Next we headed to the Dots of Happy Wishes room:
How we feel, dear reader.

Then we got to make our own chocolate bar. Maureen and Joe collaborated on a dark chocolate delight for themselves, and I made a special bar for someone back in the US who needs a little sweet boost:
Made with love!

The tour ended on a poetic note:

I'm with von Goethe, no one should embark on any journey without chocolate. What would be the point?

Writing Assistance

chocolate bits
direct my creativity -
happiness is my path

©2017, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Stay tuned for Ssswwweeet Part 2! 

And it seems there was a bit of a glitch with Blogger last week. Many of you may not have received my post Duolingo Says What? because not all of the emails went out. Check it out if you missed it.  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Switzerland from a Different Angle - Smidgey

Moving across the world was a big decision. We had to take many factors into consideration - not the least of which was how this move would affect our dog, Smidgey.

Would she have to be quarantined?

Would she need a lot of vaccines/medication?
Just a rabies booster and an EU microchip.

Could she travel with us?
No, but the company provided a pet transport service.

Today, I thought I'd give our littlest, furriest member of the family a chance to speak...so to speak.

Smidgey on her throne.

Me (Bridget/Dog Mom): What was your first impression of Switzerland when you arrived in August?

Smidgey: Barkity-bark-bark-yip? Woof bark woof bark. Yip yip, woof woof, ruff YAP-PITY YAP!*

*translation: We live in Switzerland? Huh, I was wondering why I hadn't seen any cacti or snakes. Mostly I remember you were with me and then you weren't and then YOU WERE!

 Me:  Now that you've been here 3 1/2 months, have your impressions changed? How?

Smidgey: Bark-bark, yip? Woof woofity-woof ruff. Yippity-yap-yip. Yap-yap-yip?*

*translation: Has it been that long? You haven't disappeared again so I am happy. In fact you take me on the train in my nifty roller box. But, what's with the dog sweaters?

Roller dog = stroller dog.
Her eyes say it all.

Me: What are the things you like most about living in Switzerland so far?

Smidgey: Yip, yap, yippity-yap. Ruff, barkity-bark-bark-bark.*

*translation: You, dad, and Maureen. Also, I really like all the walks you take me on because of the grass and the smells and the food I find on the sidewalk.

Cuddle time!
Man's best friend...depending on the day.
Me: What things don't you like about living in Switzerland?

Smidgey: Yappity-yip-yap woof bark bark. Ruff, YIPYIPYIPYIP! YAAAAAAAAAAAP!*

*translation:  I miss Colleen and my nephew, Loki.
And, I hate electric cow fences! OOOOOOOUCH!

Who has the bed now?

Me: What part of this transition has been the hardest?

Smidgey: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!*

*translation: Don't bug me, I'm sleeping. 
Cocoon dog.

I guess that concludes our interview with Smidgey. She has a ruff rough life, doesn't she?

Here is my poem celebrating Smidgey's unique Rat Terrier nature:

with only two modes
turbo-speed or asleep
Smidge is either a lump
or taking a flying leap 

©2017, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Duolingo Says What?

As I have mentioned in other  posts, learning German has been a gargantuan bit of a challenge since moving to Switzerland.

Joe, Maureen and I are all taking German classes, und wir lernen mehr und mehr.* In addition to our formal instruction, we have also been utilizing other strategies to survive get along in a country where we don't speak the language(s).

*and we are learning more and more.

One strategy we are utilizing is 'reading' children's books in German:
It IS normal to read kid's books.

Another strategy is to plan out what we want to say at the Post Office or at the grocery store and then looking up the phrases on Google Translate or LEO:
Close enough...
One tool that all three of us find very helpful for learning basic German is Duolingo. It is not lesson based, but it is a wonderful app for practicing speaking, sentence structure, and a ton of vocabulary.

And it can be quite humorous:
Is that all?
How do we know it's green?

Sometimes it is helpful:
Very true in Switzerland!
And sometimes it is not so helpful (if you want to keep your job):
Inappropriate in any context.

Some sentences are romantic...and unromantic:
...and my warm feelings are gone.

But I think the funniest sentences I've gotten on Duolingo were these two in the same lesson:
How I feel sometimes.
My daily mantra as I learn German.

My poem is in appreciation for the happy *ding!* I get when I answer correctly on Duolingo:

each correct answer
brings me closer
to understan -ding
©2017, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.