Just Another Thursday in November

As most of you know, this past week Thanksgiving was celebrated in the United States.

In Switzerland, it was just another Thursday in November.

As Americans living abroad we couldn't let the holiday pass without a nod to what makes America great, being a country of immigrants. And as we are living an immigrant experience ourselves, we wanted to eat something that we missed the most from America - Mexican food!

So last Thursday we went to Zurich for our Thanksgiving meal. On the train we warmed up for the main meal with a 'traditional' starter course:

These chips are made by a British company and sold in a German-owned grocery story in Switzerland! How's that for multi-national?

After our tasty starter, we ended up at the only Mexican restaurant we've been to in Switzerland that we'd return to, La Taqueria in Zurich.

*Stay tuned for a story about our first 'Swixican" experience below.

Frosty night in Zurich. (That's my, "Just take the picture!" face.)

It was a logical choice as we have never really been fans of traditional turkey with all the fixings (much to Colleen's chagrin over the years), and these foods are hard to come by here and are very expensive (even by Swiss standards).

But then again, Mexican food is also hard to come by and is very expensive in Switzerland. Go figure?

Can you imagine these prices in the US?

But our meal was worth the time and the expense because no other food reminds us more of home than Mexican food. Actually, if you think about it, our meal was a quintessential Thanksgiving experience since we ordered our food in another language and expressed our thankfulness in our own language while eating food foreign to the host country - just like the first Thanksgiving celebrants! An immigrant experience if there ever was one.

No blog post about food is complete without pictures of our food:
My California burrito.
Mo's taquitos.
And Joe's chicken burrito.

The burritos were accompanied by a side of a few chips and cold, red cabbage. They almost got it right.

Speaking of sides, or at least the other side of the world, politics played a part in the holiday when we saw this picture propped up in front of the cash register:
We understand the sentiment.

*As promised above, here is the story about our first 'Swixican' meal. When we arrived at the end of July 2017 we were put up in a little hotel in the village of Sins, one canton over from Zug. Being that we were in a hotel, we couldn't cook, so we had to eat out. One night we went to a restaurant down the road called Mexicana. Safe bet for Mexican food, right? Well, no. First off, the 'beans' in our burritos were kidney beans and green beans! There was not a pinto bean or black bean in sight, refried or otherwise! And instead of rice and beans on the side, the plate was covered with Swiss potatoes. And for this culinary treat, we paid about 150CHF. It has taken me more than a year to talk about the trauma of this dining experience.

Today's poem shows that it doesn't matter what's on the Thanksgiving menu as long as you are thankful.

with burritos
that cost many Francs
we non-traditionally
gave our thanks
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

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My Dog Hijacked My Blog

Dear Wee Words for Wee Ones Readers,

Smidgey here. This week I'VE taken over mom's keyboard. Woof.

It's not like she's using it much these days anyway as SHE'S NEVER HOME ANYMORE. Boo-hoo-aroo!

She's actually not gone ALL the time, but it sure feels like it. Yip-yip! Mom used to be my special buddy. She fed me. She worked on her computer while I 'helped' (sat on her feet). Between her comings and goings, she ALWAYS took me on a loooong midday walk. But no more...aaaa-rrroooo!

At first I was pretty mad at her. Grrr.

Now I just mope around the house trying to find things to do. Arf.

Should I jump up here and see if there are any crumbs?

Or here? Something smells good...

One day I jumped up HERE and did my business. Not because I had to go particularly bad, but because I was MAD.

BTW, it was only #1, but you would have thought it was #2 because dad was ANGRY! Whimmmmmmper.

I know I shouldn't have, but I had to let them know that I am NOT happy with this new life situation. They moved me and mom abandoned me. All. In. The. Same. Week.

But now that it has been a couple of weeks, I realize life isn't as terrible as I thought. Woof.

Dad comes home in the middle of the day once in a while (apparently his work is really close to this new place) to let me 'relieve' myself (not on his bed).

And Mo gets home much earlier than she used to! I overheard them talking about how her school is really close, too. This makes me happy.

See my grin?

The only one not close is Mom. But she still always feeds me in the morning and she makes it a point to take me on looooong walks on the weekends - even when Dad wants to go home early. She's good like that. Yip-yip.

My life has changed, but it is not all bad. I've still got my rawhide and my comfy pillow and red blanket.
I'm pretty adept at selfies, aren't I?

And now I have time for writing poetry! Yappity yap-yap! Check out my latest poem below.

Bis später, (I even have time to learn German!)
Smidgey đź’—

home alone
too much time on my paws
peed on a bed
dad angry with just cause
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Hairy Expense

Hair. We all have it (or know someone who does). And periodically it needs to be cut. For a woman to get a professional haircut here in Kanton Zug she must plan to pay a pretty penny. I checked out local salon prices and nearly gagged at the numbers:

wash, cut, blow dry - 94CHF

just a wash and blow dry - 50CHF

dyed highlights - 90 to 160 CHF

Frankly, I can't pay these prices on principle. So how do I manage to maintain my oh so (cough, cough) stylish do?

I'm lucky enough to have my own personal hair stylist, Joe-ay!

He does a fantastic job and the price is right! And for the color:
$10 a box imported via very kind relatives from the US

For men, a hair cut is still pretty expensive. Last year Joe went to a barber shop and ended up paying 40CHF for his hair cut. That never happened again. That's when my hair cutting skills were cultivated. Who knew wielding clippers could be so fun. Unfortunately I do not have photographic evidence as our resident photographer (Mo) was not home the last time I cut Joe's hair. But trust me, I enjoy the process. (Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!)

Hair cutting is not the only area of one's budget that gets stretched when you live here in Switzerland. Hidden costs lurk in the most mundane of places. Like moving.

If you are a regular reader of my blog you know that we recently moved. And as expected, our move came with various expenses - some expected and some unexpected. Since living here we've come to accept the fact that expenses and Switzerland are somewhat synonymous, but the two bills that came last week even took us by surprise.

One bill was from the Gemeinde (local community) office in the city of Zug, where we moved from. It was for 76CHF:

They literally charged us to move out of the city.

Then we received another bill from the Gemeinde office in the city of HĂĽnenberg, where we live now. It was for 60CHF:

This time we were charged to move into the city. Actually I'm not exactly sure what service was provided or what we purchased that warranted these bills, but we can't get too uptight about it as it costs what it costs to live here in Switzerland.

Today's poem is provided at no cost to you - a rarity here in Switzerland.
at a shop
cut costs a lot
but at home
cheap coiffed dome
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Busy Bees (on multiple levels)

As I mentioned last week, we moved. We went from a furnished corporate flat to an unfurnished flat of our own choosing. We've been busy buying furniture, unpacking boxes, and building furniture (well, Joe has been busy doing the building).

Lots of boxes.
Notice the lack of furniture?

One thing we found in the new flat that we've never seen in all our years of moving within the US is that there are NO lights when you move in. NONE.

When we moved into our flat this is what the ceiling looked like - in 11 places!
A hole in ceiling with electrical wires hanging out - some of which were unprotected.

So we got busy and headed off to Brockenhaus (local thrift store) to buy lights. Here is one (of many) funky ones we bought:

Joe put it up in the hallway:

Pretty cool, huh? And when we move out, we will take all 11 ceiling light with us.

The best (and worst) part of moving into an unfurnished flat is picking out furniture. Joe and Maureen picked out a new custom couch last weekend, but it won't be delivered for 8 to 12 weeks! In the meantime we just have a tiny two-seater couch that seats, well, two.
But there are three of us. So we got busy again and headed off to Brockenhaus to get a cheap, used chair so all three of us have a place to sit until our new bigger couch gets delivered.
We found this gem:

But then came the quandary of getting it home without a car. No problem, Joe just carried it on the train and had his own personal seat by the door.
It was only a little embarrassing.

Well, if moving wasn't keeping us busy enough, Smidgey made sure we made time for her. On our walk we stumbled upon a caravan trailer behind some bushes that was buzzing. Literally. The trailer was full of bee hives.
Can you see it hiding?

Multi color compartments for the hives.

Upon closer inspection, we found the honey bees to be very busy:

It was a 'sweet' find.

Today I have a riddle poem about one of Mr. Honey Bee's cousins. Can you figure out who he is? Tell me in the comments.

I should not be able to fly 
but I sure can.
They say my body is too fat 

for my wingspan.
I'm stylish with fuzzy 

yellow and black stripes.
I also have an amazing 

set of pipes.

Who am I?

©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.