Thursday, November 28, 2019

Poetry Friday: Thankful From Afar


I am thankful to be hosting Poetry Friday this week. What is Poetry Friday you may ask? Click here for a great explanation. I've been a member of this community for a number of years, but have been a bit irregular in my participation the past 2+ years because I moved...

Herzlich Willkommen in der Schweiz! (Warm welcome to Switzerland!)
Thank you for coming to my home in Hünenberg See, Switzerland for Poetry Friday this week. I am happy you are here. 😀

Swiss chocolate and Swiss cheese at its source.













Happy (belated) Thanksgiving! Being an expat in Switzerland has brought a new appreciation for a lot of things I took for granted in the United States. (Not the least of which is the English language!) Thanksgiving has always been a holiday that I frankly was not that fond of in the past. Many years have been celebrated by eating Turkey Tacos (much to the chagrin of my eldest daughter). But now that I live abroad and the fourth Thursday in November is just like any other day, I long for a traditional Thanksgiving with family, turkey, and days off.

I miss my US based family all year long, but most especially on holidays. Since we couldn't do much about celebrating with them this year, we did invite our downstairs' neighbors to a traditional American Thanksgiving for tomorrow, Saturday.

This invitation is ending up to be a pretty big undertaking. First off, our neighbors are German, from Berlin, and we will be sitting around the Thanksgiving table speaking only German. We know more Deutsch than they know English! It will take our language learning to the next level!

Then there is the food. Finding a turkey is no easy task in Switzerland. Turkeys are native to the Americas, not Europe. As such they are quite expensive when you do find them. If you go organic, you really pay for it.













(The exchange rate right now is $1 = CHF1)

We were able to find an affordable-ish bird locally, but it is not organic nor fresh.

Saturday night's dinner!

Hopefully 2.8kg will feed all 5 of us!





Generally speaking, the turkeys here in Switzerland are smaller than the American birds. One reason for this is the ovens here are generally smaller. A common US oven is 30 inches while a Swiss oven is only 23.6 inches. Smaller ovens necessitate smaller birds.

Now if you are not interested in cooking your turkey yourself, there is a local service, Truthahn Taxi (Turkey Taxi), that will deliver a cooked turkey dinner to your home.











You can tell that they cater to expats as their menu is in English, but the prices are definitely Swiss.

















Needless to say, I couldn't get my husband on board with this Taxi service. Maybe next year there will be a cheaper Truthahn über service. (See what I did there?)

So far our hunt for cranberry sauce has been fruitless. (I did it again!) But the potatoes for mashing, gravy, green bean casserole, and pie ingredients have all been purchased. Now we just have a Saturday of cooking ahead of us!

And finally being in Switzerland at Thanksgiving makes you notice the severe absence of a 4-day weekend. Again, it's just another Thursday in November.

But today is no normal Friday, it's Black Friday! The Swiss do Black Friday in a big way. And interestingly enough, the Black Friday sales advertisements are in English. (Nicht schwarz Freitag.) Too bad we don't get the day off to shop though...

Today's poem is about an unlucky turkey whose relocation efforts defeated her on a certain Thursday in November.

There once was a turkey named Dot,
A new life in Europe she sought.
She got her way
Until Thanksgiving day
Then sadly ended up in a pot.
©2019, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Switching gears from an unfortunate turkey to our good fortune of
being gathered together in our shared love of poetry on this 
Thanksgiving weekend. Have you ever celebrated a holiday abroad 
in a country/culture where it was not acknowledged? What did you 
miss the most? Let me know in the comments. 

And be sure to leave a link to your Poetry Friday post below.

Thankfully yours,
Bridget


Sunday, November 3, 2019

A Week In The Life

I hope all is well in your neck of the woods. My apologies for being away from my blog for a bit, but I was in another neck of the woods a long way away from Switzerland.

I was in San Diego, California! Visiting this cutie:
The amazing young woman, not the bird.

Colleeny, animal conservation educator and daughter extraordinaire.


















And these cuties:

Loki!
And Odin...or is it Thor? I can't tell them apart and I didn't manage to get a picture of both of them.






Of course, while I was there the region was in the midst of a heatwave.

None the less, the trip started on my birthday, but I was bringing a gift to Colleen - her favorite Swiss bakery bread.
Joe proudly showing the loaf.














Unfortunately, the loaf didn't fair well.
It came out of the suitcase literally half the thickness of how it went in.









But this birthday greeting was waiting for me at the airport.

She giveth...
...I receiveth.

Once in CA, I got to visit all of the places in Colleen's neck of the woods. One of those includes the wilds of the Safari Park where she works. I had the amazing opportunity to get up close and personal with these fellas:


Hello, friends!
I even got to feed a giraffe...but it bit me!

This is right after the giraffe bit my finger!
It even drew blood!












I think it was (my) human error. But Colleen was an expert.


Thank goodness for experts!

The adventure didn't end there. Colleen had to work on a couple of days, but I got some writing done while overlooking these amazing views:

Unicorns are REAL!

No hiding from me!
So cool!

But the Safari Park is not the only neck of woods I got to visit with Colleen.
We went to the beach.

Sweetie Loki photo bombed us! JK, we actually took the selfie with him.
And to the Scripps Aquarium.

Fishies!
Teeter-totter FUN!
And overlooking La Jolla!





















(Never have I been involved in so many selfie moments!)

But our neck of the woods adventures weren't just dictated by location, there was also the eating across cultures adventure. We had Mexican food, Chinese, Italian (pizza), and Korean!

Korean BBQ is...
...a lot of food!











But I wasn't the only one having fun on fall break. Maureen and Joe had their own adventure in London!
They are into selfies, too!
A real bridge supporter!










Before I knew it, it was time to go home. Sad to say goodbye to my Colleen, but luckily it is simply, "see you later". 

 Landing in Zurich on Sunday night safe and sound and then off to work the next morning.

 Today's poem is about when your children grow up, sometime you have your heart in two places at once:

visiting
adult child
intercontinental 
love affair
©2019, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.



Monday, October 14, 2019

Out After Dark...Redux!

redux: adjective
1. brought back
2. revived

Last week's post needs to be brought back and revived. Someone was missing from the party...

In last week's post I shared our close encounters 'Out After Dark' with a snake, a hedgehog, and a demon-eyed dog.

Then this week this hanger-on showed up on the light post outside our building! Welcome to the party, Spidey!
 
Don't the markings on the underside of the body look like a face?





















With the flash reflecting off the bushes.
From the 'front' side.



He/she is well fed. I wish we had an object of comparison in the picture, but it is a little bigger than a quarter (including its hairy legs and fat body). Big enough that Maureen gives it a WIDE berth when going past the light post.

Today's poem is Spidey's perspective on being included in this redux blog post. Read at your own risk:

Sheesh,
there they are again.
Those two-eyed
two-legged
noisy
nosy 
GIANTS
tromping around my web
like they live here!

Excuse me,
you don't see me going into 
THEIR homes...
OK, so you see me 
once I get inside,
but that's another story.

Back to the problem
at hand...
and I have NO hands!
These GIANTS and
their black rectangles
flash me with a
bright light and it
disrupts my dinnertime 
and life.

I know, 
if I move real fast 
like this...

"EEEEEK!"

Works every time. Hee - hee...

©2019, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Out After Dark

When we lived in Arizona we had many run-ins with snakes - mostly in the daylight.
One of the many I saw on my trail runs.


















When we moved here to Switzerland I thought we left the risk of running into a snake behind - day or night.

I was wrong.

This past week Joe and Smidgey encountered this fella right outside our apartment building while out for Smidgey's pre-bedtime walk.

Snake photos by Joe.
Out for an evening stroll...uh, I mean slither.

We've tried to identify him (or her) but to no avail. There are snakes native to Switzerland, including two that are venomous, but none look like this critter. Perhaps a pet who escaped? We're not sure. It was gone by morning.

Another evening last week, while walking Smidgey once again, we encountered a very different critter:
A hedgehog! See his cute face?
















Smidgey wanted to be "friends" with this prickle ball.
















Hedgehogs do not seem to be the 'brightest bulbs' so to speak. This fella let Maureen get right up next to it so we could take these pictures. Credit where credit is due: photos courtesy of Maureen.

And then there is this critter seen in the night:
Spookiest of all!





















they slither
they prickle
they scare us with their eyes

after dark
WATCH OUT
they might give you a surprise!
©2019, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Chocoholics or Just Lucky?

In my opinion, we are very lucky to live in the land of chocolate abundance. And even luckier that we get to take advantage of this sweet Swiss cultural phenomenon of visiting chocolate factories periodically.

(We don't have a problem, really. 😋)

Recently we visited our fifth chocolate factory, and I can honestly say, eating Swiss chocolate and seeing how it is made never gets old. Each visit gets me more in touch with my sweet side. (And a little nuttier each time.)

Jazz hands!





















(For the record, there is an adorable picture of Maureen in her own chocolate costumed glory, but she forbade me to include it. Maybe you can coerce her yourself...)

This time we went to the Frey chocolate factory in Buchs, about an hour by train/bus from our house. One of the specialties of this chocolate factory is their line of Easter chocolates.
Somebunny looks shocked!






















The thing that set this chocolate factory apart from some of the other ones we've visited was the "Virtual Tour Guides".







































We wore headsets and scanned a QR code at various screens throughout the factory. You set the language at the onset so you could understand your "guide". It was a nice way to self pace your way through the chocolate making journey of this particular brand.

The tour culminates in a tasting room, where you can sample as many Frey Chocolates as you want. Let's just say Joe got his money's worth.

Complete with a chocolate fountain.

All around it was another good day to live in the land of chocolate. I even wore my "tasty" shirt for our tour.

Me and my bunny buddy.














And we ended up with a few bars to bring to the US for gifts - this is one of the most affordable factories and Swiss chocolates yet!
A tasty collection.













When you come to visit us here in Switzerland, we'll take you on your own chocolate journey - pick your factory. You can even borrow my shirt. :)

Today's poem is actually a throwback to one I wrote last year. Sometimes I get it poetically right the first time - why mess with what still rings true?

In Switzerland,
chocolate is brown gold.
Putting it in our faces,
never gets old.
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.