Raclette Party

IMG_0894So, yeah. We knew we were going to have to buy a raclette machine for our house, and we ordered one with Christmas money (thanks Mom and Dad!), and it arrived last week. We didn’t buy one in Switzerland for several reasons. Mainly because it is very heavy. Also mainly because the European ones work on 240 volts. Also mainly because they are probably more expensive there.

With friends coming over for dinner, it seemed the perfect time to try it out. I waited too long to buy raclette cheese at Trader Joe’s. I learned that it is a seasonal item, out around Thanksgiving and gone by now. No worries, the Cheese Cave in Claremont carries it, and they will slice it for you. That’s a good thing since I don’t have that kind of slicer in my kitchen.

It’s fun to share our new traditions with friends, and we plan to have more raclette parties.

 

The Beauty of Switzerland on Instagram

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I came across this post on Newly Swissed yesterday which highlights 13 Instagram Feeds featuring stunning photos of Switzerland. Immediately I went to their feeds and started following them so that I can 1) remember the natural beauty of Switzerland 2) get ideas about where we should go when we return.

Even if you don’t have an Instagram account, I think you can click on each group of photos to see the feed.

Coming Out Even

IMG_3506We finally got the email we were waiting for regarding our security deposit for our Swiss flat. We’ve been home for seven weeks, so I don’t think Swiss efficiency is everything it is cracked up to be. That’s okay, though. When we signed up for health care, they patiently waited for our first payment until we opened up our Post Account.

And so…. here are the results.

The email from our property manager said, “You have left the apartment in very good shape and there will be only a deduction of CHF 23.15 for the bill from the laundry. Thank you for that!”

Yay for us!

Riding the Bus in So. Cal

Part Three of What I Will Miss was Trains! Trams! IMG_6443Now I am home, I am missing the trains and trams. It is well known that Californians have an everlasting love affair with their vehicles. It is not easy to get many places on the Metrolink light rail or by bus, but on Saturday we actually did take the bus.

After buying discount tickets to the LA County Fair for $12, we found out that parking costs $15. A little internet research steered us away from the Metrolink ($10 per person for a weekend day pass), but it turns out that the bus is ONLY $1.25 one way! Less than a cup of coffee, glampers. And it is only 50 cents for senior citizens. Exact change only, please.

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I knew there was a bus stop across from the Claremont train station, and without transferring, the number 197 takes riders right to Gate 1 of the Pomona Fairplex. On the weekends the bus runs once every hour, but on weekdays it comes by every half hour.

We were not exactly sure where to disembark, but the bus driver was quite helpful, as well as a few of our fellow riders.

I would definitely consider taking the bus again.

New Blog

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 7.37.50 AMPerhaps this blog has one or two more posts left, but now that I have been steeped in life back home for over a month, I have started a new blog called Claremontography which you can read here.

My About page reads thus:

Those of us who live in the southern California town of Claremont know what a gem of a community this is. Originally a railroad stop on the Santa Fe line in the 1880s, the first industries of citrus and education created an environment for the growth of a diverse population. The photos and stories which will appear in Claremontography aim to highlight some of what makes this small city unique.

Of course, when my wanderlust kicks in, the scope of this blog will extend to other locales throughout Southern California, the United States and the world.

Nostalgia

This weekend has brought me a wave of Heimweh and nostalgia for Switzerland. I was never homesick for California during our sabbatical, but I suppose that is because I knew I would be back within the year. At this point, I don’t know when we will see Zürich again. We will, I am sure, but I don’t know when.

IMG_6302Then this blog post from Newly Swissed popped up: 17 Nostalgic Signs of #GrowingUpSwiss. While most of the signs were foreign to me (although they have American counterparts), I smiled at the Migros Chocolate Popcicles which we ate during this past hot, hot summer. They were just like the ones I ate as a kid, but smaller.

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If you scroll down the list there is picture of a boy holding a cow bell, and that is from a story called A Bell for Ursli. One of my friends gave me a mini copy of this book when we left as a small remembrance. The author is a popular classic Swiss children’s writer.

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Speaking German in California

Part Eight of What I Will Miss was speakingIMG_6439
and hearing German, and I wrote that I looked forward to German Table at Pomona College. This is where we practiced, once a week, before we headed to Switzerland. I was curious as to whether our conversational skills had improved. I know for sure that our comprehension had increased, and now, after our first day back at the table, I think that our speaking skills have also gotten better. Our endings are still schrecklich, but not quite as bad as before. I think those will take many years to improve.

Trivia for the day. One of the writers for Star Trek: The Next Generation went to Pomona College. This language dorm, Oldenborg, was the naming inspiration for the dreaded Borg with its maze-like halls.