Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

It is SNOWING !!!

We noticed just before we put the kids to bed that it has started to snow, big fluffy flakes.
 
The kids are bound to be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow.
 
Now I need to go into the cellar and sort out the boxes that we have not unpacked. Somewhere in one of the boxes are the kids’ snowsuits.
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Baby Plage

We visited the fabulous Baby Plage today, the kids had a great time. The playarea is made of tyres and is not a typical Swiss play area. You do have to be careful with as there are no safety nets.

In the summer you can buy a coffee in the little kiosk cafe right next to the play area. In winter the cafe is not there so we took a flask of coffee and one of hot chocolate for the kids.

We are off to the neighbours for a glass of wine now, to warm ourselves up after our couple of hours in the cold.

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Shameless Mummy-Boast

DD had the results of her first test in school, Evaluation de Mathematique. We were delighted to see that she got 37 out of a possible 41 points. Considering that she has only been at the school for a month and the lessons are in French, that is absolutely fantastic and we are very proud of her.

They really do take recycling seriously here in Switzerland

There is a recycling bin for coffee capsules in Carouge

 
 
 
 
 
 

DD hat ein Wackelzahn…

… endlich!

In Germany the wobbling of the first tooth tends to coincide with the start of school, so it is an important rite of passage. They call the pre-schoolers the “Die Wackelzahnkinder”.

DD has been waiting (im)patiently for aaaaages, as many of her friends in Kindergarten already had lost teeth. Even S. who is a year younger had a Wackelzahn. It was most upsetting.

Recently she began complaining that her mouth was sore and after some investigation we discovered that one tooth is wobbly. She was so pleased.

Since then the questions have ranged from, “can I eat this apple or will it make my Wackelzahn fall out?” to “Will my Wackelzahn fall out when I am sleeping?” then today, “Do you have tissues in the car, Mama? Just in case my Wackelzahn falls out in the car, and it bleeds everywhere“.

The next couple of weeks are going to be fun. How long does it take for a Wackelzahn to fall out?

Hmm, I wonder what the going rate for the tooth fairy is.

Speaking French

I am so proud of myself. I just made an appointment with the paediatrician for daughter. Not a big deal, I hear you say.

The receptionist spoke no English and no German. I had to speak French. I had Babelfish open for some basic phrases, and somehow I managed to make an appointment for Wednesday at 3pm.

Well, I hope so anyway.

We will know for sure on Wednesday at 3pm

Scary Switzerland

Or do the Swiss celebrate Halloween?


Well, I don’t know about the rest of Switzerland but here in our village we certainly do. In typical Swiss fashion a list went around the school this week to ask if we were going trick or treating or if we would prefer to stay at home and hand out the goodies. A few days later another note was sent to us, listing the children who were going Trick or Treating and which houses were awaiting a visit.

We decided to stay home this year so I stocked up on sweets, the kids got into their costumes, the pumpkins were carved and lit, then we sat and waited for the doorbell to ring.

We did not have to wait for long, within the next hour and a half we had around 60 guisers, as we call them in Scotland, Trick or Treaters for the Americans. They do not sing, just shout TRICK OR TREAT, grab some candy and off they go. It was great fun and although la petite fille has said that she would like to go out next year, son has decided that he would rather stay home. He loved putting sweets into the childrens’ bags.

This evening, as I mentioned earlier, we were invited to a Trunk or Treat party at husband’s office. We were unsure of what to expect, we had been told to bring sweets for the trick or treating, pumpkins for a best pumpkin competition and decorations for the car. In typical European fashion, I took some pumpkins and a couple of squashes as decorations, only to be completely outshined by the American colleagues with their halloween lights, fake ghosts and cobwebs. The winning alien pumpkin was fabulous, and certainly deserved to win. There was some controversy over the second pumpkin as it was open at the bottom which many felt was cheating. :-)

At one point the older girls started telling the kids that they should get together for the Mummy Rap. I was intrigued, thinking that they had rehearsed a song and had to laugh when I realised that it was a Mummy WRAP, the kids were wrapped in loo roll to resemble mummies. Son thought this was great fun, although he did say that he would like to do the game again at home. I will be hiding the loo roll to save us from an Andrex Puppy Situation

 

Starting school and our first guest

I had an appointment to see the headteacher of the local school on the Friday after we arrived and she told me that the kids could start school right away. Not even a week after our arrival, the children started school. Son is very proud that he is now in school rather than in kindergarten, it seems to be similar to the Vorschule, preschool in Germany with a bit more emphasis on learning. It is also starts a year earlier, when the kids are 4 years old.

Son’s teacher does not speak English or German so it is a bit of a struggle sometimes, but we understand each other. She is very nice and he seems happy and content with her. There is one little girl in his class who speaks English so she is able to translate if need be. He is already starting to use the odd French word.
 
Daughter’s school class has lots of English speakers and her teacher speaks English so it is a bit easier to communicate with her. She has made a few friends and has been to two birthday parties already, one just last night. One of her classmates lives just down the road so they have visited each other already.

Starting this week, I will be travelling to the next village with daughter for her French class. She will go four days a week, either for a morning or an afternoon. Luckily her little friend  is going too so we can share the driving.
 

We also had our first visitor, Granny from Scotland. It was great to have her here and she helped me get organised. She had fun (I think) sorting out the kids rooms and the playroom. We had a wee trip to Chamonix Mont Blanc on the Sunday. The kids were all for buying sledges and snowsuits, but we managed to persuade them that we should wait for it to snow first.
 

Chamonix is a pretty little town, still a bit sleepy at the moment but starting to gear up for the winter season. We will definately go back in a couple of months, I am sure that it will be very different then. A lot of the shops and restaurants were not open, something that I think does not happen very often in winter. We treated ourselves to coffee and pancakes in a little cafe in the town, as you can see from Mum’s happy face, they were delicious.
 
Looking back at the photos, I have just realised that we did a lot these first weeks. We also did a tour of Geneva, that husband’s company organised. They have also organised a Halloween party, Trunk or Treat today, so I will stop posting now and go and get organised for that. Don’t ask me what a Trunk or Treat party is, something to do with sweets and cars, so it will be right up son’s alley!

Aufwiedersehen Deutschland, Bonjour Suisse!

The Swiss adventures of our family began in September 2008 when we moved to a small village near Geneva.

On 22nd September the removal lorry arrived and started to pack our worldly goods. As husband was away in Munich for the week so it was just me and the kids. We said our farewells in the school and kindergarten. Leaving the kindergarten was particularly hard as it has been such a large part of our lives for the past 3 years.

The last two days in Germany were quite stressful, more than I thought they would be. We headed off to the airport for the flight to Geneva, I was sad but excited about the challenge ahead.

When we arrived in Geneva we picked up the hire car and set off for the hotel in the centre of Geneva. My first time driving here, it was dark, I had 2 grumpy kids and a huge car. Whatever possessed me to order a Skoda estate?

The next day was the big day, we would get the keys for the house. When we arrived we found the landlord and the rental agent involved in a deep discussion. We also found two workmen, busily sanding down the floors of the living/dining room, office and bedrooms. It seems that the landlord had decided to spruce the place up a bit; the whole house had been freshly painted and was looking great.

Unfortunately the workmen were not finished. The landlord asked when our furniture was arriving and I answered, “This afternoon”. Silence. “Hmm, the floors still have to be varnished, it will be Friday at the earliest” he replied. This was Wednesday.

The kids and I headed into Geneva, passing a Boulangerie on the way where we stopped to pick up a picnic, and went to the Parc la Grange where the children played for a while in the fantastic playpark.

The removal guys arrived in the afternoon and instead of moving our furniture and possessions into the house as planned, they had to put everything in the cellar and the garage. The only rooms that I could use were the cellar rooms (playroom, guestroom and utility room) and the kitchen.

The floors were not finished until Thursday afternoon so we had a day or two to dicover the area. We went back into Geneva, only a 20 minute car ride away, and had a wander along the waterfront and a trip on the little train and on the taxiboats that criss cross the lake.

On Saturday morning two handymen arrived to assemble the furniture. As they were arriving so early, I had decided to move into the guest room rather than staying another night at the hotel and having to get up at the crack of dawn. So our first night in the new house was spent 3-in-a-bed in the guest room with me piggy in the middle between the two kids. Foot in mouth syndrome for most of the night as son is a restless sleeper.

The handymen were great and had everything assembled within a few hours, but sadly the smell of the varnish on the floors was so strong that we could not stay in the rooms for longer than a few minutes unless all the windows were open.

Husband arrived that day from Munich to complete chaos, boxes everywhere, mattress on the floor of the playroom (no way was I sleeping in the same room as my little darlings again, I needed SLEEP).
We spent our first Sunday lazing about the house, doing a bit of unpacking. In the afternoon we walked down to the lake. It was great to just sit in the sun and let the children play at the little beach with the playpark.

We could feel the stress and hassle of the last few weeks easing the longer we sat. There is a small kiosk that sells cafe au lait and croissants so it is a place to linger, watch the sailboats gliding past and just relax.

We camped out in the cellar for 4 days, eating outside on the terrace. It was a great relief when we were able to move into our new rooms. We felt like we had truly arrived.