Sunday, September 12, 2010

Maybe Baby

People the world over love English. This is especially true in Switzerland, where English is the default language. People on the French speaking side don't speak German and vice-versa. As for the Italian speakers, they don't bother with French or German! But everybody speaks English. And apparently, everybody loves it too. It's everywhere: on billboards and advertisements, on our Swisscom TV remote control, basically anywhere that is too small to cram four languages onto.

The only problem is that the English they use is often times absurdly ridiculous. Here is a fun example of really off the wall English. Let's just say that this cutesy, rhyming marketing approach for pregnancy tests sold in vending machines, would never fly in the English speaking world.

Yes, it rhymes.  That doesn't mean it's a good thing.

Maybe Baby is always placed next to the (much cheaper) condoms.
What ridiculous English have you seen?  Did it even remotely make sense?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Zurich Writer's Workshop

The operative word here, of course, is writer.  I like to think of myself as a writer and yet all I tend to write is this blog.  Last year in Portland, my friend Joy decided to start a writers' group.  I joined the group, went to the first meeting on a dark Fall night, and then, because I was so unbelievably busy, never attended the group again.  My plate wasn't full in Portland; it was overflowing.  As a result, nothing got the full attention it needed.  Not my teaching job, not the apartment building J and I managed, certainly not my marriage, not my social life and definitely not my hobbies.  I was constantly frazzled and forgetting things.  It genuinely bothered me that I was so busy I couldn't think straight and didn't have time to devote to the hobbies and people who bring me the most joy in life.  Even though it meant moving away from my wonderful friends, a huge factor in my decision to come to Zurich was my resolve to make writing a central focus in my life. I knew that moving here would mean my life was slower, less busy and simpler. In some ways that has turned out to be correct.  In others, not so much. But let's just say that lately I've been gathering plenty of writing material in my experiences at work.  

Remembering why I moved here is important right now.  

So here I am.  I have more time than I had in Portland, plenty of writing material, no idea how to get started and what should come along, but the first ever Zurich Writer's Workshop!  Coincidence?  I think not.  I will be delving into non-fiction/memoir work with author Susan Jane Gilman and eleven other fellow writers for an entire weekend October 1-3.  I was just emailed my homework assignments to complete before the workshop and I've never been so excited to get started.  I hope it will be a weekend of inspiration, good nuts and bolts to keep myself writing once it's over, and really good fondue.  Yes, we'll finish off the weekend with a literary fondue dinner including readings from the instructors.  How delightful!

What hobby do you make a priority in your life and how do you do it?!

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Appliance I Cannot Live Without

Last summer, my friend Kate and her boyfriend were visiting us in Portland.  As we washed all of the dishes by hand following a roast chicken dinner, she asked me a hypothetical question:  Would I rather have a dishwasher or a washer and dryer in my apartment?  

At the time, I answered washer and dryer without hesitation.  Then I continued to wash the dishes in a basin of soapy water, rinse them and delicately balance them on the overcrowded dish rack.  Yes, I thought that a washer and dryer were more desirable.  That was only because I had yet to experience adult life with a dishwasher...

Dishwasher bliss!
Now that I have lived the last month with a dishwasher, I will never be able to go back to handwashing!

So, what is the appliance you can't live without?  Or perhaps, if you're an expat too, the one you're missing the most right now.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Head Cold

Working with three to six year olds means being sick in the beginning. Immediate sickness, guaranteed! It is a documented fact that schoolchildren are the grubby ones who carry all the germs, and seeing as I'm new here in Switzerland, I'm getting acquainted with a whole new population of bacteria and viruses. Lucky me! But I'm not the only one. All of the new staff at work were grumpy, tired and miserable with a nasty head cold last week.  

Enter Otrinol, my new best friend in Der Schweiz. Otrinol is Sudafed in a nifty 120 mg, 12-hour time released capsule. Other new friends of mine include Tonopan, a wonderfully strong pain killer, and Nasobol, a sort of head cold spa treatment. Just drop two Nasobol tablets in a bowl of almost boiling water, toss a towel over your head, and inhale the heavenly menthol and eucalyptus scented vapors.  

Hopefully this weekend I'll be feeling well enough to spend some time with people-friends rather than these guys. Until then, there are worse things that being hopped up on Otrinol.  
35 CHF worth of relief.

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