Aaaand we’re back. Sorry for the radio silence. April was pretty chill, not much this month and that was the plan.
At the beginning of the month, Andrew and I decided to test our domestic skills and got some flowers to grow on the balcony. Am I the only one who aspires to have her balcony look just like all the other quintessential European balconies and window boxes, overflowing with flowers?
Unfortunately, I’m not known for a green thumb, so we started small. So far I’ve only killed one plant 😇 Andrew elected to start from scratch with seeds and his are growing like crazy. It’s a fun little experiment!
How could I forget to mention? Andrew finally got a car a month ago! He ended up taking over a lease from a co worker on a Skoda Fabia RS. In case you haven’t heard of Skoda (join my club) it is a Czech company owned by Volkswagen (wiki link).
Having Mobility was convenient and the perfect solution when we didn’t have a car, but this makes a huge difference. Andrew’s commute to his client was nearly 1.5 hours each way with limited departure/arrival options and now it’s only 40 minutes. His ability to get a lease was also a big deal because we had been told we were not eligible for any form of credit due to our lack of credit history in Switzerland and our type of residence permit. (No credit cards for us! Less junk mail 🙂 We had thought we’d have to use 100% cash to get a car, which is why we hesitated previously. Not sure why this worked, maybe it was a loophole, but who cares. Freedom!
Mid-April we went to the Cully Jazz Festival. We didn’t have tickets, but we discovered that you don’t need them. It’s a huge event with food and wine vendors open to the public, and the village is right on the lake with a sweeping view of the entrance to the Rhone valley. There were also some open caveaux (wineries) selling wine with free live music. We ended up running into a couple we met last summer and hung out with them and their friends, it was a good time!
The last weekend in April we ran on the KPMG team for the Lausanne 20k (Andrew ran the 20k and I ran the 10k). We both made personal record times (despite me getting over a terrible cold) and Andrew kicked butt on a killer route with approximately three miles running to the top of the hill above Lausanne by the cathedral. I wish we had photos but we both missed each other crossing the finish line (it was madness!) and also … It was literally blowing wind and hailing/snowing side ways right after I finished my race so we got out of there real quick without a photo op. Oh well!
Here’s a random tidbit I personally think is fun to share. I baked chocolate chip cookies this past weekend and Andrew and I took some to work. Wait. Let me back up. To be able to make the traditional Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe, you need chocolate chips, brown sugar, vanilla extract and for my family’s version you also need Crisco (I do 1/2 c butter, 1/c crisco – makes them fluffier!). Turns out, no brown sugar here. Chocolate chips? Nope. Vanilla extract? Could.not.find.it. Crisco (aka vegetable shortening)? co workers were baffled by the idea of crisco, and said that they have heard of brown sugar and think the American store in Geneva would sell it. Rather odd, don’t you think, for a region that is so obsessed with sweets and has incredible boulangeries and patisseries on every corner? I thought so. As a solution, Andrew’s mom was kind enough to bring brown sugar and vanilla extract from the U.S. for me. I bought a massive bar of Swiss chocolate and hammered it into chocolate chunks. and I did 100% butter. Which isn’t my preference but they came out well.
Our co workers loved them. One guy took one home to his wife and said she was elated as she had studied in the U.S. for a year and commented how it tasted like a “real, U.S. cookie!” Another fun fact? I learned that Swiss people don’t use ziploc bags. That same guy took the cookie home in a plastic ziploc I brought and asked me if I needed it back later (sorry, what?! No!). I left them as a surprise on our upstairs neighbor’s door, who is Dutch, and she said she knew it was from us before she opened it just because it was a ziploc bag and only Americans use them!
So, we have a public holiday in Switzerland on Thursday and are “making the bridge” (never heard this term previously, but it’s what the Swiss say) and are taking Friday off so that we can go to PARIS! À bientôt 🙂