Thursday, August 31, 2017

Croatia

Mat had to go to Croatia for a few days for work, so he took a few pictures.  He said it was really beautiful, so we are putting it on the list of places to visit as a family.



He brought me a bracelet, so I added it to the one my sister gave me when we first arrived


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Science Wives Club

Today I got together for a second time with the American ladies I met last week.  We had a new one join our group today, so now there are 5 of us.  I am so glad they have invited me into their circle.  We all have similar age kids, we are all here as "trailing spouses" of husbands who work for Roche or Novartis.  Four of us had 3 kids and one (God love her) and 5 kids (5 BOYS).

Today our new add to our group moved here from Pittsburgh.  I was so excited to talk with her because that is where I grew up.  She knew of Connellsville - my home town - and we talked about the area.  (she has lived there her whole life).  But the most interesting part was that her daughter's name is Finley.  Not even kidding.  We have never met another Finley before so this was really cool.  And this woman's husband's name?  Matt.  No joke.

After that exciting bit, we walked together for 6 miles.  Covered a large part of the city.  We weren't in a big hurry, but we didn't stroll.  One of the ladies has been here for 5 years (and has no plans to move back to the States) and so she was a wealth of information.  She pointed our public libraries and parks, great museums and cute neighborhoods.  She knows quite a bit of German, so when we stopped for a break at a cafe to have coffee by the Rhine - she was a huge help.

Today's Fountain Find
 I never tire of looking at the buildings near the Rhine

I am feeling pretty lucky to have these ladies because we are all in the same boat.  It helps take a bit of the sting out of missing my friends from Boston.

This evening was the open house for Finley's school.  It was only for the 5th grade class, and it was lead by her English and German teachers and the principal.  We all sat in the class together (parents that is - no kids) and got an ear full about the curriculum, the year, the projects, etc.  It was an open question and answer session, and I loved it.  I learned a lot about how the school works, and things they are trying to add/change.  The parents asked great questions (most have been with the school for a few years, so they were really helpful).  I found a lot of similarities to our American curriculum (the schools do a good job of exploring all the student's backgrounds because they know with international schools - students often return to their home countries to finish their schooling).  These schools have a monumental task of trying to accommodate a world's worth of learning styles.  And a lot of children where English or German are not their first language.  Bravo.


Finley's desk at school
 Doesn't every 5th grade classroom need a few Chandeliers?  this building is 300 years old, and they have kept a few of the original elements.
 Finley was elected class presidnet



Monday, August 28, 2017

Shopping can be fun

Today I met with the teachers, aides and principal at Finley's school just to talk about how things were going.  I had not met her English teacher previously or her German aide, so it was nice to finally meet him (teacher) and her (aide).  They had nothing but good things to say about Finley - saying she is a great kid and working very hard.  We discussed her tools that she uses (her magnifiers, and her large papers, etc), and the school has been doing a great job making sure she can access the curriculum.  I have been very impressed.  The team had a lot of great questions and took great notes.  I know we will meet often and I know they will do their best to make sure Finley has a great year.  I left there feeling pretty good.

This meeting was in the middle of the day, so I did some shopping afterwards for groceries.  Shopping was one of the things I dreaded the most when we moved here.  I have no idea what I thought I would find (considering we didn't move to the Congo.  Or the moon), but I was worried.

Turns out - there wasn't really anything to worry about.  Well - except for Apple Juice.  I cannot stop buying sparkling apple juice - can't figure that one out.

Today I thought it would be fun to take a few pictures of a few things I found interesting in the grocery store in Germany that I frequent a few days a week.

This is a "for real" outfit for sale in the German store.  I should have bought one
 McDonald's Ketchup.  This is totally for Americans
 We have discovered that there is no love lost for Paprika flavoring.  There is Paprika flavored EVERYTHING - veggies, meat, chips, you name it.
 This store is two floors, so you put your cart in front of you, and the flat walkway holds the cart in place while you go up.  It is pretty cool.
 Here you take what you need.  No - this package was not tampered with - this is how you buy juice, tea, soda, etc.  They are priced PER - so you take one or take a few or take them all.
This evening, I spent a few hours translating Cainan's German book.  Me and Google Translate are becoming good friends.  Cainan's teacher gave him a really easy book to start with so that we could work on basic words, and I was grateful.  Because even this book was over our German abilities.




Sunday, August 27, 2017

Three Weeks

Three weeks down.  I cannot believe we have almost been here a month.  Routines are settling in now, and we are feeling more comfortable.  For the kids- the novelty is wearing off a bit, and I think they are feeling a little homesick.  I am glad that they have school to keep them busy.

Today we tried a local Roman Fest that we were told was something fun to do.  It turned out to be.....not that great.  It was fine, but it was expensive and there wasn't a lot for my kids to do. (seemed to be set up for the younger kid crowd).  The shows were just so/so.  We stayed for a few hours and then decided to just come on home.

I have to say - 3 weeks of activities before we hit something we didn't love - not a bad record.

Found another fountain - this one was painted
 This is the convention center.  It is so massive - no picture could ever capture the whole thing.
 We were told that these represent a stop sign when going into a round about.
 Real Roman Ruins in Basel
 One of the shows we watched

 Another fountain - love hunting for them

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Sweet Saturday

August has finally shown up and this last week has been very hot.  I told the kids we would try and find a pool to cool off for the afternoon, and we found a nice one.  Basel is actually full of swimming pools - at least 20 on the list I found.  All public, and all inexpensive considering the cost of everything else.





We had a great time cooling off and lounging around this afternoon.  I look forward to trying a few of the other pools around the city.

This evening Mat and I had tickets to see the movie Hidden Figures on the big screen they set up in the Old Town Square.  We were given tags to mark our seats so we wouldn't have to sit there to save them.  (We had to be there about 2 hours early so we could get a good seat).



We enjoyed some chips and salsa and also some unlimited FREE Ben and Jerry's ice cream while we waited for the movie to start.




It was a lot of fun to see a movie this way.  Apparently the city does this for the whole month of August, so we will have to remember that for next year so we can catch a few more.


Friday, August 25, 2017

Rhine Schwimmin

Tonight we took the kids to the Rhine Schwimmin tonight for the first time.  It was just a short swim because it was after 7pm and the sun was going down, but we had fun none the same.

The little ones wore their life jackets, and the rest of us used our Fisch to float.  The water was chilly, but not freezing and there were a lot of people out.  We had a great time.  Once we got out, we sat and dried off for awhile, and watched the sun set over Basel.  A good way to end a busy week.





Thursday, August 24, 2017

Newcomers

Today Mat and I attended a Newcomers seminar that Roche does for its employees.  It is a voluntary program that has 3 seminars, and we decided it would be a good idea to go.  We had a good time.  We had a nice breakfast to start the day, and had a chance then to say hello to our education consultant that helped us find the kid's schools.  She also introduced us to a colleague of hers that is putting together a parent group for disabled children.  That would be great.

After the breakfast we, and the other newcomers, went into a seminar room and the presenter went over some basics of living in Basel.  We were a small group, and it was a lot of fun.  In our particular group, it was all husbands who worked for Roche.  So when they went back to work, the presenter took the ladies on a small tour down to the main train station and then for a small lunch in a French Hotel.  We had a great time.  The other ladies in my group were from Italy, and were really nice.  We all exchanged information so we could keep in touch, and I hope to see them at the next two seminars next month.


Under the train station were 100s of bikes.  People rode them to the train station and left them here for the day.  



This evening Mat and I signed all of our health insurance paperwork so that should be the end of all that.  We will get our cards in the mail in a few weeks, but we have been covered since we got here.  It is a bit of a slow paper process, but we know if we need a doctor, we can go to one, so that is nice to be done with.

It is raining this evening, so we didn't get to take a walk.  Two days in a row - I am going through withdrawal!

One random picture from today

When I picked up Finley from school today I took a picture of part of her indoor cafeteria space.  I thought the room was really pretty.  They also have a large outdoor eating area with tables and umbrellas where they eat when the weather is nice.


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Open House

Today Mat and I went to visit one of the houses we are interested in renting.  Mat hadn't had a chance to see it, and since it is my favorite, I wanted him to go inside.  He loved it as well.  I know he would really like to live in the city, but I think for the kids and dog, a "house" (this is a duplex) with its own yard is better for our family and dog.  We filled out the application, so we are just waiting to hear from the owners.

This evening was an open house for Cainan's school.  We got to meet the teacher (which I did last week, but decided to pop in and say hello one more time), and then I got to talk with his French and German teachers.  I was glad to meet and talk with them because those are going to be his two hardest classes.  His German teacher said she wanted Cainan to work hard and try is best, but not to street - he will get there.  The French teacher knows that Cainan will never catch his classmates, but that is okay.  She is making a curriculum just for him and from the sounds of it - it is going to be GREAT.  I was so pleased on how they are working with him to get him comfortable.  I took a few pictures while I was there.

Cainan's "about me".  Primary 7 in Switzerland is the equivalent of 5th grade.  It is their 7th year in school (they go to Kindergarten for 2 years here)
 This is the room where the kids come in the morning before school starts and also for 5th and 6th grade work on computers.
 I took a picture of the "indoor shoe" wall.  Kids at this school take off their shoes they wore to school as soon as they enter the building and put on a pair of clean shoes for the day
 This is a small kitchen on the floor of the 5th and 6th graders.  It isn't for lunch - it is for teaching the kids about cooking.


No long walk for us tonight because I needed to make some phone calls back to the United States and we had to work on getting my cell phone set up.  Maybe tomorrow!

Random pictures of the day:

This is how the mail is delivered - they drive this little car on the sidewalk
 Some fountains are used for swimming!
 Basilisk
 IT was a really hot day, so the Rhine was hopping
 Weird 80s martian man





Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Museum and more

Today I started my day off in Germany.  Again.  Such a funny thing to go into another country every other day or so.  I had to pick up some oil for a dessert I was making, and then pick up a package at our PO Box.  Amazon is still our friend.

This afternoon I went to the Jean Tinguley museum because it is close to our apartment.  3 museums in 2 weeks is a record for me.  This one looked unique, and it did not disappoint.  I enjoyed look at all the art for about an hour in a half before picking up Finley today.  With the Museum pass, I love that I can come and go easily, so I can do the museums in short burst.

 This piece was really neat.  It was made all out of Race car parts.  And there was a button to press and it would move
 This piece of art you could actually walk through and on. And again - it did move
 The guest artist display in the Tinguley was of Wim Devoye, and in one room they had displayed his childhood art.  I told my daughter Finley (who loves to draw) that if she ever has an art display someday, we would bring her childhood art ti display.
 Wim Delvoye carved this huge truck tire.  It was amazing


This evening Mat and I took a long walk - longer than normal - with Scooby to explore a new area.  I am honestly not sure where we ended up, but it was cool.  We saw a great church, a nice square/plaza with restaurants and shops, and even got some reasonably priced Gelato.  We were gone for almost 2 hours tonight walking and exploring.  It was a lot of fun.




 This looks like a church, but it was marked as a museum
 Another fountain!


A few extra pictures from today - enjoy!

I was early picking Finley up from school today, so I took a picture of the side of her school.  Such a lovely place.  You can't see it in the picture, but the classrooms have chandeliers for their light fixtures.
 Finley joined the cooking club at school.  This is the garden the teacher uses for the class
 Scooby sunning himself on our balcony
Not a hard German word, but a funny one.  This was over the hair ties and brushes in the store
Public Toilet - in case you couldn't tell





Cainan's 13th birthday

Today our house gained another teenager.  Cainan had his big birthday trip a few weeks ago to Legoland, so unfortunately today, he had to sp...