Douche de Bébé

Post by Lauren

On this blog, we have covered the fact that baby showers are an American thing. Other cultures don’t really have “showers”.

Our theory is that Americans love a good excuse for a party. We also like celebrating things. Who doesn’t love a party?

This past weekend, we were excited to attend our second couples “douche de bébé*”. A & A hosted a lovely baby shower at their flat for L & R who are expecting a girl this May.

A made beautiful invitations

In China, where L & R are from, it isn’t common to have a celebration pre-baby. However, they do have a celebration for the baby one month after birth. R explained that gifts are given and whatever the baby gravitates toward, they predict is going to be the child’s life passion. For instance, you hope that the kid reaches for a book indicating that he/she will be studious rather than a bottle of beer which could he/she is going to enjoy the sauce.

A did a fabulous job preparing some yummy shower food. She made Buffalo Dip, Fruit Salsa, Baked Brie, and had tons of other yummy snacks. L even brought some traditional Chinese food to her own baby shower – delicious sticky rice balls with pork. Gabe and I were quite happy to take a break from our frozen soup supply and to partake in the spread!

HB and Mommy

I think Rocco was glad S came!

The guys tend to flock together at les douches de bébé. Wonder why?

The guests of honor!

Excited about the diapers!

 

It was a really nice evening spent celebrating the upcoming arrival. We look forward to meeting this new little bundle in May of this year.

*literal translation of “baby shower” into French.  Yes, I know. Creepy. That is what makes them more fun here!

We’ve Moved (To WordPress)

Post by Lauren

The Swiss Watch Blog has now moved to WordPress.   I have mixed feelings.   I know that moving to WordPress will give this blog a lot more search and categorization functionality.  However, it is a lot more work that iWeb, the old program we have been using.

Why did we switch?  Good question.  Apple is discontinuing their hosting service on MobileMe, where our blog used to live.  To boot, they have decided not to support the iWeb program any longer now that the magical iCloud has been introduced.   So, there was a chance that one day in June, our blog could go “poof” and disappear forever.

We were afraid our mothers would be horrified that they couldn’t check in on us everyday, so we attempted to save the blog.

I found a $50 app that converted all of the text and comments from iWeb.  I purchased it and we are officially online at WordPress.   However, I need to manually add the photos and captions back in.   Good thing that I am glued to my recliner recovering from foot surgery.  Otherwise, the task of updating 208 posts would be too daunting to bear.

So I ask this of my loyal readers…..through the next few weeks, please comment and let me know what you think of the new format.   Let me know if we should keep this thing up!!

 

The Snow Line

Post by Lauren

Where I grew up, we had hills; however, everything was relatively flat compared to the Alps. So when we moved to Switzerland, and live amongst exponentially taller mountains, it is first time that I have experienced “the snow line”.

This concept is one that different parts of mountains or hilly plains are either covered or not covered in snow due to elevation.

Take a look at some of our recent trips and where we’ve seen this in action:

 

 

And, where we live in Geneva, we get to live below the snow line, but still experience the beauty of the icy stuff in the distance on the Jura mountains.

 

I kind of like it that way!

What exactly are these people doing in my living room?

Post by Lauren


I have been wanting to learn how to use Gabe’s SLR for quite a long time. Even before we moved to Geneva, I looked at taking a photography class when we arrived at a nearby University. The obstacle was that most classes were in French.

When a friend mentioned her partner teaches photography courses in English, I was thrilled and signed up immediately. The course was supposed to happen ten evenings in January but some scheduling conflicts ended up canceling it. It was rescheduled for 3 full days during the week after my surgery. I had sadly accepted I’d just have to wait until the next one.

However, when the group found out that I couldn’t walk in order to get to class, they brainstormed and came up with an ingenious idea…why not bring the class to me?

So over the course of the last week, I have had 8 people (and one puppy) here for a photography course in our living room. We learned a lot of the technical background behind how SLRs work so that it can influence our creativity and ability to take pictures with emotion.

Our professor of photography

Learning our SLRs

The puppy wasn't as interested in learning skills

It’s been so nice to break up the time during my first two weeks home. The social interaction of having 8 people here was awesome since I can’t get out of the house. Also, having 24 hours of instruction on a topic really interesting to me helped make the days past faster.

I learned many new techniques and feel fairly educated on the right approach to use when taking photos in the future. Hopefully you’ll notice it in the coming blog posts.

See Digital Light’s website for upcoming courses in the Geneva & Lausanne area.

Gratitude Friday: TLC

Post by Lauren

This gratitude Friday, I wanted to give a shout out to all the TLC (Tender Loving Care for those not familiar with this acronym) that I have received during my recovery. From here in Geneva to the Grand old US of A, I have been showered with visits, messages, cards, food, DVDs / magazines for entertainment, and flowers.

There are a few times that being away from “home” stings a little more. The worst is when major life events happen like my close friends having babies or getting married. I am totally bummed about not making the wedding of close friends next weekend. Also falling into this bucket is being sick or having surgery. All the thoughtful gestures from loved ones has made this experience so much easier.

A special thanks to my husband. I am incredibly lucky for his patience. It’s not easy to deal with a Type A, obsessive-compulsive patient who can’t walk or organize her own things. He does it without complaining one bit.

Below is a cross section of the really nice things people have brought / sent:

Merci beaucoup for the TLC!

I’d like to point out that what makes some of this food even more special is that N had to sacrifice her enchilada sauce to make our chicken enchiladas and N & N had to use some of their precious Skippy Peanut butter to bake the cookies. Nothing says TLC like a sacrifice of your US bounty.

*R & R: sorry, I forgot to get a photo of your care package before I dismantled it and started eating it!! I loved it and I really appreciate it even though I didn’t get a photo 🙂

Merci beaucoup to all who have done so much to take care of me!

Bon weekend!

The Röstigraben

Post by Lauren

Switzerland has many different divides based on its mountainous geography. Since many of the areas stayed remote for a long time, it prevented the ease of travel and communication. Thus, there wasn’t really ever a “melting pot” effect in transitioning into one Swiss culture. Still today, there are still four official languages, based on the geography.

A few months ago, we looked at this language divide. This divide can sometimes be expressed as the “Röstigraben” (rosti divide in German) or in “rideau de rösti” (curtain of rosti in French). While the divide is named for a culinary dish ( based on the farmers breakfast rösti which originated near Bern ), it is actually more commonly used to reference the attitudinal differences that exist on either side of the divide.

The Swiss Germans have political differences to their Swiss Romande neighbors. It includes voting (Swiss Germans don’t want to be a part of the European Union, and want to keep the franc vs. adopting the Euro) as well as general lifestyle differences (Swiss Romandes are less conservative, less strict on rules, etc). During the elections, you can see a lot of this exemplified in the political ads.

And what is Rosti anyhow, you might ask? It is a potato dish. The best way to describe it is like upscale Waffle House hash browns. Sometimes it is served as a side, but most times, times its a main course – usually smothered, covered with something yummy – cheese, mushrooms, an egg, or perhaps sausage. It’s simply delicious.

Rosti at Restaurant du Pont, Zermatt, Switzerland

Other countries have similar divides reflected in foods.

In Germany, they have a line called the Weisswurstäquator. It is known as the “white sausage equator” because the Bavarian region eats the white type, rarely consumed by those living in the Northern region.

In Italy, the pizza is better in Naples and Southern Italy. Why? Because the Southern part of Italy was notoriously more poor than the Northern part. Thus, they often scraped up simple inexpensive ingredients to make a meal….thus creating and perfecting the dish we know as pizza.

And, back in the United States, I believe we have our own version of a Röstigraben, if you count the succulent Waffle House hashbrowns as a national delicacy. There are far more WH’s in the South than in the North and the West.

I wonder if our forefathers brought this back from Switzerland?

Courtesy of Waffle House restaurants

What other places in the world have divides based on food?

Whisky Night

Post by Lauren

Our friends Lady J and The Man are leaving Geneva soon. They hosted a final soiree at their posh flat last Friday themed “Whisky Night”. Guests brought a whisky to “taste” and a food that would pair well with whisky.

The selection of whiskeys to taste.

Serving it up, classy style

There was a diverse group of guests, from Japan, France, India, and The States. And of course the hosts whom will return to their native Singapore in a few short days.

I didn’t partake in the whisky as I am taking one important medicine that is reduced in effectiveness with alcohol, but loved spending the evening visiting with everyone from the vantage point of the couch. It was a nice treat to get out of our flat for a few hours.

At least there was another non-whisky drinker

Below are just a few of the samplings of the pairings:

Sweet and Spiced meat jerky from Singapore
Teriyaki Chicken Wings
Pork Ribs in Char Siew Sauce
Truffle French Fries
Vegetable sticks with Crab Rangoon Dip
Refreshing Cherry Tomatoes with Plum
Sashimi Rice dish
Cucumber salad
Tortilla chips and homemade salsa
Bourbon Bread Pudding (our contribution)
Selection of Stettler Swiss Chocolates

Champagne and Baileys were also served as alternatives for the lesser whisky enthusiasts.

Cheers! Not sure whats wrong with A.

The group enjoyed the whisky, emptying three bottles by the night’s end. If you are looking to host a themed soiree anytime in the future, Whisky Night was certainly a hit!