The Swiss and “Januar-loch”

In Switzerland, there is a special name for that seemingly boring January that starts with a bang but really drags on uneventfully. The Swiss call it the “Januar-loch”, translated literally as the January void, when nothing of significance seems to take place. Last December, after a month of counting down to Christmas with the kids,…

A bite of the Empty Nest

The baby turned a year old last month, and I wasn’t prepared for it. No, I didn’t forget, of course not. Let me clarify that. I know three children can be a handful. I sometimes have to keep counting them, just to make sure they’re all there. One is reading a book on the couch. Check….

Quoi de neuf?

Yesterday was the first day of my French course. And I felt like the village idiot whose tongue got tied every time someone asked me a question. What was I thinking, agreeing to move to a region where I can’t even speak or understand the language to function as myself, let alone as a mother…

Like Starting Over

As I sit here, writing this, much of the vineyards here have already turned yellow. The mountains are now a fading orange and darkening day by day. The trees and bushes in our garden no longer give a green divide between us and our neighbors. In fact, the children seem to constantly be breaking branches…

A path to Healthiness: Gesundheitspfad

A little summer secret in the woods. Since our discovery of this trail, up in the mountains just the next town over, a mere 7-minute drive, we’ve been frequenting this little path about once each week! The Gesundheitspfad,  translated literally as the “Healthiness Path” is a barefoot trail in the hills of Heiligkreuz, Hasle. Not entirely different…

Toboggan Riding

Or better known as Rodelbahn Fahren – is basically riding a piece of plastic down a giant steel roller-coaster slide. And in this case, one that is 900 meters long and winds down the mountain! Okay, okay…it’s not as primitive as it sounds, the plastic board comes with a break lever that you can control…

May 6 is a Swiss celebration in Rome

A short history lesson on the origins of the Pontifical Swiss Guards for the curious. This year, the Pontifical Swiss Guards celebrate 510 years of loyal service to the Pope. On May 6, new recruits will be sworn into service in the Vatican, an event witnessed by thousands of visitors. When I first saw the…

Easter Chocolate Madness!

A small addition to the article on the unusual origins of the Easter Bunny. I hope to keep adding to this album in the years to come 🙂

A Child-Proof Explanation of the Easter Bunny Tradition

Before heading out for an Easter Egg hunt with your kids, don’t you ever wonder where this unusual tradition comes from?  A Swiss children’s song goes: Ig ha n em Has es Näschtli gmacht im Bungert hinderem Garte; es si die schönschte Blümli dra, es si dei schönschte Blüemli dra, die fyne und die zarte……

Making Decorative Easter Eggs

Exactly four years ago, while waiting for our first son to be born, my mother and I spent quiet evenings creating decorative Easter Eggs from real eggs. To our embarassment, we had to employ Mr. M, who incidentally learned it as a child in school, to teach us how to empty the eggs without breaking…

Why Swiss toddlers learn skiing before spelling

It’s not uncommon that Swiss children start to learn to ski before they start going to school. Maybe a few of the parents dream of honing a potential Olympian in their offspring, but more likely they simply prefer to be able to bring their children along when they themselves go for a day out in…

A Primer on Luzerner Fasnacht

Not many people have heard of Swiss Carnival or what is locally known as Fasnacht. Personally, I was only familiar with the Mardi Gras of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, where the streets get packed with tourists to watch a parade of extravagant floats with beautiful women covered in flamboyant colors and feathers, dancing and…

Dreikönigstag!

Officially the end of Christmas Season, today the country celebrates the Three Kings Day. In scripture, it is on this day that the three wise men arrive at the baby Jesus’s cradle, with their offerings of gold, myrrh, and frankincense. So today, in bakeries everywhere one can buy the Dreikönigsbrot (Threekings Bread). Somewhere inside is…