Saturday, July 31, 2010

Might as Well Jump!

Sorry I've been so absent, on Thursday I meant to write about how few days I had left in Zürich--I can't believe it is less than a week!

I've been thoroughly enjoying my last days here and today was (and will continue to be) awesome. Last night some friends were going to a going away party (not for me but I'll tag along!) in a farmhouse which was pretty sweet. Today we met up, swam in the lake and jumped off this high dive at a local bädi. A couple weekends ago the guys had jumped off this bridge (which they guesstimated to be around 35 feet!) and I wanted to be a part of that. While we were en route to the bridge (and I was en route to a panic attack) we saw people jumping off of this platform that had been set up a month ago for Züri-fest. The guys, of course, wanted to jump off. They asked a jumper if just anyone could jump and he said yes. Well, I couldn't not jump if they were jumping.

So we dropped our stuff (I think it is going to be a hard transition from a country where you can leave your purse/clothes/everything next to a park bench and not worry about it to a country where, well you just can't) and jumped into the water. Getting onto the smaller platform was fine, and even then the high platform didn't look that high. Then, a little kid climbed up and jumped making me feel bad about myself. Phil went up the ladder and then I decided it was now or never. Let me tell you, that stupid ladder was the scariest part! It was terrifying climbing up there and I told the guys, "I can't believe I have friends that would make me do this!!!" whilst simultaneously thinking "I'm going to DIE up there!" On the platform I was fine, heights don't bother me, apparently just ladders.

The view from the top was spectacular though (wish I had a camera!). It was a clear day so you could see out over Zürich and see the mountains in the distance--amazing, until you realized what came next. Once the four of us were up on the platform I decided I had to go first. I felt as if I would back out if I didn't (although there was NO way I was going down that ladder!). So after a round of high-fives, some jumpy hesitation and Adam starting a slow clap for the crowd (did I mention there was a crowd? It was at one of the busiest tram stops in the city and there was a bridge next to it where a semi-sizable crowd had gathered) I jumped.

It was a LONG way down. I hit the water and was happy to be alive but then a little unhappy because my bathing suit had seriously wedgied me. I thought, quite literally, that I was going to have to wear this swimsuit for the rest of my life because there was NO way that thing was coming out. (It's okay now, fyi.) The guys jumped and we all survived. Of course, they wanted to do it again. And of course, I wanted to too. The climb was no less terrifying exacerbated by the fact that I now knew how high we were. Adam asked the lifeguard how high it was and he said 10 meters (if you're not metric thats 32 feet). Holy mother of pearl that's high! I jumped first again (still worried I might chicken out) and the landing was much better. It was pretty incredible.

I'm still jumpy from the adrenaline rush. Thirty-two feet/10 meters! Holy moley my time in Switzerland just might be complete.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wardrobe Malfunction

In case you didn't know this about me: I love Denison University. Despite being a year removed from my university on a hill I still remember my Denison days with happiness and some longing. Though I don't often like to speak disparagingly about my school Denison failed to prepare me for a few things in life. Sure, I'll learn how to pay rent (some day), or pay a bill (I did, however, learn to pay a credit card bill) or maybe even have a functioning adult relationship, but there's one thing Denison failed to teach me that I don't think I'll ever learn:

How to get dressed to "go out."

Sure, I go out all the time. And, all the time, I am dressed. But, I've noticed that I don't dress like a lot of people when they go out. (This excludes my Denison friends, home friends and Switzerland-based friends, perhaps that's why we're friends!) Not to generalize (but to generalize) a lot of females, when they go out, are a lot more scantily clad. Nowhere was this more apparently than Greece. After a hard day at the beach I'd go shower and change into something to wear out. Upon rejoining the group I'd feel over-dressed, in the literal sense of wearing too much clothing. Girls were wearing denim boostier-corset tops, heavy makeup and heels and I well, wasn't.

See at Denison my wardrobe wasn't an issue, most people wore the same sort of things out: in the unusually warm fall and spring we'd wear a J.Crew "going out" top (usually of the silk variety) and shorts or a dress. In the winter we'd wear a dress with tights or jeans and a winter-y "going out" top. But, I've come to realize, that our "going out" tops are vastly different than a lot of other people's. I guess it never crossed my mind that this wasn't how people went out at other schools and it is one more reason why I love Denison. I'm not saying that we were all clones of one another (nor that the other ways of dress are wrong!) it was just nice not to have to worry about.

My freshman year of college for Thanksgiving my family went down to visit Jack at school in Florida. Now I got there a couple days before my parents and one of the first nights there we were heading to a party. I got dressed (J.Crew white t-shirt and green skirt) and his roommate (future girlfriend, now former girlfriend--woo!) said, "Don't you want to wear a top that shows your midriff?" This was, mind you, before the freshman fifteen had comfortably settled around my midriff. I replied without even thinking or hesitation, much to Jack's enjoyment, "I'm not that kind of a girl."

And I never will be.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Happy Tuesday!

I am nearly a week away from my departure from Switzerland. It really is amazing how time flies!

I have thoroughly been enjoying my time off. I had forgotten how nice the early evening is, no pressure to go home and make sure children are bathed/fed/finished with homework. It is a wonderful change of pace!

I promise to finish my Greece adventures (hopefully today?) but now I am off to see: TB and TMoTB!!! They have just returned from their holiday (our weeks of vacation didn't coincide with one another's) and I am really excited to see both of them.

Yesterday when I was talking to TMoTB I said, "I wonder if TB will remember me!" And TMoTB said, "It will be a test to see how smart she really is."

Still love TMoTB.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Getting to Know You

Warning: If you hadn't thought me an ungrateful brat deserving of public scorn this post is sure to turn your opinion. Just thought I'd warn you.

Thursday The Family wanted to take me to dinner to thank me and celebrate my year working for them, which was very nice. That afternoon Girl was making me a thank you gift (a cute candle holder) when Boy brought up my "real gift." Now since she is six Girl isn't the best at keeping secrets and said, "No Mummy is getting Jill that necklace."

Here's the thing, I know I should have felt grateful that they were giving me a necklace (and I do realize that it was very kind to get me a gift at all) it's just it reinforced how little they know and/or notice about me.

For my 22 birthday my parents gave me a necklace of my mother's that I had been coveting for a while and I've worn it every day since then. It's a small gold chain with a tiny little diamond affixed in the middle. It's not gaudy or tacky and I absolutely love it. I actually don't think I've taken it off during my Swiss tenure. I sometimes rotate my earrings (between three pairs) and I rarely wear any other pieces of jewelry so, it just seemed odd [to me] that they would give me a necklace.

At dinner that night I gave Boy and Girl "Oh the Places You'll Go" (I had wanted to give them a Shel Silverstein book but alas, they don't sell "Where the Sidewalk Ends" in Switzerland) with some pictures of us, as well as pictures to The Parents of Boy & Girl. Despite my being really, really poor when I can, I like to give thoughtful and/or meaningful gifts. They gave me a sweet card and then the necklace. Perhaps you might recall my birthday present (charm bracelet thingy), well it was from the same guy, Thomas Sabo, and it was a chunky-ish silver charm necklace with a big silver "J" and a pink glass/crystal heart. I smiled, thanked them profusely and even put it on but all I could think was, "That is just not me." When I showed it to my mom later she said, "That is something you would have worn when you were younger." And it is, when I was in my chunky silver Tiffany&Co. phase I would have loved it. I don't mean to sound like a brat but all I could think was, "Really?" Now The Mother has excellent taste (she is French afterall) so I was confused as to why this said, "Jill!" on it.

Boy told me a month or so ago that before my birthday they were thinking of getting me portable iPod speakers but deemed them "too cheap." That would have been a perfect gift.

I was entertaining the thought that maybe, like my dad, I'm just a hard person to buy a gift for. Then, the weekend before my last week with TB I babysat for TB and TBoTB. When I arrived TMoTB gave me a thank you gift. It was a beautiful Longchamp (the purses that I carry everyday). She said she had noticed I didn't have this make or color and I absolutely loved it. It was a perfect and extremely thoughtful gift.

Okay I'll stop complaining about people giving me presents now. Sorry about that.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Not to Be Dramatic But,

Actually, to be totally dramatic:

To paraphrase the words of the intelligent Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (who's plight, I fully understand, was far greater and more difficult than mine):

"Free at last; free at last; thank God Almighty [I] am free at last."

And to quote the beloved, if only for humorous reasons, Celine Dion in regards to my sanity, patience and good humor:

"It's all coming back, it's all coming back to me now."


Scoot, Scoot Rider




When you arrive in Santorini (real name Thìra) you can't help but be astounded at the place's beauty. The cliffs overlooking the beautiful sea are actually breathtaking. I got off the boat, headed to the guy holding a sign for my hostel and immediately met two Canadian lawyers who were to be my buds for the rest of the trip. I knew I was going to like this place.

I dropped my stuff at the hostel and headed out for dinner. I ate dinner (alone! How mature, or lonely) at a beachfront restaurant. On my way back I ran into my Canadian friends another Canadian lawyer (who had just spent the year teaching in Vienna! She and I clearly had a lot to discuss) and two Swedish guys they had met at their hostel in Athens. While they had dinner I drank (with them) and by the time we hit the next bar we were all enjoying ourselves. Note: It didn't matter how many shots of ouzo I took it was always disgusting. We ran into some Spanish girls on the way and expanded our party. We stayed out way too late (a recurring theme in Mykonos and Santorini) but it was a great night.

Somehow over shots of ouzo and half liters of wine I found myself agreeing to rent scooters to drive all over the island the next day. The guys had cheered to forming a "scooter posse" (something my dad would have said no doubt) so I didn't want to back out. It wasn't the price or the touring the island that worried me, it was the actual driving of the scooters. Now I am a pretty decent driver (parking ticket and speeding ticket excluded) but if my mother recalls, teaching me to drive was a pretty torturous process. When my grandparents lived in Florida I drove their golf cart and that was a terrifying experience. I was worried that if this was anything like that, I would be screwed. Now I'm not one to back down from adventure (or doing something that I think will make a funny blog post later) and this was no exception. The man we rented them from was a little nervous to rent me one but the guys explained it was fine, that I had ridden a scooter before. Yeah, ridden on a scooter. My brother had one for about a year in college (still make fun of him for that) and we rode it to a parking lot where he tried to teach me to drive it. A harrowing experience to say the least.

I could see the man's nervousness escalate when I accidentally put the gas and the break on a the same time (only once did I do that in a car, and we were in a parking lot). He kept shouting to my friends that I need a "quad bike" (an ATV) but I was certain that I could scoot. We took some back roads so I could get a feel for scooting and then we hit the scary Santorini roads. Driving in Greece is scary when you're in a car while on a scooter it is terrifying. I'm a slow driver (aside from that one ticket!) so I was routinely passed by everyone and everything. I think a kid on a bike even passed me once. Thankfully the guys were really great and we continued scootering. We scootered up to Fira the main town for lunch and by the time we left I was pretty confident in my capabilities. Of course my scooter died after lunch (terrifying!) but one of the guys fixed it. After we hit the red beach and continued our reign of scooter terror. Throughout the day we thought of song lyrics that we could substitute the word "scooter" in which provided a nice break from the permeating thought of, "Holy ^$&# I'm going to DIE! On a scooter! In Greece!" We decided to hit Oia where the sunset is supposed to be one of the best in the world. We had a leisurely dinner there, saw an incredible sunset and then scootered back to the hostel. Now I'm not saying I was a pro by any means, but by the end of the night I was leading the pack home. Scootering was one of the best things I did the whole trip and I would definitely recommend it.

After another long night out (oops) I was determined to scoot a little before my tour the next day. Despite not feeling my best I woke up and scootered. I think scootering might be the best hangover cure. After I returned my hog (haha) I hopped a bus bound for the port. I had decided to take a tour of the volcano, swim in a hot spring and visit the old island of Thìra. At the port is where I met Alex, the girl who went to high school with my brother. As she was alone my friend Dave and I added her to our tour group and together we saw the volcano (not the type you're thinking of but really interesting because of our tour guide), swam in the orange-y hot springs (lukewarm at best) had lunch at the old town (yumm, taziki) and met the cutest Indian-American three year old. Best part? It was aboard a "pirate" ship. Very cool. After that they went to Oia to wath the sunset and I headed back to the hostel where I met some Dutch girls. They were gearing up for the World Cup final that night and I found myself liking Holland more and more. We watched the match and then decided to head out. After another late night and a one a.m. ferry to Crete I decided my best bet for the day was to hit the black beach. Dave and I lounged (on chairs because those black stones were scorching!) all day which was just what I needed. I got a couple messages from my friend Chris (who I had left in Mykonos because he had to go pickup his girlfriend in Athens) saying that they were there and wanted to meet up for dinner.

I caught up with them around seven where I met his friend and another awesome American, Neil. Neil, who was on Big Brother 9 I think, was awesome and loads of fun to be with. Because the regional wine is sold in 1.5 liter bottles we didn't realize how much we'd had. And then at dinner the owner kept giving us shots or raki (so much more potent that ouzo. I felt like I could have breathed fire after that bad boy) so by the time I took my 11:30 bus to the port I was a little more than tipsy. I was chatting with an Australian girl at the bar and I could hear myself speaking in an Australian accent but I was powerless to stop it. Very ridiculous. I found a guy from my hostel and some of his friends who were taking the same ferry to Rhodes (16 hours, thankfully my leg was only five) so we all boarded, put of stuff on the ground and promptly fell asleep. I did, however, manage to tell one of the guys I was moving to Istanbul so now I think I'll have some visitors there in November!

I exited the ferry in the Iraklion, Crete port feeling a little worse for the wear but having thoroughly enjoyed my time on Santorini.

Some pictures of Santorini:


The black beach--told you I'd be there!

Dave, Alex (Jack's classmate!) and I on top of the volcano


Sunset at Oia

Looking cool I know

Scooter posse at a sunset dinner

Nearly fell off the scooter because of this view

Parting shot with Chris

The silent killer: raki

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I Said Who Am I to Blow Against the Wind?

After the little retainer incident Boy was much better. In the afternoon he wanted to play a card game that he learned over his holiday. Jack and I used to play this with our grandparents (because it was called, "Oh, hell!" and we thought it was awesome that they let us swear for a game) but I needed a little refresher on how to play. As I was looking up the rules online (Boy isn't very good at explaining things) he was perusing the Best Present Ever--the calendar that Howie gave me last year before I came of our greatest pictures. He came across one [of many] photos of me holding a beer. He asked, "Is that a beer?" I figured it was useless to lie so I said it was. He said, "I've never even seen you with a beer before!"

Oh Boy, you are the reason for most of my beer consumption this past year!

Another great quote (that has nothing to do with beer):
When I was picking up Boy and Girl from tennis camp yesterday I ran into Boy's Best Friend's father. He said, "You look different. Is it your hair? Or you changed the color of your skin!"

Tan mission complete.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Retained

The Santorini post will come later, I just had to share this about Boy & Girl.

Girl has started to lose her baby teeth, before the holiday she had a tooth so wiggly that it could stick straight out of her mouth (ask Kristina, it was revolting). When I saw her on Sunday night I saw that she had lost the other front tooth as well. She is missing her two front teeth and because of this she kind of speaks with a lisp now. It is really funny and cute, plus I'm really happy I don't have to bear witness to more wiggly front teeth.

Now as you may know I am pretty obsessed with the state of my teeth. Now my teeth aren't perfect but after years spent looking like a creature from the underworld (with my metal mouth) I'm not going to try and ruin all that work, time and not to mention money. (Thanks mom & dad!) Although many of my previously brace-faced peers have stopped wearing their retainers (what they give you after you get your braces off to maintain that nice smile) I still wear it to bed. Yes, you read that correctly, I still wear my retainers. My retainers aren't the metallic kind but the clear plastic kind so it is a little less embarrassing, but not by much. Now the bathroom situation at The House isn't ideal. Since I usually come home after The Family has gone to bed I don't like to go upstairs next to their rooms to brush my teeth so I started to use the first floor bathroom. The Mother even got me a box to leave my stuff in so I don't have to bring it back and forth (much like a college kid in a dorm bathroom).

Now you might wonder what this has to do with Boy? Well, this morning in my rush I left my retainer box on top of the box where my toothbrush is. He was in the first floor bathroom and since he never shuts the bathroom door I heard the sound of a match being lit (I took to leaving matches in the bathroom as per Uncle Joe's advice after I ran into the "issue" with The Father). I said, "Boy, what are you doing in there?" The answer? "Nothing!" As an au pair you learn that nothing is never nothing so I pushed the door open and he was LIGHTING MY RETAINERS ON FIRE. I kid you not. I grabbed his hand and shook the match into the sink but I was pretty astonished, I mean, a retainer? I asked him what my retainers ever did to him that deserved such treatment/why he did it and he gave a George Mallory-esque reply, "Because it was there."

I think I'll keep my beloved retainers in my room until The Kids leave Friday.

Monday, July 19, 2010

With a Vision of a Gentle Coast




Ahh, Mykonos. My first real stop on my tour de Greece (and a very long blog post, sorry!).

After navigating my way to the Athens port I hopped a ferry to Mykonos. I met a fellow American on the way who had just been working in Zürich for the past two years and we passed the time playing gin rummy. Once docked I found the shuttle to my hostel, once aboard it would seem that everyone was already paired off. Not a good sign when you're traveling alone. Once there I dropped my stuff in my room and headed to the bar (hey, it was vacation). I grabbed my beer, turned around and these two French Canadians said, "You traveling alone? Come sit with us!" I passed the evening with those two and two other French girls.

The next morning I was up bright and early and ready for the beach. As I walked down I managed to fall in step with this Greek guy. It was one of those mornings where I just wanted to be on the beach, alone and I willed him not to say anything, which of course prompted his "Where do you come from?" query. We walked down the length of the beach when I saw a woman topless. And bottomless. Holy crap, we were on the nude beach part. I was horrified to think that maybe he was going to get nude, or worse, expect me to! I tried to continue hiking but he said there weren't any other beaches. Being the kindly pushover I am I put my towel a few feet from him, which he took as an invitation to keep talking to me. When he left to go to work he asked if he could come back tonight and we could go out. I said I was going out here probably and he asked for my number. The easiest way to deal with this was to give him a fake one. But then he called me and said I must have put it in incorrectly. So as the kindly pushover I entered it correctly (which he called to verify again). Later in the afternoon he sent me a SMS:

You are so beautiful and sweet girl, im call you 11-12 p.m im coming there on paraga ok?
No reply.
Later:
Hey what it's you doing,you want to come to nicht or no, please send one messege :-*
No reply.
Later:
:-(:-(;-(;-( we are you?
No reply.

Later I was watching the World Cup with some people at my hostel and he called not once, not twice but six times. Then he called from an unknown number which I thought might be my friend Chris who was supposed to get to Mykonos at some point that night but his phone was dying so I thought he might be calling from somewhere else so I answered and heard the, "Gilllllee?" Quickly hung up and he called back. One of the Australian guys I was with was so fed up with it he answered and told the guy that he had the wrong number and that this wasn't Jill's phone. That ended my Greek romance.

I went out in the town and surrounding beach bars that night and didn't make it home until the morning (think roosters crowing and sunrise) so I was pretty pleased with myself when I got up around 10. As I was walking I heard a deep voiced, "Good morning!" and looked up to see my friend Chris strolling out of his room. Chris made it the night before and I guess spent the evening searching the hostel for me because all day people kept coming up to him and saying, "You found your friend! He was looking everywhere for you." We spent the day around the beaches, made friends with a rasta named Troy and went out in Mykonos that night. The next day we went with some South American friends to a different part of the island and then explored the town of Mykonos. That night we went out again (Mykonos was a party place) and my Australian/Canadian friends invited me to tag along to Ios (the most notorious party island) where they were headed early the next morning. Well a box of wine and a very late night made me miss that ferry so I went along with my original plans and headed to Santorini (who's real name is Thìra). But more on Santorini tomorrow!

Some photos of my days in Mykonos:

Sightseeing in Mykonos


Trying to match my tan from Barcelona last year



Not a bad view for 12 Euros a night.



In summary, Mykonos was beautiful, crazy and of course, loads of fun.




Sunday, July 18, 2010

Adonis?


I have this habit of building things up in my head, and I'm pretty sure most girls do too. If I can make an assumption about my gender here I'd say that most girls build up their relationships with boys--many prior to their first date are picking out those elusive wedding colors (who knew there was such a thing?) and naming babies. Now I don't do that (though I have been known to do that for my friend's relationships--sorry Switter, you know how excitable I get) but I do tend to build up other things: outfits, trips, jobs (have yet to sit at a cafe with Boy and Girl eating pain au chocolate, wearing berets and speaking perfect French--hey, I never said it was a realistic buildup) and even blog posts. When they don't turn out as I desired I suffer from varying degrees of disappointment. I'm happy to report though that more often than not, the reality supersedes the imagined.

Anyway, after a day of traipsing around Athens I was hot, bored and alone--three things I don't like to be. I decided to make my way to the beach to soak up some of the last Grecian rays and clean the pounds of dust that had accumulated on my legs and feet. I got off the metro and was instantly disappointed to see no beach. I walked over a bridge and was still land-locked. I was a bit sad because on my map it looked like the beach was there but I persevered and hopped on a tram to get another perspective of the city. I sort of zoned out (and attempted to avoid the couple to my right displaying more than a little public affection) but at one stop I noticed the sparkle of the sea once more. I hopped out (little did I know that more beautiful and populous beaches awaited me further down the tram line) and headed to the shore. I perched upon a rock and was enjoying the sunshine when I saw him.

Now perhaps I had spent too much time at the Acropolis that morning but I could have sworn that he was Adonis. He walked into the water and I seriously could not avert my eyes. He swam around and soon started swimming to his right, which was closer to me. I didn't mind as I got a better view of this incredible specimen. He stopped swimming when he was in front of me (but still a few feet into the water) and motioned for me to come join him. I nearly did the Molly Ringwald 16 Candles turn around to see if he was motioning to anyone else but since I was sitting with my back against a rock wall I figured it was for me. I tried to be cool and motion that I didn't have my suit so he came closer and closer. "What is it you are called?" he asked. "Jill, and you?" "Steve." (No offense to Steve's out there but that wasn't the name I had been hoping for.) "Steve isn't very Greek." "No, I am Portuguese."

Steve came out of the water (be still my heart) and we chatted. When he asked how long I had to stay something in my gut told me to say I had to leave in an hour (thank you gut reactions!). His English was poor so we communicated via Fr-English. Half French half English which made for a very interesting conversation. He asked me to come sit with him, and let me tell you that's when the real trouble started. We chatted about jobs and where we lived (there are many kilometers between Portugal and America he was sad to note) which was fine until he asked the dreaded, "Are you marriage?" And when I responded no he said we should be married. But we could wait to make babies, "just be company" for now. "We're happy together, we go to an island and live. Alone. I just like you." How generous. Then he tried to start holding my hand. If any of you know me trying to hold my hand is as painful for me as trying to set it on fire. I might even prefer the fire. Public displays of affection are rarely warranted or welcomed and even a man as attractive as Steve wasn't going to get away with it. (He did tell me that he came over to talk to me because of my smile and my nice "these," points to his legs. Okay, you can compliment my legs beautiful man.)

Still he started to get on my nerves (to the point that when he'd turn around I would make faces behind his back much like a bratty 13 year old girl) and I was pretty grateful that I told him I had to leave at 6:15. I was, however, nervous that I would run into him in the streets of Athens (that's the kind of thing that would happen to me) as I told him my flight left that night--he did try to tell me that we could go to the airport and push my flight back to the next day but I politely declined. I spent the first part of my evening at the airport nervous that he'd show up proclaiming his love, but alas it would seem Steve had moved on.

I did, however, manage to get a picture of this beautiful man:
Too bad he was so annoying!

Silver Lining

Sorry for my last rant, it just wasn't what I had expected to come home to.

There is, however, a silver lining to this week that is keeping my spirits up:

THIS IS MY LAST WEEK AS AN INDENTURED SERVANT (I mean au pair)!!!!

Originally I was supposed to go back to the French Frat House for the last week of July with Boy and Girl but thanks to the encouragement of my mom, TMoTB and my friends I actually took the initiative and told them that it would be better for me (and my new job! woo!) to stay in Zürich and do some training. The Parents were going back and forth about it but last week The Father texted me saying that it looks like they won't need my in France after all. (He said, "It looks like" which makes me a touch nervous but I'm just going to go with it.)

So for my last week with The Kids I am going to try to be Super-Great-Amazing-Positive-Fun-Sunny-Au Pair-Jill. This being said, of course, before they are back from Corsica, but I know I can do it.

As always, I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Time to Go

I'm back and I promise to write about my awesomely amazing holiday very soon, but first a little story about my return to Switzerland:


Switzerland is making itself increasingly easy to leave.

Having just arrived home from a wonderful two week Grecian holiday I was assaulted with 16 degree (60.8 F) cloudy weather. Next my "half tax" (the card that makes trains half the price) expired yesterday so I had to pay double to get back to the house--the train checkers never even looked at my ticket either. Finally when I walked in there was a 120 CHF speeding ticket waiting for me on the counter. Now I might not be the world's best parker but I am a good driver. Often Boy and Girl tell me to go faster because I'm going too slow for their liking. I have never had a ticket before and this year I've had a parking ticket and now a speeding ticket. The best part about it though was the speed infraction. Some video camera apparently clocked me going 53 in a 50. (This is kilometers per hour too bringing my speed to an outrageous 32.9 miles per hour.)

At least we are in agreement about one thing: It is time for me to go!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

One Lucky Duck

I don't mean to brag, but I am a seriously lucky girl. I don't know that I say it enough, but I'm lucky in a literal and figurative sense. I am safely in Crete now (with a few more scratches due to a hike up through a bunch of waterfalls--I mentioned how lucky I am, right?) and having a blast.

I head back across Crete tomorrow to take the overnight ferry to Athens to spend the day in Athens and the night in the Athens airport for my 6:20am flight. (Still consider myself lucky.) I have loads of experience sleeping in public places so don't worry about me!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

It's All Greek to Me

Santorini is amazing. Mykonos was a blast. This trip has been maybe too much fun.

Anyway quick story: Today a kid and I signed up for this day trip to take a boat to the volcano, "hot" springs (not so hot) and another island. While waiting at the port (for our pirate ship) I saw a girl standing there alone. Me being me, I went up and introduced myself. Turns out she was from Washington D.C. Turns out she went to the same high school as my brother. Turns out she was in the same grade as Jack at that high school. And she is good friends with one of his old friends. Can this world get any smaller?

Off to Crete (hopefully) tomorrow!

Oh and I learned how to ride a scooter. But that, my friends, deserves a whole blog post unto itself.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Greece

Hi all!

I am in Mykonos right now, was supposed to head to Santorini today but with a ferry strike (I was told) I am stuck here. But here isn't such a bad place to be. And I already have some funny stories to tell at a later date, but for now, back to the beach!

Most important update: I am already really tan. (And not burnt, don't worry mom. I have even been using sunscreen.)

Take care!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy 4th of July!


Happy 4th of July!!!!

Independence Day for America is my favorite holiday (summer, beer, hot dogs, ice cream, sparkly explosions--I think I just described my future wedding ceremony). Some people love Christmas, Thanksgiving or even their birthday but most of my friends from college and I love July 4. And frankly, I don't think I've ever had a bad July 4.

This past weekend was nothing short of a total blast. Although Saturday was technically July 3, my friends and I spent the day swimming at the lake, eating hamburgers & hot dogs (mostly me there), watching fireworks and making the boring Rivella tent into a truly hoppin' dance party. This included, but was not limited to, two duets by my awesome friend Phil and I, complete with matching dance moves. Pictures to follow. Phil has been described as my male counterpart and when the two of us are together we become all out "attention-whores." Despite this, I think we were still pretty entertaining.

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and 4th of July! I'm off to Greece tomorrow (ah!) for two weeks but I'll try to update when/if I can!



Emily, Me, Phil (with fiancée stand-in, the case of beer), Kristina, Adam (fellow blogger and photographer extraordinaire) & Nick riding the classic July 4 camel.

Friday, July 2, 2010

One Year

In the last year I have:

-Improved my French.

-Been pushed to and past my limits of servitude, patience and senility.

-Learned how to iron.

-Made a bunch of new friends.

-Traveled to 10 countries, five of them new and a new continent! A new one on Monday!

-Had a drink in every country.

-Saved no money, sorry M&D.

-Written 223 blog post (now 234).

-Had 10,006 people view my blog. (THANK YOU! Special thanks to my family who probably accounts for 9,045 of those views.)

-Enjoyed myself tremendously.

But, perhaps, most importantly (my Super Great News):
-I got a job. A real person job. But no cubes are involved and it is in Europe. (Meaning Australia is on hold for the moment.)

A pretty great year I'd say. And now, a great weekend with some fabulous friends at Züri-fest and Greece on Monday!!

One Year Ago

Pretend this was from yesterday.

One year ago, yesterday (July 1, 2009) I left Minnesota to move here. I could wax poetic on how I was crying at the MSP-International Airport (whilst simultaneously taking out 40 extra pounds from my suitcases) about how I might not see my mom again which proved to be untrue, I saw her at Christmas, but I'll spare you, until tomorrow.

Here's a story totally unrelated to that:

Yesterday Boy, Girl and I had the iPod on and a Lily Allen "Glee" cover came on. Boy asked why we weren't listen to the real song and I said it was because there was a bad word. My mistake. This led to Boy taking the iPod and running to another place in the house, finding said Lily Allen song and playing it. The bad word (the f one, if you must know) came on and I held my breath.

Boy said nothing and Girl said, "It's fucking!"

Now Girl is a 34 pound, blonde haired, blue eyed six year old so I couldn't help myself from laughing. I was cracking up and trying to tell them that that was a bad word and say not to use it when Boy said, "What? I heard Kristina say it at the pool the other day!" (True, but that was funny. And Kristina's "mother" swears in English in front of her children all the time, I think it just took her off guard that my kids' first language is English.) I could not stop laughing for a good five minutes, and then told them that Kristina got "in trouble" for saying it too.

Man kids, and au pairs, say the darndest things.