Tuesday, April 16th, 2002
It is Tuesday morning and we are officially in Zurich, Switzerland. We are staying with my sister Diana and brother in law Jason. They live in an apartment on Effinger Street. It is a small side street that slopes downhill. It has a few tall apartment buildings on each side of the street. Tall means about four stories high. Their apartment is a pink stucco building half way down the street. Diana has a first floor unit right off the street. It is very nice and spacious with two bedrooms and a family room. Their apartment is less than a mile from Lake Zurich and the downtown area. Earlier this morning I went for a short run. I ran along the water, through a park, towards downtown Zurich. The air was crisp and the sun was out. It was absolutely beautiful. Most of the trees here are in full bloom at this time of year. You really couldn’t ask for a better morning run. It was early but there were a bunch of people at work cleaning up the trash from yesterday’s big holiday celebration. Diana says the people here really pride themselves on having a clean city. When I finished my run, I rang Diana’s doorbell for here to let me back in. I ran four different times but no answer. I waited a couple of minutes in between rings and was now getting frustrated. I noticed the window slightly open so I slowly started shouting Diana through the window. Still no response. I started shouting a little louder when Diana finally emerged from the building next door. I was knocking on the wrong door!
Diana was in the middle of feeding Madison and the girls were still asleep. They had stayed up late last night watching a movie with Diana. I think they fell asleep before the movie actually even started. All of the girls ended up dozing off on the couches in the family room. Now was the time to wake them up and get them going for the day. We were not going to sleep away our time in Switzerland. They were super excited to see Madison again. She had some big morning smiles for them. It is always fun to see the happy face of a young baby as they wake in the morning. Madison really seems to like having her older cousins around. The girls love being around her. We had breakfast together here in the apartment and then started showering. Diana and Lindsi went for a short run as we took the first showers. Jamie is holding Madison while Kacie showers and then Kacie will have her turn while Jamie showers.
We are now back at the apartment after having spent most of the day in downtown Zurich. We traveled around by bus and enjoyed looking around the city shops. Jamie and Lindsi bought some red shirts with the emblem of the Swiss flag on front. Kacie bought some sugar free chocolate for one of her friends. One of the highlights of the day was ordering water. I usually order my water with carbonation back home. It is often referred to as sparkling water. Here in Switzerland, you order your water with gas or without gas. Throughout the day I would order water and have to specify “water with gas”. The girls definitely thought that was unique. They had a few good laughs each time I needed some water.
We ate lunch at a fondue place in the middle of the old part of town. The place was called Adler's Swiss-Chuchi and Diana had eaten here once before. The restaurant was very nice on the inside. The outside was simple with some nice doors. Most of the buildings here have unique and interesting doors. We had a young black waiter. It was surprisingly quiet at this time of day. We were one of only two parties in the restaurant. We ordered two large bowls of cheese fondue with Rivella to drink. Rivella is a local soft drink. We had our choice of Rivella rot, Rivella blau, or Rivella grun (red, blue, or green). It was all good. Of course I ordered my usual “water with gas”. The fondue was tasty. The cheese was sharp and strong. It was not something the girls were used to so they had to gradually acquire a taste. We all had fun dipping bread into the fondue and tasting the sharp Swiss cheese.
On our way back to the apartment we stopped to go grocery shopping. It was an interesting experience in itself. The most popular grocery stores here are Migro and Coop. The Migro stores are labeled with one, two, or three M’s depending on their size. Today we would be shopping at a Coop store but triple M in size. It was located on the basement floor of a tall building. From the street, you would never really know the store was there. Once inside the store, an elderly German lady started talking with the girls. She was interested in Madison. She seemed oblivious to the fact that they did not understand German. She went on and on about how cute Madison was (at least that’s what we think she was saying). She must have talked with them for five or ten minutes before the girls finally made their escape. The girls all thought this was hilarious. They just kept repeating the one word they knew “danke”. It means thank you in German. “Danke, danke, danke” they would smile and each repeat as the lady talked and talked. They would use this newly learned word with almost everybody they came across throughout the day. By day’s end, Diana and I were a little embarrassed to be around these bold Americans. They take after their grandma.
Diana rides the bus to shop as she shops for groceries every few days. She takes a back pack for hauling food and straps Madison to her front. She can never buy very much food in one visit because it’s a challenge getting it back on the bus and eventually home. We learned firsthand the challenges of this shopping experience. We bought more food than she has every bought in one trip to the store. We loaded it all into the baby stroller while Diana carried Madison. I was in charge of the stroller but needed Lindsi’s help each time we boarded the bus. We did this boarding process three separate times. Lindsi would get at one end and I would get at the other as we carted it up the three steps of the bus. People were rushing up and down on both sides of us as we squeezed the stroller up through the door. We learned the hard way that the stroller really only fits through the back door of the bus. It is the largest door and designed for these kinds of entries and exits. Of course Diana already knew that. She just failed to tell us. She probably thought it was funny to see us struggling with a stroller full of groceries up the steps of a crowded bus only to find that it wouldn’t fit. Anyway, we eventually managed to get the food home. We bought some fresh chicken and Diana cooked up some chicken curry with rice and vegetables. Everyone was hungry and devoured the food. Jamie noted that Diana’s cooking was extra tasty. We accented the delicious food with some more Rivella.
After dinner, the girls decided they wanted to highlight their hair. Lindsi started up the computer and began talking to Bruce on line in an effort to get permission. It was about nine o’clock in the evening here and noon back at home. Bruce was talking to Keri on the phone while Lindsi was typing away at the computer. She was entering both her and Jamie’s requests. After a few minutes of pleading, they were now both officially approved and ready to have some fun with their hair. Diana was in charge and Lindsi was the first to go. It was a major project. Diana placed these rubber caps over their heads. Each cap had numerous pre-cut holes where Diana would pull several strands of hair through the cap for the eventual highlighting. I stayed up and made some chocolate chip cookies while they were getting started but went to bed before the real action was underway. I went to sleep about midnight; they remained awake until about three thirty in the morning. They all had fun and were very pleased with the results. Looks like Diana is ready for a new occupation.