MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM EGYPT!
Greg and I, who generally go to no Christmas parties, managed two this year. About 80 people were at the ETH (technical university) party, mostly students or post docs. The food was catered and Greg was in charge of the wine. (Great job, Greg!) The party got rowdy and I found myself dancing for the first time in years. Thanks to the wine consumed, I discovered I still have the moves. The second party was a dinner with the Sousos group (small start-up company Greg is working with). I was the only spouse there and I have to admit, I felt decidedly out of my league. Later, I explained my feelings of inadequacy to Katie and she pointed out, "Of course you did - they're all somewhere around the genius level!" That made me feel better ... I think.
There wasn't much snow here, in spite of the fact that Paris and London, Ontario, were among the parts of the world that were inundated with the white stuff. It was really important to me that there be snow for Katie and Heath's visit: after all, this is Switzerland! The snow gods complied and by Thursday morning, when we met Katie and Heath at the airport, there was a decent amount on the ground.
Katie made a snow angel and together we built a snowman in the back yard ...and a very dapper young fellow he was!
Heath was felled by lack of sleep and post traumatic stress syndrome (he'd just completed a chemistry course). While he slept, Greg and Katie and I walked downtown to puruse the Christmas markets.
Eating was a big part of the pre-holiday visit. We ate copious amounts of chocolate, soup that I made (yes, friends, I am finally bothering to cook and I make a mean soup), cheese fondue, pizza and pastry. We had a great lunch at a Lebanese restaurant.
One thing I really like about Zurich is that there always seems to be something going on. The night of the Sousos dinner, there was a special event for children where they put candles on about 800 paper boats and the fire department released them in the Lematt River. Jemolie, a large pricey department store, sponsors a free "Santa" tram - complete with Santa Claus and angels - for the kids. One of the young guys at ETH invited Greg to join him in a marathon: run five kilometers and drink three liters of beer. Downtown, there is the "Singing Christmas tree" devorated with live singers. One night we wandered around downtown in a true winter wonderland. Suddenly, a runner dressed in spandex with a headlight on his head ran past us holding a sheet of paper. As we walked, we saw several more runners: all with headlights, all holding a sheet of paper, and all running in different directions. Zurich is pretty surreal at times.
|This blur is my best shot at a runner - those suckers were FAST!|
... except for Heath who still whined about the cold ... in spite of about ten layers of winter clothes. Wimp!
We made sure we didn't sit too near him on the tram - in case the Swiss authorities thought he was a terrorist.
Katie and I did, of course, complete our traditional Christmas puzzle and then we bought a game of Monopoly for about $90. (Hey! I keep telling you Zurich is expensive.) The game featured Zurich places and the cards were written in German. Fortunately, it seems our son-in-law spent his entire childhood playing the game because he could determine from just a printed word or two what each card said. The first game should be entered in the Guiness Book of Records as the world's shortest Monopoly game: Heath triumphed in about 8 minutes flat. He's not a very gracious winner.
Saturday morning, we took the kids to our favorite market - now much reduced because of the cold weather. I may have complained when my family made me buy the cheap "old lady" cart but I have to admit it's held up beautifully.
All too soon, it was time for the kids to return home. At least I still had the snowman to remind me of our good times.
Or did I?