Wednesday, December 30, 2009

NYE a.k.a Ashley's Bday!

HAPPY B-DAY ASHLEY! So happy I get to share it with you :)

Year in Review

So grateful for a wonderful year with family and friends. Cannot believe how fast it has all went!

NYE: Chicago-Style

NYC: Home/Work

Inauguration BHO!: DC

Presidents Day/V-Day/Engagement: Jamaica

Open New Office/Move: DC

Nicholas' Birthday/Skydiving: Ocean City, Maryland

Summer Vacation/IMD Interview: Switzerland

Thanksgiving/Bridal Shower: Cleveland

Wedding: Miami

Year-long Honeymoon: Switzerland


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Ahhh, nothing like being back home! Zurich and time with our friends was wunderbar. Ashley made a delicious home-cooked meal last night for us while the boys got the cable up and running, and the Kindle figured out.

Cannot wait to see them in a couple days for NYE, but for now... So happy to be home!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Zurich Putrino-Style

To say that the Putrinos know how to put on a feast is an understatement. We were treated to quite a meal yesterday, one I am told, that is quite normal for a Sunday afternoon. Looks like you all just found out where I will be every Sunday :)

After our many coursed meal, we hit the road to skate, but with the snow and rain, we deterred and went to the Dolder instead for a drink.

We ordered the hot chocolate, because on a snowy afternoon in a lounge with a harpist, what else would you want? We sat next to the fire and just relaxed.

To round off the evening we played hours of BUZZ! games. The first one being the music version, the second one being general knowledge. Did I mention they were in Italian? No surprise Cynthia and I were rock stars at the music game while Antonio and Nicholas killed us at general knowledge. Those are two smart guys. Midnight came around and we popped open some bubbly and toasted Antonio's 25th (?) birthday, is that right? ;)

Thanks to the Putrinos for their unbelievable hospitality. Come to Lausanne and be our guests!

Sunday, December 27, 2009


We jumped on the train yesterday and headed to Zurich. We had an awesome night with Antonio, his parents, sister, wife and daughter. We watched Italian Opera Idol actually known as Mettiamoci all'Opera, ate pannetone and pizza, and drank smooth Sicilian Syrah!

So much fun. I wish I had pictures of Antonio and his daughter dancing to the music. One of the songs came from La Traviata. Any respectable, young, pop-cultered woman would know this opera.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

So great speaking to everyone tonight in Cleveland. Thanks to mom who sent pictures of everyone while we chatted on skype :) Here is one for you:
We love and miss everyone and we are so happy here in our new home.
Come visit!

Joyeux Noel

Can't find eggnog here, but if you have it, make this!
Dynamite Holiday Eggnog
1 cup Eggnog
1/2 cup Meier's Jamaican Rum (dark)
1/3 cup Kahlua
1/3 cup Whipping Cream

Pour ingredients into blender along with ice cubes
Blend, Pour into glasses, Sprinkle with nutmeg

courtesy of Aunt Laura

Favorite Night of the Year

I have to say, a tiny part of me is missing being in Cleveland with my family for Christmas Eve. Growing up, we would have a great meal, usually lots of fish, especially the fried smelt! Open up one gift and go to midnight mass, depending on where we were celebrating, etc. Tony was pretty good at giving me gifts that would end up back in his hands... what was that one scary monster thing? and the legos? He sure was a generous brother :) I should have given him dolls, I never did catch on.

The past year we had a spectacular meal, courtesy of mom and dad. Although it wasn't the traditional Italian meal like dad may have liked, it became a new favorite of Nicholas and I. We sure will miss those beautiful steaks, bearnaise sauce and the fixings this year. Hope you guys have a big meal planned. xo

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Markets :)

We forgot the good camera tonight when we walked through the Christmas markets. Darn! The city was decked out in lights, carolers, all sorts of stands selling goods, and delicious smells of hot wine, waffles, sausages, and chestnuts.

Check out what the guys working the sausage and hot wine stand are wearing: INDIANS Jackets! Go Cleveland!

We just had to stop and have dinner:
Vin Chaud et Schubling. People just eat the sausages with their hands, no buns, no utensils. It is soo delicious. I wish they had these stands everyday!

Then we finished our hot wine while listening to the carolers :) Tis the season!

Great Day!

Today, we woke up to our FIRST piece of mail!
Thanks Poppy and Grandma Leah!!

Then, after running a ton of errands and getting lots of exercise,
(love you mom/dad)

we picked up this:

We are tres Suisse now! Cheese for dinner! I love Switzerland!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Walking on Water

Being from the snow belt and having my fair share of frigid winters, I am not super impressed with the winters here. I get it. It gets really cold. The air hits the lake and then we get smothered in the white stuff. Brrr...

Nicholas on the other hand, being from South America, finds it to be really great here. This whole winter thing is a phenomenon to him. It is like watching a little kid. He loves that walking on the snow feels like flour and that he can stay out really long because the boots we bought before we left keep his feet warm and dry. (obviously)

After another big snow storm yesterday, we were looking out our window to this little fountain/pond in front of our house and these kids were all walking on it, even though it was not fully frozen in the center. I shrieked to Nicholas that they were going to break the ice and fall in. Nicholas just thought it was cool. After we left the pub last night, another student and Nicholas wanted to test out the ice/water for themselves. I got the camera, the wallet, the phone and they went to the water.

I was laughing too hard and missed the shot were the ice cracked and Nicholas got a wet foot, but this is the one previous.

White Horse- Ouchy

Last night we had drinks at our local pub with other IMD students, partners and the partner coordinater, Marcella. It was a blast.

It reminded me of one of the things I love about Europe. At our table, there was a couple from Tokyo, a guy from Spain, a guy from Argentina, a Dutch guy, a Korean woman, an Italian woman and then us. For the beginning of the night, before we ran into the rest of the group, the night was in Spanish, then it switched to mostly English. The conversation was so interesting. Marcella and I chatted the whole time and I have a bazillion ideas about what I am going to do with this year and I am so excited. I am going to take over this town :)

I am sure I will have more posts about White Horse, since this is the unofficial bar of IMD and it just happens to be about 2 mins from our apt. Have I mentioned I LOVE our apt?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Brrrr--- Baby it's cold outside


Long johns? Check!

Sweaters? Check!

Ski socks? Check!

Hats? Check!

Ready to... go to BED? Check!

Nicholas and I have been so crazy cold the past few days in our apt and we chalked it up to being from a mild climate (although I hear DC is getting 10"-16" this wknd) and not being properly acclimated for living on the lake in the Alps. BRRR...

Luckily, today, as we left our apt fully dressed for bed, er, I mean a snow storm, we ran into Christian, our handyman. He answered a few questions we had, such as, where does the trash go? what can we recycle here? (A. Cardboard, Paper, glass, aluminum/tin/metal, composte. Oddly enough, no plastic.)

I digress. We also mentioned that the apt has been a tad chilly and if that is normal or if the heat could be turned just slightly up. He then apologized and told us that the heat has not been working this week!

No big deal. No heat. Here. In Switzerland. For three days. Brr. Baby it's cold inside.

Zattoo! Bingo!!

While it has only been a few days here, I just realized how dependent I am on the media and some sort of mindless distraction... Knowing full well before we left the States that I would no longer have access to the abc, nbc, cbs, online shows :( ...Even knowing this, I TRIED

and tried

and tried

and tried each of my favorite networks back home to see what shows I could keep up with...

Alas. I had to get creative and creative i did. I found ZATTOO

(love the logo!)

and it plays all sorts of european shows and American ones, like GREY's Anatomy in Italian. I think it is an old one I must have missed unless some of the old characters come back... I should have studied that Italian book that Uncle Bill gave me years ago.

Anyways, Zattoo is awesome. I found the French channels and we watched the end of one of the Spiderman movies and then almost the whole Children of Men. Even with my lack of French, that movie is spectacular. Wow. Luckily, Nicholas just sat there as my instant translator, think UN.

I am hoping with a few more shows/movies in French on Zattoo, I will be speaking like this lady :)


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Well, HELLO Switzerland

Things I love about Switzerland so far:

CHEESE! We have been here for just over a day and I have to say, the rumors are true- the dairy here is magnificent! Our local grocer sells huge wedges of Brie for $2!!! Back in DC this wedge would have easily cost at least $7 on sale. It is delicious. Yogurt for breakfast also passed the test with flying colors, even in the flavor of caramel pear. We declare this to be true, DAIRY in Switzerland is the crème de la crème. Pun intended.

Onto another very important topic: CHOCOLATE! Arguably the thing Switzerland is most known for, next to the cheese and clocks, the chocolate here is spectacular. Upon arriving to our new home, our sweet, kind landlord gifted us a beautiful, large box of chocolate. Our smiles could not have been bigger. Nicholas even gave the man a hug! Admittedly, we have not opened aforementioned chocolate box, because we are still working on the one that our dear friends from Zurich gave us for the wedding. Melt in your mouth deliciousness. In interesting flavors and textures. We LOVE it. I had to suppress every urge in my body not to down a few of the decadent morsels this morning before breakfast.

SIMPLICITY. Things here are simple. We do not live in a rural countryside or even in a very small town. This is one of the larger cities in Switzerland, however, things over here are just more simple. For instance, stores close early. Why? No reason, they just do. So figure out what you want and make sure you get it before the grocer goes home. Can I tell you how happy people are for a store that stays open until 9pm? We thought when they said a store stays open late, all hours, meant 24hrs. The IMD administrator Lucy nearly fell over when we asked if she meant the store was 24hrs. She clarified that a store open til 9pm is nothing short of a miracle. I am sure this whole store-closing-early thing will irk the heck out of me later, but for now, I appreciate that people don’t have to work until 2am just to make sure I can get that bag of sugar I forgot to pick up before 7pm.

KINDNESS. How else do you describe the fact that our landlord gifted us a box of chocolate, then invited us to tea in his restaurant, after which he apologized that he had to run into the city for business but to stay as long as we liked in the café? During which time, the manager came over to introduce herself and invited me to always come down and ask them for anything that I may need for our apartment upstairs. After which, we ordered a large lunch and were then told, it is on the house. Welcome! Wow… we sure felt special. And loved. And lucky. Come visit, the people at La Riviera are just like the chocolate and the cheese, spectacular.


Nicholas and I had a beautiful, simple wedding this past Sunday in hot South Beach. Since the priest decided he liked his vows better, we were not able to do our own vows at the ceremony, I figured I would share them here. Listed first in English then Spanish. I do, I do, I do!

I vow to take care of you, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, in new or known countries.

Prometo hacerme cargo de ti, en salud y enfermedad, en riqueza y pobreza, en paises nuevos y conocidos.

I vow to never go to bed angry with you.

Prometo nunca irme a la cama enojada contigo.

I vow to make my best effort to understand you, even when lost in translation.

Prometo hacer el mayor esfuerzo de entenderte, aun cuando el sentido se pierda en la traducion.

I vow to be wrong, even when I am right.

Prometo estar equivocada aun cuando tenga la razon.

I vow to make you happy everyday for the rest of our lives.

Prometo hacerte feliz cada dia por el resto de nuestras vidas.