Friday, December 31, 2010

CT for the Weekend!

We are off in the morning to celebrate the New Year in CT with some of our besties! Cannot wait to see their digs and pop the champagne to ring in the New Year! Party safe everyone!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Big Unpack

It has taken us a couple days to get half of our things unpacked and to go through our mail. We still have quite a bit to do before we are finished and have to turn around and re-pack those bags for the upcoming holiday travels and beyond, but we did find time to sneak in some errands the past two days and walk through the ridiculous snow! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!

Snow Flakes

snowflake  
 


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Woohoo

We are back in the country and awaiting our final flight of the day to DC! We are so happy to be home for the holidays!

Heading Back

We are about to board our flight back to the US one day to the date that we left Miami one year ago. There is so much to reflect and think about during our long journey back. We are both so happy and content and look forward to some time together, time to rest, and time to celebrate with family and friends.

See you tonight, America :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Wow

The school year is over and we are almost all packed up. Just a few days left before we cross the ocean again to spend the holidays with family and friends! Bittersweet emotions now saying goodbye to new friends who feel like old ones and the excitement at being back in the US of A to spend the best time of year :)
how we will look in just a few days- photo from Carol at the airport en route to Brazil ! 
The last minute juggle of how to make it all fit, a last minute trek to Zurich to see AP, a potential last ski in the Alps and a big celebration Monday for Nicholas and I before we head back exactly one year to the date that we left Miami. 

Wow. Not many more words can express all that I am feeling. So, although there is so much to write about: the amazing graduation ball, the parties, the time with Nicholas!!!! and having our final visitor (Betty :), I just do not have the time or energy.

Although, reflecting on the year and all that I have gained and learned and grown, I thought of a song that I have always loved and the play that it belongs to. How do you measure a year? Until soon... mwah!

xo
PS and I thought last year was intense- wait for this year in review!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thankful for our health, happiness, and an incredible year! Although we may not be back in CLE tonight with family, we were blessed to spend a wonderful evening in Lausanne with the American students with delicious food and a side of snow! 




Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Speeding to an end

So strange that things are quickly coming to an end. With Thanksgiving tomorrow, a weekend in Z with Ash, the arrival of my mother-in-law on Monday, and the conclusion of the IMD year is just over a week a way... my feelings are all over the place.

On one hand, I am so excited for the holidays and to see my family and friends! On the other hand, I am torn that I am leaving so many people that have become so important to me over this intense year. We are trying to cram in as much as we can before everyone dashes all over the world. It is really funny to reflect back on all of this and think about the low points of the year when I thought it would never end and to the more recent times when I realized that all of us will never be in the same place again. There are definitely people I want to hold onto tightly and never let go of. The one thing I have surely looked forward to since we started the year was to have friends all over the world. Now, to be able to see all of these wonderful people, we are going to have to travel to new places and see their homes :) Lucky me!



Not sure how much I will be able to post in the next week or so, but thanks to all my readers for being on the other end when I really needed someone to listen. Blogging this year has been a great escape and therapy for me. I have been able to work on a passion of mine that I never had time for before and found that I really enjoy it!

amazing weekend away

This weekend we had a blast in France. We dined on delicious French food and wine with our resident expert and enjoyed great company. We also have two new half-marathon finishers! Despite the cold, rain and excessive hills, all of us finished the course! I could not be more proud of my neighbors and husband for doing it.

Of course, a bonus for the weekend, was having Ashley and Mike join us. Even though it did make our trip back more of an adventure, I would not trade it for the world. I cannot believe we head back to the States so soon and leave our Swiss friends, but we sure are trying to get as many good memories in as we can before we leave.
(uploading pictures later)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Burgundy!

The weekend has finally arrived for the half-marathon in Burgundy. There has been a lot of effort put forth for this weekend and all of us are looking forward to getting away, enjoying the countryside, some wine, food and, of course, competition! Not only will we be with Yann and Maxime, but Ashley and Mike will be making the trip in from Z.
from Lausanne 10k
So proud of my two neighbors for training and looking forward to seeing them accomplish one of their goals tomorrow! 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cool New Fashion Technology

I went online this morning to search how to style a pair of peep toe boots I bought over a year ago and never really figured out how to wear. Before I even searched, I thought it would be a cool option if they showed a few models in the shoes with different outfits to show how best to wear something, in this case a funky boot.


And I stumbled on this article and immediately created my own boutique. I got the name nicki so I think I must be a pretty early user. It is really cool. But I also discovered through the article other interesting fashion sites, doing very similar things. This one is the most advanced.

I can hardly wait for what the next best thing is in online fashion- who knows, maybe instead of finding what I want online, I will actually be the one with the idea and create it.

Song of the day

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Don't Quit!

An all-time favorite poem that I used to repeat during my races in high school, when I felt so tired that maybe I couldn't finish or keep going as fast as I wanted. I just kept repeating some of the lines, especially the third stanza. My mom has had this poem posted on the wall next to the treadmill at home for years. Now I realize how valuable this poem has been to me not only for competitions but also for life in general.



When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit-
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow -
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor's cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out -
The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit -
It's when things seem worst that you must not quit.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Holidays!

This upcoming Thanksgiving could have been a cold and rather lonely holiday in our temporary home here in Switzerland. Luckily, we get to celebrate it not once, but TWICE! The first will be on the actual day with the American students in Lausanne with each of us bringing a dish and drink to the table. The second one will be with Ash and Mike in Z. Soo fun! Gobble gobble!

Once upon a time...

I feel like a queen everyday, but this lady will actually be one!

Monday, November 15, 2010

She said YES!

After voyaging across an ocean for her, we knew it couldn't be too long before these two decided to tie the knot! Congrats on the recent engagement! So happy I can be here to celebrate with you both!

Russian Party-На здоровье!

A week ago, Nicholas and I headed to the IMD restaurant for the Russian Party. The night started with a shot of very smooth vodka, chased by a pickle and a badge. The Russians had a couple of performers, one with an accordion, who sang and got the party started, while some of the guys gave a presentation.


The best part of the badge is that the address is 32 not 23... 

While the vodka kept flowing, heavily, the organizers past around a plate of frozen.... something. When it finally got to me, I thought how it looked identical to an extremely fatty piece of thick bacon. Frozen. "Eat up!" they shouted. In Japan, Akane told me they eat raisin butter with Sake. In Colombia, they take a spoonful of olive oil before drinking. Apparently, in Russia, they just eat a big, fat, slab of lard to slow down the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream.

The fat 
In the spirit of immersing myself into their culture for one night, I indulged in a piece. The idea is to put it all in your mouth, chew and swallow. I, of course, tasted first. Bad idea. It was like eating a frozen, chewy piece of salt. UGH. I hate salt!! I was reminded that, while only drinking vodka, it was important to have something lining my stomach. I downed half a piece and decided I would moderate my vodka intake if it meant no more salty fat.

the performers
The night progressed along, with more music, Russian dance, interesting foods and great company. Since Nicholas had a lot of work to do the next day, we left around 11pm. Despite how much vodka we consumed, seems like the bacon and early exit worked well for a productive Sunday without a hangover. That much cannot be said for everyone ;)

Fun Fact: Did you know that voda means water in Russian?

Happy Super-Belated Birthday Blog to my Brother!!

To the guy I always wanted to be and be with.
To my first friend and trusted confidant.
To the person who always listened to my crazy dreams and believed in them.
To my biggest competition and fan.
To the person I fought the most with in my life and the one with who I will always defend.
love the curls ;) 
To my super big brother. I love you and miss you like crazy. So proud of you and all that you have accomplished personally and professionally. Although I may have stopped physically following you, (high school, college...) I will never stop following your example. 

Happy 1st Anniversary Dino and Camila!

Yo soy tremendamente afortunada de tener amigos como ustedes en mi vida. Felicitaciones por este primer año de matrimonio! 
El primero de muchos!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Going to be an Aunt :)

This is a BIG one! I have been holding this news in for awhile and finally got permission from the father-to-be to post to the blog! MY BIG Brother is going to be a DADDY!!!! Rachel and Tony are expecting a bundle of joy at the end of March! I could not be more excited at the idea of being an aunt and spoiling that child to pieces! Move over Saki and Yoshi!

Congratulations Tony and Rachel!!

Things have gotten busy around here

I have been a bad blogger, but I swear I have an excuse. I have gotten involved in graduation and the yearbook and trips away and editing that I just seem to have lost the time to really think and write. So much has been going on and I can't wait to write about at least some of it!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gratitude List


I watched this video a while back and it made me think of what I am grateful for. I used to say a few things that I was grateful for before I went to bed, even when I had had a horrible day. I realized it has been  a long time since I have done that and figured why not give it a whirl and write up a little list.

MY GRATITUDE LIST in no particular order
1. Sometimes when I am in the midst of a training for a competition or even in a competition I think to myself, I don't know if I want to keep going. I am tired, I am not on my game today, I want to give up and go lay down. Then, I think about how lucky I am that I have my health and that I am capable of running or biking or swimming and that some people would give anything to have this chance. I am grateful for my health.

2. I am grateful for having my best friend and partner in life by my side every single day. Nicholas challenges me and cherishes me, as I do him. I am so grateful for my husband.

3. Because most people will never get to have a year off in a foreign country to explore and discover themselves, no matter how difficult and lonely it can be at times, I am exceedingly grateful to have a year of reflection and growth in our new home.

4. Most* of my closest friends and family live thousands of miles away, I am grateful for how connected the world is now so I can still speak with my parents and brother when I want and also for the many new friends and family I have made here. Without whom I would be lost. (4.5* Ashley being here.)

5. I am grateful for the generosity and support of others. I would not have completed a triathlon this year if it weren't for the generosity of a friend who lent me her bike. I would not be as far along in my French if it weren't for the generosity of my neighbor.

6. The LAKE and the mountains, and the Swiss countryside

7. Chocolate

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall = Races

Just like back in high school (and beyond), this fall is about running and races. I am signing up for a run in Lausanne on Halloween and we are set to run in Burgundy on November 21. I had toyed with the idea of running a full marathon this fall with the hope of qualifying for the Boston to run with Megan. I have to say, I am glad that I didn't train fully because the Boston sold out the first day registration opened! I am thinking that I am nearing the end of my full marathon days and I didn't want to waste my good(ish) knees and joints on 42km that would have no chance of getting me to Boston.

Boston Marathon blog - Boston Marathon sells out in a day - Boston.com

Also, on the Boston Marathon website's FAQ this Q&A is posted:

A:
The B.A.A. annually addresses the qualifying procedure by which runners gain entry into the Boston Marathon. With such popularity for the event, qualifying standards for future Boston Marathons are under review.

Who knows what the qualifying times will be in the future. Maybe they will keep it at 3:40 for women my age, or maybe they will set a faster pace. All I know is people are loving themselves some marathons and fast times. 

Getting Away

Tomorrow Nicholas and I are sneaking away for a couple of days to celebrate the end of another part of the program and recharge for the final leg (who can believe that?!) The job search will continue, but this time from the Italian part of Switzerland and hopefully Zermatt.


I refuse to leave Switzerland before seeing the Matterhorn, rumored to be the inspiration behind the Toblerone triangular shape. Mmmm... 

Sevillanas continued, with a side of Rumba

So, after being completely confused after another dance class and endless new moves, they told us that we will do a Rumba in the middle of the flamenco.

Oy vey...although, I have to say, Rumba is super simple compared to the Sevillana. Phew!!

Camila and I will go next week to find the costumes for the ladies but for now- I have to get to work on these new steps...
I may just have to fake this til I make it on this one.

Impromptu Swiss Concert

Outside my window the other night, a circle of men with alphorns performed a 15 minute concert. Pretty amazing. I am trying to post the audio, but for now you will have to use your imagination :)



Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bike Ride through the Vineyards

There is no way to truly capture all the beauty that exists in this country. A month or so ago, we went biking in the morning til late afternoon with two Chilean couples through the neighboring vineyards. The day was crisp and clear enough to see the beautiful snow-covered mountains across the lake. We were exhausted after arriving to our first destination- a wine cave where we did tastings of the regions wines.
After we watched a video and finished the wines, we bought a couple more bottles to drink during our picnic lunch by the lake where we were able to watch the last voyage of the Vevey float by, escorted by the lake police and spectators.
Needless to say, that night was an early night for us. So much fresh air and wonderful wine takes it toll.

Girls Week 2010 Switzerland and Paris

Just as soon as they arrived, they are off again! The week of family and fun is now a great memory.

The week started early Sunday morning at the airport where we picked up Mom and Aunt Laura and forced them to stay awake with a tour of Geneva, a late lunch and a visit to the Hindens before heading back to Lausanne. There were a few moments of poking Laura to make sure she didn't knock off during the car ride back home. But who can blame her? The first day is always torture.

Monday was a lot of fun with a trip to Sion to see the mountains and to have a picnic lunch amongst the city's two castles.

Despite the luck, or lack thereof, of buying train tickets to Paris on the first day of the national strike, we still managed to get into the city! We explored all things Parisian- Notre Dame, the Louvre, Champagne at the Eiffel Tower, shopping on the Champs Elysee, Sacre Coeur, Arc de Triomphe, the many many gardens and squares. We ate quiches, croissants, pan au chocolates, pastries, and crepes. Even though the strike did put a hamper on our last day, as we had to take a much earlier train back, we made the most out of our excursion to the City of Lights!
On the Seine boat tour 

Finally back to Switzerland Thursday afternoon, we planned the last couple of days in my very clean (see trip to Paris above) and organized country.
In Ouchy

Friday, we made the trip to the region of Gruyere. A trip to the cheese factory was a must, followed by a tour of the chocolate factory and the castle. We ended the evening with a yummy fondue dinner with Kirsch and wine followed by the very Swiss meringue and double cream dessert. Our bellies thanked us :)
Gruyere cows are happy cows :) 
Finally, Saturday, we made it to the neighboring wine region to taste some local Swiss wine.

All in all, we made the most out of a week vacation. I am so blessed to have had my mom and godmother make the trip to see me and extend our annual girls weekend to a girls week! Can't wait to see what next year has in store for us :)

video
The video doesn't come close to doing the week justice, but enjoy Mr. Armstrong and his rendition of La Vie en Rose (our soundtrack for the week)!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Switch

Across the pond, people give the date differently, instead of month/day/year it is day/month/year hence the very cool date today
Happy
20-10-2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Being away from home*

Makes you realize how much you miss strange and obvious things.

Strange things being things you didn't realize you liked, not things that are bizarre. For instance, to-go coffee or tea is a strange thing that I miss. I love getting a large tea or coffee in the cooler months and carrying it while walking to and from destinations in the chilly weather to keep my hands warm. Yes, I wear gloves, but there is something so nice about a hot tea to sip on slowly while walking to a meeting.

Obvious things being things you knew you would miss and then remind yourself, duh, of course you would miss this/that. For instance, my friends :) Just thinking of them back home* makes me smile and ache for them at the same time. Two of them in particular make me smache all the time Jen and Meg.
See you girls in December!! xo

*home = Some days its Cleveland or C-bus, others it is DC or NY. It is places I have never lived but love, like Paris. And, believe it or not, it is even Switzerland at times :) 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sevillana

What I am learning to dance- of course the mbas put it into something that looks more like a math equation:

A Very Happy Belated-30th-Birthday to My Dear Friend Camila

May this next decade be the best yet and May all your wishes come true!

And they are gone...

After a whirlwind week, my mom and godmother are back home. Safe and sound. A great review of the week to come!

Now I am planning my mother-in-law's trip for graduation, the adventures never end :)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

AHHHHHHH

In just over a day and a half my MOM and GODMOTHER will be here!!!! GIRLS WEEK 2010- European Style :)

Great Night :)

Wonderful night with our Singaporean/Aussie friends. Good food (If I don't say so myself) better company, and loads of laughter! It is good to have a night like this every once in a while! Looking forward to our next night together. I am sure it will be  of Taboo :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

After a great weekend

Spent with my husband and friends outdoors enjoying this beautiful fall weather, I am off to the Z to see one AP :) 

T-6 Days until Mom and A.Laura arrive!! 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Where has the time gone?

Can it really be October 1st already? Back in the States, my old company is in busy season doing tons of ads in breakneck fashion for the elections in a month. Here, the students are applying to jobs in the same manner with 2 months to graduation. The grapes are being harvested and the mountain peaks are starting to get dusted with snow, and slowly. things are starting to go back to the way we found them...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Could not be prouder!

A modern-day superwoman! 
My amazingly talented, social-media expert friend Stacey Hall has been working her behind off for the past 3 years for a start-up. Last night her company announced their acquisition by e-Rewards!! She is a rockstar and words cannot describe the absolute pride that I have for her. We were just chatting this summer about how it would probably be a couple more years before this happened, then WHAM
Congrats Stace and I can't wait to toast you in person when I see you over the holidays!! 

Monday, September 27, 2010

I think this is a sign

This morning after my run with Carol, I was passing by IMD when I noticed on the ground a suspicioulsy familiar looking spiny shell and two-toned nuts... Could it be? Is it possible that there is a real buckeye tree right in our neighborhood and directly outside of IMD? I couldn't believe it! I gathered a bunch and started filling my running jacket pockets with buckeyes and called Nicholas to tell him of our good fortune. Everyone knows that carrying a buckeye on you is good luck! I gathered enough to possibly make another buckeye necklace and then of course to hand to the most worthy students who may just want a little extra luck these coming days and weeks with the job interviews and call-backs. Go buckeyes!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Life is good

  • In just over two weeks, I will have my mom and godmother in Switzerland :) 
  • We just bought our tickets home for the holidays :)
  • One of my very best friends may be visiting before we leave :)
  • The weather has turned and so are the leaves. I love fall for three reasons: American college football, the weather, and the food :) Go Buckeyes!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A partner is now a student :)

Check out the other blog I (have been ignoring for months) write for the partners! So proud of my sweet friend Nicole!! Parabens!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Less than 3 months

Until Nicholas graduates and we leave our Lausanne home.
we sure love this view! 
Where oh where has the time gone? Tomorrow we have our "Departure Meeting"at the school to learn how to wrap up the year and all the loose ends that come with leaving. Can you believe it! It feels like yesterday we were all sitting down for orientation in our new homes.

Because we have no idea where we will call home after December, it feels a bit strange to be discussing our departure but we are both excited for our next adventure!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sevillana Flamenco



I have started taking Sevillana classes with some of the students and partners with the goal to perform at IMD's graduation ball in December. To be continued... :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Courge... The story of my first fresh pumpkin pie

Because Switzerland does not have that delicious canned pumpkin goodness that we have in the States and I can feel the pressure of Thanksgiving upon us, I decided to do a test run of pumpkin pie today to determine whether a request to the States needs to be made for the tinned version or if I can do it on my own. Fresh.

I went out, bought some courge and went to work making my very first real pumpkin pie. Or so I thought. I boiled the pumpkin, removed the skin, mashed it and mixed all the ingredients together and set it aside to bake it later that evening. When I met Yann later, I told him about my new recipe with courge, he said, oh, you mean citrouille? The orange plant used at halloween? hmmm. Yep, that plant. Turns out, I used a squash to make my first "pumpkin"pie.

When I baked it and served it, it tasted just like pumpkin pie. I have to make a few variations on the recipe, like buying pumpkin :) but all in all I don't think I will go back to the can. Fresh is just too easy and good.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Training season begins

I am starting a new round of training programs for new runners. We will be running a half-marathon in Burgundy in November and possibly a half in October. Now is the time where I am balancing everyone's schedules to try and make sure that each person gets the runs in that they need, along with my own. I am so happy that I have found my passion in running again. For a few years, I definitely lost it. Probably doesn't hurt to run next to this everyday.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Walk On- The ONE Campaign and U2

How do I even begin to put into words the amazing weekend Nicholas and I had? It started a couple weeks ago, when a former colleague sent an email out asking if anyone wanted to volunteer in Zurich for the two U2 concerts coming up. I immediately emailed him and told him that I now live in Switzerland and Nicholas and I would love to come and help out.

Working the streets signing people up
We arrived Saturday morning, Sept.11, in the Z and got to the Letzigrund Stadium and met the other 20 or so volunteers for The ONE Campaign, which is the campaign to end poverty supported by Bono. Definitely read about it and join.

We then gathered around and were handed t-shirts, bags, pamphlets and iPads to sign up new members to the campaign. My friend then told us the schedule for the day:
  • 1:00pm-4:30pm Stand along the perimeter of the stadium to get all the super fans signed up who have slept outside waiting for the gates to open.
  • 4:30-5pm Take a break for food, etc.
  • 5:00pm-7:30pm Continue signing people up, but this time inside the stadium.
  • DRUMROLL
  • 7:30pm Meet back at our tent to drop everything off and meet the tour staff who will show us our front row spot for the concert and who will lead us onstage during the show...

Our friends from Lausanne at the concert with us, first night! 

WHAT?! Are you kidding me? We didn't even think we would see the show, let alone have the once in a lifetime opportunity to go onstage at a U2 concert! But that is exactly what we did :)

We walked onstage with an electric torch to " Walk On" dedicated to Aung San Suu Kyi, opposition politician and general secretary of the National League for Democracy in Burma. She is currently under house arrest and has been for the past 20 years.


We were joined with other volunteers of The ONE Campaign and Amnesty International. It was a really emotional and exciting moment, walking in front of 70,000 people in the stadium. It is a night I will never forget. We volunteered for both shows, so we had the opportunity to do this twice. I decided one time was good enough for me, but Nicholas was eager to hit the stage again, even in the downpour that ensued during the entire show the second night.

Nicholas in the rain, preparing to walk on
Nicholas walking onstage with torch

Nicholas on stage

Nicholas standing in front of 70k people

Needless to say, we were exhausted after each night.
After night one.
Finally back in Lausanne
The rest of the photos! 
9-11-10

9-12-10 in the rain! 








Continuing to have the time of my life!