Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Exam Week

I have abandoned my husband and am staying in Zurich for a couple of days while he prepares for and takes his exams. I figured it would be best for him to have one less thing to worry about :)

hehe... pretty sure his exam was a bit more difficult

He finished his first exam today and has 3 more this week before his first break of the year! Please keep him in your thoughts and send him good wishes, prayers and luck while he completes the first 1/4 of the program.

Nicholas's group at their leadership retreat 

So proud of him!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Uetliberg Run

Just got back from my (late) morning run and it was amazing! I had no intention of running uphill today, but when I saw the path up the Uetliberg, I went for it and it was spectacular. It felt like I was out in the country and not in the largest city in Switzerland. 

I took photos on my phone, but forget my cord to post. Will do when back in Lausanne. 
Here is one from Wikipedia.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Birthday Remnants

How gorgeous is my kitchen covered in all the birthday flowers! Wow, I love Spring! You cannot imagine how beautiful our apartment smells!

Daffodils, Tulips and a Jasmine plant! 


Tulips! Love! 

Reminds me springtime growing up with our big lilac bushes in the backyard! 

Friday, March 26, 2010

I See London, I See...


No seriously, I really can see France today. Ah-mazing. Hoping that this is the sign that Spring is here for good...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Une Anniversaire Magnifique

Some people love birthdays and some people hate them. Some people love celebrating for days on end and others prefer to let them pass without notice. I am somewhere in between. Something about getting older now when you start to notice changes and see wrinkles is less fun than waking up after a huge sleepover with all of your best friends on a sugar high when you were 10.

Some birthdays I wished would never come, i.e., my 20th birthday. For some reason, I did not want to leave the teenage years and enter "my terrible 20s." I cried on my 20th, don't ask me why. However, my 21st birthday was one to get excited for, obviously!

So this year, I neither was dreading it nor looking forward to it. Just another year and nothing major to worry about. I figured it would be rather quiet since we are in a new country and our friends and family are far away. However, my husband and friends here were thinking bigger.

Finally a REAL date with my husband, best gift ever!! Thank you! 

Last night, Nicholas took me to a wonderful dinner where we ate on a terrace next to a gorgeous park, overlooking the lake and mountains at sunset. Spectacular. After a quiet and romantic dinner, I figured I would have dessert with our neighbors and then maybe meet some friends for a drink and Nicholas would go to study. Boy was I wrong.

some of the partners waiting for our arrival

When we got to the apartment, Nicholas suggested we go straight away to Yann and Maxime's for cake. I would have rather stopped in our apt first to drop off my coat and my bag, but of course, Nicholas had other plans. He rang the doorbell and Yann answered and after the two had a very odd conversation about cake, which made me suspicious,  we went inside. :)


Low and behold, their quaint apartment was teeming with all our friends and I was serenaded with "Happy Birthday To You!" My dear neighbors, my dear flatmate and my amazing husband, along with my friends of partners and students made my birthday extraordinary and I will have this souvenir for the rest of my life.

Talk about some great surprises and gifts. My one friend flew in from Russia a day early to make it to my party and brought Russian Caviar and Vodka. Wow. Another of my Russian friends brought me a gift of a Matryoshka doll. Cool! My Portuguese friend gave me some kitchen things for my love of cooking and brought Portuguese Green Wine (have you ever heard of it? delicious.) Wow. The list goes on and on and trust me, I realize how lucky I am.

That is a lot of candles! 
Wow. One lucky lady. C'est moi. 

More photos here, courtesy of our resident photography Dennis.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ada Lovelace Day and My Two Science Heroines

Ada Lovelace Day, 24 March 2010, is an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science. Women's contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised. Ada Lovelace Day aims to redress the balance by encouraging people to highlight the women who have inspired them.

When I originally thought of this post, I immediately thought of one of my bestest friends. But then, while I was putting together the blog, I realized I almost forgot another extremely important woman, whom without her today would not be possible. My Mom! 

First, Megan. Not only was she the maid of honor in my wedding, she is also one of the smartest, scientific ladies I know. Her experiences and ambitions are impressive to say the least. After graduating from The Ohio State University, she pursued her love of science and microbiology by working in the pathogen laboratory at Nestle's primary assurance quality facility in North America, or as we all fondly called it "The Chocolate Factory." From there she moved onto a university in Chicago where she worked in the Toxicology Research Laboratory. Now she is working at another university in the Department of Neuroscience working to find the cure for Alzheimers. (I may not be able to speak technically or scientifically about all of this, but she is literally working to save the world.) Now she is currently trying to determine which lucky school will have her while she pursues her PHD. Did I mention she ran her first marathon and qualified for Boston? Yep, something surely spectacular here. 

My Mom. What can be said about Jane? Talk about another amazing woman in the sciences. As a nurse she is on the side of science that not only uses the head but also the heart on a daily basis. Growing up, she was constantly studying for different tests to stay on top of her work and also pursuing other areas to learn and also teach her peers.  The compassion and joy my mom has always showed in both her work and in life, in general, is contagious. Not only has she been pursuing (or been pursued for?) bigger roles at work, she has also been involved in the very cool move from paper charts to digital medical records. As she has been working in one system for longer than she may care to admit, she is learning and teaching this new system with grace. She is timeless and brilliant. I should probably mention she also has a couple of marathons under her belt, as well. Yep, that's my Mom. 

I have to admit that I always shied away from the sciences and technology. When I finally took my dreaded science requirements in college, I actually loved them! Too bad it was in my 4th year and I was about to graduate. Otherwise, who knows what I might be doing today!  

Thanks Mom and Megan for being inspiring women in the sciences

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Fever

Not sure if I have a cold or allergies, but I cannot seem to stop sneezing. Today in class, we learned a cute phrase in French to use when someone sneezes. And sneezes again.

Me: A...CHOO!

Teacher: "A tes souhaits!"

Me: "Merci....A...CHOO!"

Teacher: "A tes amours"

Me: "Que les tiennes durent toujours!"


Me: A..CHOO!  (sneeze)
Teacher: "To your wishes"
Me: "Thank you... A..CHOO!" (sneeze again)
Teacher: "To your loves"
Me: "May yours last forever!"

Sunday, March 21, 2010


"here is the street of faithful wives and also the place of model husbands" 
Notice the Cathedral in the background

We spent the day in Fribourg on Friday and had an awesome time! The weather was perfect and we were able to explore the city, catch an Argentinean film, "Rompecabezas" and have a traditional Swiss meal. My friend from China is not a fan of cheese but she has never had Fondue, so we thought it would be an important cultural experience for her to try it. And she loved it!

Yummy fondue! 

Chunguang hiking up the stairs besides the funicular

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Love this

Goodbye Winter

Yesterday was the "Burning of Winter" parade and spectacle. We of course decided to go and see what this was all about. We joined the parade of children and parents to follow an effigy of winter, a box that looked like a large square storm cloud.

Once the cloud got to the Parc du Milan,  it went into a marked off area and a man made an announcement and all the children that were holding yellow balloons released them into the sunny skies.

Balloons represent the sun and spring

Then the effigy was doused with gasoline and lit on fire. Children were playing music the whole time and people were  huddled around in excitement as they watched winter disappear into ashes.

It was really hot standing here!

After the burning, chocolate and bread was available for anyone who wanted. I thought this meant hot chocolate and bread. Nope. A big crusty piece of bread and a slab of a chocolate bar that was placed on top of it and eaten as a sandwich.

Small child having a gouter
Apparently this is a very classic French gouter. What is a gouter, you ask? A gouter (pronounced goo-tay) is an after school snack that all children in France have at 4pm. What I would have given to have been raised in France and served a chocolate bar on bread for my after school snack. Lucky kids.

Of course I tried it and it was a bit strange biting into a very hard chocolate bar and then soft bread. But, not so strange that I wouldn't have it again ;)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


We are more than halfway through our training for the Lausanne 20km (half-marathon). The weather is warming up and the sun is out, which makes the runs much more enjoyable. I am really impressed by the three partners that run with me in the mornings.

Two of them have never been runners. Each week our long run is the longest they have ever run. They don't complain, they don't whine, they just do it. Every day. Rain, snow, wind, cold. It makes it easy for me to get out of bed to meet their smiling faces and see them day in and day out accomplish new personal goals.

They have no idea, but they have inspired me and given me back the joy of running. 

A little project

Something I started last month and am really enjoying is (re)reading the classics. I have decided to read classics I have read before, or maybe have never read, with a fresh set of eyes. Not only am I going back to read the classics, but I am also reading two books by each author I choose to get a bit of a broader understanding of their style. So far, I have completed Jane Austen. I re-read Pride and Prejudice (loved it this time) and Persuasion. Persuasion was Austen's last book and was mostly unfinished. Some people say this is her best piece of work. I disagree. P&P is my favorite.

I am currently reading Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. Amazing book.

I only am reading books/authors that are recommended to me. I have the next few books and authors lined up, but feel free to send me any suggestions on great books that I might miss!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Today I went for my 2nd time to the pool here in Lausanne. Cecilia and I have started going together Sunday mornings when Nicholas goes to play soccer. Today I completed 1 km, the most I have ever done! I am training early for the August Triathlon. The race I plan to sign up for is only a 500 meter swim, but it is in Lake Geneva and I want to be able to swim confidently without stopping or getting tired. So far, I can swim about 250m without stopping but it isn't pretty!

Friday, March 12, 2010


May 21. Paris. Lady Gaga. Yann. Me.


parental discretion advised

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I am obsessed with imagery, photography, fashion. I found a great new site where I will go for all of my photos now. Not only can I find really cool shared images, but I can also edit on the site as well! I love photography, but do not have the knack for it. The class I took in high school  was incredible, we made our own camera and took pictures with it, along with taking normal pictures and developing them in the dark room. As interesting and fun it was until I got to the dark room, the disappointment always set in when my pictures came into focus. My pictures were never good. I know my limitations and a photographer I am not. However, I appreciate the work others are able to do and I love to be able to create from what exists. If you are a photographer, consider joining and sharing your pictures. :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Resident :)

I have my paper document that says I am a resident (temporary) of Switzerland! I can really call it home now :) Which also means I am able to freely move around Europe. Watch out!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Grocery Stores and Candy Cigarettes

Yesterday I had quite an adventure with the grocery stores here. I went to one with Cecilia and when I went to check out, realized I did not have the right credit card on me and no cash... Luckily, she just put my bill on hers and saved the moment. Thanks, C. Then, I ran home, dropped off the things and looked for the credit card. Oh yes, it was in the bag I had, just not in the right place. Err. So, grab my tote and head out to the other store I wanted to get to before all the stores would be closed for the weekend. I get there, grab everything I need and head to the checkout where I see a little sign indicating which cards they take after my groceries are on the belt and half rung up. Errr. Désolé... I apologize and walk out of the store. Grrreeat.

After a brief stop at IMD to share my market adventures with Nicholas, I head to the tiny corner store to pick up a few things to hold us over for the weekend and meet up with Yann who of course had found something interesting to do for the afternoon.

Candy Cigarette- Sally Mann
My earlier frustrations turned into laughter when I told Yann about the day :) and we headed to the Musee de l'Elysee for the Sally Mann Exhibit. Wow. Incredible. Loved every second of the exhibit.

Winter Blues

progression of our view and the mountains

I alluded to the winter blues the other day. Here I am, with the end of winter in sight and I am feeling a little blue. Lots of things on my mind like how different this year is from any other. How I feel a little lost without a job and the flexibility and freedom a salary gives you. I am re-evaluating what is the worth of a person without a title or a place to report to daily (trying to decide if all the classes and runs we set up count). All in all, it is a good thing to have these deep thoughts and to really think about where I am and what I am doing and what I want. Just a little tough when you don't have all of the answers.

looking better, but still no mountains

With winter almost over, we will have sunny skies with no heavy clouds and those mountains right across my lake will be completely visible. Now, most days, if you just arrived and no one told you where you were, you would have no idea such impressive mountains were right there. Maybe that is the metaphor for my life. Right now things are a bit cloudy and gray, but in time it will all clear up and I will be able to see what is right in front of me.

hey there, i see you mountains, come on out!

Friday, March 5, 2010

My own set of Small Victories

So, I like to keep this a secret until you have become a really good friend. But one of my really good friends keeps an awesome blog that makes me laugh. You should check it out. Not only is she always doing something crazy, but she is also always doing something worthwhile and generous. This is someone you want on your side.

I read one of her recent posts on "small victories" and wanted to start thinking about my own. I have my own little case of winter blues and figured this may help make me feel better.

  • My Spanish is improving. A lot. So much that I understand my mother-in-law and all her corrections she has of my Spanish. Gracias Betty ;) I never thought I would get here.
  • Because my Spanish is improving, or maybe because I live in a French-speaking town, my French is improving. Enough that I can understand most of what people are asking me in obvious locations, i.e., cafes, stores, post office. For me, this is a true victory. 2 months til I return to Paris, so I must keep it up! 
  • I am enjoying running again. After too many runs and races, I had pretty much packed up my running shoes. Here, I feel like running is fun again! 
  • Reread Pride and Prejudice and LOVED it. It has motivated me to go back to all of the classics and read them (again) with a fresh set of eyes. 
  • Blogging. The fact that I have kept this thing going for the past 2 1/2 months and have 120 odd posts makes me happy. The fact that I have 22 followers and hopefully more out there ;) is reason to cheer. (ask Nicholas) Victory.

    Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    J'ai faim!!

    Tonight Yann, Nicole and I went to see a modern dance show with two performances. I am right back in the swing of things and haven't been here for 24 hrs.

    The first performance was interesting, but I have to say the second was my favorite. It was a modern dance/art take on a scene from Hansel and Gretel and I thought it was rather brilliant. My take on it is Hansel and Gretel are a couple. They were annoying each other during one scene. Hansel gets frustrated with Gretel and Gretel reacts by having a tantrum. Nothing good comes from it. No matter how much they frustrate or annoy the other, they keep coming back for the other. They are lost without each other.

    Anyways, in one scene, Gretel kept yelling "J'ai FAIM!" -- "I am HUNGRY!" and I could totally relate. I sat through the show and couldn't keep my eyes off of all the loaves of bread they used to set the scene. Had I known, I would have ate something substantial before the show :)

    There was a point when Hansel and Gretel keep shouting about being hungry and then the lights go down. They are standing in the forest at night... I was sitting in the front row and was wondering how long I had before the lights would go back up... enough time to grab one of the loaves? Probably not. Darn.

    Needless to say, coming home from a week away there is not much in the kitchen. But I did go to the late grocery store and buy a baguette. Je n'ai pas faim!


    It is SO good to be back. After a week away, I am so happy to be back in Switzerland! As nice as it is to go home, it is even better to come home.

      actual view even better than this

    I wasn't very fair to poor Switzerland. I talked about how expensive it is, and the crazy rules that are here and made lots of fun at its expense. But, once we made our descent into Geneva and all I saw were the snow covered mountains, then the lake, I took it all back. On the train ride back to Lausanne, I had to pinch myself as I looked at the beautiful countryside, mountains, and lake. I take it all back, I do. I am so happy to be home.

    how i missed this!

    Pancake Sundays

    Ok, yes, I have been off the blog a bit, but a trip across the pond will do that to you!

    Anyways, in honor of hump day, there are two reasons to look forward to Sundays around here:

    1. Sundates with this guy
    yep, all mine

    2. Pancakes. This weekend with Blueberries
    mine look nothing like this

    The Pancake Sunday tradition continued this weekend with my parents and the reviews were positive! You know if it is Sunday is has to be good.