Saturday, June 26, 2010

World Cup 2010

I love the World Cup. Even living where I do, with the filming and thousands of cheering/honking fans (thanks to the vuvuzelas obnoxious, honk-never-ending horns) and mass chaos every night and day. Secretly or not so secretly, I love it. Switzerland feels alive.

Even though I do not have any favorites besides my red, white and blue, I am definitely loving seeing everyone come in their team's colors with their flags and cheer like mad. I go down solo a lot to stand with the crowds and soak up the energy and watch the amazing athleticism and drama. Oh yes, so much drama.

I admit, other than watching 4 years ago and getting lucky cheering for Italy because I had no one else to cheer for and figured family ancestry was good as any reason, I have never been into it. This world cup has changed that for me. I love it, but I had no idea, and took no notice, of three things:

  1. Drama, drama, drama. 
  2. Japan has a team (?) and they are good (?).  Really good. 
  3. What the heck is up with this offsides thing
Drama. How come no one told me that this sport was so similar to professional wrestling. Grown men throwing themselves to the ground, faking injuries, tripping over thin air and blaming the guy in the other jersey. Ugh. I am over it. In fact, I have come up with a new rule. Unless there is blood, no foul, no yellow card and absolutely no red card. 

Japan. I had no idea they were into soccer/football/futbol. They are good and really fun to watch. Enough said, I love the Samurai Blue. 

I do not get this whole offsides thing. Admittedly, I am a novice. So this rant can and probably should go unnoticed, unless you have strong feelings about this. How can so many goals go uncounted just because one of the players is ahead of the defense? Seems like in deciding on this rule, the pendulum went too far. Sure, they want to make sure that there is more play and not just passing the ball down the field to the guy standing behind the defenders to make a goal, but honestly, lets rethink this. So many times, just this world cup, I have been watching the games, getting into it and cheering with my fellow French, German, Algerian, (Insert any country) when offsides is called. Talk about a downer. Who let that guy into this party? 

Also, I would like to make an addendum to my last post on feeling a bit lost on measurement, time, languages, etc. How about how we are the only ones in the world to call soccer "soccer." I often say something like this, "Hey guys, are you going to watch the Chile-Spain soc...foot... er... game today?" I don't feel comfortable calling it football, but I just feel a bit funny, elitist even, calling it soccer. I do notice that sometimes when people are with me, they talk about "soccer" and I think all the time, "Are they just saying this around me? Are they changing their vocabulary to make me feel more comfortable?" Then, I try to use the word football in the next sentence to see if they switch back, and when they don't, I think "Oh crap, why do they keep calling it soccer. Wait... is this word catching on :) ?"

I saw a funny episode of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart where he is talking to his "senior world cup analyst" or something and during the banter he says that if the US keeps playing like this and wins, the rest of the world is going to have to start calling the game soccer. Enjoy the games! USA!! 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Measurements and Time

After 6 months, I still have quite a bit of trouble with the metric system.

All the basics become a little more complicated.

Such as grocery shopping and baking.

Celsius...Talking about the temperature, especially when deciding whether or not to jump in the pool or lake. Is 17* C cold, hot? Multiply by ~2 and add 32 for Farenheit.

Dr's visits when discussing your height and weight. Saying, I am 5'8" and him staring at me blankly. He then suggests that I am around 1.7 or so meters. My blank stare now matches his... We then go the old-fashioned route and he puts me on a scale and then measures my height.

I remember when I was in grade school and the math teachers used to threaten that we would have to change our system to metric. We all would moan and beg that the rest of the world change for us... how silly I was.

But not only is it measurements that confuse me, it is also time. Don't even get me started on language.

Want to meet for a coffee at 16h? Um,... sure. 16h-12= 4pm. Okey dokey. Wanna guess how many times I just hear 16h and think 6pm... too many to admit. I have run like mad from my apartment to the gym to make a 16h yoga session to arrive and realize that I am two hours early. Insert sad trombone here. I suppose it is better than being late.

So, even though in reality, all of these things are not so complicated, they are each like learning a new language. The language of time, the language of measuring, the language of language. I stare at my kitchen clock and have to do quick math to make sure I really know what time it is. Sure, the mornings are easy. But once we hit 13h00 I feel like I have entered a whole new world.
I still work all of my recipes back into cups, I still subtract 12 from the clock, and I will always guesstimate on temperature. Despite being from one of the only countries that doesn't use the metric system, but uses our US customary unit of measurement, I do not think I will ever adjust. Just like Spanish or French, this will never be my first or most natural language.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mountain Living

While my computer has been on the fritz, I have been taking advantage of the beautiful environment in which I live. I ventured on a bike ride with both Ash and Mel through many of our lakeside/mountain towns. I repeated this journey again today and instead of taking the train back, did the full round-trip. 40 km of biking today has made me a tad sleepy, but really excited for the challenge of the tri at the end of August.

Nicholas and I have also been making it to the pool, despite the cool temperatures. I am happy to report that with his coaching, I should have no trouble completing the swim portion of the race. He taught me some new techniques and I feel faster and stronger. I have to say, I think I am the best dressed at the pool with my black ruffle one-piece mom and I picked out months back when I decided I wanted to start swimming again, thanks Mom :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Happy Birthday Grandma!

What a difference a year makes :) Hope it is a good one! Miss you!

Taking Off from JFK...

One fabulous MelRoc venturing to the land of chocolate and cheese, ... then Rome, then London, then Paris. Nice itinerary, glad to see AP and I made the first spot on the line-up ;)

See you when I wake up Melissa!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Coupe du Monde

Today the World Cup started and we have a front row seat to the action. In front of our apartment is a large screen airing the games. Tonight, I went to watch the end of the Mexico vs. South Africa game (tied 1-1) and then to see France vs. Uruguay (tied 0-0). There is something special about being in Europe and experiencing this.

 Mexico vs S Africa
To quote from good ole' Mike in Zurich, slightly edited ;) "Never thought the day would come when I would be in Europe during the World Cup. A land where they revere the sport as it should be. Around every corner, huge projection screens line streets to broadcast matches live for people to watch. Country flags hang proudly from every balcony. With all of that said, I'll always be cheering for the red, white, and blue to kick butt. Let the celebration begins!" Couldn't have said it better myself.

 Nicholas and I have our US flag ready to hang for tomorrow evening's game. GO USA!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Botero Statue in Lausanne

Randomly found this Colombian Artist's work in the gardens at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Just Tri...

I signed up for my first triathlon. What was I thinking? I am a recreational swimmer and biking is something I have not done in such a long time. Luckily, this is a "sprint" triathlon, so I will be doing a 500M swim, a 20KM bike and a 5KM run. The only issue I will have is biking up the Lausanne hills. I am going to start my bike training this week, since the most recent attempt at biking up an incline ended with me jumping off of the bike and running it up the hill,... now this is good training for the running segment, but gets me nowhere near where I need to be to complete the bike section :)

All in all, I am looking forward to this new challenge. I have rediscovered swimming and love being in the water. It is an incredible workout and afterwards, my muscles feel tired, but my knees, hips and ankles are not shot like they usually are after my long runs. I have to say, the name of the race makes me feel less intimidated, the TriLausanne. You know, like, why not try it? Did I mention I do not have my own bike yet? Miiiiinor detail. Actually, a very sweet partner offered to lend me her bike for the race, so we should be all set. No more excuses.

Wish me luck, and if you happen to be in Lausanne the weekend of August 21/22, you can see me in action.

Professionally Shot

In the past 6 months, I have been photographed twice professionally. The first was for our wedding where we spent a good while doing my hair and make-up and wearing a beautiful gown. This last time was a bit different. The preparations included:

745am:   wake up and dress in my winter running gear
800am:   6 mile run in the rain/snow, cold and wind with my girls plus one
930am:   meet with my additional runner turned photographer
1000am:  snap a bunch of photos in the cold on the shore of Lake Geneva

Not only was there no make-up, no hair, no outfit. I actually ran in the cold and snow for over an hour before I posed for my photos. This was all the brain child of one of the student's partners who is a photographer and asked me randomly if she could photograph me. Once she learned that I was a runner she told me she was inspired and wanted to photograph me after one of my runs. And not only would she photograph me, she would first run with me. I have to tell you, I had my doubts before and during, but after I saw her work, I was convinced.

Here are a couple of the shots. Pretty amazing.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Nicholas's Birthday Eve Terrace Party

Last night we hosted a party to celebrate into Nicholas's double 3 birthday. We were lucky enough to have a beautiful, sunny evening, a live Salsa band playing across the street, and a great group of friends that were ready to have some fun after too many nights of studying.

There was a countdown to his birthday at midnight, as if we were all anticipating the new year. Which I suppose we were, but not all of ours, just his :) He was then serenaded with "Happy Birthday to You" in 5 different languages.

Followed by the Germans who hoisted him in a chair and sang some sort of birthday chant while tossing Nicholas a la the Hora in a Jewish wedding.

He received many thoughtful gifts including a bouquet of flowers from the park near IMD, a belt decorated with the swiss flag multiple times and adorned with a belt buckle with the swiss flag, cigars, a ice cream cake in the shape of a champagne bottle, Johnny Walker Red, the list goes on...

The best gift, though, was certainly the company that we shared. The night was filled with so much fun and laughter, I think that the students escaped from their reality for just one night and forgot that they still have one more exam to go tomorrow. It was truly a magical evening and entrance into his birthday, I just know this year is going to continue to have many more wonderful surprises for him.

Happy Birthday to My Husband :)

Happy Birthday to you. To the smartest and kindest man that I know.

I am grateful each day that I have you by my side. I cannot imagine what my life would be like without sharing it with you. You lighten all of my worries and triple all of my joys.

I adore you. Te amo.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Preparations for the World Cup

before with fountain

In front of our apartment, the city is preparing for the World Cup. They have covered our fountain and will put up a huge screen to display the games. They will have space for 8,000 people! The city has already sent us a letter apologizing for any inconvenience, as this will be directly in front of our house. Nicholas responded by sending a Thank You note ;)

"I love Switzerland!!" - Nicholas

For some time now, there has been a stage set up with a variety of musicians playing each evening. Tonight it is Latin music! We just leave our windows open and there is no need to play the itunes. Spring and Summer here are shaping up to be quite wonderful!

after without fountain

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Exam and Birthday Week

Today through Monday, Nicholas will be taking his exams and in doing so, he will be completing the first half of the IMD year. It is crazy to think that we have already been here for almost 6 months and that we have less than that to go. IMD is so thoughtful, for Nicholas's birthday on Sunday, there will be no exams. What a nice birthday gift!

While Nicholas studies away for the finals, I will be starting to book his only vacation of the year. We will be spending part of it in Spain and then Nicholas will head to South Africa early to swim with the sharks :) and then to spend two weeks working on a consulting project for companies in Johannesburg.

Despite the long hours in and out of class for Nicholas and the moments of loneliness and doubt that I have, this is a once in a lifetime experience and we both remind each other often how lucky we are. Congrats to completing your first exam today, mi vida!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, 
always with the same person."
Mignon McLaughlin

Congratulations on loving each other for a lot of years!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Low-End Wine Degustation

Our BBQ and my homemade sign welcoming everyone to the fete des voisins 

Last week, Yann and I opened our terrace to some of the partners and held our own wine tasting evening. We chose to have it on May 25, because here in Switzerland, it is the day of neighbors- a day where you are encouraged to have parties, dinners, drinks, etc. We encouraged everyone to bring an inexpensive bottle of wine, either from their country or region, if they could find it, or a favorite they discovered here.
The wine and food before the guests arrived... with more wine and food :) 

My favorite wine that we tasted was the Portuguese "green" wine. Yum! It is really light and is slightly sparkling. It is a perfect spring/summer drink. We also had a fruity and fresh Zinfandel/Rose from California and a really decent Swiss wine, along with a crowd-pleasing Prosecco and a Spanish Red. All in all, the degustation was a mini-success and we look forward to hosting more in the future.

View from the terrace of the lake and mountains. 

If you look closely, there are palm trees in front of our house! 
Nothing like living in the Swiss Riviera.