Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Great Weekend in the Z

Ashley and the boys 
We started the weekend off with board games and wine, then headed to a wonderful meal at the home of A&M's friend. After wandering through a street-fest, we ended the first night on a very high note :) 
The boys got up and out early to play soccer and then American football while AP and I got to catch up for hours!! It was just what the doctor ordered. 
seit 1898- since 1898 112 years old, or according to Nicholas practically 200 yrs! 
Then, Nicholas and I went off to the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world to celebrate the anniversary of his and another student's interview date at IMD. We had an incredibly delicious meal with Melanie and Lutz and then sprinted to make the 9pm train back to Lausanne, where the two students went over applications and cases. 
All in all, an amazingly fun weekend! 

Saturday, August 28, 2010

International Conference Call of Love

This evening/early morning, I had a conference call to finally catch up with my favorite ladies from our homes in,OH (GO BUCKEYES!), CT, Lausanne and Zurich, Switzerland. Hearing the voices of my three best friends comforted me beyond belief and made me realize that no matter where in the world we may end up, we can always stay connected. Love!!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Executing Ideas: Just do it!

I love this video. I wish we celebrated failure and error more than we do. Failure and errors often are the path to success. He uses one of my favorite quotes 

"If you are going through hell, keep going." Winston Churchill.

Only in Europe...

Would two guys walk down the street with designer man bags.

If you had a year or 6 months or 1 month...

And could do what you wanted but had very little resources- what would you do? Now, this is not the year or half year or quarter of year to finally do your lifelong to-do list, unless of course it is what you want to do. This is not the time to be responsible. This is your chance to do whatever it is that you always say that you would do if you were given the chance to have some time to yourself... let your imagination run wild.

Here is what I have done so far and some future ideas:

Learn how to cook and bake
Re-learn how to swim
Re-learn how to bike
Compete in different races (half-marathon, triathlon, marathon)
Learn a new language, practice an old one.
Teach something, running and English.
Practice Yoga
Play the piano
Have a set date-night and stick to it!
Be part of a wine club
Learn how to sail
Keep a journal
Write a book
Come up with a business

Seriously, what would you do if you had the time?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How is it possible?

Last night, while I was walking home from a garden-beach birthday party lost deep in my thoughts, I realized that I kept hearing a familiar crunch under my sandals. When I snapped back to reality and looked down, I could hardly believe what I saw. Yellow, dry leaves. Is it possible that the leaves are starting to turn and fall already? It isn't even September yet? How quickly summer is leaving!

Monday, August 23, 2010

I TRI-ed!!

According to Wikipedia, Euphoria is medically recognized as a mental/emotional state defined as a profound sense of well-being. Technically, euphoria is an affect, but the term is often colloquially used to define emotion as an intense state of transcendent happiness combined with an overwhelming sense of contentment...Euphoria is generally considered to be an exaggerated physical and psychological state, sometimes induced by the use of psychoactive drugs and not typically achieved during the course of normal human experience. However, some natural behaviors,... such as the triumph of an athlete, can induce brief states of euphoria.

Yesterday morning, I experienced euphoria. Here's how you can achieve it too:

First, do something that you don't think that you can. Preferably in an awe-inspiring setting. For me, I chose a triathlon that started with an early morning swim in Lake Geneva with the beautiful French Alps in the distance.
The start 

Second, continue onto something where you are truly unsure of your abilities, so when you do complete it, you will be in a state of shock. My race continued through the hilly roads of Lausanne, on a bike.
I felt and looked like a little kid on a Big Wheel compared to all the professional bikers 

Then, end with something you are confident in so you are ensured of completing your goal, like a flat 5km run. 

Finally, just when you are about to complete this endeavor, euphoria should kick in. I felt a wave of emotion overcome me when I was running down the final stretch to finish the race and couldn't help but throw my arms into the air, laugh, shout out a big "Whoo!" and practically hug the race volunteers when I crossed the line.

And of course, celebrate properly to continue this sense of well-being :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Tomorrow is the big day

I will be completing my first Triathlon tomorrow morning here in Ouchy! It is the first time that I am competing in anything where I feel unsure of my abilities, but as the tent below says:


A photo of the course in front of the house

Where I will go immediately after to have proof of my major accomplishment :) 

Mediterranean Dinner

Last night, Yann and I continued our culinary education and dabbled in Mediterranean cuisine. We made pitas from scratch, tzatziki sauce with cucumbers, chicken shawarma, hummus and baba ganoush! We even dared to serve it to our overly critical Syrian :)

Pita making- turned out to be delicious! 

the meal :) 

The night was a success and ended with Yann's amazing peach wine dessert. I have found my joy in food, although I think I never lost it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Korean Afternoon

Today, I had my first Korean cooking lesson with  조주은 (Jenny). The food was not difficult to make, it just took a long time to prep all the food. The wait was definitely worth it though. The food was delicious and incredibly spicy, just how I like it!
The view from the dining room of the chefs

Cooking with chopsticks, again. 

The feast

The final products :) 

Go Buckeyes!

President Barack Obama helps spell out "OHIO" with the Weithman family, Rachel, 9, Josh, 11, and mom Rhonda, in their home in Columbus, Ohio, August 18, 2010 
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Dumpling Factory

Friday, Yann and I will continue our dumpling education with another Chinese student. Here is hard evidence of the first round of our hard work for the going away party last week.

After 4+ hours, we successfully made over 60 dumplings. I have no way of telling if this is an efficient method or not, but they were definitely crowd-pleasers.

Hikes and more hikes

These days have been filled with lots of outdoor activity. While Nicholas works away on his international projects and applications, I am hiking around Switzerland.

Here are a few of the photo-highlights :)

Tuesday Hike: La Cure with Daphna and Margrethe

Hiking through many contraptions that were at times the gate and at times not the gate.
not-gate (we still managed to get through)

Hiking to the top of the mountain and then going back down "the same way" and ending up in France.

How did we get here? 
Crossing the border sans ID, saying a little prayer. 
Well, hello France :) 

Wednesday Hike: St. Croix with Jenny and Yann

What a gorges day!

Yann couldn't resist being a monkey and climbing on rocks and large trees.

Look closely, he is on the tree over the river bed

We even found a sign from God.

Dieu vous aime- God loves you

Getting my fill of nature before the year ends and loving every second of it!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Happy Birthday to You, Mom

Happy Birthday to the woman who taught me how to read, one Dr. Seuss book at a time.

Happy Birthday to the woman who taught me how to have fun and not take myself or life too seriously.

Happy Birthday to the woman who taught me that even when you don't have a lot, you can still give a little.

Happy Birthday to the woman who taught me to take advantage of every moment and to make the most out of them, one rainy beach day at a time.

Happy Birthday to the woman who showed me the importance of staying connected with family, friends and hobbies by her own crazy-packed personal agenda.

Happy Birthday to the woman who taught me how to compete, always encouraging me that I could do and be more. She is the reason I won that 2nd grade reading contest.

Happy Birthday to You, Mom. I love you!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Going Away Party

"Congratulations" and "Bon Voyage!"
Last night we had a going away party for our neighbor who will head back to China to have her baby girl due in January! Yann and I prepared homemade dumplings that she taught us how to make and made signs in perfect chinese, according to all the Chinese students (Dad, that makes 7 languages ;). Lots of people showed up to congratulate her and her husband and wish her a safe journey home.

The maternity shirt we gave her "it's for January" :) 
This will conclude my Chinese cooking lessons and also all the great moments that Chunguang and I have shared during her time here. Can't wait to see her in China and meet her new addition in the future.

Sailing or Monday came a day early this week :)

Sunday, Nicholas and I had the opportunity to go sailing with a bunch of the students. Since neither of us have ever sailed before, he thought it would be a good idea for us to go without an instructor, as we both like a challenge. Yep, yep.
similar boat to what we sailed

We got into our Laser 3000 sail boat and after a brief lesson in French we were off...Sort of. We had a few close calls with the beach and rocks as our little sail boat didn't seem to want to go out into the water. Luckily, a Zach Galifianakis-look-alike-vagabond with a lot of knowledge of sailing was very helpful. 

The vagabond minus baby and beard, in a speedo

So these first few moments were a bit frustrating for the both of us, but more so for Nicholas. I decided that if we were going to spend an hour or two sailing, I was going to have a good time, regardless. He snapped about me not being any fun and then, miraculously, we seemed to finally be heading to deeper waters. When we were finally deep enough to put the rudder in the water (see picture below), Nicholas told me to do just that. 

I admittedly paid no attention to the instructions and had no idea what I was supposed to do with this board. Nicholas at this point was quite tired from jumping in and out of the boat to help navigate it, and frustratingly told me to "please put it in!" repeatedly. "Put it where?" I asked. He again repeated the vague instructions with even less patience this time. Okey dokey, I thought. I guess it goes in the water. I checked for some rope on it to ensure it was attached and noticing some, I tossed the rudder overboard. 

me with the rudder and our little boat
Yes. I tossed. The rudderInto the water. Guess what? It was not attached. That rope i saw was not secured to anything...The rudder had gone by the board. The next few minutes are a bit of a blur as I was still confused why we would want this board out of the boat, but figured he knew best. 

This is where the adventure began. Nicholas saw the rudder floating away and jumped out of the boat frantically chasing it. Once he successfully had it in his arms, he started swimming towards the boat. Although, at this point, the boat had finally caught some wind. As a new first mate,  I had no idea how these boats worked and was just going with the wind. Away from Nicholas. No one at the helm. Oops. 

From the  water, a panicked Nicholas started yelling for me to steer the boat. Only the vagabond witnessed all that was happening and was swimming behind Nicholas who was chasing the boat and me :) I wish I could have taken a photo, because this was priceless. 

At this point, Nicholas tossed the rudder and started swimming faster and faster to catch the boat. All the while, yelling instructions and anger in my direction. 

Finally he catches the boat, the Galifianakis-look-alike grabs the rudder and gives it to us and the instructor from the rental place zooms over on his speedboat to find out what has just happened. Nicholas tells me again to carefully place the rudder in but this time to be careful that it doesn't slip through again... 

Slip through?... 

I realize at this moment what has just happened and also that no one witnessed my momentary lapse of reason. He is now pointing to a very obvious hole in the boat where this should go and I am starting to realize the hilarity of it all. 

I quickly tell him through enormous laughter what I had done, just in time for him to relay the  message to the instructor. I was laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face. Once Nicholas realized what I had done he stares at me in utter disbelief and then bursts into laughter. 

The sailing going forward was spectacular. The winds picked up and we were zipping around the lake like pros! We even went a little too far that the instructor had to race to us to tell us to turn around. We cannot wait to get back on the lake and do it again. This time, keeping all the necessary pieces in the boat. 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Latino Party

Last night the Latin students and their supportive partners hosted a party for the students, alumni, professors and guests. It was a smash hit. The entertainment line-up included a Mariachi band courtesy of the Mexican student, Capoeira dancers courtesy of the Brazilian students and Sevillana dancers courtesy of the Spanish students.
The Mariachis! 
Along with food and drinks from Colombia, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, and Peru. I still have to pinch myself when I am in situations like these. Sharing an evening with a group of people who are sharing a piece of their culture and life with us. It was really cool. I even learned how to make arequipe and milhojas to represent Colombia. Many of my latina friends were impressed, but not as much as Nicholas. Success! The dancing went to the wee hours of the night and needless to say, an amazing time was had by all.