yada yada yada - I got caught out the other day using this phrase.
The website CoolRunning provides some great running programs. However, they are all in miles and since moving abroad I have fully converted to the metric system. I have taken a few minutes to re-create the CoolRunning Beginner 10K running plan into all metric. This is not my plan and I do not take any credit, I'm only trying to save people some time to convert!
7 and a half months. I have not regretted my decision to move to Europe and leave behind my family, friends, home and job. Each day I learn something new. Each day I am glad to wake up and start again.
The end of the calendar year is usually the time to reflect upon what happened in the last year and to look forward to the next year. I have a tendency to do this more at my birthday, which happens to be about the time that I moved here. There are multiple times throughout the year that I can take a step back and really think about my life.
I believe it's important to not only think about what I've done but also to actively make a plan for improvements. It's one thing to write a wish list, but unless you take time to plan HOW to accomplish your improvements (resolutions) then they will most likely not be fulfilled.
My favorite podcaster and visionary of our generation, Kevin Rose, just wrote his New Year's resolutions. I really like how he also included his resolutions from last year (failed or succeeded). I read my journal last year at this time. I did reflect on 2009 but did not write any resolutions.
Here is my year summary:
January - Travelled to Europe, met future manager.
February - Laid to rest Sunny, my dog and companion of 12 years
March - Girls weekend for Linda's babyshower
April - Accepted position in Switzerland, pack, pack, pack, Cara electrocutes herself in my kitchen.
May - Move to Switzerland, turn 31 years old in a strange, new country.
June - Find permanent apartment, Mom and Reilly come to CH for visit
July - Mom and Reilly visit, go to the States for Tenaya and Shawn's wedding
August - Venice, via ferrata in Murren, begin German classes
September - Hiking, hiking, more hiking.
October - Berlin, Lyon, US, more hiking
November - Pub crawl, 1st Thanksgiving in CH
December - Hiking, US.
Here is my top ten objectives for the new year, all reasonably attainable or at least workable.
1. Watch less TV/movies/computer. (No more than 3 hours a week)
2. Learn to speak German at a conversational level.
3. Move more/get healthy (minimum of 30 minutes per day just for the body)
4. Travel (Moscow, Kiev)
5. Read one book per quarter, at least!
6. Organize apartment and buy furniture.
7. Learn to ski.
8. Write to my grandparents once per quarter.
9. Sell my house.
10. Plan for the future.
What are some of your Improvements/Resolutions? Post some comments!
Today it rained in Basel. My original plan was to hike/walk to this village called Gempen about 7 miles away, over a small mountain. There is a festival there this weekend. There is also a summit near by that gives views to the Alps on a clear day. None of this happened.
Instead I stayed home most of the day, doing laundry. I went out for some shopping and the excuse to take a shower. I also experienced my first haircut in Basel.
My new friend, Alison, invited me to play squash. I had never played before but I knew it was kind of like racquetball. I almost didn't go but decided that I had to be active today. The Europeans call it "doing fitness" or "doing sport".
I decided to run/jog/crawl to the place we were meeting which was 2.5 miles from my place. Then we played squash for ~2 hours. Upon leaving, we were trying to figure out what to do next. I suggested the festival in Gempen so we went! I love that kind of spontaneous action. No dwelling on the fact that we were covered in sweat, or not wearing proper clothes. No! We just went! Later on we talked about the fact if we had gone home to take a shower and change, we probably would not have gone back out.
We saw this amazing rainbow on the way to Gempen.
The festival was kinda lame but we were bit glad we went.
After a nice bath, I'm ready for bed and another exciting, long day tomorrow in Zürich.
The picture below is of flammkuchs baking in an oven. This is a traditional "pizza" type dish here in the Alsace region. The four "tops" are spinning with fire below.
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It is raining today in Basel. I hope this doe not affect my weekend plans but undoubtably it will.
I've signed up for Mobility, a car sharing program. I am really looking forward to using a vehicle here to help with furniture. I have missed out on secondhand pieces because I have no way to transport stuff. There was a beautiful antique four poster bed someone was getting rid of, I hope it's still available.
I had lunch yesterday at Vapiano, a pasta place. They make the pasta fresh there and cook everything in front of you while you wait in line. Then you take your food and sit down. It was amazing! I had penne with carbonara sauce. Soooo good! I'm learning where to eat what. Some places just are bad. This is something I miss about the states, not the food per se but the knowledge of where to go to eat.
The picture below is from the Jazz festival a couple of weeks ago.
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Here is the link to a cooking video I made with Chris Escalante in February.
Chris Escalante Cooks
As I near the 100 day mark I plan on doing something special, so stay tuned!
I'm just shooting from the hip so this might not be in any particular order.
I miss stores that stay open all night.
I don't miss driving a vehicle to work everyday.
I miss driving the Jeep with the top down and the music up.
I really like getting around the city with public transportation and my bikes.
I miss knowing all the streets and where everything is in the city.
I don't miss my house.
I don't miss the food (except for my moms).
I miss understanding how the government works and the insurance etc.
I really like the people I've met here.
I don't like not understanding what people are saying.
I really like how pedestrians are priority.
So I was asked what is the best part about living here in Europe>Switzerland>Basel.
My favorite part about living in Europe has to be the ability to travel so easily.
My favorite part about living in Switzerland has to be that everyone follows the rules and thus makes for a really well run country.
My favorite part about living in Basel has to be all the new friends I'm making.
I really, really, really miss my gas stove!!!
I don't think this list is extensive but I'm working on it.
What's to come? I'd like to write a post on Insurance, wooo fun topic! But seriously interesting I think, especially for those of you who may want to live abroad some day.
I'm also working on a post about hiking (walking as the Swiss call it), trials and tribulations of learning German, and a post called, "What does Megan eat?"
It has been a really long time since my last post! I've heard that some people actually read this so let me apologize to those who have been waiting. By the way, if you leave a comment or sign up to 'follow' this post I'll know how many people are spending time reading me!
Me in Venice, Italy. July 31st, 2010
I look tired because we were up since 3:30 A.M. to catch our flight!
Let's begin with last weekend... I went to Venice for the 3 day weekend with Laura.
Sidebar: Laura is the fantastic person living in the apartment below mine. She also works for my company and is from the States. She has two cats and a long distance boyfriend in Chicago. She's pretty cool.
This is Laura, it's unfortunate that the Gondolier's fanny is sticking in the wrong direction...
Laura booked a fantastic 5-star hotel called
. It's one of three hotels in Venice and we stayed at L'Hotel. Breakfast in the morning overlooks the Grand Canal. A really great place to stay! Brass everywhere and tons of Murano glass sculptures.
This is the view of the Il Palazzo which is the old part of the hotel.
L'Hotel is the new part attached but located to the left in the photo.
Day 1 - Walked in San Marco, trying to avoid tourists. I've been to Venice before so I was just enjoying the weather and the scenery rather than trying to get in at all the hot spots. I got the chance to try out my new iPhone 4 camera. Realized later that the forward facing camera is not nearly as good as the outward facing camera. Here are some of the things I saw on the first day.
Gondola's - everywhere!
This is just an everyday walkway but the light played very well here! Angelic!
Another wonderful play of light. I'm calling this one "Green".
This picture above of a canal was taken at the end of a very long, narrow walk way. I try to walk down places tourists don't normally even look down. I find little treasures like this one!
As you walk around Venice due to the nature of the city you can walk with a group of people for quite some ways since there is only one way. I was walking with an adult family that included mother, father, 3 grown men (boys) and a girl. So I walked down this ally, they saw me and looked down the ally too. They saw the same coolness and decided to follow me...I was a little nervous.
I assumed they were just coming to look but the parents and girl didn't come. So I put my iPhone away and just waited. The men just looked at the tiny fish, took a few pictures and walked away. Phew! I'm always aware of my surroundings and I was very aware at that point that there was no where for me to go except in the water!
I waited until they are completely gone from the ally before I resume taking pictures. Just as I'm leaving a little old woman with groceries comes down and unlocks her door. I only wonder if I scared her like those boys scared me...
The guys that followed me down the ally.
Later that afternoon I took a long, long nap! Eventually Laura crashed as well. We dressed and went to dinner around 8.
We're trying to figure out how to put a short person and a tall person in the same shot.
Conclusion: It's better to have the short person take the picture!
The hotel recommended a restaurant on Dorsoduro called
. The terrace is on the water, so the view was unobstructed and breathtaking. As you can see above we were there as the sun was setting then into the night. Dinner lasted until 2330.
See the dome in the picture above? At night the moon was sitting right next to it! Beautiful!
This doesn't do it justice. I really needed a tripod and a 'real' camera.
Here are some pictures of the restaurant.
Happy Megan! And this is before the food!
Raw tuna. A lot of it! Tasty!
Skip to the end! Lemoncello and espresso macchiato.
We had a wonderful evening! The food was okay but the servers and atmosphere where really awesome! Ah... Franco and Alberto! The look we received when Laura asked Franco for salt. Priceless.
The weather was perfect for a mid-night stroll back to the hotel. Fall into bed and sleep deeply in air-conditioning! We don't have that in Switzeraland. A wonderful, long first day of the weekend.
Since I want to post this tonight but have no more time to write I'll try to do another post tomorrow for days 2 and 3 in Venice!
So everyday we have free bottled water at work. We can choose between still water, water with some gas and water with more gas. Each kind available in a 6 pack at 50cl or in big 1.5L bottles. I usually choose the red label (some gas).
Since it's so common here to drink water with gas there are also lots of flavored syrups to be added, make your own soda! I have lycee at home and it's yummy.
I really don't have anymore to say on the subject. Yummy, bubbly water, free.
Whew! I've secured an apartment!
I have never before (even when shopping for my house) had such an experience. I saw at least 10 apartments in 10 days with my relocation agent. She was great! However, I was getting quite tired of looking at places. You see, I'm not very picky. I can really live anywhere. So that makes things more difficult, in the decision department.
Monday, I felt like there was lots of pressure to find a place. I'm sure I was doing it to myself but that didn't matter I was feeling pressure. I wanted a place big enough for having guests but not too big. Of course I didn't want to pay too much either. Looking at all these apartments was eating up my evenings, and taking some of my work time as well. I had lots to do at work so I think this is where some pressure was coming from. The other thing about looking at apartments is that everyone knows you're looking and they all have an opinon. I would be asked about a place I had seen, so being mostly optimistic in life, would describe it. Without fail, whomever I was talking to would find something negative to say about the place, location etc. This kind of attitude was difficult for me. Plus I wanted their opinons because I'm new here and I'm looking to them for guidance. I told a co-worker about this when he said a negative thing, he responded that it's the Swiss way to always look at the negative first. At least he understood what I was saying.
I left work at 4pm (a little early) to look at this apartment, the viewing wasn't until 6pm. I needed to get out of the office. On my way home I called my mom, she could tell something was wrong. I tried to explain what I was feeling but when I put it in words it all sounded really dumb. Soon I was home, still on the phone with my mom. She prays for me that I'll find a place soon and that I'll know without a doubt that it's the right place. Then I hear my nephew, which makes me cry because I miss him so much. He's so sweet. He asked why I was crying and told me that he misses me.
I fell asleep crying.
I woke up at exactly 6pm, with 5 minutes to spare before my agent is picking me up. We arrived at the apartment and the owner was sitting out front. He seemed like a nice guy, his wife was inside giving the tour. Just as we're going inside, one of the current tenants comes out. Enter Laura, fellow American, fellow woman, fellow Bayer employee. Recently moved here and now my neighboor.
We went on the tour, everything was great! Old wooden spriral staircase to the apartment. Old doors with glass to let the light through. New windows on the street side to reduce sound from the passing tram and cars. Old wooden floors, high ceilings, molding, new bathroom tile. Between the two biggest rooms are sliding french doors that can open completely. Then between the room and the winter garden (a glass enclosed balcony that can be opened to the air) is another set of doors that can be opened completely for a very wonderful experience. Like one huge room open to the outside!
The kitchen was new 2 years ago and big. I could go on and on, but I'll say one more thing; garden (what they call a yard). A little, well manicured garden in the back only for the four tenants. The whole place has that "ahhh" feeling.
I wanted the apartment, partially because I was really done looking but mostly because the place had old charm but new features. The owners were nice and the other tenants as well. My agent filled out the application and submitted it the following morning.
There were 4 others who wanted this place, I got it. I got it because my agent had already put Laura there, because Laura emailed on my behalf and because my mom prayed I would find the perfect place. It is pretty perfect. I found out the next day that it was across the street from the church I wanted to attend.
I move in on June 15th, just 28 days after arriving in Basel. My belongings will arrive on the 16th or 17th. I could not have acheived more perfect timing.
Hello!! I'm finally posting pictures of my temporary apartment. From what I've seen while hunting for apartments online this one is fairly typical however it doesn't have a balcony.
Note the little metal risers on the toaster. Meant to just warm some bread rather than toasting.
Tiny frig but everything fits. All the kitchens have these built in frigs. It makes the kitchen look nice.
I've resorted back to taking baths like I did when living in Elkhart. The shower work but it sucks. Definitely will need to verify a good shower when deciding on a permanent place.
Okay, this is the part I can't figure out. Look at the sink, there is no counter space anywhere! Where is a girl supposed to put her makeup bag? I eventually put the cutting board across the sink and that worked.
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