Monday, June 22, 2009


I know what you are thinking: She doesn't post for almost a month, and when she does she talks about toilets????

Yeah, well, suck it up. I'm also going to talk about diapers. Diapers are expensive--29.CHF ($26.77) for a pack of 46 Pampers Cruisers. Usually. We discovered yesterday that you can pay a lot more.

We had stake conference (for my Catholic friends, a stake is like an arch dioceses--so it's a big group) in a town 1.5 hours away. No problem. We packed up the bag with toys and lunch and headed off on the train. Incidentally, when the train arrived in Biel, we weren't entirely sure where the actual building we needed to go to was, but it was easy enough to find it, as we just located people in suits and ties walking and followed them.

Anyway, Jason noted we were only an additional 1.5 hours from Geneva--and he's been dying to go to Geneva. Plus, our train tickets were all day tickets, so we could go on any train in Switzerland and not have to pay more.

After church, we headed to Geneva. And we went to change Daniel's diaper and discovered (to our horror) that while I had remembered food and toys and scriptures, I had forgotten diapers. So, we're 3 hours from home with no diapers.

Almost all stores are closed on Sundays in Switzerland. The only things open are gas stations and stores that are in an actual train station (or airport). We managed to locate diapers for a mere 40CHf ($36.92). Aren't you all glad you can go to Costco?

And now more potty discussions.

We were afraid the Swiss didn't have actual bodily functions, as they are so neat and organized and clean. But, they do. And, predictably, there is a very Swiss slant to them.

First of all, all public toilets have a toilet brush next to them. Don't think about leaving any "remains" for the following person. Clean up after yourself! Then, many toilets (like the one pictured above) have two levels of flush. Small button for small deposits, large buttons for, ummm, bigger ones.

Incidentally, there is no such thing as those wimpy US toilets that try to save water by making you flush them numerous times. All toilets have super flushing capabilities. Sometimes it's a bit amazing how much water they use.

In many places they have pay toilets. These are called McCleans and you pay 1 or 2 francs in order to use a clean bathroom. At one rest stop you had to pay 1chf for the toilet (kids under a certain height were free!), but you could have it refunded if you ate at their restaurant. Which we did, so free pottying for us. They are regularly cleaned and are very nice. If you're a man and you just need a urinal, it's generally cheaper.

There are also pay toilets on the streets, although these never seem to work very well. You insert your money and the door opens and you can go in. These have not been as clean, but are handy if you need one.

Sarah loves to use train toilets. The Swiss trains are as expected. However, much to our joy and surprise, the French trains just dump the contents directly onto the train tracks. They have signs warning you to not use the facilities when the train is at the station. I guess not.

Most stores don't have public restrooms, but we're getting better at locating them. I feel like finding a new public potty is a red letter day! I can't tell you how excited I was to find one, in reasonable proximity, to a tram stop we use regularly--plus, it's a free one! Yeah for clean, free, bathrooms.

I understand Turkey is very different.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Lernen Deutsch

I began on my study of German today. I'd like to say that the reasons for this study are as follows:
  • As a resident of a German speaking area in Switzerland, I'm obligated to learn German
  • I want to understand what people are saying at church, without obligating others to translate for me.
  • I want a richer understanding of the culture
  • I believe learning a second language is a benefit to everyone.
As I said, I'd like to say those are the reasons for learning German. Here is the real reason: Eavesdropping and things old ladies say.

Okay, I do want to learn German for the proper reasons, but I've had two experiences lately that have really solidified my desire to learn the language.

The first involved a man, his dog, and the tram police. There was an intense conversation which I presume pertained to the definition of a small dog (kleine hund). Small dogs are free. Large dogs you have to buy a ticket for. I realize this sounds boring. But the woman next to me kept giving me those "that guy is such an idiot" looks. Only, I didn't know which guy was supposed to be the idiot--the dog owner or the tram police guy. If only I spoke German!

The second also involved the tram. Daniel was asleep when we left the house, so I wasn't in the kinder wagen, but in the front part of the tram. It was quite crowded when we got on, but there was a seat next to a young, black woman. I sat down. Immediately, the old lady on the other side of the aisle got up and told me something. I'm not sure what, but she kept motioning for me to take her seat. Now, keep in mind, I had a seat. I was already seated.

She said something about the baby. (Baby=baby in German, so that's handy!) The only logical explanation I can come up with something racist. I mean, why would you offer your seat to someone who already had a seat unless there was a reason the seat I was in wasn't good enough?

So, now I'm learning German. I'll let you know what other interesting things I learn. For all I know, the tram cop and the dog guy were next door neighbors and were having a heated conversation about dandelion growth. (Swiss=pro-dandelion.) As for the old lady--well, I'll have to come up with a creative reason for her offer.

More about clothes

I spoke with Shannon yesterday and she said that my posts on dry cleaning were interesting. Discounting the fact that Shannon also devotes a great deal of time to ducks, I decided to do one more post on the topic.

You see, I purchased a new iron. Not just any iron. A pressurized steam iron. It's awesome. It makes Jason's shirts actually presentable.
Philips GC8220/02 B├╝gelstation

Mehr Bilder ansehen

I will confess, though, that when we move back to the US, I will resume my patronage of dry cleaners. This is too much like work.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Jason enjoys torturing entertaining us with local music. (In truth, Daniel loves it, but you should also know that the other day Daniel picked something off the bottom of my foot and ate it, so his judgment can't be trusted.)