Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Disaster Narrowly Averted

Tomorrow morning, I am going visiting teaching. This is a Church program where each woman in gets visited by two other women each month. We're supposed to bring a lesson and chat for a bit. It's a great program and I must confess my lack of faithfulness to it, for the past while.

It's not all my fault--they didn't assign me women to visit at first, because of that whole language barrier. Then they did assign me people and a companion and well, then, the sin becomes mine doesn't it?

So, my companion and I have repented and we're going tomorrow. My German is still terrible, so I thought I'd do something very American (or perhaps very Utahn) and bring cookies. I cannot speak German, but I can bake. (Ich kann nicht Deustch sprechen, aber ich kann backen.)

I wanted to make chocolate chip cookies because they are a novelty here. Despite the chocolate that runs in the streets, chocolate chips are not available. Neither is brown sugar or baking soda (although I did locate some of the latter in Germany), so no one around here makes them.

I went to get my chocolate chips out of the cupboard and they were gone! Horrors! I was sure that I had one more bag. I searched high and low and did not locate them. I did, however, find Jason's Thai Potato Chips. He'll be thrilled.

So, I searched once more and whew! Found them! It is my last bag, however. Good thing Jason is taking a trip to the US in February. Chocolate chips are very important.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A dirty secret

Switzerland is clean. Super clean. In fact, if you come to visit us, the first thing you'll notice when you get off the airplane in the US is how filthy the US is--compared to Switzerland.

I've been under the impression that the Swiss are just naturally clean people, but I have recently changed my mind. I think their impulses towards messiness are the same as ours, but their dedication to cleaning is much higher.

Tons of people smoke and they drop their cigarette butts on the ground at the tram stops. But, every day the place gets cleaned up by a dedicated employee. Even the ticket machine gets wiped down. You see, it's not that the Swiss hands that punched the buttons to get the tickets don't have the same dirt on them as their NYC counter parts, it's just that someone thoroughly cleans those machines regularly.

(Of course, because they are cleaned regularly, there are fewer dirty hands. Dirt begets dirt and cleanliness begets cleanliness. There is undoubtedly a sacrament meeting talk in all of this, but I'll leave that for another day.)

This has been brought to the forefront of my brain because it is our family's turn to clean the church. Each family takes responsibility for cleaning the church for a month.

I have discovered that Swiss people also leave cracker crumbs and Cheerios on the floor. (This is extra curious because you can't buy Cheerios in Switzerland, yet they are there. It must be the 11th commandment or something--take Cheerios to church for toddler.*) The seminary students do not clean up after themselves, and dirty dishes are in the sink.

But, the building is always spotless on Sunday because someone cleans it. Now, a confession. When I was told how to clean the church (the list of tasks is in German, of course. I did not know the word for chalkboard, so I needed a bit of help with the interpretation.) I was told it would take about 4 hours worth of work to do the building.

Fine and good, but this is week number 3 and the longest it's taken is 2.5 hours worth of work. Hmmmm. Obviously, I am missing something. (The fact that I can't read the list probably plays into this.) I'm sure my fellow church members are sitting their during Sunday School, mumbling to themselves, "whoever was in charge of cleaning this week sure didn't straighten the curtains properly" and "what were they thinking? The cleaners didn't use a toothbrush around the light switches!"

I'm glad we only have one more week of cleaning, although it's been a good experience for all concerned. It's even made Daniel less freaked out at nursery, since he gets to play in there while we clean without the threat of an actual non-parental adult in there.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Showing off our superior manners

Daniel goes to nursery at church now. Currently, there are three little boys and one little girl. They get a snack every week. The families rotate the responsibility of providing the snack. Usually, it is fruit and pretzels, or something similar.

Well, this Sunday the mom in charge of snack brought in some granola bars with a bit of chocolate on the outside. She cut a bar into bite sized pieces and placed it on the table with the fruit.

Our well mannered little schweinkind started grabbing at the chocolate granola bar. One of the other boys managed to grab one piece. The 3rd boy and the girl got none. (The girl didn't like them anyway--so no great loss.) So, Daniel has his hands completely full of the treat. Boy 3's mother says to him, "Daniel, can you let Raphael have one piece?"

Daniel looks up at her and shoves both fists in his mouth, getting all the granola bar in his mouth at once.

I didn't witness this in person, but heard the story from two different people. Ahh, to be the mother of Mr. Piggy. Don't mess with Daniel and his food. Gee, I wonder where he picked that up?

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Perils of Being 6 Hours Ahead

Sure, we got to ring in the new year while you were still pondering what to have for your New Year's Eve dinner, but this also means that while you are still snoozing away, we have to face reality.

Yes, today is the first day of reality in 2010. After 3 weeks off school for Sarah and 2 weeks off work for Jason, this morning we set alarms, got up, got dressed and made a mad dash to the tram.

Thankfully, the tram driver saw us coming and waited for us, so we didn't have to sit and wait for 10 minutes for the next tram.

Vacation is so much better than reality.