Month: May 2014

Lady Friends and Thespians

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Six? and counting… I’m slowly meeting new people here!

I am struggling a bit this week to get everything done. It’s my last week with mum & dad here so I want to spend time with them, but there’s all the other stuff too – work, housework, German homework, dropping off and picking up P, planning meals, doing day trips. And HI is away in China so it’s all feeling a bit hectic! Plus the weather’s come up all lovely and I just want to be outside riding my bike, really! But bike riding’s a rather solitary endeavour…  And I’d still love to make some friends. 

So last night I had a late-breaking mum date. Got a text saying there was a spare ticket to see two English-language plays being put on by the Zurich Comedy Club and would I like to go along? Yes please. The plays themselves were fine – both quite gentle, especially the second one, A Candle On The Table, about old ladies entering a retirement home, which had a very sweet ending. It was more the company. I knew I was missing having “friends” but I don’t think I realised quite how much I have missed just sitting around with a bunch of women my age and in similar situation (married, kids, living in Zurich) and chatting away. Gosh it was nice. 

English-language plays are put on by this company about every six months at the Theatre im Seefeld. When we were over here earlier in the year doing our Zurich recce we stayed right across the road from this Theatre so it was good to see a production there. Also who knew you’d be able to see English-language plays in central Zurich? Apparently they’ve been doing it since 1954 though! 

Speaking of friendships – budding or established – I’ve also spent too much time this week reading this Renegade Mothering blog that I just discovered. It’s great. I hope I can be as interesting and sassy as this woman in my writing (in my own way). The current (at time of writing) blog on her no-BSND friendship manifesto is way-cool. So, as well as being really chuffed to have just upped my potential friend quota in Zurich by 4x in one night, I’m also thinking about all my old scalies scattered across the globe and feeling immensely grateful that they’re all so excellent. And also: please email me more often because I miss you and I’m lonely. Ha

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Rain, rain go away, I want to ride my bike today!

I'm just a lonely bike waiting to be ridden...

It’s been a wet week so far in Zuri. A good excuse to stay in but it’s frustrating because I BOUGHT A BIKE on the weekend and I am itching to get peddaling!

The afternoon (Saturday) I got said bike was sunny at least. And this was good because I got it at the Veloborse – a second hand bike market that happens every month or so in Zurich. Felt like a proper Züricher going along to this and making a purchase! 🙂

In typical Swiss fashion, the bike market was extremely well organised. There were hundreds of used bikes for sale and anyone could wander in as a punter. Each bicycle has to be registered with the people who run the market (Pro Velo) and they require proof of ownership/ that it’s not stolen and they check it’s roadworthy at least (although take no responsibility, they are 2nd hand bikes after all). All the bikes are set out on a big carpark/plaza, each with a slip showing the make, seller’s name, price etc. So you just grab one you like and take it for a little test-ride around the platz (or further afield, if you leave your wallet or something as security). Then, when you find one you like, you take it up to the central cashdesk and pay your money (cash only). A lot of the vendors are there to answer questions on the bikes (one guy almost sold me a cool vintage one but it didn’t have enough padding/suspension for my non-cycling ass). And there’s also a tent where they can do adjustments to seat height, tyres and stuff for you on-site.

Because we went there late in the day (around 1.30pm, the thing closed at 3) we may have missed some bargains but it did mean vendors were keen to shift their stock. After walking away from the vintage beauty and narrowly missing out on a really ugly bike I thought would be a perfect thief deterrent (when I went to test-ride Uglycycle another woman had already grabbed it, faugh!) I found – joy – a stylish black Cresta (classic Swiss brand), which is actually the same make as the one I test-rode and LOVED at Velotto (a devastatingly hip bike shop in Zuri West). Best of all, I bargained the guy into a 10% discount and walked away very happy with my new-old bike. Score!

Then I bought myself a sensible (?!) new orange helmet (I’m having a bit of an orange/pink binge atm). I figured it would make me easier to spot since I so often wear black and am likely to be careening along on the wrong side of the road.

Now, if only this rain would stop so I can ride it… !

 

 

The Bubble

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I haven’t blogged in a little while because my parents have been in town and I’ve also had a lot of work from my old job in London to do (paid work) so it’s been rather hectic!

Having mum and dad here has been great. They’ve zugged off to Geneva for a few days so, while there’s still freelancing to be done, I have a little more headspace.

With my family here, I’ve been floating along in a “tourist bubble” doing things like taking them up to Uetliberg – the Top of Zurich – a lookout that’s about 20 mins on the train from Hauptbahnhof.

We took a trip to Luzern for the Swiss Transport Museum / Verkhershaus (for P’s birthday – 3!). That place is amazing. I thought it was good the first time we went a couple of months ago, but with summer coming, it’s been made even better – in the large courtyard, they have created a temporary lake for kids to practice sailing on (older kids, not 3 year olds), plus there’s loads of biggish, ride-on trains (the Gartenbahn mini steam train, awesomes!), as well as planes, cargo carriers, diggers and even canal boats for kids to shunt about. It’s the sort of place that makes me wish I was 8 years old again to enjoy it. And I’m not usually that sort of woman!

Plus we ate at the Swiss restaurant Zeghauskeller. Basically all stuff with did with other friends/as tourists before! (Need to get some new ideas…)

All this sightseeing has been lovely, but it doesn’t help me break the bubble. I guess it’s always hard when you find yourself somewhere new to make the transition from feeling like a tourist to a resident. Especially as it’s so picturesque and “European” here, and I somehow don’t quite see myself in that setting. Having extra adults to speak to also means I can push my German illiteracy a bit further away for a while and enjoy my little English-speaking bubble.

And because mum and dad are, to some degree, “home”, it feels a bit like we’re all on holiday together. Truth be told, I’ve caught myself a few times thinking what a relief* it will be to return “home” . And then I realise that home is Zurich now. Err.

Speaking of bubbles and homes. I really hope that real estate bubble in London is still expanding, because the sale of our house there just fell through. No! 😦  Rather unceremoniously, with no explanation given. I feel a bit shocked and upset but also protective: our poor little house, going back on the market without us there to look out for it, polish it up and present it in the best light.

A rather deflating start to the week. Pop. Fizzzzzle.

(*just general holiday malaise, not because I’m having a bad time!)