Thursday, July 8, 2010

Week One

We’ve been here one week now. Phew. Its been a whirlwind. We arrived in time for the 50th anniversary festivities. So, that’s been fun, but it has also meant that we are sharing “our” castle and trying to settle into routines that we can manage and that the kids are comfortable in, while schmoozing with Trustees of the university, alumni who pop in and out, and 12 other people who are also living in the castle during the festivities! It has also meant that we’ve been up until midnight each of the last three night, and then we get up at 545am to do German homework.

We began German lessons on Monday. Ich bin Kimberley Coles. Ich heisse Kimberley Coles. Meine name est Kimberley Coles. Ich komme aus Californien. Blah Blah. But its fun, and the other students are fun. There are four of us now: Steve and I, Inguna from Latvia and Aneska from Slovakia. Karen from Los Angeles was also in class, but she was bumped up to a more advance level. We had a small world moment with her… do you speak English? Yes, I’m from the US. Oh, us too. Where? LA. Oh, us too, we’re outside of LA in a small town … called Redlands. She looks at us funny and says, I went to Redlands as an undergrad. We look at her as if she’s a stalker. And so it went, and then we invited her to some of the 50th anniversary activities!

Mara and Teo are becoming more comfortable in the building, and Mara has taken to costume play each day around 5pm. This involves going up and down the stairs in various states of undress as she moves through various costumes, past everyone and anyone milling about in the house as they make their dinner plans. I, on the other hand, am getting tired of the building all ready. Although, I think its really that I’m tired of bunkbeds, of working on a table that’s 2ft square, and of having a room on the 3rd floor, a (partial) kitchen on the ground floor, and living/common space on the 4the floor, and a washingmachine in the basement! We are anxiously awaiting our ability to move into the Director’s flat (which will happen the first week of August). Then, we will live on the 1st floor. Period. We will work on the other floors of course. I guess I don’t want to move into a brownstone when we return.
The kids are getting to be good walkers though, according to Kasia. They went out today and yesterday down the hill. Teo reports that he walked for 2 ½ hours all by himself. They’ve been walking down the hill and finding new trails. Steve and I walk to the Modern Art museum and take the elevator down to the Old Town, which is where our language lessons are. Without problem we managed to get a monthly residence elevator pass, 10 euro! Things are more expensive here. However, we assume they’ll be cheaper once we get out of the Old Town. We explored the dark side of the Monchsberg two days ago, and found an asian market where we promptly bought garam masala and tandoori, and then a Turkish market when we got corn masa. Here come the tortillas!

The last highlight from Week One has been the recognition (in a sort of In Your Face way) that Salz means Salt. Everyone is so bloated that not a single woman in the house seems to be able to get their rings off, and one, Debbie, has been pressing kiwi fruit on us. She heard it sucked up the salt. Lots of salt in everything. Absolutely everything. We might be having some words with the chef soon (the new chef-to-be who is currently the souse-chef).

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