Wednesday, June 30, 2010

All quiet at Tipperary

Lara named my apartment "Tipperary" because "it's a long, long way to Tipperary" (from the train station, on foot). The distance seemed shorter and shorter, however, as the visit progressed and their legs got used to walking. By week 3, after a 4 hour hike up the mountain from Grindelwald to Kleine Scheidegg, the little green bump in Basel Land where Tipperary sits seemed like a mole hill after all.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, perhaps), we've all agreed to a general policy of "what happens in Tipperary, stays in Tipperary," so I'm not allowed to share some of the most entertaining events and conversations from our three weeks together, but here's a few highlights that I think I'm permitted to tell you about.

We spent three days in the mountains last week with Sarah and Rebekkah, friends of mine from church who are the same ages as Chelsea and Lara. We started in Murten, a town I visited ages ago with Janet and her parents my first winter here. We followed Rick Steves' walking tour around town, admired the cannon balls lodged in city wall, thought of the star-spangled banner while attempting pull-ups in the ramparts, imagined Charles the Bold and his 20,000 Burgundians encamped upon the nearby hill in 1476, and enjoyed lunch by the lake, while watching a windsurfer try to right his capsized sail, only to have it immediately fall over the other direction.

From Murten we took the train to Grindelwald. A farmer and her sister were waiting to drive us to our "schlaf im stroh" accommodations nearby.

This is the advantage of being the first one up for a shower in the morning.

After breakfast with the other guests at the farm, we left for a hike.

Cable car and train views on our way up to the James Bond restaurant above Murren.

Silliness at the Shilthorn:

Hmmph. This is taking forever. More later.

In other news, we welcomed Janet and Stephan's son Joseph to the world on Monday. He's a sweet little dude! :) I got to have a much needed catch up chat with Janet today while rocking the baby. I'm looking forward to lots more visits with the two of them in the coming months (thanks, Gina, for the picture).

Saturday, June 26, 2010

France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Home

Ackkkk...busy busy. very busy. I'm traveling, entertaining, a little stressed about work/money/school/moving, missing all my favorite people cuz I haven't been home long enough to call anyone or write to anyone, but in between I'm going fun places, laughing a lot more than normal, and soaking up the summer with my cousins. More later about Italian fishing villages, sleeping in a barn under the Eiger North face and Swiss fighter jets.

Until then...if I owe you an email, a phone call, a thank you note, an edit of your MA paper, an invoice, a painting, a birthday card, a skype date, a google chat, a spending report, an essay, a translation, some photo prints or a pie (and I know I owe at least one person in each category!), thank you for your patience. I know you're all waiting, and I really am sorry.

More soon.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Just a couple pictures from the week:

Friday we were going to go to St. Ursanne, but missed a bus and therefore missed the train, so we changed plans and went to Basel instead. We visited the market area and the Rat house and took a stroll up the shopping street, with detours for shoe stores (my request), before hitting the art museum. I think I should have started them at the smaller art museum...They've had their fill already and don't want to go to the Beyler, the best one in town. I knew they were done with art by the time we left, but who isn't after a couple hours of paintings? I thought it was temporary. I didn't fully apprehend their reaction to Monet and Picasso until we were sitting on a bench in a parking lot later that night and Chelsea said, "the museum was ok, but this is soooooo much better."

So much for culture.

Friday night we went to the 28th annual Nordwestschweiz jodelerfest in Laufen. That was nice, and an improvement on the parking lot, I reckon. :)

Saturday we finally made it to St. Ursanne, where the bridge is clearly the main attraction in town. We visited an antique store, a jewelry store, and the church, too, and ate an entire box of chocolate cookies.

Today after church we had a barbecue in the park in Basel with friends. Despite an impressive effort on Raph's part, and a less impressive but no less sincere effort on my part, the coals refused to burn efficiently and we finally ran over to Gina's house to finish cooking the sausages. It still tasted good, and it was nice to spend time with Ben and Ed and Ben's brother and sister, here from England, as well as more regular, see-em-every-week basel folk.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Two of my cousins from Montana are visiting. Today we took the bus to Gempen and tramped through the woods until we found the look-out tower and the Gempenturm restaurant, where we enjoyed cappuccinos, a long talk with the Egyptian server about American politics, and later, Rivella sodas for everyone as his treat.

Coming up: medieval towns, a cloister, and a jodelfest. Evidence that we're having fun, and I'm feeding them:

Descending the tower in sunny Gempen today.

Stuffed peppers and beet salad for supper.

After dinner ball-room dancing. Duh. :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Quality note taking, at its finest!

I'm reviewing my notes on commercial farming and class formation in South Africa from my Land Reform class in 2007 in preparation for my exam on Land Reform. I bring you this lucid quote, from Oct. 3, 2007:

"Afrikaners - saw themselves as a united, homogeneous group opposed to the Dutch VOC and later opposed to the British. Lots of myth; frontier stories, the Farmer and His Gun, Davy Crockett-style imagery around the Afrikaner image. Historians of course were problematic to the myth:said there were divisions w/in the white community, some serious poverty, etc.

Book on the History of inequality by some French dude. Important book, but still, even though it is just a few years old, still presented these myths of the Afrikaners..."

Where was my brain that day!?