Thursday, May 31, 2007

The IKEA house

So some of my readers (I love saying this, as if I am really a famous columnist) are wondering about my planned sojourn to the IKEA house. Honestly I don't know much about it at this point. Here is all I know:

-On June 8th, Lisa is giving a duet performance at someone's house. Someone who happens to be the owner or founder of IKEA. I don't remember which, but it's safe to say that they are rich. And I don't know who Lisa is singing with, but I would be willing to bet my "Leksvik" coffee table that it is not him

-He has a big theater sized room in his house that can hold like 150 people, all of whom probably will look something like this:

-He is contributing 150 CHF to the party, which at IKEA can buy you 4 "Leksvik" kitchen chairs and accompanying cushions

-Dave is buying champagne, a bottle of which will at the cheapest be 10 CHF, which was how much one of my "Jeff" chairs cost.

I have a super cute dress to wear so I am excited about that! I promise to take photos and provide major scoop, at least as major as I can. It should be a very fun evening. I am going to IKEA this weekend actually with Dave and Lisa to rehearse. Just kidding. But they need to buy some stuff and I can't think of anything I need, but I'm sure once I get there I will. I will definitely need, for example, to eat some meatballs. And I need desparately to get some picture frames for my apartment and some extra pillows and blankets for some summer guests. Oh and I know you thought I was kidding about the cookies, but I'm not.
So stay tuned!

By the way - if you go to You Tube and look up "Five Day Old Baby Kitties" you will find a video I took of Aimee with Karen's baby kitties!

Work has totally sucked this week, and it is cold and rainy. Feels just like home! But the good news is tomorrow is June 1, which means just one more month until Justin and I are reunited! And tomorrow is Friday.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The next four months

One of my loyal readers, Abby (admittedly probably my only loyal reader, ha ha ha) has asked me to confirm my summer itinerary in the event people would like to make plans with me. So, below, I give you my next four months:

June 8: Watching Lisa perform at the owner of IKEA's house (I am planning on bringing the IKEA chocolate chip cookies and trying to pass them off as my own)
June 15-17: Oslo, Norway

July 2: Justin arrives!
July 11: I turn 27! YAY
July 14-16: Prague, Czech Republic
July 19-22: Paris, France
July 22-28: Dogsit Java again in Dardagny. July 26-28 Justin's mom comes to visit and is staying with us too!

Early August: Likely taking a trip in Switzerland but nothing definite yet
August 17-27: Italy (Florence, Cinque Terra, Venice, Tuscany and some other stuff, not in that order - Justin is planning)

Sept 6-11: NY NY for Jess and Kevin's wedding. yahoo!
Sept 22ish: Likely Greece or Oktoberfest
Sept 29: Justin leaves
Sept 30: I drink an entire bottle of vodka and sing "Everybody Hurts" over and over from my balcony

So there you have it. Its a little full. But I have a lot of room so all visitors are welcome. I am going to see the world!!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

By the way...

Friday, 25 May marked six months that I have been living in Geneva! I'm 1/4 of the way done with my assignment!

Dreissypalooza 2007!!

I'm starting with what happened most recently, because it was really cool. Aimee and Chris came to visit me on May 17 for a week. We didn't really have any concrete plans until Tuesday before they came so it was going to be quite an adventure.
17 May - I raced into to the airport, as always, and meet them outside customs with lots of hugs. We come back to my apartment which is approved of. After lunch, Aimee and Chris take a short nap. Around 4pm we left to catch the train to Lucerne. The weather was horrible, cold and rainy, and even worse in Lucerne. We arrived around 8pm and checked into our hotel, which was used as a jail until 1998!! After a quick change, we meandered back through town to find a traditional Swiss restaurant. We decided it would be better for the three of us to all share 3 entrees than to eat our own. We had fondue, beef stronganoff and bratwurst with rosti. Mmmm! Well Chris hated the fondue, and the stroganoff had nothing on Aimee's version, but it was still good. After dinner, we headed back to jail and went to the bar there, which was playing really loud dance music. Although we were all tired, we decided it would still be a good idea to drink a few beers and take Jager shots! yay! When we got up to the room, there was a problem. Chris had lost the room key (which had a password on it that was punched into a keypad to open). We remembered the password, but the problem was the room key had our room number on it, so anyone who found it could just come right in. As punishment Chris had to go look for it with no success. I went back with him and miraculously we found it at the unmanned reception desk, snuck away and went back to our "cell." I slept in the top bunk, which was about 3 meters off the ground, and there was no bar. So to prevent me from falling out, Aimee and Chris strapped me in by tying 2 belts together around my bed and then I slipped in underneath. Strapped in just like a real prisoner!!

May 18 - We woke up and wanted to go to the top of Mt. Pilatus, but it was too cloudy. The woman at the TI suggested we go check out the street artists fair, but we had a better idea. We took a boat cruise around Lake Lucerne. The clouds cleared while we were on the boat and it turned into a nice sunny day! We stopped in a little town called Weggis for lunch and shared again. Aimee and Chris tried their first Filets de Perches and enjoyed it! Weggis was pretty sleepy, so we got back on the next boat we could at 2:30 to take us back to Lucerne. We then walked to the famous Lion monument. It is very pretty and cool to see, and the area was filled with tourists. Nearby this was the Glacergarten or Glacier Museum. This place was so random. Apparently it is built over a huge rock that was left there by a glacier. That was kind of cool to see. Then there were some other exhibits about glacier formations. But there was also some random furniture and utensils and things around to see, as well as a big pond full of goldfish and some bunnies. We went to the top of the lookout tower and then saved the best, the hall of mirrors, for last. I had a difficult time and kept walking into the mirrors which made all of us crack up. We left after feeling kind of dizzy and nauseated, but it was pretty fun.

That night we went to this really good brewery on the river for dinner. The beer was delicious and you could only get it there, so we drank a liter each. We also had the best pretzel ever and Alpenmacaroni, which is macaroni and cheese Swiss style, which is outstanding. After waiting for our check for about 45 minutes, we headed to the casino! I taught Chris a little bit about blackjack and soon we were each up about 200 CHF. It was really fun because we were playing at our own table. But then in a flash, things turned, and I left down 100, Chris even. Later I tried to redeem myself at the 10franc table but could never win more than like 30 francs, so I gave up and we went home. We had plenty to drink at the casino, so we went straight to bed.

May 19 - The next morning I forced Aimee and Chris to get out of bed early, which they were not happy about. But it was fortunate that we did as the day was gorgeous and we were headed to Mt. Pilatus! The mountain is supposedly named for Pontius Pilate whose ghost is said to haunt it; however Rick Steeves dimissed this and said it comes from the Latin word for "cloudy." It is also supposedly enchanted with dragons. Apparently the legal absinthe over here has quite an effect on the Swiss imagination. We barely caught the train to Alpenschad, which is where the cogwheel train leaves from. Once we arrived, we got in a really long queue but were fortunate enough to catch the 12:10 ascent. The train goes at a very steep grade, 48% in some places, and is the steepest in the world. The ascent took about 40 minutes and was very scenic. Once at the top, the views were breathtaking. There was not a cloud in the sky, and it felt like you could see the entire world below you. We had brats and beers for lunch and enjoyed the views. After lunch we hiked a short way up to Eiger which is the highest viewing point at Mt. Pilatus. Just the pure magnitude as Chris said, was unbelievable.

We took a gondola down and at the first stop, Chris encouraged us to try the "Seilpark" - a ropes course. These things scare the crap out of me and Aimee wasn't too keen either, but all that Alpine air and seeing people skydive and paraglide everywhere raises your adventure spirit a little bit. So we tried it! There were 7 small courses, each more difficult than the next. After 2, Aimee and I watched Chris do an extra hard one where he zip lined about 50 meters with a view of the Alps in the background. We then did a hard one together which was really hard and scary! But I was glad he made us do it.

After we got back, we boarded the train for Interlaken. As you near Interlaken, you come around the side of Lake Thun, which is absolutely stunning. The train looks like it is riding right over the lake, which is smooth as glass. Once we arrived and checked into Balmer's, we headed out for a late dinner and then came back to the Metrobar. Balmer's is a hostel basically like a fraternity house and this bar was no different. Everyone was pretty well behaved though and they played good music. By the end of the night, we paid witness to an international dance off that happened in the middle of the bar!

May 20 - We woke up hungover and an hour late for checkout, so we had to scramble to get out of the room. We stumbled down to the train station to try and decide what to do. Aimee suggested we head to Grindelwald and take a gondola up to First, which had a hike you could do to a beautiful lake. With 3 minutes until the train left, we hurried and bought our tickets and hopped on. Switzerland has a lot of these smaller open air trains where you can open the windows and really enjoy the air and sunshine. The gondola ride up was about 30 minutes, and we had drinks at the top to enjoy the view. We decided to try to hike to the lake, which was supposedly 1 hour 40 minutes roundtrip. We didn't have hiking clothes though, or boots, and of course we trudged through a lot of mud and SNOW!! We arrived finally at Lake Balchalp (we think), but to our dismay, it was frozen. We still took some nice photos anyway and then headed back. We enjoyed some beers on the gondola ride down and hopped on the train back to Interlaken. There we had dinner at a delicious Italian place and then just as we boarded the train for Bern, it started thundering and pouring. Perfect timing!!

May 21 - After the long weekend, work was pretty difficult for me to do. That day Aimee and Chris slept late and then wandered around Geneva. We took it easy at night, making a random dinner at home of chicken, salad and raclette, and had a beer at Pasha's.

May 22 - Aimee and Chris went to the Chateau de Chillion in Montreux. That night we had dinner with my friends Karen and Christophe at their apartment in Lausanne and met their new kittens! The kittens were born only over the weekend so they were sooooo cute and tiny. They didn't even have their eyes open yet.

May 23 - Aimee and Chris went to Gruyeres. We met up at the Alibi for a few drinks and then went to Pickwicks to watch the AC Milan/Liverpool championship. Very exciting, even though Liverpool lost. Got a little drunk and ate some really good hamburgers and took a loooot of pictures as you will see...

May 24 - Aimee and Chris hung out in Geneva. I met them for lunch at a really good Italian place by my apartment. We met up again around 6 at Balexert, did a little shopping, went to the Alibi again to meet Dave for drinks and then we went to Ingvill and Laurent's for dinner and had tacos! We had a really nice time and were there until about midnight. Instead of going downtown to see the lake, we decided to go home, but took a detour and ended up at Pasha's. We talked with him for a long time and had beers and ice cream, and Chris tried a kebab.

May 25 - Aimee and Chris left. waaahhh. It was so much fun because it was really our first vacation just the three of us, and we definitely got to do a ton of stuff.
Dreissypalooza part two will be in December 2007!

Links to photos:

Lucerne and Interlaken:

Rest of the week:

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Tick and Lisbon

Well I think I will abridge my versions of dogsitting and trip to Lisbon, because it was like 2 weeks ago now and the trips with Aimee and Chris were much much cooler and more exciting things happened.

I went out to Dardagny to dogsit for Dave and Lisa for 5 days while they were in Greece. They have an adorable chocolate lab named Java. Dardagny is only about 25 minutes drive from Geneva but is literally in the middle of nowhere. You might recognize it as "The Shire" because its all valleys and vales and probably hobbits somewhere. There are also a ton of winemakers and vineyards there which is super cool. The week got off to a great start - we went for a long walk outside and explored some trails and streams, played with his ball, and made a nice dinner and watched Shrek 2 (I LOVE this movie!). Monday I walked him before work and came home around 6, at which time we went for a long walk in the vineyards. Tuesday I was a little late coming home and took him for a walk before even entering the house. After a 45 minute walk, wherein we were caught in a massive downpour, we came home and I noticed the house smelled kind of bad. I peeked around the corner up the staircase and saw at first what I thought was pee. But I realized, it was not pee. It was dia. And it was all over the tile staircase. My face scrunched up with each stair I ascended as I realized that the damage was not limited to one area of the house. There were two other large dia piles and then, as a crescendo, a pile of vomit. Not having a dog, I had no clue what this was, if this was revenge because I came home a little late, or he missed mom and dad, or what. But for the next hour, I cleaned and tried not to vomit. Dave and Lisa happened to call around 9 and said that he was probably just extremely stressed because it had thunderstormed that day.

So I went to bed around 1 and at 2:30 woke up to Java sitting up very alert. I sensed something was off and asked him if he needed to go outside. He answered me by vomiting. Ugh. But I felt really really bad, because I may have been tired, but I wasn't the one who was sick. We went out like 5 more times that evening/morning and I decided to stay home from work rather than risk coming home to a house that looked like a set from Double Dare. Around our lunchtime walk, Java didn't follow me upstairs like he usually did. I called him, but nothing. So I went downstairs where he was laying on the floor, looking sullen. "What's wrong?" I asked. Java kind of rolled over on his side and lifted up his arm, where I saw something that looked like a skin tag. I knelt down for a closer look and realized that skin tags don't have legs. It was a tick. Dave had warned me, with a cautionary "you need to pull the suckers out by the head, but don't worry, you won't have to deal with that."

I looked around for some kind of special tick removal apparatus and found nothing. So I grabbed my eyebrow tweezers and asked Java to lay still. I absolutely hate bugs. HATE. Cringing, I squeezed as close as I could to Java's skin and pulled slowly. After about 5 seconds, the little bugger let go and I dropped him into a plastic bag (per mom and dad's instructions, if I found any ticks I needed to keep them so they could check with the vet if they were diseased). Java and I looked at each other, then the bag, then each other again. Suddenly, Java's tail began to wag like crazy, and he jumped up and put his paws on me like a hug and started licking me like crazy. We did it!! After I cleaned him up and put the tick in 2 more plastic bags and a jar, I did some research and found out that the tick I grabbed was like 5 times a normal sized one. Not sure what that means, but I found another one later just on the fur which I easily removed, and he was tiny. Let me just say that had I found the big one later, knowing how SICKASS those things were at that point, I'm not sure if I would have been able to pull it out without puking or crying. The rest of the week was pretty uneventful. I am definitely ready to have a dog of my own or be a parent after that, although not for a while.

After Javapalooza, I headed to Lisbon for the weekend with my friend Ingvill, her twin sister and 4 of their friends, all from Norway. I learned quite a bit about Norway and the different dialects over the weekend! Lisbon is a cool city, very old but pretty clean, and not too busy. We did not do that much sightseeing because we spent most of the weekend shopping. We did go to one castle and on Sunday while waiting for our flight, Ingvill and I took one of those cheesy bus tours. Actually it was pretty good. Unfortunately it was REALLY windy and we were freezing on the roof driving at like 60 kph with the wind whipping us. Lisbon is super cheap which was also nice - dinner each night including a drink and a coffee, was usually around 20 euro a person (that would be like 50 francs or more in Geneva, 20 Euros is probably around 38 CHF). My favorite thing was that all of the old buildings had tiles on the facades instead of paint. The tiles are all patterned in blues and yellows and greens and really pretty.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Well hello there. It has been almost a month since my last post, but I have been incredibly busy with a lot of adventures! I plan to spend some serious time updating this puppy today. Even better I have about 200 photos to share.

Just to summarize what I have been up to:

May 6-10 - Dogsitting for Dave and Lisa
May 10-13 - Trip to Lisbon
May 17-20 - In Lucerne and Interlaken with Aimee and Chris
May 21-25 - Entertaining Aimee and Chris in Geneva

And I was working almost that entire time too.

So just 3 questions before I launch into a 10 page update -

1) Do you guys have MIKA over there? I am obsessed with him. He is one of those artists that I am sure can be extremely annoying to a lot of people. However I think his music is really fun and upbeat and it is good to listen to all the time. He sounds a little bit like a cross between Queen and Jason Mraz or someone like that.

2) Opinions of the LOST season finale? I thought it was ok. As usual resolves one thing and opens the door on 10 others. SPOILER ALERT Abby I completely agree with you on the alternate reality. The producers have come out and said that they want to be "fair" to the viewers so I don't think that is it, but still weird. Anyone else completely not fooled when the 3 gunshots went off? Sayid is not leaving the show. at least he better not be. We have now seen Penny in 2 consecutive finales so when the heck are they going to tell us how she is making contact with the island?!!

Also does anyone else think it is kind of weird that Charlie and Kate are married in real life? She is so much cuter than him. But maybe once he gets rid of his Driveshaft tatts and nailpolish and shaves, he's a real knockout.

3) Opinions on the Grey's Anatomy season finale? SPOILER ALERT I was really looking forward to watching this and I thought it sucked. Absolutely nothing was resolved and in fact things were just made more of a mess. SPOILER ALERT why didn't Bailey get chief resident?!!! I bet they thought they were really clever introducing Meredith's half sister as a new intern but if you were paying attention last week you would have remembered seeing her pull Meredith's father away and then later flirting with McDreamy. I don't like where that is going. Every single character has become a total wuss on that show except for Izzy and it is getting annoying. Do something people!

Ok, that's it for now.