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Life of Ryrie

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Expat

The main focus of this post is ‘Expat Life’.

Dreikonigstag

Today is Dreikonigstag in Switzerland.

Dryki-what?

Dreikonigstag.  That’s ‘Three Kings Day’ to you and me.

So?

Well it means that we have an excuse to celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings in Bethlehem in bread form!  Yep, you read that right, bread form.  Honestly, the Swiss really love their breads but I guess the end of the Magi’s journey is as good a reason as any to get baking.  Now that we are no longer resident in Switzerland I thought I would have a go at producing a homemade version of the Dreikonigskuchen, or ‘Three Kings Cake’.

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Expat endings

The bubble has popped.  Reality has kicked in.  We are back in England.  The Life of Ryrie Big Swiss Adventure has come to a close.  Well, what a year it has been.  We have lived in a different, non English speaking country.  We have even survived.  We can now do anything, go anywhere.

Here are a few of our best bits…

Expat to Repat

Repatriation.  You’d have thought that this would be the easy part, except that it isn’t.  Having made sure that the first couple of weeks back in the UK were packed with things to do and people to see we have now arrived at the horrid realization that we have no home, none of our belongings, none of our clothes.  Everything is the same, but everything is different too.

We have only been away for eleven months and so nothing looks, sounds or smells dramatically different to how it was a year ago.  But.

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Mount Titlis

“Joshua, what would you like to do for your birthday treat this year?”

“Skiing or sledging.”

Joshua was born in July.  Usually a month associated with sun, beaches, holidays and gelati, my son decided to flip the norm and present us with a challenge.  Fortunately, we live in Switzerland and are only an hour away from Mount Titlis and the Titlis glacier.

Midsummer’s Day dawned, and whilst Druids were witnessing the sunrise at Stonehenge, we were dragging out our winter weather gear and heading off to find summer snow with two of Joshua’s friends to celebrate the (nearly) six years he has been on this fascinating planet.  (Little did we know it, but half the population of India and China were doing the same, but more of that later).  Mount Titlis is located in Egelberg, part of one of the largest ski networks in Europe and, at a height of just over 3,000 meters (10,000 feet), is above the all important snow line thereby giving us the opportunity for summer sledging.  Engelberg-Titlis is all about the outdoor adventures; hiking, biking, climbing, kayaking, fishing and all manner of other -ings can be done at Engelberg.  It boasts beautiful alpine views, plenty to do and a central location, and is only an hour from Zug.

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This weekend was start of the Tour de Suisse.  The Prologue on the Saturday with the road race on Sunday.  Rotkreuz was hosting the event and so on Saturday off we hopped on the super efficient Swiss bus 20 minutes down the road to catch some of the two wheel roadrunners in action.  The day is summed up best with bags full of freebies and a handful of photos:

 

Then on the Sunday we wandered over to Cham to see the peloton fly past on their 161km journey round Lakes Zug and Aegeri.  When you go to watch a cycling race expect to do a lot of standing around, waiting.

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Then, when the last of the 150 bikes has whizzed past and the breeze from the furious peddling has wafted by, don’t be surprised if your 5 year old incredulously asks: “Was that it?”.

Survival of the Fittest

What is it with competition?  Life is one big competition isn’t it?  Survival of the fittest and all that.  So, why can’t kids compete against each other anymore?  Are we seriously thinking that they will be damaged if they lose?  Yesterday was my children’s school Sports Day (or Games Day), which, by the way was only an hour long.  There was a host of excellent games encouraging the children to physically stretch themselves, but there was no official competition.  Participation was the name of the game.  This has got me thinking.

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In a country where Supercars are more than ten-a-penny (or should that be rappen?) it has been lovely to catch sight of some true Classics…

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International Day

Every school in the world has a fair of some description, whether that’s a Summer Fayre, a Christmas Bazaar or an Easter Egg-stravaganza.  At some stage in the school calendar there is a get together, a chance for a bit of fundraising, a bit of socialising, a bit of teamwork and an opportunity for the members of the parents association to show their mettle.  The International School of Zug and Luzern doesn’t so much have a fair as a summer spectacular, this is International Day.

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With temperatures crawling ever higher, summer has arrived.  Time to get out the paddling pool.

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