Before the last snowflake melts

I thought I should share a few last impressions before spring comes sweeping in.

And you know what spring can bring… and if the past is any indication at all of what the future entails, it’s about to get pretty seriously crazy.

We let loose over New Year’s in Lenzerheide Switzerland, where the snow was fresh, deep and still falling. Snow angels, snow fights, snow rolling, sledding, digging, building, musing, watching, listening. It was pure joy. We even stuck our heads in to try some headstands. On New Year’s eve we sent up paper lanterns to bring us good luck in 2012.

I am wishing for peace and meaning this year, and starting off the year with close friends and family was a good, although intense, place to begin. As I work on searching for some of my basic feelings, those sticky disruptive ones, that bring me deep within myself to feel the rhythm and energy, I am learning to let go and trust that they will lead me in the right direction even when they seem in contradiction to the personality that I imagine myself to be.

It’s a new road with, what feels like, a whole lot of snow. Good thing I have a strong Aunt who is good with a shovel!

More snow fell up in Schluein than I have ever experienced in my whole long Canadian life. It was wet and thick and presented such a tempting challenge just to walk through… even though the clear intention was to get stuck and have to roll around even more in it. Mia, Nora, Tilmann, the dog Ruby and I spent an afternoon playing and digging to our heart’s delight, until we had a 3-part tunnel and a serious snowball fight completed.

Note that the tree behind Lisa and Tilmann in the above pictures is the same one… just a few hours later in the second picture after the sun came out and the snow plow also came to clear the driveway.

pure mischief preceding the 3 tongues

Back in Zurich, there were a few crystals of frost that would briefly change the light of the city, creating a sparkle in the mornings where the shade would linger while the green would strive hard to fight back.

The warm sun has certainly arrived in Zurich, but I’ll still be dreaming of the winter wonderland in the mountains for a while still.

Spinning lights, Jumping bodies

Happy Saturday!

I have so much to post about- trips, pumpkins, friends and music. But I couldn’t find the inspiration to bring it all together just yet. After a great dinner and a night out yestarday with the usual suspects, I ended up with a bunch of the standard crazy party pictures. These are often deemed the worst offence for facebook/blog posting, but let me make my case first before you expect a slew of flashed out faces or questionable dance moves caught on film. In any case  as a group who don’t ‘get out much’ therein avoiding paying outrageous entrance fee at the Zurich clubs, I don’t know where we fall in terms of tearing up the dance floor. Can’t say we fall into the group of poorly coordinated young people, but we were not fox trotting on the dance floor either.

In their own raw energetic blurry way I felt that I should put these pictures out into the world. There is just something about capturing a smile within the spinning lights and jumping bodies which is a bit magical and crystallizes the joy of the moment as everyone lets go of their own inhibitions and sings at the top of their lungs finding their own groove to the music. It is also something I cherish about yoga, a bonding through using the whole physical body as a way of expressing yourself beyond the conversation around the dinner table. Communication happens through eye contact, some synchronous hip shaking, and incoherent hand signals (good thing they are only usually representing two actions- bathroom or beer).


Needless to say, more stories to come with a little more ‘focus’


The big fat Jewish wedding

big: so many people you lost count while clapping and singing and dancing with yet another smartly dressed grandmother

fat: well I did my best to survive the marathon meals over the multiple days, but I loved every bite of it

Jewish: way too much fun.

wedding: what is better than a bunch of new people to meet who are high on love and wedding cake (though for this one they were on the amazing dessert buffet)

One of the many stages of the wedding- the bride eagerly meeting the groom after a week of separation. Paparazzi equally excited


Rebecca loves the details, even of her own photoshoot. She is an amazing woman to watch!


So much beauty


Lovely Naomi


Wedding prep with 'Girls just want to have fun'


Rebellious wedding nails


The party begins when Chava (Rebecca's sister) says it does, and that time is now

Another memorable Spring

Looking back over the last few years, I notice that each Spring is highlighted by an abnormally high level of chaos and challenge. Whether it was spending hundreds of hours designing a water treatment plant for my final year design project at McGill, or deciding to quit a great job and pack up 20 years of my life to move away to a new ‘old’ world in Zurich, or survive through my hardest academic semester yet as I work towards a Master’s in Environmental Science; the Summer, Autumn and Winter do not seem to be marked with such extreme or unexpected changes to my regularly scheduled life.

This spring was no exception as I wandered my way through an academic/professional/personal interest semester which is just finishing up, of course, with a (bagpipe) toot and bang.

Due to my impeccable ability to plan or possibly a subconscious will to explode, during the final week of the semester and while preparing for a final wrap-up workshop for another research course, both my parents and two friends from Canada, Tina and Julian, came over to visit. For me it was a whole new level of management as I coordinated people in and out of my apartment, juggled clean sheets and fresh bread, hopped on trains up and down the mountains, and pointed people off in the most beautiful/tasty/relaxing directions. (Oh perhaps I know how my Aunt feels!) Despite the chaos, it was a wonderfully fun few weeks and it is now starting to wind down as Tina and Julian just left today, and my parents head back to the other side of the world next week.

And finally, for those who were witness to this saga, I have a new camera! The acquisition of this one is another story, but in short I made a new friend and saved a pretty Swiss penny, and am now the happy owner of a Panasonic LX-5. I’m still getting a feel for it and the increased sophistication as I move into more manual controls and effects, but I captured some moments from these past weeks in order to, once again, file another intense Spring into the history books.

The first part of the visits were up in the mountains, where we could have all the family together- cousins, sisters, aunts, nieces, nephews, dog! There were 8 of us at one point, and sometimes it got a little tiring. But my Mom always kept everyone entertained with endless projects- helping young Mia with a freshly picked cherry compote, keeping the dogs back from a newly painted red wall on the terrace, and endless cooking. But there was some spare time to visit and take in the beautiful panoramas of Zurich and the mountain valley where my Aunt lives.

big city, big valley

But sometimes it did get a little exhausting as well.

Catching a few
Pa and Ma

My Dad and I have a notorious sweet tooth, essentially non-existent in my Mom, so after being solely with her for the first few days I needed to get my fix! Luckily I have been following a local food blogger ( who adores sweets and has created a tour around some of Zurich’s finest sugar havens. So for a lovely drizzling afternoon, my Dad and I had our palettes sweetened with artisanal chocolates from Switzerland, followed by American-style cupcakes, and ending at one of the oldest bakeries of Zurich- cafe Schober- full of french pastries, secret sitting nooks, and deeply rich hot chocolate. It was a delightful tour and we left with a glimpse into the family history of chocolate making in Switzerland by some of the big names such as Lindt, Sprungli, Tobler, and Nestle, to name a few.

French frills and petite perfection at Cafe Schober
Newly (and greatly) welcomed to Zurich- cupcakes!

And Tina and Julian also got into the sweet fun when I introduced them to the famous Luxemburgli of Zurich. Little cream fillings squished between two meringues in an array of colours and flavours like white peach, champagne, lemon, and caramel salt.

The Zurich specialty

Energized from the combination of crispy meringue and fresh fruit cream, we criss-crossed the old town of Zurich, checking out the fish of the Limmat and the cobble stones of the winding streets.

1 fish, 2 fish
Inspired by the Luxemburgli?
Over the rooftops

For many reasons, including the presence of all these Canadians, we held a surprise party for Tilmann. I can’t remember ever being so nervous with anticipation- for the food, the people and, of course, the element of surprise! I had a few indispensable helpers whipping up hummus and roasted vegetables, opening bottles of wine and entertaining the crowd, as we all patiently waited until the last guest, Tilmann, unknowingly walked through the door to a room full of friends and bagpipe tunes. No photos of that moment unfortunately, but you’ll just have to imagine the shock and excitement of everyone there.

A few photos below of the waiting game and the final relaxed conversations later into the night.

As everyone slowly trickles out and the hum of activity in my apartment becomes quieter and my schedule doesn’t include such details like airport trips, fondue making, or afternoon beers, I realize the wonder that visitors add to the regular schedule of life. It wouldn’t have been Spring without them!