Todd Family Blog

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Gruezi from Switzerland!!!

Hello friends and family!

As many of you know, the Todd Family Blog (URL notwithstanding) has been a labor of love for Meagan over the past several years. I have made a grand total of one post in the entire lifespan of this forum. Well, it's time to turn a new leaf. I will take over the majority of blog posts for the next six months to document my time in Switzerland and any journeys around Europe. I even brought a camera......and plan to use it.

I arrived in Switzerland almost a week ago and if the first week is any indication this will be a great experience all around. This is a gorgeous place and the people could not be nicer. I arrived at Zurich Airport last Tuesday morning and drove south to the Canton of Zug where I both live and work. My apartment is in the town of Baar and the Roche site where I work is in the town of Rotkreuz. I am roughly halfway between Lucerne and Zurich.....about 30 minutes from either one.
My home in Baar.....I live directly above "Cafe Sunshine". Awesome.

I have a one-bedroom apartment with a balcony and more than enough space including locally unheard of luxuries such as my own washer/dryer and dishwasher. It also included my own Nespresso machine.....a coffee machine much like the Keurig in the U.S. which seems to be quite the trendy status symbol here. George Clooney is Nespresso's spokesperson in Switzerland and several cities in Switzerland have upscale Nespresso boutiques where you can buy machines and coffee capsules. I visited my local Nespresso boutique in Zug this weekend....walked in finding the whole thing quite amusing (giant picture of George Clooney on the wall) but walked out with a couple of packages of coffee capsules, a belly full of free samples of espresso and chocolate and as the newest member of the Nespresso Club. I'm on board.
Here is a view down Baar's main street from the front of my building....

I have not been to the mountains yet but I have immensely enjoyed seeing snow-capped Alps to the south from both home and work. On Sunday, my new co-workers and friends Frank & Nadine Desiere took me to Lucerne. It is an unbelieveably beautiful place.....set on a large lake, surrounded by mountains and full of history and great architecture. It was a gray and rainy day on Sunday so these pictures do not do it justice but there will be more pictures to come from Lucerne.
The Kapellbrucke (Chapel Bridge) was built in the 14th century.....

The water tower is original but the roof had to be reconstructed after a fire in 1993....

Beautiful panels in the eaves of the bridge drawn by Heinrich Wagmann in the 17th century....they show important events from Swiss history and mythology.
Statue with fountain in one of the plazas.....

A swan on Lake Lucerne (Vierwaldstattersee in German, meaning "Lake of the Four Forest Cantons") with the beginning of the Alps to the south......

More to come soon!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Brad's Last Hurrah

Brad left today for Switzerland and we have been packing the past few weeks with lots of fun. We tried to see as many friends as possible for date nights, including Ryan and Monique, Abby and Bill, and Tyler and Adrienne. Brad also had his 33rd birthday on the 9th and multiple festivities have surrounded that event. Whew! Think I'm ready for a few quite nights at home, but it was all wonderful.

Enjoy the pictures:

The stove is a huge hit! It heats all 3,100 square feet of the house SO much better than our propane tank. Unbelievable. Just that one little stove in the middle of the house - no duct work, or anything. And recently we made s'mores with Tyler and Adrienne. Multi-purpose and I highly recommend it.

We have a serious amount of wood. 10 ricks - this isn't even half of it!

Elizabeth and Keith stayed with us for Oktoberfest at Tim and Steve's (see below) and also a day of watching football. Gracie took her job of guarding them very seriously all weekend.

We've had an absolutely beautiful fall with gorgeous sunny days. We took advantage by taking a break from watching football to actually throw one!

Hanging out in the very cool, newly painted party room at Tim's for our supper club's Oktoberfest. We all had to roll home, stuffed with authentic brats, German side dishes, cake and beer.

Elizabeth prepping the massive buffet

A happy, full group of singers and spouses.

Brad and I had big plans to go to Madison, WI for Halloween to visit his cousin, Andy, and his wife, Heather. Those plans changed when Andy and Heather brought home the baby girl they adopted!!! Congrats, guys :). So, instead of Madison, we had a "stay-cation" here in Indy. We stayed right downtown and loved having the chance to enjoy some new restaurants, shop some of the downtown shops and soak in the pre-game atmosphere on Sunday before the Colts game.

Brad and I found out that we have the same favorite spot downtown. Standing at Market and Illinois you have Monument circle to one side and the capitol to the other.

We spent a lot of time on Mass. Ave, too. Great local shops, eateries and bars.

This guy was ready for some football and Halloween. I took a picture as we walked behind him. Then, while watching the game on TV later, they zoomed in on him! What are the chances out of over 66,000 people? Well, maybe the chances are pretty good if you paint your head orange.

Probably our only chance to pose with Peyton

It was such a gorgeous day, the roof was open on the stadium. You can see the Super Bowl banner hanging inside!

Love this - Peyton wants YOU.

Who knew there was such a good time to be had in Lafeyette? Well, that is unless you are a Purdue student. A bunch of us decided to go up for "Howl Night" at Wolf Park. If you live in Indiana you have to check it out! SO cool!!! This park has 14 beautiful, rescued wolves that live in their own 7 acre habitat. For Howl Night you go to the park after dark and get to howl to the wolves, literally, and they howl right back. Amazingly, they don't mind wandering right up to the fence and checking us out, too. They are very socialized and really act like huge, silly dogs. Can't wait to go back for more events.

We also had a wonderful dinner at Black Sparrow. Highly recommend it if you are in the area.
Ellen, Brad, Me, Miriam, Eric, Jen, Norm

One of the wolves. There is also a handler in right corner.

Brad's boss at Roche, Mike, threw a wonderful going away party for him last Sunday. Even though Mike is from Chicago and a big Bears fan, he obliged all of his office Colts fans and held it during the game. It was really fun to meet some coworkers I did not yet know, and chat with some I had met before. I'm always impressed how much everyone seems to truly like each other! And the Colts won - whew!

Everyone in their blue watching the game

Even a Colts cake!

It was 70 degrees and gorgeous, so some cornhole was played during halftime.

When we arrived Mike was wearing his Bears jersey, but Brad had other plans. He thought a good compromise was his old Harbaugh Colts jersey and Mike played along.

Brad's birthday dinner at his parents'. Bonnie fixed a beautiful bourbon-marinated tenderloin. So good!

One, last Chicago get together with Katherine! She's moving to London this winter, so we had to do our own last hurrah. As always, a fabulous trip. We'll miss you, Kat!

Enjoying chocolates and coffee at Voges in Licoln Park while shopping

Ready for our nights out on the town! Highly recommend Mercadito and Sunda restaurants.

My final present to Brad for his birthday/going away was tickets for the Colts/Pats game!!! We expected the game of the year, but certainly not a classic for the ages. Unbelievable. The best live game I have ever seen, and overall only behind the '06 AFC Championship game. Never doubt Peyton and the Colts. Seriously, never. What a great present!

Some friends and family gathered downtown at Barcelona Tapas, Brad's favorite spot, before we went to the game. Thanks for coming everyone! That meant a lot to Brad. It was literally a perfect night.

Getting ready to go into the game we paused for a picture. Little did we know that there was a real horse behind us. That is, until we turned around and Brad was nose to nose with it.

Enjoying all the banners hanging from Lucas Oil. The Super Bowl banner is, of course, a particular favorite.

After the miraculous, come-from-behind-in-4-minutes win!

Best anniversary (6 years!) ever!

The start of the game. Every single person was so revved up. If you are a Colts fan you better know how to watch a football game - no talking when the offense is on the field (I've even heard people be sushed) and scream like crazy when the opposition has the ball. You can't believe how loud it gets.

The atmosphere in the stands was unbelievable at the end of the game. Over 60,000 people holding their breath in the final seconds as the Pats made one more desperate play. You can tell when the clock hits 00! Just 4:00 minutes before we thought for sure we were going to loose. My favorite part is Brad coughing from yelling so loud. Ha!

15 minutes, or more, after the game ends people still can't contain themselves while exiting the stadium or just waiting for the escalators. Out in the streets the crowd spontaneously errupted in cheers our whole walk back to our car.