Todd Family Blog

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Meagan's Swiss Adventure, Part 1

I certainly packed a lot in my first visit to see Brad in Switzerland! What a great 11 days. And kinda nice to see where your husband has been living, you know? I was impressed with Brad's apartment, the people at his job and how well Brad is doing there. His boss has even been trying to convince him to stay. (A lovely compliment, but don't worry. He'll be coming home.)

I felt very gutsy taking off on my own while Brad was at work. As you'll see, I drove myself the half-hour to Luzern, took the train to Zurich and also found my way around the neighboring town of Zug. My German (and French, and, as you'll see in my next post, Italian) improved quickly! Thank God opera singers have to sing in so many languages!!! Looking forward to more practice this April.

Just hours after landing Brad had me in the French section of Switzerland buying chocolate at the Villars factory. Good husband. He knows his wife well.

Getting a bit lost in Gruyere we paused to look at cheese.

The actual town of Gruyere where we had dinner. We were the only people walking down the middle of the street.

The main choices for dinner in this area, not surprisingly, are fondue or Raclette. We went with Raclette, which is a specific type of Gruyere. It's like fondue backwards - they put this giant log of cheese (for just the two of us - this is the first example of the huge portions of food we experienced. I don't want to hear about the huge American portions anymore!) under a heater and you scrape the melted cheese onto your plate. You pair it with cornichons, pickled onions, bread and potatoes. Yum!

Couldn't believe what a dent we made in all that cheese.

It was a harrowing night getting to Adelboden where Brad's coworker had lent us her family's condo. We had to turn back after one route over the mountains sent us actually sliding down the mountain in the snow. The 2 wheel drive car just couldn't make it in the snow storm. We managed to find a safer alternate route and were relieved to make it late that night. All this just on my first day there!

I made this video just before we started ascending the mountain. This was when things were still funny and not life-threatening. Brad was sure this road was going to be a highway. He rarely makes a directional mistake and I was enjoying it.

A lovely view the next morning!

Walking around Adelboden. Brad skied the last time he was there, but no skiing this trip. No one wants me to try that.

We had a fabulous time at the Time Out Pub one night. Lots of local aprés-ski people make for great people watching. I drank a couple cups of Glühwein (mulled red wine), my new favorite.

We wound our way home on Sunday through various towns like Interlaken. There we had a great Thai meal at a funny restaurant FULL of American kids staying at the area hostels. Talk about great people watching.

Couldn't help snapping the sign on the bathroom door. Brad and I were both laughing pretty hard.

It was the day of the Super Bowl. Looking up at lunch this was on the business across the street!!! I was hoping it was a good omen, but.....

On our way out of Interlaken we pass this. Right.

On to Merengue, where they invented - you guessed it - the Meringue! The cafe in town also created the World's Largest Meringue. Had to stop for a taste. It was fabulous. This is also the town where Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis, Moriarty, died in the books. There's a statue and a museum in this beautiful little church.

Once back home, I made Brad an Ethiopian recipe of chicken stew - yum! Then we took a "nap" before waking up to watch pre-game and the Super Bowl, which started at 12:30 a.m. for us. Colts, I still love you. That broke my heart, but I still had a ridiculous amount of fun watching them this season. Can't wait for next year already.

Yep - that's Brad's apartment. We watched the game from our home TV on my computer using Slingbox. Amazing.

Brad, thankfully, took the Monday after the Super Bowl off so we could catch up on sleep. After a lazy day we went to an amazing concert in Luzern. The symphony there played the complete soundtrack to Lord of the Rings: Return of the King as the movie was shown above the stage. There was even a choir and soloist. It was amazing! What a fun idea!

My day in Luzern! Wandering around the chapel bridge, shopping in old town and stopping for a (huge) torte and TINY coffee. (Coffee alone was $4.20. And that is a decaf coffee, not an espresso. I'm serious - I was thirsty the entire 11 days!) Yummy though. And I couldn't believe the young couple next to me in the cafe - popped in at 3 p.m. on a Tuesday and EACH had a huge piece of cake, which they scarfed down in about 10 minutes. They really, really love their sweets over there. When I asked Brad what I could bring to his office from the States he said, "Candy." They couldn't believe the Costco bags I brought. Huge hit.

Nadine is the woman for whom Brad is filling in while she's on maternity break. She and her husband had us over for a lovely dinner in their condo in Kussnacht. They couldn't be sweeter and their baby was just adorable. What a lovely evening.

Nadine and Frank opening the gift from their friends at Roche.

Our gift to them, naturally: Christopher will be the best dressed baby Colts fan in Switzerland. And the only baby Colts fan.

My day in Zurich. It was FREEZING, and though I couldn't feel my legs I had a great time wandering around the old town, walking up to a park over-looking the city, and eating a fabulous brat at a famous stand in the heart of the city.

Best Brat stand in town. The mustard will clear out your sinuses - love it.

The old men were playing chess in the park. It had to be 10, maybe 15?, degrees. Impressive.

I was SO excited to see the Giacometti exhibit at the Kunsthaus in Zurich. The sculptures (I have pictures framed from some at the Met in New York, too) and this painting were my favorite. I went to four different museums that week. Great way to walk off the brats.

Friday, February 19, 2010

January for Meagan

So, it was a light month on news after the new year, though busy nonetheless. Before I left for Switzerland on Feb. 4th (that will be the next post!) the month was packed with teaching, singing and the beginning of rehearsals for Western Boone High School's production of Into the Woods, which I am music directing! It was also one of those months where everything falls apart around the house: crack in the roof, crack in the chimney, broken back door handle (thanks Bob for fixing that!), mouse bait needing to be refilled (see a recent archived post for why this is important, if you dare), phone line down for five days, maintenance light comes on in the get the idea. All of this while trying to get ready to leave for 11 days. Whew!

So, I survived all that and had some fun in the process, as you will see below. And don't worry. I've been bugging Brad to write about some of his funny Swiss experiences since his original post. That may be popping up soon, too.

Right after the new year I flew to Spokane, WA for an opera compeition. A symphony in that area invited 14 finalists to come and sing in person. Though I didn't win, I did feel like it was a really good audition. I even tried out a new aria successfully, which is always great to have under your belt.

This picture was from a breakfast at a Dutch pancake house while in Spokane. I couldn't believe I ordered the sampler of all their pancakes! And ate every last bite. FIgures that I have no pictures of Spokane (which is nice - reminds me of Indy downtown), but pictures of food.

Gracie and I are continuing our volunteering at FIshers Elementary's reading program. Here's Gracie in our little room waiting for her fist visitor, looking very puppy-ish. She LOVES going there and adores the three little boys who come to read to her. It's just way too cute.

Gracie loves her Christmas present

Okay, it was really, really cold in January. Freezing. Like, 6 degrees. And Luke has short hair. Can you blame me?

Let's get this out. I can't think about the Super Bowl (I'll talk more about that in the February post) without getting somewhat ill, but I did have a FABULOUS time at both playoff games! I went by myself and it was really, really, really fun. That stadium was CRAZY. And I love how veryone is your best friend as you cheer. (Sorry the picture quality is awful. The lighting wasn't great for my phone.)

After the win against Baltimore

After the win against the Jets. Going to the Super Bowl!

The crowd around me as the clock ticks down.

Dad sent me some fabulous old pictures that he scanned:
Jenny and me singing, I think, in Vienna when I was 18.

I come by gardening honestly! This is at our first house when I was just over a year old. I definitely have improved with age, though I do love those shades.

Playing on the organ at our friend, Philip Moore's, in York, England. I couldn't believe he had a real organ in his house!

Definitely a highlight of the month was my birthday celebration with the girls (a.k.a. Miriam, Jen, Ellen and Monique)! They completely shocked me by turning a girls' night out into my birthday celebration at our favorite Italian spot, Matteo's. Monique is close friends with Matteo and Emily, the owners. After dinner we closed down the restaurant and had a singalong for hours at our table. As Ellen said, it was such a "moment".

I didn't capture a picture, but I also had a great birthday dinner at Pizzology with Miriam, Bob and Bonnie. Thanks for celebrating with me guys! 32 is going to be a great year. I can feel it.

I meant to put this up with our Christmas post. Just a cute moment when the dogs first saw Brad after his first six weeks in Switzerland. They definitely miss him.