Sunday, January 19, 2014

How Henry and I Spent A Week On Our Own

One short month after we moved to Switzerland, Matt left on his first business trip: two weeks in China, Thailand and India. I've dreaded these weeks, anticipating long, bored, lonely hours with only the dog for company, daily breakdowns and desperate calls to friends. I am happy to report we're more than halfway through and Henry and I are doing quite well. We've filled our days with activity. What have we been doing with ourselves? Let me tell you.

We are friends with an American couple who have lived in Switzerland for several years. They've been lifesavers, with tons of excellent advice and much-needed help over the past month. They also watched Henry for us while we were house hunting. I spent Saturday evening with their two very well-behaved boys, while they enjoyed an evening out. We played Connect Four and Foosball until bedtime and I took the late-night train home. It was quite amusing heading towards Zurich on a train full of 20-somethings heading out for the night, and being the 30-something heading home to bed and a good book. How times change...

Passing out free samples at Stadelhofeen train station.
Tomato basil chicken pasta, chicken and lime soup, greek orzo, pizza dough from scratch, chicken stock from scratch, I've been cooking up a storm. 

Joining Clubs and Meeting New Friends
Thanks for the (stinky) camembert!
Uster is home to the Women's Activity Club (WAC), an expat social group for women and young families. They run an English language lending library, preschool, music classes, German lessons, etc. I joined a couple of weeks ago and visited for the first time today. I'm really looking forward to volunteering with the library and helping with an upcoming fundraising project.

A little internet stalking led to my first new friend in Switzerland, a fellow expat from Texas. She and her husband live here in Uster and we had a lovely afternoon walk getting to know each other. She has also recently joined WAC and I'm looking forward to hanging out again.

View of the Fraumunster after the Meetup.
I attended my first event: an afternoon coffee get together for the "Desperate Housewives of Zurich" group. It was interesting... mostly Brits/Aussies and mostly Zurich-dwellers. None of the ladies I spoke with were familiar with the town we're living in now or the one we will be moving to. But, the meeting was a success, as I left with one potential new friend and information about a "Stitch and Bitch" group that meets twice weekly at Starbucks and is "full of Americans." Can't wait!

Working with Henry
Baklava! Yum.
He's still not to a point where I can try leaving him again, but the prozac has definitely calmed him (and made him downright sleepy most of the day). In the meantime, we're working on new skills, like walking politely on a leash, heeling and catching treats. I left him tied up outside a convenience store for the first time while I ran in for milk. This is very common in Switzerland, where dogs come everywhere, but cannot enter groceries. Most dogs lay quietly by the shop entrance. There was no way Henry would do this in a busy, crowded shopping center, but the local convenience store around the corner was just what we needed to test him out. He behaved quite well.

I visited a Turkish bakery I'd seen weeks ago in Uster and picked up some baklava and Simit. It didn't compare to what we had in Turkey, but how could it? It was still delicious.

Henry and I made a trip to the Glatt, which I've been told is the largest mall in Switzerland. I was on a mission to find a printer, which I did at a very reasonable price. However, I underestimated how much said printer would weigh. After lunch and a little browsing, the printer, Henry and I headed back to the train. I realized about half way to the train station that I'd been mistaken thinking I could carry it back. It was a slow trek home as I stopped every block for a break. These are the times when I truly miss the convenience of a car.

Today, my brother arrived for a five day visit (on his way to India). Henry is spending a trial day at a local doggy daycare, that also boards overnight and a day with our friends so that Joe and I can get out and about without him. My last few days of Matt's trip will be spent exploring museums, churches and restaurants. It almost makes up for his baby tiger play date (did you see that on Facebook? He's such a jerk).


  1. Sounds like you're doing well. I know you & Joe will have a great time together. You should post some pics of yourself on FB doing something that will make Matt jealous ;)

  2. I felt so bad when I read your printer anecdote! We once hauled a very large (but surprisingly light) LED TV by public bus! I hope nobody spotted us though... ;-)