Sunday, July 5, 2009

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, and goodbye

We're still here, it's just a lot of what we've been doing has nothing to do with Zürich or Switzerland. However, whenever we hear the local church bells ring, it does remind me of living in Zürich. We didn't live in the direct line of fire of church bells, so the sound is still charming.

Okay, so what did we learn?

1. Don't name your blog after a particular place.
2. Maybe read the tax laws a little more carefully before you move abroad. Don't ask.
3. Explain to U.S. Congress that maybe they could've waited another year to pursue the tax evaders so we could keep our Swiss bank account a little bit longer to deal with 2009 Swiss taxes.
4. We had a fun time living abroad and if Zürich Daddy Geek has his way we'll do it again.

And don't worry, we haven't stopped blogging. We just have a new address. Come visit us at our new blog!

And the last thing we want to leave you with is a link to some cool pictures taken of the Space Shuttle Discovery over Switzerland. If you scroll down to the bottom of the page you can click on a cool shot that includes Luzern, the Zürichsee, and Zürich.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Some Bright Lights

Last night Zürich Daddy Geek and Little Geek Girl went for a walk and saw the first firefly of the season.

And this morning ZDG and I were woken up at 6 am by a severe thunderstorm.

Monday, June 1, 2009

European numbers

Little Geek Girl lived in Switzerland for 15 months. She refused to speak German, but she's acquired some European habits with regards to numbers.

Here in the U.S. when we count to three with our fingers, we first hold up our index finger, than our middle finger, and then our ring finger.

Here's LGG demonstrating the European way (thumb, index finger, middle finger).

She counts with her fingers the European way about 50% of the time.

Numbers are also written a little differently. The one has a little serif, and the seven has a line through it. Here's some of her handiwork done at kindergarten.

I think her numbers are okay for kindergarten, but they might think differently in first grade.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The last place you look...

You know that silly saying, "You always find something in the last place you look"?  Well, that was the case for us.

The weather has been gorgeous and we definitely need to take the bikes out for a spin.  Little Geek Girl's helmet came on the air shipment, but we needed to find the adult helmets.  Yes, we could ride without them, but, what kind of example are we setting, and did anyone notice I am a total klutz?

We thought they would be in one of the boxes marked "toys", but nope.  "Ornaments", no.  Finally, every box has been unpacked (unfortunately not put away yet), except the four boxes labeled living room books.  I open three boxes and they mostly have books (hooray, my cookbooks!).  I get to the last unopened box and I note that it's kind of light for having books.  And there they are, two helmets, the video camera, and miscellaneous toiletries.  Interesting interpretation of living room books.  At least it motivated me to finish unpacking.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

!@#$% Check Engine Light

During grad school and our postdocs we were a one car family. However, when we moved to the suburbs in Colorado, we had to become a two car family. And when we moved to Zürich, we happily became a no car family. No paying for a parking space, no maintenance, no insurance, no worries.

However, back in the U.S., we could survive without a car, but it might mean no ice cream or milk in the summer, because the grocery store is 2 miles away and the buses aren't reliable. Yes, there are grocery delivery services, taxicabs, and insulated bags, so a car is not necessary, but it sure makes life easier. Thankfully we only needed one car because Zürich Daddy Geek can use public transport (when it's on time) to get to work.

It had been many, many years since we shopped for a car. Back in 1993 when we were living in different states, I bought a car from a colleague of ZDG's uncle and ZDG's dad helped him buy a truck. After that we kind of just inherited cars from various family members. And beggers can't be choosers so you take what you can get.

And now we had to choose a car. But we decided to look for an older car on Craigslist. And who knew that there was such a glut of 2000 - 2002 Honda Civics out there. But first things first, we had to get a local bank account. Because no one is going to accept an out of state personal check. And unlike Switzerland, where ebanking between personal accounts is a piece of cake, it's not as easy here. So after a first weekend of preliminary test driving, we realized we better get some moolah out of our old accounts into an easily accesible location -- how about the credit union in ZDG's building?

Okay, now we can shop for a car. After a couple more test drives, we made an offer on a vehicle, the guy wanted cash (as in lots and lots of hundred dollar bills) and we arranged a handover. I drove ZDG to the handover spot and headed home to feed LGG dinner and ZDG took the car for another spin and took care of the paperwork and the seller drove off. And the car wouldn't start. And did I mention it is now pouring rain?

Fortunately, the seller came back after ZDG called him and gave him a jumpstart and ZDG got the car home. However, the next morning, the car still wouldn't start, so I went across the street to the handy dandy auto part store to buy a new battery for ZDG to install. And we also joined AAA.

Luckily, city hall is in walking distance, so I can easily register the car. Except that it needs the emissions tested, so they give us license plates and we have a month and half to get the emissions tested. Something else to do. And, oh yeah, maybe we should have the 60K service done. That was done last Thursday. (And they recommend changing the timing belt, but we're hoping we can go a little bit longer before we have to do that expensive maintenance). And then last night (Monday), the !@#% check engine light turned on.

So this morning I called the mechanic to drop the car off. The code said transmision torque convertor circuit (gulp), but we hope that it was just a fluke. They reset the code and took it for a long drive and so far so good. So please keep your fingers crossed.

In the meantime, I got some good walks in. The weather has been lovely, with blue skies, 70 deg, and a light breeze. So I walked 2 miles home from the mechanic's. Then 3.2 miles to the hosptial for a doctor's appointment, and then 1.2 miles to pick up the car. So I got to check out some more neighborhoods.

But life was a little less complicated without a car. Let's hope that I won't be writing about the car again any time soon.

A Quick Grandparental Visit

My parents were in the area as part of an 8-day bus tour. Last night we drove up to meet them at their hotel to say hello and get some hugs and kisses.

It's always good to see Agong and Wai-Po. Hopefully they'll be back soon and for longer.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Um, excuse me?

When it was time to get ready for the movers, I thought about leaving Little Geek Girl's German books behind.  However, she wanted to keep them and after leaving so many of her toys behind in Colorado when we moved to Zürich, I decided not to make too many things disappear.

Now remember, LGG refused to speak German in kindergarten, even though she would frequently correct our pronunciation.  But now, for her before the lights turn off book, she's looking and trying to read a German book on fairies.  She's a weird one.  But look at her parents.