Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An English Weekend

The Tower of London

Cambridge's famous mathmatical bridge

A scenic shot of the River Cam

Trinity College and set for the movie Harry Potter

Colin, our trusty tourguide

With our days in London numbered, this past weekend we explored parts of London that we have been wanting to see since we arrived. Our first stop on Saturday was the Tower Of London. One of London's most popular tourist sights the tower's original function was a fortress, a royal palace, and a prison. It has also served as a place of torture and execution (two of Henry VIII's wives were beheaded here), a treasury, a zoo, and Royal Mint. Since 1303, it has also served as the home of Crown Jewels. We were actually able to see many of the past and current crowns used by various UK royalty during coronations and other royal ceremonies. I have to admit that the collection was quite impressive. We even saw the two largest diamonds in the world! We were surprised by the size of the is not just one building but an entire complex and we spent over 4 hours exploring the area. We finished the day with drinks in Camden Town, an area of London known for great people watching.

On Sunday, we headed to the scholarly town of Cambridge. We started our tour of Cambridge by getting belts made at the outdoor craft market and feasting on ostrich burgers. We then headed to the River Cam for a punting tour. Punting, a method of driving a boat by pushing off the botton of the river with a long, skinny pole, is a true artform. We were going to rent our own boat but were happy with our decision to let someone else do the work...especially when we saw several people take an unintentional swim when the boat when one way and the pole went the other! Along our tour we saw several of the 31 colleges that make up Cambridge University. Each college has its own history, traditions, and personality. They all, however, have some amazing architecture. Since we had not rested quite enough on the tour, we found a nice green patch on the river's edge and watched all the tourists attempting to guide their boats down the river. We then headed to a local pub for yet some MORE resting. What a great weekend!

Au Revior!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fany Dress

Last night, we attended a farewell party for our friends Steve and Teresa who are returning home to Australia after a two year stay in London. In true British fun, the party was "fancy dress" famous characters. Similar to Halloween, fancy dress is an excuse to become someone else by dressing up in some ridiculous outfit. Here, it is done all year long and it is not unusual to see Batman while traveling on the underground on a random Friday night. As with almost everything that we do, we waited until the last minute to secure outfits. While I kept it simple as Wilma Flintstone, Jignesh went over the top as Elvis. He completely transformed himself with a jumpsuit, wig, sunglasses, jewelry, and guitar! By the end of the night, he even had some of the moves down. Check out some of the photos for a good laugh!

Au Revoir!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Yesterday afternoon while at work, I received an unexpected email from Jignesh stating, "Meet me at Victoria...6pm sharp!" Since I was having a bit of a rough week, I was looking forward to spending what I assumed would be an evening with my husband. Well, I not only got to spend the evening with my husband but also with Glinda, Elphaba, and all the other characters from the hit production Wicked! Jignesh had escaped work during his lunch break and secured tickets that day! We have been talking about seeing this production since first arriving in London. But, with many things, life just got in the way. Well, the wait was more than worth it. The show was simply amazing. Every time I go to the theatre I am amazed at all the talent on stage. I am not just talking about the actors but also about the writers, directors, musicians, costume designers, etc. There really is nothing better than spending an evening at the theatre....especially when it is a radom Wednesday night.

Au Revoir!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Learning a new Language

Switzerland has four official languages: French, German, Italian, and Romansch. Our future city of residence, Geneva, is primarily French speaking. In attempt to integrate myself in the culture as much as possible, I have begun my quest to learn French. Unlike Jignesh who has an uncanny knack for languages and picks them up way too easily, I struggle a bit more. So, this should be interesting.

Monday night, Jiggy came home from work bearing a fantastic gift. Rosetta Stone French is a complete language learning program that teaches you to learn a language similar to how children learn their first languauge. It is suppose to be one of the best systems out there (the price proves it!) and even has a voice recognition system that will not let you continue until you say the word correctly. I quickly downloaded the program onto Rocket, my trusty laptop, and was able to say simple things like "the girl swims" in minutes! Ok, don't get me wrong...I have a very long way to go. I feel like a tongue-tied giraffe when trying to pronounce these words that sound nothing like the way they are spelled! I know that I am in for a complete shock when we actually land our feet in Geneva and I know that I will have no idea what people are saying. But, I have to start somewhere and I have admit that it is nice to use my brain (even if it does hurt). Rosetta Stone is just a supplement to my language quest. I plan to take classes once we arrive in Geneva but for now I hope to at least pick up some bits and pieces. Since we are speaking of languages, I guess this is as good a time as any to change the blog's official entry sendoff. So.....

Au Revoir!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Things are About to Get Crazy!

Over the past two weeks, a lot has happened regarding our move to Switzerland. The most important item and the one that we have been waiting on before making additional plans is Jiggy's work permit. We originally thought that this would take 6-8 weeks to obtain. Well, after just a few weeks, it was approved this past Wednesday! With this approval came a both a huge sigh of relief and whole new list of worries.

Even though we do have have an exact moving date, I also handed in my resignation at the club. I am counting down the days to my last day of September 29th. I definitely have mixed emotions about this one. While I will not the miss the job itself, I will undoubtedly miss the people and all the laughs that the job provided. While the job has not been perfect, it has allowed me to truly experience the British culture, keep me busy, and make some extra cash (in pound nonetheless!). Finally, in our quest to learn French, we ordered Rosetta Stone French (a language learning system) last night. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Schlopy even applied for a pet passport today! Wow...this move is real.

With Jiggy's work permit approved and the resignation of my job handed in, things are really going to get crazy. Since we did this whole move to another country thing less than 18 months ago, I would like to think I know what we are getting ourselves into. I also keep telling myself that I know what to do and not to do this time around. Clearly, I am fooling myself. Over the next month, we have a list as long as a giraffe's neck of this things to complete. And I don't even want to think about all the things that will need to be done once we have arrived in Switzerland! Let the fun begin.