Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

This time last year, we were enjoying the Thanksgiving holidays with family back in the states. With no trip home this time around and few American friends in Geneva, we were going to bypass the holiday alltogether and carry on like any other, evening French class, etc. Well, on Thanksgiving morning I was feeling a bit blue and really missing being a part of all the festivities (thanks a lot Facebook!). So, at the last minute, I decided I would prepare a full (yet modified) Thanksgiving dinner. I pulled out my newly organized recipe binder and went to work on what would turn out to be a quite a feast. The menu included rosemary mashed sweet potatoes with shallots, homemade sausage and sourdough bread stuffing, citrus green beans with pine nuts, cranberry sauce, and parsley and parmesan rolls. The dessert was a purchased apple pie with vanilla ice cream (yeah, give me some credit...we would have been eating at midnight if I had a made a pie too). We even opened a nice bottle of wine that we had purchased in Lake Como, Italy. What about a turkey? While you can find turkey here, it is not common and very expensive. The one lone turkey in the two stores near our house was HUGE and way overpriced. So, I opted for a roasted chicken (it is stilfl a bird, right?). With one recruited dinner guest in the form of Jignesh's co-worker (thanks for putting your stomach at risk, Ioseb), we had a small but wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe next year I will plan ahead and even attempt to cook a real bird...or, if we are in States, I will leave that up to someone a bit more experienced.

Au Revoir

Friday, November 26, 2010

Prague, Czech Republic

Last weekend we knocked Prague off our "must see" list. The capital and largest city of the Czech Republic, Prague (or locallay known as Praha) can be described as beautiful, old, impressive, and vibrant. Despite the large number of tourists, it remains friendly and even feels like it could be home. Similar to many European cities, Prague is full of small, winding streets that always seem to spill onto a main square that is identified by its church or cathedral. We found the buildings in Prague,to be particulary intersting. They all had different but interesting facades with unmissable details that included things like doorknobs and house signs. Yes, there is lots of sights to see in Prague and we did not leave without visiting most of them. We crossed the Charles Bridge, meandered through the Prague Castle, had brunch in Old Town Square, and shopped in the modern Wenceslas Square. However, due to the somewhat chilly (but bearable) weather, we also found ourselves ducking into many fabulous cafes and pubs for a both a drink and warm-up. Since Prague is a relatively inexpensive city (especially compared to Geneva) and is increasingly being considered one of best culinary cities in Europe, we were able to enjoy some wonderful lunches and dinners. One vegetarian restaurant was so good that we went twice! We also enjoyed a traditional Czech meal and night out with one of Jignesh's EY Prague co-workers. Ok, I have talked about the food and the sights. What I have not mentioned is the shopping! It is impossible to walk more than a few blocks without stumbling across some adorable little shop filled with Bohemian glass, marionette puppets, or other handmade Czech products (ask Jignesh about the hand painted eggs!). Prauge is one of the cities that I could visit time and time again.

Au Revoir.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Soft Towels Never Felt So Good!

For the past year, we have gone Euro and dried all our laundry with good ole' natural air. With only one small drying rack to our name, some items got a first class seat on the rack while others were regulated to second-class and draped on furniture, layed on beds, and hung from the bathroom shower curtain rod. As you can imagine, these clothes literally took over the flat. Even worse, many items would take longer than imaginable to dry and remained scattered about for days. It has been so long since any our clothes have seen a drier that we almost became accustomed to crunchy towels, stiff t-shirts, and jeans that could stand on their own! All of this, of course, was not by choice. When we originally purchased a washer/dryer, we headed to Fust, a well-kwown electronics and home goods stores. After looking at several models of washers and dryers, we decided to save some money and select a combination washer/dryer (yes, one machine that does both)! Despite the length of time it took to do one load, our first batch of laundry came out clean and crisp with on apparent problems. After that, it was all downhill. After completing the wash cycle on the second load, the machine displayed what would become my worst nightmare after only a few minutes of starting the dry cycle....ER12. No worries, right?! The machine was under warranty so we promptly called the repairman. A nice French-only speaking technician was dispatched and "claimed" to fix the machine even though he had never seen the ER12 display before. Well, our fixed machine worked for all of one load. Again, on the second load we received the same ER12 display on the dry cycle. So, after another call to the company the repairman returned. And returned. And returned. After several months, multiple calls to the company, and countless visits from the same French-speaking repairman, we finally received a replacement machine. Story done and over with? If we could only be so lucky. AGAIN, after only one load, my worst nightmare returned on the new machine! So, the repairman returns. And returns. And returns. He is baffled. We are baffled. The company is baffled (and of not much help). So, finally, we decided to do away with this model and replace it with a new seperate washer and dryer. Our machine arrived last week and (I don't want to jinx it) but so far, so good. While a working dryer has been wonderful, the rack will not become obsolete. I will continue to go Euro and dry most things on the rack. However, there are certain items that are simply not the same without technology. Soft towels have never felt so good!

Au Revoir.