Monday, November 26, 2007

I fell off the couch laughing.

A cute baby of the Netherlands....and his fan club.

Markus with Nataniel, Peter's nephew. Monque and her husband opening the gifts we brought.
Monque and Nataniel

Mom, Nataniel and Grandma.

The very happy family.
Peter and Donzel plus a cute baby! Ahhhh!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Har har

Ciao!
Dancing the old Swiss stomp.

Blow man, blow!


Schyler....your favorite meal!



What? Old El Paso in Switerland?




That is a real bar of Toblerone Chocolate! You can buy that thing!





Dashing Through the Neatherlands and on to Germany!

The Dutch are amazing, living below sea level they built a dike system to be envied. Living cheek by jowel with one another they are packed into the country side like so many sardenes. Over flowing with windmills and flowers what little country side they do have is quite lovely. Our friend Peter's house was a very small yet functional row house, with ity bity bedrooms and stairs that if you fell down them you might shoot through the glass door at the bottom. Which Peter has actually done. A slim galley style kitchen with a tiny stove that could never cook a turkey in, takes up all of fifteen feet of the house. Once while out walking we found a Reality Store and stopped to look at the prices, a 160 square meter apartment was going for something like 300,000 Euros. GASP! The tiny houses where more in the range of 500,000 Euros, wow wow incredible.
The other amazing thing about the Dutch is that they can understand each other, their language just cracks me up, it is one of the most, in the back of your throat, hacking sounds I have yet to hear. Extremly cool sounding but almost impossible to learn, well for this American girl at least. Markus said that it was quite funny since he could almost understand them but not quite. For our first meal we ate traditional Dutch Hot Pot (I think) which is boiled potatoes and carrots with a yummy fried meat patty that goes with it. The breakfast is bread, cheese, tea, Nutella, peanutbutter (gasp?) butter and sliced meat. This is actually lunch as well but that is ok since we love meat, cheese and bread. We also check out the sea side which was nice but not really that exciting however there are these yummy small pancakes that they make there that you eat with sweet things like strawberries and ice-cream. The last thing we did was show Peter and his Mom pictures of Markus' trip to Alaska, they oooooed and aaaaad over the fish, the bears, the trees and everything else that they don't have in the Neatherlands.
After leaving Peter's house on Thursday afternoon we headed for Germany, in a car loaded with cheese, gifts, baggage and chocolate. Arriving in town a little to early to go to Katha's house we stopped at a grocery store to pick up a few things to share. Things like, feta cheese, chocolate, bread, milk, yogurt and we also had a conversation with a German lady who wanted to speak English with us and wanted to know where we were from and what we were doing here. It was quite fun and enjoyable to speak with her.
At Katha's we had our first of many cups of tea with her and chatted about old times and new times with her. Then we all headed to bed for a lovely sleep and a good morning full of German gray skies and more German tea. Friday we spent walking around the little Village here and took pictures of all the old homes that are mainly made out of red brick interspursed with wooden beams. Quite a few of them are very tall and huge, they where built I believe in a time when families where bigger and need the space to live.
Saturday was spent wandering around an old town and taking pictures of the old churches and squares. It was quite interesting to hear that the whole town was almost leveled during WW2 and the when it was over and they where rebuilding they just threw up some rather ugly buildings. Then in the 80s they realised "hey these things are ugly!" so they ripped them down and rebuilt to a T the Guild Hall's that stood there from 1556 untill 1948. We also tried German Sausage with Curry sauce, yum yum, very tasty and something I think we should bring to the states. On the way home we busted into a grocery store called Lidil and one to bring back some memories for Donzel, Katha and I as that is the one we shopped at a lot while in Greece. And bought things for a Thanksgiving dinner that we where whipping up that evening. On the menu was stuffing mixed with sauted chicken, mashed potatoes, gravey, apple salad, carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes and home made cookies with US chocolate chips. Yow! It turned out rather good, everything was tasty and we were sure hungry for it. Although it was sad we couldn't have a pumpkin pie, Katha remembers that foundly from the last time we made Thanksgiving for her.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

So it begines...can they fight all the luggage into the car?

Me trying to stay warm at the soccer match.


Just so everyone knows I`m using a keyboard from Europe, which is not the same as an American one. It took me three minutes just to find the *?* sign and two minutes more to find the *** signs. Ahh well such is life when you are in Europe at least the Y and the Z are in the correct spots. I´ll have you guys know that Stuttgart Germany is a pretty cool place, made even cooler by the uber neat friends we have there.

We left for Stuttgart on Friday at 10:00 am and made really good time, with Markus at the wheel we where just flying along. And what is more amazing is that even though the trains where striking and the roads where supposed to be packed with people our highway wasn´t. After arriving we found out that every other road was packed at there where huge delays....except on ours. God is good and watched over that small detail for us. Friday night we went out with Priska and her sister to walk around Stuttgart and get some Gluwine at a booth hmmm good. Then home to chat with Priska untill....well fairly early in the morning, then we had breakfast with her Mom and brother, Timon, who is pretty funny and has the craziest hair all curly and wild like. For Saturday our plan was low key, we went to the Ritter Sport factory and bought almost all their chocolate. Well not really but it was pretty cheap so we did by a *few* bars. Then we just headed home to make cookies and chat, Priska and I made three different kinds of German Christmas cookes which are all very good. Then we had a yummy supper of left over Pizza (from lunch) and watched a dancing show on TV. That was amazing, there was a tap dancing troop from Switzerland that got my vote as the best one there. On Sunday we went to see Priska play in a football match and her team won 8 to 0 ha ha even if the Ref was making lots of bad calls and even took Priska´s goal away from her and said it was off sides when it wasn´t. Sheesh these Refs! Then home again home agian jigity jig.

We left Stuttgart at 9:19 exactly and eight and half hours later we pulled up in Lisse. So cool that we even found the place due to the weird street signs and strange turns and twist that are in the roads over here. Yesterday Peter had to work but we managed to enjoy our selves by puttering around Haarlem and going to see the Corrie ten Boom house. That was really neat, this time I got into the hiding place my self and felt what it was like to stand there body to body with six people. Stuffed into a tiny spot with all your belongings hardly breathing, for fear they would hear it and come to drag you away. When I stood in the street outside their house I could only think about how sixty years ago it was the busy happy place it is now. But a fear filled city where at any moment the Gestapo might come to rip you out of your home and murder you and your family. Shivver.

Then we had met Peter outside the house at four and walked around and ummm shopped. Both Donzel and I bought a scarf (I know it is an adiction) and then we found a few gifts for the *left behinders* although I´m not telling what they are incase they read this blog. Today we might be going to the ocean although it is rather rainy and cold, we wanted to buy Fondu for dinner but they don´t have a fondu pot so we are going to do something else. But I guess I had better go have a shower or they will be yelling at me for holding up the show.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Two Swiss Guys and other pictures.

Here is Seppi, he is on his way to the Army for the next week or so and he had to get all dressed up before getting on the train. Just wait till you see the gun that they get to take home and keep!
Swiss guy with Swiss cow bells, they actually do use these on cows!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Fourteenth of November


On November Fourteenth of 2004 Markus came to Greece to work on the boat. For one week he slaved, sanded, painted, ripped out and replaced, stripped and fixed, yet still found time to swim, drink coffee, eat huge amounts of food, take pictures and fall in love. Well he at least started to really like Donzel and after getting home began to pursue her with vim and vigor. After many months of letter writing and phone calls, plus a couple visits to the states he and she are sure of God's will for them. So with our parents blessing, yesterday evening on the Fourteenth of November 2007 Markus asked Donzel to be his wife, presenting her with a wooden ring he made himself.





The event took place in a small retreat house, complete with roses, candles, wine, soft music and a fondue dinner. Donzel suspected nothing (due to crafty planning by Markus) she thought the fifteenth would be the big day because they are going to Bern without me. I actually helped lay that seed and did a bunch of laughing and winking to tamp it in firmly. We also took the path of distraction by having Biber and a friend come over to play games all afternoon so Donzel wouldn't notice the rushing to and fro. Markus asked Donzel to get all dressed up so they could take some pictures for the Bern "suprise". So confused and wondering she got all spiffed up and with Markus in a nice black suit headed out the door for the retreat house. My part was to watch and see when he turned on the outside light and then come to take pictures and give hugs. Boy am I glad he didn't take to long at it, I was getting pretty cold hanging out the window watching for that light.
When all the hugging and picture taking was over Emmi and I brought out the lovely dinner she had made. Fondue, pinapple and bread along with a lovely white wine and for dessert Tiramisu with coffee or tea. Then the rest of us headed to bed and left the happy couple basking in the candle light and conversation....or perhaps they just gazed into one anothers eyes...who knows I sure don't.

Stanserhorn


Yesterday Markus took Donzel and I to the Mountains! It was truely amazing, I have never seen anything quite like what they have in Switzerland. Every which way you looked there where snow caped peaks, jagged and craggy against a blue sky. Sheer cliffs dropping hundreds of feet and and snow whipping around in the freezing cold air. The veiw is just breath taking and you feel like you could stand there all day long just to gaze at it, but of course you can't because it is freezzzzinggg out there. So then you go into the restaurant and have a esspresso and watch the panaroma from there.








To get up to the top you actaully get to ride the cable car....an open one with sheepskin rugs on the seats to keep your...well to keep you warm. As you sail up, on your left and right are tall Swiss homes clinging to the hills while cows moo and munch on green grass. However there are no pictures of said cows because they came out all fuzzy. About half way up you switch from the car the a gondola which is uber fun as well since it rocks and rises with the slope like a boat on the waves. I fight the temptation to pretend to push Donzel out, just in honor of Grandpa Bill though, not because I really get a kick out of seeing her freak out. The conductor told us that you can see in 100 kilometers in any direction and also you can see Germany, the Black Forest to be exact. After getting to the top Markus and I had a small snowball fight, however it wasn't that great because it was pretty dry snow. So we gave up and just took pictures instead. And uhhh took some more pictures. When we get a bit chilled we head inside to sip some coffee and learn more German, I'm starting the alphabet since I never quite got that one down. Surprisingly enough I do ok with German spelling because you actually sound out all the letters and that makes spelling easier. But then just incase that would make it too easy they through in male and female words and different 'the's' for different things. Arrrggg.



On the way out we took the senic route, driving along the lake and through town. That's when we found a glass museum to go to, we got to stand and watch the men blow glass and make glass bowls. It was neat and very hot looking, however it wasn't vert that exciting glass, since it was all clear and rather heavy looking. However we went into the Hand's On part of the Museum and that was so much fun. We banged on glass to make music and ran our wet fingers around wine glasses to hear the humming. Then we found the round thick glass plate that if you stood infront of it, your body would be warped and enlarged. This we decided was the highlight of the glass works, we stood there and took picture after picture laughing our heads of all the time.













Monday, November 12, 2007

From Home

Well while dinking around to day I found these pictures on Markus' computer and thought I would upload them quickly. Enjoy.









Kids


Those kids! They don't care whether or not you can speak their language, they just want to talk with you. To ask you all kinds of questions that, in their speedy Swiss German, you have no chance of understanding. Then you reply in stilted German "uhhhhh ummmmm dine hhmm namen ist was?" *grin* the ice is broken, names, ages and favorite colors are exchanged you're friends!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Tagalog

Well Donzel and I just got back from a very nice afternoon with Ruth and her husband Andres. They were missionaries for thirty years in the Philippines to a bush people. So she speaks Swiss German, High German, English and Tagalog. He speaks the same, except adding to that list French! Amazing, anyhow we had tea and cakes and of course swiss chocolate then went for a little walk. It was quite a nice afternoon some sun to show off the still green fields although tomorrow there is a chance of snow. We biked there and back again which was rather cool but interesting, you have a better chance to gaze about and see the lovely homes and farms. The roads here are very small, what might be just a bike track in the US is an entire road here. One of them is only wide enough for a small car, so you had better move over when they come along. Though the drivers are used to peope biking and are polite and don't run you over.

Ruth wrote out John 3:16 for us in Tagalog so I thought I would post it here.

Sapagkat gayon na lamang aug pagibig ng Dios sa saugbibutan na ibinigay Niya aug kanyaug bugtong na anak upang ang sinumang sumampalataya sa kanya ay huwag mapahamak kuudi magkaroon ng buhay na wabaug hauggan. John 3:16

Rather neat huh? Well I better quite it will be time for dinner soon (bread, cheese and salad).

Switzerland

So here we are, in the land of cheese, milk, chocolate and small cars....SWITZERLAND. We landed on Tuesday evening between 6 and 7, I'm not sure of the exact time because well after only sleeping one to two hours and loosing a day things get a bit foggy. At least we figured out how to exit the airport and all our bags arrived with us which was a huge blessing. Donzel and I vote Switzerland as the nicest country to enter into, calm, quite, uber clean and there is no smoking in the airport. Score.

So the plane ride wasn't that bad, although I think it is quite nasty of the airline to make you walk past Gold and Silver First class (seats that become beds, little screens that protect you from sick seat mates), World Traveler Pluss class, (seats that have a foot rest) and then onto The Slough of Despond Cla...oops I mean Second Class. At five two and one half inches my legs are too long for the seats and grimly gazing ahead I realise two thing at the same moment. Dispite trying not to we got seats near the bathroom and there is a screaming child up two rows and to my right. Praise God we weren't on the same flight with the demented two year old English boy, who, in the airport was tearing around like no bodies business. Trailed by his incompitant Mother who could only say in a overly sweet tone "if Timmy keeps running around he will have to sit on Mummy's lap, Timmy come back here" as Timmy shot off. Faint cheers where heard as that family got on the six thirty plane and those drapped across the floor and seats realised he wouldn't be on our later flight. The food was so so and the movies? Out of TWELVE there was only one I could watch and that was Harry Potter, it was the cleanest, best acted, best shot movie of the bunch. The rest where just raunchy and gross, so our intertainment was a little low but I did nap once I figured out how to wrap my legs round the arm rest and slouch really low in the seat. I'm sorry to the airlines but there is no way your going to see my seat belt with only one blanket to cover me. If I had three to wrap in maybe I could leave the belt free for your inspection, however at altitudes of 30 thousand feet if we crash what exactly is the seat belt going to do anyway?

However all is good we are here and enjoying it quite a bit, yesterday we took a bike ride with Emmi (Markus' Mom) down into townish to a friends house. We are going again this afternoon to visit Ruth again, she speaks very good English and wants to have us over for coffee and tea this afternoon. Her house is amazing and quite large actually, and I also believe quite old as well. So I better go and get ready for our ride and coffee outing.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Latin

Lauds
"Nox praecessit, dies autem appropinquavit...."
The night is far on its course; day draws near....

Prime
"Jam lucis orto sidere Deum precemur supplices..."
Now daybreak floods the earth with light.

Tierce
"Flammescat igne caritas accendat ardor proximos..."
May the fire of love burn ever bright, enkindling others with its flame.

Sext
"Qui temperas rerum vices, splendore mane illuminas, et ignibus meridiem..."
Who dost choose the course all things shall run, deck the morning with beauty bright and noon with the blazing sun.

Vespers
"Jam sol recedit igneus.."
The setting sun now turns our gaze to Thee.

Compline
"Noctem quietam et finem perfectum concedat nobis..."
May He grant us a quite night and a perfect end.

Matins
"Domini est terra et quae replent eam orbis terrarum et qui habitant in eo."
The Lord owns earth and all earth's fullness, the round world, and all its inhabitants.