Sunday, November 04, 2001

Diary: 11/4/2001

Dear friends and family:

We knew that this week would not have a lot of major news in it, so we've taken a moment to being the official "Adato FAQ". "FAQ" stands for "Frequently Asked Questions". Here goes:

Q) Why can't you send or post some pictures?
A) Because we are living in a temporary apartment and the only link we have to the world is one measly laptop. We had figured on being into our permanent place (with all Leon's equipment) much sooner than this. The scanner, digital camera reader, and other technical froo-froo is all locked up in the boat shipment. Nobody is more sorry than we are. But rest assured that, as soon as we are in the house and unpacked, the pictures will start flowing!

Q) When can we email the kids
A) Once we are in the house and the network is set up, the girls will have a computer of their own to work with. At that point we'll set up some easy email access and we'll let everyone know the addresses.

Q) We want to hear from Debbie
A) you do she is right next to leon as we write every note but leon preferrs to do the writing because if he didnt then everything would look like this because debbie doesnt like to be bothered with silly things like punctuation or captial letters or stuff like that so when you get a letter from her it will always be one long sentence so to save everyone a little bit of eyesight leon edits everything and adds the boring stuff also that means that when you read the letter you dont have the urge to yell BREATH at the computer

Q) Swiss jokes
A) Yes, we have a Swiss Army Knife. And we eat Swiss cheese. We would drink Swissmiss cocoa for a joke, but honestly Debbie's doctored-up Nestle cocoa is much better. We have been given or at least considered all those things with "Swiss" in the name. Our deepst thanks to the Rob and family for outfitting us with most of that stuff (and a few things we never thought of, like Little Debbie Swiss Rolls) before we left. The one exception would be liederhosen. At no time will you see the male members of the Adato Tribe dressed up like Peter Pan after his tights were shrunk in the wash. It's just not happening.

Q) Do you get American TV shows
A) yes and no. We get lots of news - mostly CNN and MSNBC. Once we are in the house we could get a satelite dish and pick up regular US programming like ER and that new Star Trek show. But on regular cable, it's not going to happen. As for sports, we never watched much of it to begin with. I know that is blasphemy to the ears of some of you. Please try to find it in your heart to forgive. Aside from that, there are reruns of US shows, dubbed over in French or German. All in all this is not satisfying entertainment fare.

Q) Ok, so what's the big deal with Baking Soda
A) In Leon's very limited understanding, most of the baking Debbie creates (tollhouse cookies, etc) requires it as a key ingredient. Here, people don't use it as much because cakes and pastry is not a big deal. Things tend to be more flat (crepes, pies, etc). So you can only get baking soda (bicarbonate de soda, in French) in small packets that are meant for people with upset tummies, not perfectly good tummies they want to upset by eating the equivalent of an entire Sarah Lee pound cake.

Q) What do you miss most
A) Everything. Especially you. Please ease our emotional pain by coming to visit. Soon.
There you have it, the very first installment of the "Adato FAQ".

In other news, Halloween was a great success. We can't say that we visited a ton of houses, but Isabelle had a birthday party which was extremely festive, and then the girls and several friends went to an apartment block and went door to door for about an hour. Between that and last Sunday's party, we were pretty satisfied with the holiday. The only real shortcoming was the total lack of pumpkins. Normally Leon buys 5 or 6 (or 10) of them and has a fun old time baking the seeds. This year we are seedless. Next year, however, is a chance to make up for lost time.

Aside from that, Thursday and Friday were exciting because Leon had the day off, but the girls were in school. This meant the time could be spent shopping for all those things we needed for the new house but didn't have. Like 7 wardrobes, a microwave, a vacuum cleaner, a toaster oven, and a television. While we were at it, we picked up a new hair dryer, a cordless phone, and an answering machine. Yes, we said 7 (s-e-v-e-n, appears between 6 and 8) wardrobes. It seems that in this country, houses don't come with closets, you have to bring your own.

We spent Saturday cleaning house (for the last time here!!!), and doing some shopping. In the process, we discovered another "quaint quirk" about living in Switzerland. Bank cards are used like debit cards here, with the money directly withdrawn from your account. This is a major means of payment around here, and you can use them to pay for parking, groceries, bus fare, and even use them in some pop machines. This week we discovered that there is a limit - 2,000 per month. Period. When you hit the limit, you are out of luck. You can't even use the card to withdraw money from the bank machine. Leon was out of luck at the grocery store. Of course, at the time we didn't know it, so it just seemed like we were out of money. Talk about panic! It's still not fun, since we have to carry around a boatload of cash for the rest of the month, but at last we aren't out of money.

Today we spent time with some friends, eating pancakes and watching the kids run around.

This coming week, Leon is in a training class during work, and Debbie has about 900 meetings to go to (PTA, Year 2 Moms, American Women's Club, etc). On top of that we are spending a lot of time just getting ready for the move next week.

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