Sunday, February 03, 2002

Diary: 2/3/2002

Dear friends and family

A comparatively quiet week this week.

First, to answer the question upper-most in your minds, the dryer is doing fine.

Monday-Wednesday were fairly uneventful. Work, school, dinner, bed. A pretty straight routine.

Debbie arrived Thursday morning. The flights had been long but without problems. Debbie was just happy to be home. She also wasn't feeling 100%, but it was nothing to worry about.

After getting settled in, and distributing the 1 million things she had bought in the US, we called it a night. But by friday morning, she wasn't feeling too good, nor was Joram. The cold that has been going around (both in the US and Switzerland) seemed to have caught up with her. So she spent the day trying to take it easy. Right.

Around 10:00am, the electricity completely went out. "Not again" we thought. Going next door, we were (slightly) encouraged when we discovered their power was out, too. "Oh yeah," they told us "this happens once or twice a month. It should come back in about an hour." Lovely.

The plumber showed up, which was a complete surprise. During the owner's visit 2 weeks ago, Leon had mentioned that the toilet seat needed to be replaced but he would take care of it. Apparently the owner wanted to seem efficient, so the plumber was sent. He took the seat with him and prepared to leave.

Debbie stopped him at the door - "When are you coming back?" she asked.
"Oh, not today. This is a special order part." (which meant we wouldn't have the seat all weekend, at the least).
"But I need the seat if I want to use the toilet"
"Oh no, it will work fine without this."

At this point, Debbie maintained a vice-like grip on the man's overalls, while dialing the phone with her other hand. After a brief but emphatic conversation in Fren-glish, Leon managed to convince the man that, indeed, his wife and 2 daughters *did* need the seat in order for the toilette to work correctly. True to his word, the plumber returned at 2:00 and said that he'd come back again when the replacement was in stock.

Where do we find these people?!?

The weekend was quiet. The girls spent most of their time finishing homework, rollerblading around outside (it's in the 50's here), and helping around the house. Joram went from high to low and back again as the adults kept him on an Advil/Tylenol yo-yo regimen. Debbie did her best to participate, despite the fact that the people who got trampled during the running of the bulls still felt better than she did.

For his part, Leon tried to keep the house moving and everyone as medicated as they needed to be. When naps co-incided, he managed to sneak up to the PC and get the family web site updated. Check out for new pictures, archived copies of the Adato Diary, and more.

And now, it is time for another installment of the Adato FAQ (frequently asked questions). These are based on your emails to us!

Adato FAQ #2
Question: Can you get Swiss Euros for me? Can you get the starter packs?
Answer: As many of you are aware, beginning January 1 several nations stopped using their national currency in favor of the "Euro" (do NOT call it a "Euro-dollar" if you want to live very long here! People are very sensitive about that). The paper is the same from country to country, but the coins are different on the back - they bear the original coin face of the country where they were minted. So it is possible to get a "French" euro that is different than an Italian one. For more information, you can check out .

Switzerland, ever the snobbish exclusionists that they are, have not joined the United Nations or the European Union. This means that they will not use the Euro as their currency. So there are no "Swiss" Euros.

The starter packs were sold the week before January 1. They were bundles of bills and coins that sold out within 2 days. No other starter packs will be produced. Basically, you have to shell out the money for one of each kind of bill and coin (for a full set, that would cost 888.88 euros, or $765.41 at today's exchange rate). If you left out the 500, 200, 100, and 50 euro bills, you would spend only 38.88 euros, or $33.48.

Question: Is the snow too much for you? How are you coping with the weather?
Answer: While half of one season doesn't allow for an expert opinion, this season has been very similar to Cleveland's. We had 3 real snowfalls, some sub-zero (celsius) weather, which is in the 20's and 30's farenheit, and rain. And fog. The fog here is much more frequent and thicker than in Cleveland. Otherwise, it's about the same.

The key difference is the hills and the streets. There are a LOT of steep hills everywhere, and the streets are fairly narrow. So even a little snow or ice can mean a problem if you aren't careful. The city services (snowplow and salt) are good, but because it's hard to get around the existing traffic, it can take a little longer to clear the streets.

The other key difference is the tires. No all-weather treads here. You either have summer tires or winter tires. And even for a Clevelander who is used to hard winter driving, trying to get around on summer tires can be harrowing at best, life-threatening at worst.

Question: How far do you have to go to see the mountains?
Answer: Out of bed. Or, as one of our friends answered the comment "just look at the view" - "What do you mean look at it? You can't get away from it around here!". The mountains dominate every look out of every window. Houses are bought and sold based on their view of the lake, the mountains, etc. The landscape is an ever-present part of the mentality and the ongoing conversation here. How low down the mountain did it snow last night? What are the conditions for skiiing and at what altitude? When do the cows go up to the high pastures? When do they come back down? Which train goes up which mountain to view the surrounding countryside at which angle? Etc.

That's about it for now. Hopefully there will be more funs stuff and less weirdness to write about next week. Take care, and please keep your emails, cards, and letters coming.

Debbie, Leon, Heather, Isabelle, and Joram

No comments: