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Archive for April, 2011

it’s been one week

Actually, it’s been one week and two days, but who’s counting.

It would be pretty funny if I started keeping track of how long we’ve been here. I suppose that’s a way to find two years either fly or crawl by. We’ll have to see.

Well, we’ve made some headway with the apartment search in that we met with an agent. Hooray. It took an entire week of waiting to get an appointment, but we got a Friday morning meeting to get the ball rolling. An agent you ask? Well, looking for an apartment in Geneva is worse than looking for an apartment in Cambridge, Boston in September. Read: SUPER HARD

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Update to Jet Lag

Thanks again to Jenn, who read my last post, and decided that we had to make a SPECIAL TRIP to Migros to get a chocolate bunny. And, it being buy one get one free, we had to take two home with me.

Om nom nom.

I also bought a pillow at Migros too. Jet Lag, you’re on notice.

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Jet Lag

Ok, jet lag. This sucks.

First of all, let’s talk about climate. Chicago, I don’t know what your issue was, but winter is so over. Did you know that Geneva is about the same latitude as Montreal, and here it is Late Spring. I mean, lilacs are in full bloom, tulips are at peak, and you’re still torturing the daffodils who have barely surfaced. For shame Chicago. Thanks for robbing me of one of my favorite seasons.

Second, whoever said “stay up all day and you’ll be fine after that” was WRONG. If I wake up again, wide awake at 2am, I will refuse to get up tomorrow. For serious.

Third, shopping while jet lagged is hilarious. Thanks to Jen and Eman, we went straight to the mall on Friday since Easter weekend starts Friday at 12 until sundown Monday, and everything is closed. We beelined to the grocery store where everything is in three languages, none of them English. Also, I had a very small list. I just wanted bread, butter, cheese, pasta and some vegetables which was harder than it seemed. Why do I have to weigh the vegetables myself? Why is there a MOB around the scales? What? I can’t buy bread at the store (it’s better at the baker!) What about meat? (It’s better at the butcher!) OK, all i need is yogurt…and butter…and I am confronted by an ENTIRE aisle of butter. I swear, there are 25 kinds, again, none are in english, half say BIO on them, and really, how am i supposed to figure out what is what when I can barely keep my eyes open. Oh, and the store is closing IN 40 minutes HURRY HURRY!

I finally broke down, and begged for Jen’s help. “I just want butter. And cheese. Soft cheese. Just put something in my basket.” She tried asking me what kind, but finally obliged and said, “Buy this.”

So, we did although we realized that you have to buy bags in Europe, were saved again by J&E, and then they drove us home AND gave us sheets to sleep on. I crashed SO hard, there was no way I was staying up one minute longer.

It turns out that shopping while jet-lagged is like shopping drunk. You can ask my fine bridesmaids why we ended up with ho-hos, pringles, and a tweety-bird balloon after my bachelorette party when I swear we were just getting water. You wake up the next day, confused as you sort out your loot. Our shop was kind of like that too.

Luckily, everything has been delicious and only two things that were wrong:

1. We bought something that we thought was “sheep yogurt.” It wasn’t yogurt. Actually, I’m not sure what it was. It was vanilla flavored, so at least that was right, but it had the texture of flan. Very strange.

2. We did not buy one of the GIANT CHOCOLATE RABBITS on display. It was only after I took a nap that I remembered that they existed, and bemoaned our loss. After all, this of all places, was where we should have indulged.

Jet lag, you suck. You owe me a chocolate bunny.

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Well, we made it.

It’s been an exciting and hectic weekend. Our flight left Philly around 4:20pm on Thursday, and we arrived in Frankfurt, Germany just a quarter after 5am local time. Deplaning and customs were comparatively short waits, and as the airport opened all their high-end fashion stores (in case you wanted to buy a Bentley in the airport, of course), we got on the short flight up to Geneva. I slept through most of it although J kept poking me to point out the Alps.We got off the plane and there, in the little glass jetway to escort us to customs, was a six foot tall advertisement of George Clooney for Nespresso.

I turned to J. “George Clooney says, Welcome to Switzerland.”

“Have a Nespresso,” J replied.

SIDE NOTE: Upon searching for the above image, we came upon the Nespresso campaign which is hilarious and crazy. I have linked to it below.


The thing about jet-lag, they say, is that you just have to force yourself to stay up all day to get over it. They also say that the jet-lag isn’t as bad going US to Europe as it is, say, US to Japan (which I can tell you, from experience, makes you nap at 2pm every day and crave cocoa krispies at 2am). This sounds all well and good until you actually have to do it.

So there we were. 9am in Geneva lugging three suitcases, one duffle bag and two packpacks through customs. Knowing the size of European cars, I hope for a larger vehicle. Luckily the SLAC car is a nice size, and soon we’re zipped off to CERN.

Where, by the way, everything is closed.

That’s the other thing. Our timing was such that we arrived for Easter Weekend. And, by Easter weekend, I mean Friday through Monday everyone basically takes off and things shut down. I’m still a little confused to which days are official holiday in which country, but needless to say we weren’t going to get IDs or passes or start looking for apartments at all this weekend.

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Stop over in Philly

When I said that when we move, it rains. I wasn’t kidding.

June 2007: Seattle, WA. We rent a space in a truck to transport our stuff to the Chicagoland area. To save money, we rent a Budget truck to load up and drive down to the local pod distribution center and put our stuff in the pre-measured space ourselves. Sure, it rains most of the time in Seattle, but this particular day, we’re talking MAJOR DOWNPOUR¬† just as our final things go in. The details are fuzzy, but between becoming soaking wet and running out of space, things slipped, broke, and we ended up pitching large pieces of cheap furniture.

July 2007: Osewego, IL. We drive to the pod center to pick up our stuff. The clouds are ominous, and being a mountain girl, I could recognize a summer storm from a distance. We loaded up the rental truck as fast as we could, even after the sheets of rain materialized in the distance. We scrambled to get the last heavy things in the truck, and on cue, MAJOR DOWNPOUR. Drenched, we had to stop at the local McDonalds until the rain and lightening ceased. You may recall that I’m terrified of tornadoes. Welcome to Chicago.

April 2011: Naperville, IL. It’s April, and on cue: MAJOR DOWNPOUR. At least this time, I saw that it was starting at 1pm, so we scrambled to load up the GMC Acadia before then. It started raining, and it rained nearly the entire way to Philly. Day 2 of travel was pretty much a constant MAJOR DOWNPOUR.

Well, despite the rain, we made it to Philly where J’s parents live. We’ll be taking a few days to recover and prepare for the long flight. So far, so good!

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On the Road

Coming to you live from Youngstown, Ohio! We cleaned up the house yesterday and packed the GMC Acadia that we’re driving to Philly FULL of our stuff. Even after mailing five boxes of books, we could barely cram everything in. But, we were successful and this time, I don’t even have to hold a plant on my lap.

Even better was that we got to pack the car before it started to rain. It has rained EVERY TIME WE HAVE MOVED. This did not immediately occur to me, but it’s true. We move, it rains.

This trip, no exception. Just when we’re ready to depart, it starts to POUR. We drove the first three house in the rain, but then we got ahead of the storm and just kept going until we got through Indiana and Ohio.

This morning, we’ll get to Philly! Now for some Holiday Inn breakfast….

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Hi everyone, we’re back!

I woke up this morning thinking about the wedding. It’s hard to believe that it was nearly six months ago. Wow, that’s crazy.

It was a long, cold, busy winter for us. Shortly after the wedding, my husband (new vocabulary, squee!) got his PhD and then went to California in January to train for his postdoc. So we were apart, again, for three months. While we visited every few weeks, but it was annoying to be newlyweds living thousands of miles apart. For me, the separation would have been harder had I not been working all hours of the day. But last week, I made two big milestones by hitting our deadline with flying colors and having J return home. Yay!

So now that’s we’re all married, we’re ready for the next big event: MOVING TO SWITZERLAND. That’s right. You thought it was babies, well, you were wrong.

In J’s field, particle physics, the two big colliders in the world are here at Fermilab (outside Chicago) and CERN (on the Swiss/French border). With funding at Fermilab being cut and CERN coming online, it makes the most sense to go where the research is happening. So, we’re packing up to move abroad for about two years. (Which even in our box-littered house, doesn’t seem real yet)

Four years ago, we moved here to from Seattle for his PhD research without knowing anyone in Chicago. It was the flattest place I have ever lived, and I was wary of tornadoes. (This mountain girl is not used to night storms). Now, here we are, four years later, full of friends and adventures and memories that I wouldn’t want to trade for anything. We have made such good friends here — lifelong friends — that we will miss very much when we leave.

But, I’m excited for the new friends I haven’t met yet, the new sites that I have yet to see. Come visit us! And if you can’t, read along for our adventure.

This colliderbride and groom are going international.

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