Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thinking Halloween in August?

Every year now, we plan to have our annual Halloween party here in Switzerland. Last year we had 60 people in attendance and believe we will top that this year. That is why I am thinking Halloween in August. Nick thinks I am crazy to be fussing over details this early, but it is a big production, and I like to be organized. I guess that speaks to my perfectionist nature, for good or bad. Since Nick is going to the states in October, I am hoping that he can pick up our costumes and possibly some party favors and awards. I thought that vampires and devils might be a good theme for our family this year and was thinking of these costumes for Coretta, Nick, Geno, and I. What do you think?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Crystal and Nick

The following collages were created at where you can photo shop your images into several different popular hairstyles from the 1950's until 2000. Can you guess which decade we are in by looking at the pictures?
Posted by Picasa

Coretta as a Fourth Grader

Coretta is adjusting well to fourth grade and really seems to like her teacher Ms. Mathena. She received her first homework as a fourth grader yesterday where they had to look up the definition and synonym for specific words and draw an illustration. This is part of their Unit of Inquiry this year which is also part of the International Baccalaureate Program.

She brought home a very small yellow booklet that is called their homework diary. It is here where they record their assignments and must have it signed by both teacher and parent. It is similar to the planners that children carry in the States. The difference between the planner idea with my fourth grader and the eighth grade students I used to teach, is that my daughter thinks it will be useful.

She has approximately nineteen students in her class from all over the world such as Hungary, the United States, Great Britain, and Australia just to name a few. In fact, she started to giggle the first day when her teacher Ms. Mathena was explaining the rules of the classroom (with a southern drawl I might add) and pantomiming it as she went. It turns out, the reason for the pantomime is because one student speaks zero English in the class. The other students then felt bad.

As for activities, Coretta will have a very full schedule this fall. They are taking an over night school trip for 5 days in September where they will get a chance to meet all of the other sections of fourth grade as well. I think they went to Geneva (the French part of Switzerland) last year and we are still waiting to hear where the destination will be this year.

She also has piano with Ms. Pauli on Mondays at the school in the neighborhood and is doing quite well I might add. She will also be learning a new instrument at school this year. She has chosen the guitar and will have weekly lessons at school.

She will also be participating in a group after school on Thursdays called Girl Power which is a fun, social group for girls ages 8-10 years (grades 3-5) whose purpose is to develop high self esteem, confidence and self expression through creative activities. Through art, acting, discussion, writing, and dance, girls have an opportunity learn about themselves and become more self aware. The group acts as a support network for girls to share similar experiences. Girl Power explores themes such as body image, media messages, friendships, positive thinking, peer pressure, healthy eating, exercise, school stress, boys, puberty and other issues facing girls today. Each group consists of anywhere from 6-10 participants. Girls sit on the floor in a circle and each group begins with a “check in” for girls to talk about anything that they want. The activity of the day then follows. All groups are conducted in English. Coretta is very excited about this and her friend Melanie is also in this.

On Tuesdays during the fall, Coretta will be either enrolled in her first choice: uni-hockey, second choice: pottery, or third choice: dance. Since they are unable to always give students their first choice, they are asked to pick three and rate them. We should know soon.

As of yesterday, she will also be busy on Sunday nights as a part of The English Theatre in Zug where they perform plays in English. They were looking for 8 to 10 year olds to be part of the chorus, and Coretta was selected. The play is "Aladdin and his Magic Lamp" which is a traditional British Panto that will be performed on November 27th, 28th, and December 5th at 8:00 pm. Here is a little background on this play from Wikipedia: British Panto of Aladdin and the Magic Lamp. The following link also has information about the International Theatre Group in Zug which Coretta will be a part of: English Theatre Group.

She will be busy, but I am happy that she will be able to foster some of her interests in creativity, sport, dance, singing, and music.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Geno's Many Faces

Posted by Picasa

Coretta Throughout the Years

Posted by Picasa

Coretta's first day of 4th grade

Posted by Picasa

My baby girl started fourth grade today. It seems just like yesterday that I was walking her to preschool. Last night, she had a hard time falling asleep because she was anxious and excited about school. The typical things the night before that keep most kids up: Will the teacher like me? Will I find my classroom? Will I make friends? I told her that she had nothing to worry about. She is smart, funny, caring, considerate, and outgoing. She isn't a trouble maker, takes pride in her work, loves to learn. What teacher or kid wouldn't want to hang out with her. Luckily, three of her classmates are in her new class with Ms. Mathena.

She ended up waking up at 6:30 am because she couldn't sleep any longer. We had breakfast, talked, and I could tell that her anxiety was gone, and she was now just excited.

We walked her to the bus stop as a family and talked with the Schumann and Burkert kids. Geno wanted to get on the bus with her, but when we wouldn't let him, he waved and said, "Bye Cari" as the bus pulled away. I can't wait for her return and to hear all about her day. Coretta I love you!!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Geno's Summer 2009

Some of the many things that Geno likes to do all involve being near his sister Cari, or more formerly known, as Coretta, his big sister. Wherever she is, whatever she is doing, he wants to be involved in some way.

He loves to go to the beach as well and will wake up many mornings with the phrase "Tomorrow Beach," with a huge smile on his face. My son completely lives in the future and not the present. The things he most likes to do is pick up leaves and watch them float down the current. He enjoys putting rubber duckies and boats into the water as well to watch them float down the man-made river. To him, this is fascinating and a remarkable achievement that never seems to get old no matter how many times he does it. The other highlight is when he is able to get chicken nuggets and fries at the beach and sit with his Mommy and sister watching birds that land on the table hoping for a nibble of your food with their open little beaks. He enjoys swimming in the pool and lake as long as Mommy and Cari are right there to play, or as he would say it, race with him.

He also enjoyed camping along the Gunflint, throwing rocks into the water, and going on his first canoe ride. What summer would be complete without some of that smooth, creamy, cold stuff? Ice cream, or what Geno calls Ah-Bee Cones!!

Summer fun from a toddler's point of view, which also involves learning to ride his trike and spying on little girls as they play in the sand through the slits of the stairs to the slide. Not obvious at all Geno.
Posted by Picasa

Coretta's Summer

Posted by Picasa

These are just some of her favorite things she did over the summer. First of all, if it is a sunny day, Coretta will pack up a bag that includes her bathing suit, book, goggles, beach towel and jump on her bike and ride down to the Hunenberg Badi. It is here where she can swim in a pool, in the lake, play on ropes, and even dive off of multiple diving boards and rafts. In fact, that is one of her big accomplishments this summer. Swimming out to the diving platform and jumping off. She can easily spend 5 or more hours here and not be bored a single second with or without friends.

Another favorite of hers is eating at New York Food and Company, especially their Marguerite pizza. It is located in Zug and is definitely a hot spot for teens and tweens while they are shopping. Did I say shopping? What almost ten year old girl doesn't like shopping? Her favorite stores are H and M, C and A, Benetton, and Claires.

She loves watching MTV and all of the music videos, singing karaoke through YouTube videos, writing and publishing stories on the computer, and creating music on garage band. She loves reading the Twighlight series, Horrible Science series, historical fiction about the Holocaust (wonder who she got that interest from), and books about horses.

She also enjoyed hiking along the Gunflint Trail with her relatives, canoeing, campfires, eating smores, and telling scary stories. She also had the opportunity to ride her first horse as well and absolutely loved it.

The last thing, is spending time with her friends in the neighborhood on her bike, Rollerblades, scooter, or skate skateboard. Spending hours thinking of a way to construct a fort with her friends,but not being able to come up with the materials or a person who has any building skills. Playing tag, monkey in the middle, playing at the playground, and laughing. Nothing like the summer to allow kids to be kids.

Geno LOVES Gnocchi

Since I have been back from the States, I have been trying to come up with different recipes that do not include meat. While looking through the family reunion cookbook, I came across Great Grandma Lucca's Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Gorgonzola Sauce, so I decided I would make it. It really turned out great and everyone enjoyed it. Most of all, Geno.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day 1: Watching the Burkert Children

Posted by Picasa

For the next three nights, Nick and I are the caretakers of our neighbor's three children so they could getaway on a much needed vacation to Verona, Italy. Nick and I had them watch our children recently when we went to Austria. Day one has been fun. Michael came over, and Coretta and he created music and lyrics on garage band, played wii, made a fort in our closet, played with leggos, and played outside. Tomorrow we plan to go to the beach while Geno is at school. Here is a collage below of today's activities.

Geno's first week back at the Beehive Preschool

I wish that I could report that his transition back to school was flawless and easy, but nothing could be farther from the truth. The first day, he would go in, play with the toys and cars, and I would quietly sneak out, but as the week progressed, Geno was crying 6 blocks away from school saying "I wanna go home. Mommy home!!" I have tried everything I can think of to assuage his fears, but nothing seems to work. Now when I bring him to school, I have to try pry to him off of me, and leave him crying at the top of his lungs in the arms of his teacher while he continues to reiterate, "Mommy, I wanna go home!!"

I know that this is just many of the transitions that little children go through. Logically I understand this, but emotionally it is hard. He seems to associate school with a loss of his Mom and beloved sister. The teachers say he transitions a little while at school, but continually mumbles, Mommy, home. Tomorrow beach."

His speech therapist came to visit with him and his teachers this week as well. His speech therapist is very hopeful in Geno's progress and now with the school, the therapist, and me all working together, I think Geno will be at age level in his language development by the time he starts kindergarten.

I hope that week two will be a little easier for my little man, and for me.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day 2: Watching the Burkert Children

Posted by Picasa

Yesterday I took Michael, Seamus, and Coretta to the beach in the morning while Geno was at school. They had a good time playing, swimming, and making sand castles. In fact, Coretta showed off her new skills in swimming to the diving tower, jumping off the diving board, and swimming to the raft. Her swimming skills are improving more and more each day especially since she has swimming once a week at school.

Once done swimming, the kids came back and played wii, played outside, and watched a movie. The picture above is a collage of the day.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Minnesota reaching Switzerland Fashion

Yesterday while shopping in Zug, Coretta came across a T-Shirt that said Minnesota: Forest and Woodlands, The Wildlife Society, capture animals contrary to law, Canadian boreal eco-zone, wildlife management, limited entry, successional stages written on it. Like so much of the labeling in English printed on shirts here, I am unsure what they are trying to say here. What I can decipher is that they are promoting Minnesota as being boreal (located in the Northern hemisphere) and seems to be a hunting and nature's paradise. Notice that there is an owl on the shirt as well. Owls can only be found in boreal eco-zones.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Back to School for Geno

Posted by Picasa

Today was the Beehive International Preschool Open House. Families and children met, talked, and familiarized themselves with the school. When we began to drive to the school, Geno started crying. He remembered the school and associated that with his Mommy leaving.

When we entered the school, he hid behind me, very shy as if talking would do him harm. We brought him over to the slide and he started to warm up. When his teacher Nadine came over and asked for a hug, he gave her a big smile and ran away. When she came back a second time for a high five, he said "No, kiss" and kissed her on the lips.

Next, he went outside and decided that he wanted to ride one of the numerous trikes on display. The first one he tried was too small, but the second one was just right. I think he has a great year ahead of him.

Since Coretta didn't have school, she, too joined us. We then went into Zug to do some shopping and have lunch at New York Pizza (Geno and Coretta's favorite place).

The next place we went was to Geno's first speech therapy session since summer vacation. We showed up at the school, to find out that his teacher wasn't there. We later found out that she was at our house while we were at the Zug office. I guess we had a little miscommunication on the location. Once there, she worked with Geno through role-play. First feeding the animals with clay, and then giving each of them water. they then moved to building homes for the animals, to sliding each animal down a ramp where Coretta would collect them and Geno would pull them up with a makeshift pulley system. She was equally impressed with his language development since our last session. Way to Go Geno!!

Geno in Conversation with Mommy

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Romantic Weekend to Innsbruck, Austria

Posted by Picasa

This weekend, Nick and I headed to Innsbruck, Austria for a romantic weekend without the kids. Our neighbors, the Burkert's, so graciously offered to watch our children and we agreed to watch their kids later that week when they went to Verona, Italy.

Friday morning, around 10 am, we dropped the kids off at Ronnie and Ron's place. We then talked a little bit about the schedules, and I snuck out so that Geno would not see me leave. Then, Nick and I jumped in the car for our three and a half hour car ride to Austria.

Once there, we checked into the Innsbruck Hotel located in the old town. The staff was very friendly, attentive, and helpful. They gave us our keys, scheduled our massages for us the next day, and also let us know that we were welcome to enjoy the spa on the terrace, but that this area was nude only. Nick and I, already knowing this through others who have traveled in Austria were not surprised.

We then went up to our room and were pleasantly surprised with the size of the room and the view over the old town. It was perfect. We then decided to do some sight seeing in the old town and get a feel for the city. We had lunch at the Pizzeria Romantica where we had pizza and pasta and sampled their region beer, the Zipfer, which was quite good. Once we were done taking pictures and sight seeing for the day, we went back to the hotel to get ready for our three course meal at The Pavillion. This proved somewhat difficult, because even though we asked for directions a handful of times, we couldn't seem to find it. Once we found it, we found a quaint little park where we sat and watched tourists paying for horse carriage rides.

Once we reached the restaurant, we were cordially greeted and seated to our table. The table had real linens and gorgeous views of the Theatre District right outside the old town. We were then told that the chef has prepared a special meal for us. I have never ate at a restaurant where they choose the menu as well. We were first served a beer, then some good bread with different pates. Next we received a champagne glass filled with chives, onions, cheese, and a quail egg. Next they served us quail meat and Asian wraps. The next course was rabbit (which I couldn't eat and gave to Nick) that was breaded with what seemed to be raspberry sauce. Next, we were served veal loin, mushrooms, and small little potatoes. Lastly we had some kind of fried coconut banana with cake and ice cream. Nick and I also ordered some wine from the rioja region which complimented the food very nicely. We then took a romantic stroll through the old town back to the hotel.

Posted by Picasa

The next day, we woke up and had breakfast and then headed to the Hungerberg Northbahn to spend the afternoon amongst the mountains. Once on the cable car, it took us up 2300 meters above sea level. Once there, we got off, and looked around. The views were fantastic of the mountains and also of the city. Nick and I decided that we would walk along the ridge of the mountain and do some hiking. As we were hiking, we saw sheep grazing, even better views of mountains and the city. This was my first time walking along the ridge line and holding on to wires in certain areas to get by. Overall, I did very well. My fear of heights is getting better and I attribute that to living in Switzerland. Once we finished hiking, we went into Hungerberg which was two stops down the mountain and had a beverage, and then back into the city. We had our massages scheduled for 3 and 3:30, but when we arrived back to the hotel, we found out that our masseuse was sick and they rescheduled them for 5 and 5:30 pm with another masseuse. We decided to go back to our room and relax. Nick's massage was first, so he went up and decided that he would take a Finnish sauna in the NUDE only terrace before his massage.

Once done with our massages, we went back to the room and got ready for dinner at the Akropolis which has some of the best Greek food I have ever had. It was romantic and a perfect end to a perfect day.

The next day, we had breakfast, packed up, and were back in Switzerland by 4 pm feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Innsbruck Austria

Nick and I leave for two nights tomorrow for a much needed romantic weekend. I can't remember the last time we have gone anywhere without the kids. Coretta and Geno are staying with our lovely neighbors whom Coretta knows and plays with their kids almost daily. Although Coretta never wants to be away from her Mom and Dad, and it is particularly hard on her, she is being a good sport.

Nick and I plan to drop the kids off at the Burkert's at 10 am and then quietly sneak out once Geno is playing. He loves Michael and Seamus and loves being around other boys as well. Once we make our getaway, we will drive approximately three an a half hours to Innsbruck, Austria where we will be staying at the Hotel Innsbruck for two nights which includes breakfast and one four course dinner the first day we arrive, and two massages in the spa. To see photos of the hotel, click on the hyperlink.

Once there, we plan to walk around the quaint city visiting the Golden Roof and doing some sightseeing and shopping in the town. The Goldenes Dachl or Golden Roof is a symbol of your old town Innsbruck experience. The window, porch, and roof was added in 1500 by Maximilian I to celebrate his marriage and the roof is covered with 2657 gilded copper roof tiles. The feature is splendid and the square beneath is always bustling with activity. Dom St. Jakob and the Hofkirche are nearby; the area is filled with magnificent Baroque buildings particularly the Helbinghaus at Number 10 Herzog Frederich Strasse. This building is within sight of the Golden Roof. Restrooms are free at Swavorski crystal shop on the basement level. If feeling up to it, afterwards maybe even taking in the castle. Schloss Ambras which is a historic castle which includes an art museum. The setting of the artwork against the historical architecture makes this a unique art museum experience enjoyed by many travelers in the area.

On Saturday, we plan the cable cars to Hungerberg based on the following review: " I can not recommend this highly enough. If you are ready for the most amazing views that you will ever see, head up above Innsbruck on a clear day. We were absolutely astounded by the views of the town on one side the Alps on the other. The view to the Alps was more spectacular than anything I have seen in the world and the trip up was quick and easy. The Bergbahn is a very modern cable car that takes you up to the top of the world. You stop twice along the way to change onto different cable cars and the view is more spectacular each time. We went up on our last day in Innsbruck because it was covered by the Innsbruck Card that we already had. We didn't realise what a massive highlight of our whole trip this would be. It is spectacular." Afterwards, we plan to do some hiking in that area.

On Sunday before we leave, we plan to take in either the Tyrolean Folk Art Museum which offers visitors insight in to the local cultural and creative expressions of the people of the area or the Tyrolean Provincial Museum which may be the best local bet for gaining insight in to the history of the area. Additional information about Innsbruck history can be learned by visiting The following link: Innsbruck History.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Once Bitten Twice Shy

Today we decided to go to the Hunenberg Badi, our second home these days. The weather said sun/showers, but we opted that the sunny part would be earlier than later. Every day when my son Geno wakes up, the first and last words out of his mouth are "Beach tomorrow?" He loves being able to swim, play with toys in the sand pit, and of course eat chicken nuggets and fries. Coretta, too, loves it as well and has recently been able to jump off the diving board tower at the first level.

Once there, the kids did there thing, while I sat in the sun reading my book. At lunch time we ordered our food, and found a picnic table. While we were sitting there, Geno all of a sudden let out a high pitched full blown scream followed by an even louder cry. The Swiss being more reserved in demeanor looked at me as if to say, "What is the matter?" wherein I realize that my son was being bitten by a wasp. As is the case with many older children, when something such as a horse fly, wasp, or bee sting you, your reaction is to swat it away. Geno hasn't developed that instinct yet, so when the wasp landed and put his stinger into his side, he just stood there. Stood there until I quickly swatted the bugger away. Not soon enough, however. His hole side began to turn red, and began to swell instantly. The damn wasp even broke the skin. Poor Geno. I said to him, "Should we go home and put some medicine on it?" and his response is "No, I want chicken and fries." Typical Geno. We did just that. We ate our chicken nuggets in pain and then decided to go home.

I posted some pictures of the diving board that Coretta can swim to and jump off as well.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Geno's Reward

Today while we were clothes shopping for Coretta, Geno was a good sport. He was patient enough, allowing Coretta time to try things on, and didn't pull too many clothes off the racks in the process. Geno's reward: a chocolate ice cream cone or Ahh-Bee Cone as he calls it. What eating an ice cream cone looks like when you are lucky enough to be Geno. Priceless.
Posted by Picasa

New School Clothes for 4th Grade!!

August seems to always be that time of year where parents are busily trying to get their children outfitted for the new school year, throwing out clothes they have outgrown, and accessing the monetary damage that they will be forced to pay. This time of year is when I really start to miss Saint Thomas More Catholic School as well. This is the school that Coretta was attending in the States. My reason being that they had school uniforms. School uniforms takes the added time and stress out of the equation and makes it easy. What to wear each day is always the same. Although most kids I know that have to wear uniforms hate it and feel that it squashes their creativity and individuality, as a parent I found it wonderful.

I had already bought a few things in the States when I was back this summer, but she still needed some shirts. Today since I was in Zug, I decided that Coretta, Geno, and I might as well look at some stores and see what the new fall line would bring us. Sure enough Coretta found a lot of shirts that she liked at H and M, so I paid for them and crossed this off my list. Luckily she had been given several designer label jeans from the neighborhood girl that have recently outgrown her, so she had enough pants and sweaters.

All that is left are some leggings, dress shoes, and pair of stylish boots. Here are some pictures of her new clothes.
Posted by Picasa

Immigration Office

Today we all got ready and headed to the Immigration office to sign a couple of documents and hope that our re-take pictures were of satisfactory quality per Swiss standards. We arrived shortly after they opened and I noticed that hanging on the right side of the wall, was a diagram of pictures done correctly and incorrectly. Sure enough, smiling with your teeth was one of those criteria for unacceptable photo. What I didn't know, however, is that you need so many centimeters of white space above your head as well. I also learned that hats, burkas covering the face, and headbands are unacceptable as well.

Looking at our pictures while we waited in line, I noticed that both Coretta and my photos appeared to have no white space at all. I told this to Nick, who by the looks of him was one on edge and nervous to begin with, told me to be quiet. Once it was our turn, Coretta and I were both asked to sign our signature in a specific box with a specific type of pen and then were told that Coretta's photo did not fit the requirements.

Instead of mailing this photo in, I opted to go to the train station at the photo booth, and pour more Swiss francs into it in hopes for the photo that will pass. It was hard enough getting Geno's correct, and I am still paying for it since my leg still has a pulled muscle that keeps me up at night. Coretta took a set of pictures that we believed had enough white space, until they were printed. Now we needed to get change (because the machine only takes exact change) so that we could try this again. It finally did work, and I presented this again to the Immigration office, who finally accepted it. In all, I think we spent about 64 Swiss Francs. Each photo set costing 8 Swiss francs when done correctly.

Here are a couple photos of Coretta's new immigration photo. The one on the left was unacceptable and the one on the right was finally given the Swiss stamp of approval. At least I do not need to renew my B permit for another year.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

B Permit Renewal

Before Nick and I left for the States, we made sure to get all of our paperwork ready and photographs taken so we wouldn't have to worry about it when we got back. It turns out, that our B permits were rejected because Coretta and I smiled and showed our teeth, and my hand was in the picture with Geno.

When Nick was told that we needed to take our photographs over again, he stated to the Human Resources personnel that he may not be able to get his two and a half year old to sit by himself for the picture or furthermore be tall enough to see the screen, he was told that he could go to the Photo Grau and have a professional picture taken for 30 francs.

Nick, not wanting to ruin my good mood this weekend, tells me this wonderful information on Monday morning. I then on Tuesday went with the kids to the photo booth by the train station, and attempted to re-take our pictures with specific instructions: "No smiling, make sure your head is in the red oval, and that your eyes match the eye diagram on the screen." Coretta went in and did so flawlessly. Next, it was Geno turn. I sat down in the chair, put Geno on my lap, scrunched down as far as I could while lifting him up and trying to tell him to look at the screen. The first attempt was accidentally taken, and I realized it would not work. Knowing that I only had two more attempts to get it right, I scrunched my legs and butt down so far they were hitting the machine in front of me, and hoisted Geno up for another time in hopes that I may just get that stroke of luck I so desperately needed. I felt like Harry Potter, in the new movie out, wishing that I just had a drop of that lucky potion. The next thing I hear, is the photo clicking a picture, and at this point I have used all three. I look at my options and was pleasantly surprised to see that one of the photos, the last one, was perfect. He had enough space at the top of the picture, he wasn't smiling or showing teeth, and he was looking at the camera. Marvelous! All in a days work. Now I just wonder when my right leg will quit hurting and return to normal. It is painful to walk and clear that I pulled something, but hey, I got the right photo for the Swiss personnel in charge of B permits and can now be rest assured I can stay another year in this beautiful country, I hope.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Swiss National Day 2009

Posted by Picasa

Swiss National Day Celebration

August 1st was Swiss National Day which is just like our 4th of July, Independence Day, back in America. We decided that we would walk into Cham to take in the festivities, so at 7 pm we walked down by Lake Zug and saw several picnic tables set up, bands playing, and vendors selling brats, fries, beer, and drinks. Coretta and Geno decided that they would go up and dance on the stage with the other children, and Nick and I watched. Afterwards, we decided to get a spot on the lawn to watch the fireworks as well as the lighting of the huge bonfire.

Meanwhile, there were all types of fireworks being lit off in every direction by Swiss kids and adults. Here many of the fireworks we label as "illegal" in the States are legal here. At times, I felt as if I was on the battlefield wondering if and when I would be hit by one. This being Geno's first fireworks display, he said "I'm scared" at first, but then was saying "Wow" once he realized he was indeed safe. Safe being a relative term which we found out later.

As the night progressed, and the day turned into dusk, they began to light the bonfire. Bonfires are very symbolic to the Swiss because this was the way villages were able to communicate that they needed help to neighboring villages, and has since become a symbol for their National Day. As we sat waiting for the "real" fireworks display, we realized that by ten o'clock that this was really it. We decided that we would start to walk home, when we ran into our neighbors the Burkert's, and socialized with them a while. While we were talking, my daughter came running over to me yelling "Something hit my head and it hurts really bad." Upon first inspection, it appeared to be nothing, until Coretta touched her head and then saw blood. I took her to the nearest bathroom to inspect her head further, and at this point she had blood pouring from her head running down her face. It appeared that she had been hit by a firework. I cleaned her up the best I could and worked on trying to get the blood to clot. In the meantime, I went back out to Nick and Geno and explained the situation, not knowing how serious or unserious it was at this point.

Walking back to the train station, we saw a mobile paramedic station set up called Samaritans, so we stopped. I asked them in my best German/English if they could look at my daughter's head because I believe she was hit by a firework. They inspected the wound, put some kind of ointment on it, and gave her an ice pack. They proceeded to tell me that she would be fine, and that she had indeed been hit by a firework. They told me that this is sadly quite common place during Swiss National Day because there doesn't seem to be any laws against where people shoot their fireworks etc. In fact, earlier in the night, Coretta witnessed another girl being hit as well.

Once home, and safely in bed, Coretta said she wasn't sure if she wanted to go to National Swiss Day again, and I said me either. Below you will find some videos from the day.