Sonntag, 29. Juli 2007

Polterabend!!

It's the word known in only German speaking countries. If I use a word "Bridal Shower", then more people might recognize what it means. It is a girls only (boys only for groom) party and concept is simple. "let's get crazy and enjoy last day as being a single!" So officially, Polterabend must taken place on the day before marriage but that is often the case logically impossible. One cannot have wedding totally drunk:) There's no such a culture in Japan but here in Switzerland, whenever I see a group of crazy people, it's always Polterabend. For example, there was an all-men big group, riding all on a small kick-board and look completely ridiculous. They were all wearing yellow T-shirt saying "Michi's Polterabend".

So, my sister-in-law, Ariuscha will marry in October and we had a big girl's party!! Here is my first Polterabend experience!

The party started from 2 o'clock in the afternoon. This is another key of Polterabend. Those who participate Polterabend are normally very good friend or family of bride (groom) so they are willing to enjoy from the middle of day and spend whole day. Core friends plan whole schedule and it will not be informed to the bride. For Ariuscha, who is super sporty woman, the party started from Wake-boarding!



Ariuscha boarding on the motor boat with hand-made bale from her friends! The motor ran full speed to the middle of the lake. All the girls are screaming and enjoying hopping in the boat. Here begins the party!!



Top runner is of course the heroin, Ariuscha. She dived into the water with a bale on.



Bride on the water!!

She didn't turn down the expectation of the others on the boat. She showed us so many performance on the water, turning and jumping. Soooooo cool!

Some girls also tried and had fun on the water.



The girls return on the land.

After a session, we had cocktails at the park beside the lake. In German it is called "Apéro" when people enjoy some drinks and snacks. First toast for Ariuscha's happiness!



Party goes further. All the girls once go home, take shower and charge energy for the evening since it will continue until late.

Next event is roof-top barbecue party! A friend of Ariuscha has very nice roof-top balcony which accommodate 12 people. With a beautiful city overview, each grills meat brought by own.

Salads, drinks and desserts were also brought and shared.



This is one of the most beautiful and practical way to enjoy summer in Switzerland. Normally, when barbecue party is organized, people bring foods which they want to eat.



Second toast and girl's talk continue...



until late. Sun has set and the day is already heading toward the next day but party is still only in the middle.



Here comes another "key" of Polterabend. The heroine, (hero) has act something crazy, let's say, the one normally never does. For example, men walks on the street wearing woman's underwear, sticking stupid flags on their back,, etc. Sometimes I think it's at the edge of being caught by police! Police in Switzerland is understandable to Polterabend.

Ariuscha was given a princess-like tierra!!



So she has to wear it rest of the day.



The tierra was together with super fancy ear rings!! Ariuscha and one of the party organizer, Ceri.



Dessert is finished and once all have full tommy, of course the last stage of party is "girl's night out"! The club "Mascotte" was already full of people at 11pm but since we had a table reserved, we were able to enjoy with plenty of space. Third toast!



Unique part of this club is full window from floor to ceiling. Often the case, clubs are locating in underground and no window. This time of the year, there is a illumination of ferrice-wheel outside.

Ariuscha has of course still the Tierra on.



It was beautiful club with nice decoration but one thing cracked me up is this fan. This unmodern fan was blowing from 3 parts from the ceiling. For me, it's funny to see this old fashioned fan blowing over the people acting cool and dancing. It doesn't match with trendy club.



Since it's a girl's party to celebrate Ariuscha, we all stayed at the table and enjoy internally. (no flirting!) Sometime took a rest, talk and when good music plays, all stand up again and dance.

It seems that participating Polterabend of good friend is as important as attending to their wedding ceremony. The level of craziness is depends on the group but in any case, there is a heart-warming story in behind. A good friends, thinking of bride (groom) and organize the party. Since I moved to Switzerland, I've never had a real girl's party so I personally enjoyed it a lot. Same time, I thought of my friends in Japan who were also really excited for my marriage.

It is common in all over the world how people feel happy for the marriage of good friends. Here in Switzerland, they want to celebrate it in original way. It is also smart that they invite all the people who will attend the wedding. Some people meet for first time on the Polterabend day but like this, everybody get to know each others before wedding. Then, on the wedding day, power of the celebration and happiness will become bigger, since it is a group already had a party together.

Mittwoch, 25. Juli 2007

Trip to Galicia

Santiago de Compostela is one of the most important holy ground for Christian. For many centuries, pilgrims walked all the way to Galicia to visit Santiago. The reason that the city became so important is that the grave of St. Jakob (in Spanish, Santiago) is found in this region in 9th century. Since then, many pilgrims from all over the Europe have visited Santiago in order to pray.



Santiago is academic, holy and rainy city.




The day I visited was also rain. The Plaza Obradoiro (Spanish) looked darker than I thought.




As I entered in the Cathedral, I found information of the history.
It is very old architecture built in 11th century.



In the middle, there is a golden statue of saint. People could walk up the narrow stairs and go behind the statue. Some parts of the statue was worn off due to the handprints of thousands of people.




It was very big cathedral. Even now in this age, people follow the same route which old pilgrims took from France. Now people can use car or other transportations, but truly loyal Christian still walk or use bike for sacred visit.




As I wrote last time, I'm never been religious person but these stories of loyal Christians continued many centuries impress me.

I personally believe in my internal god. But sometime I feel something warm from the statue, for example the photo above. Then I think, my inner god might look like this.

The day we visited Santiago was raining all day. It was the real aspect of the city which is known as "Rainy City".



Next day, as we drove back to Madrid, slowly sky has cleared up.






Medina del Campo where we stopped by was also very pretty. The collaboration of scenery and old architecture is beautiful.

As we left Galicia, the sky completely opened and real Spanish summer came back.

Even it was a very short visit over the weekend, I saw many different faces of Spain. I touched not only it's passion but also the deepness of the history.

Montag, 23. Juli 2007

A Big Birthday and my Family

2nd visit of Spain was first experience of traveling with entire of my husband’s family. What plans this family is always jumbo scale. My mother-in-law celebrated her birthday in Romania for about two weeks. This time, all the family traveled to Spain to celebrate 30’s birthday of my sister-in-law, Fay. Normally, birthday with “0” has special meaning in Switzerland. People tend to celebrate it more than normal birthday.




First celebration was done exactly when the clock hits 12am on July 22. We were at the restaurant, dining around the big round table. We sung a song, 3 TIMES!! and then came big dessert arrangement with candle and message. The restaurant was very nice, organized by parents. We could overview the Atlantic Ocean in Laxe.

Satisfied by beautiful night, we slept next morning until almost 11am.



We woke up in Ponteceso by the knock from Ursula, my mother-in-law, telling us that we will sing a song once again. When we went into the room, another big Tiramis with a message was there, and beautiful flower arrangement by the window. Ursula and Juerg woke upon early in the morning in order to organize another special cake and flower decoration.




Ursula gently picked up flowers from the neighbor. It was as professional as normal flower shop. I could imagine it sold in the shop but what makes it different is that, warm wish of Ursula is included in this arrangement. I believe, she picked up every flower thinking of her daughter.



Fay, a birthday girl.



And everyone celebrate with a joy.



By seeing this photo, you could imagine the family very peachful and merry.
BUT!! This family is the most eccentric and aggresive family you could find in the world!

I experience 2 big fights only during 3 days. If I include small arguments or discussion, I don't know how many they were. Even before the birthday dinner, after checking out the hotel and leaving for Madrid, the family doesn't care about the situation. Everybody speak out until convince the other. (which never happens!)

3 children were raised up to state their own opinion. Even their opinion is against to that of parents, they are allowed to speak out.

I asked Juerg, my father-in-law if it's not too offensive for him. During the middle of fight, Juerg said "it's always practicing. The children might become a leader tomorrow".

This is exactly the opposite education I had. I was never allowed to stand against my parents. I learned how to obey, be patient and accept. It helped me a lot in Japanese society where I had to agree with whatever my boss says.

Here, in the family of my husband, nobody really has a boss. (ok, my sisters do) Juerg is artist, Ursula is doctor and my husband is self-employed. The ability they need is to make decision and not to obey. This does make sense.

I admire how they could be confident with their opinions. But same time, I think it's also nice if they could at least accept the other's opinion, even though they don't agree. This is my small opinion who is pacifist.





Family fight a lot but have fun a lot as well together. Even after lunch, we ordered some dessert and again sung:)
It continued until Sunday night. Juerg, Ursula and Aruischa (older sister)left to the another bar again to organize one last birthday cake for Fay.





And we talked until late.



It was such a densed days. Maybe the stregth of family gets stronger by fighting a lot and laughing a lot all together. At the airport, when we had to leave Madrid and Fay, we are all satisfied with trip and sad to say good bye.

Marriage is interesting. Me and my husband is already a family, only 2 people, but now I really feel that I'm also belong to the family of my husband. I'm grown up in typical nuclear family but I feel very warm when surronded by family of 5 people.
I don't know if I'll have 3 children but one thing I know "I like this family a lot!"
And I would never get bored with this family:)

Spain, second visit

Espana!! For me, second visit. First one was 3 years ago. I visited my friend in Balcelona and then spent 3 days in Madrid alone. I clearly remember how it’s like exploring the city all by myself. It was fun, but now I’m happy to be back in the city with my husband.

The reason of the visit is that the sister of my husband will have a birthday. She is now living in Madrid, already speaks very good Spanish. It is family’s event to celebrate for birthday.
After spent one night in Madrid, me and my husband and a birthday girl, Fay drove down to Galicia. It was about 6 hours ride.



Madrid, Saturday morning.



Leaving the city. Found modern monument!
Some points in the way to Galicia reminded me of California. There is some hills but when the land is flat and brown, it's like the I6 between Los Angeles and San Francisco.




Took a break twice and finally reach coast of Atlantic Ocean!

Fay arranged pretty pension, owned by a Spanish woman. Each room has designed differently. Our room has balcony and the bed was covered by white linen. Looks really southern European.





My husband forgot his swimming pants so we went to a shop to buy one. There was quite a variety of Swim pants and I was recommending some. Then suddenly, a shop staff showed him some other selections which is the last one he may choose. They are very short. Me and my friends often laugh at men who wear such a swim pants. Too tight and looks funny. But somehow he chose them, even bought two!! Of course it was not funny for me at all that he chose something which I hate. My mood for the trip drop down to the bottom.

Anyway, it is family’s event. I cannot be upset forever so I joined and went down to the beach. First time seeing the course of Atlantic Ocean!! It was much more beautiful than I thought! I haven’t seen sand beach for a long time and that made me even more excited. It was such a joy to run on the sand toward the see. Water is not warm but at least warmer than the Lake of Zürich where I always swim.



Above photo, there is a Godzilla in the middle of the ocean. (my father-in-law:)


I enjoyed how I float in salt water, the soft touch of sand and fresh breeze. It was perfect first experience of Atlantic ocean.

When I went back to the beach, my husband was there with ugly swimming pants which doesn’t look sexy at all. But I didn’t know this stupid pants will create one big art.....!

I doubted my eyes when I saw my father-in-law with his new swimming pants! Light blue and there is a big Taurus in the middle!!! The Taurus is insisting himself so strongly and drag everyone’s attention to this certain spot:) My father-in-law, whose nickname is Godzilla was very satisfied with his new pants.




So here is the photo of two crazy men who have exactly same legs. The title of this masterpiece is "No father, no son".

Freitag, 20. Juli 2007

Boat Ride in Lake of Zurich

Summer in Zurich is beautiful. In beginning, it was very difficult for me to swim in the cold water. How I wish I could swim when the strong sun burning me on the land. But once I step into water, I gave up becuase of it's coldness!! But now, water temperature is acceptable for me as well. I could really enjoy swimming just like local girls!! Every weekend we go Zollikon where we could enjoy bathing in organized and friendly atmosphere. Last weekend, we've done something little bit different from ordinary. Boat ride on the Lake of Zurich! Sibylle,a old good friend of my husband own such a pretty boat! She is also very professional to control it and role down! Zollikon, the place where I swim every weekend goes smaller and smaller. Sibylle rolled down all the way to the middle! Water of the Lake is very clean. Some says you could even drink it's water. But here in the middle, it is even more clean! Here, not a single thing floating on the water. It's colour is emelard. Sibylle had a bag full of snacks to enjoy on the boat! Melon and raw ham became great starter. Her hand-made blue berry cake was also a perfect dessert. Sibylle and Markus. Me and my husband. After enjoying some food, of course, we cannot go back to shore without enjoying the water! There is a small steps on the boat. You could climb down or simply dive in. Markus dopped into the water from his back! Around the boat became suddenly our private beach. (private water!) No oneelse but us swim in the water and it was amazingly refreshing. Time went by so fast. When we realized, it was already late afternoon. Sun was still high up, trying to convince us to stay longer. Cheers to beautiful life!!

Montag, 16. Juli 2007

Schaffhausen and Rheinfall

One wish came true! I wanted to see Rhein Fall for a long time and finally able to visit during this weekend! It turned out to be more than I have expected!!

Schaffhausen is the old city locating by river Rhein. The river had a lot to do with this city for a long time. Those ages, when people can transfer things only by ship, Schaffhausen had a very imtportant role. The city functioned as a custom since all the people, all the things had to change ships due to Rhein Fall. Therefore, the city was flourished by commercial activites. I was very excited to see such a fall which played important role in history, plus only one fall in the river which last for 1300km.




Due to the consecutive rainy days last week, the water amount was higher than usual. The fall was unbelievably powerful and showing us strongness of nature. I was very astonished just seeing it way underneath.



I went closer, eager to feel it's strongness.. Ok, understood. In German, there is an article for each nouns, masculine, feminine and neutrality. Rhein is masculine, while Donau is feminine. "Der Rhein", Yes it is, the river was showing it's maleness!



Along the river, you could also have a small hike. There is a bridge going over the Rhein Fall. You could also have a seat on the bench and enjoy the beauty of nature. I heard that city is planning to illuminate the Rhein Fall in order to attract more tourists. From old ages and up to now, the city is profited a lot from the Rhein Fall.



We also went to Munot, the Fortness of the city. It is now protected as Clutural Treasure. On the way to the Munot, there is a beautiful grape field.



I've never seen grape fields that close! It was long way up to Munot, but I never felt tired because of awesome view. I looked back many times. The more I go higher, more beautiful the view became. Finally I saw Rhein as well.







On the top, there was a canon. But actually in the history, the Fortness was not strong enough to defend from the fire of enemies. So when the city was a batthlefield of war between France and Austria, Munot wasn't even became a target.
I think it is difficult to fight, once you see this peaceful view from the top..



Entire of the tour, we had a special local guide, who always lived in Schaffhansen and love this city. He showed us around including nice old street of the town and very delicious ice cream!! After a long day, we all little bit tired and decided to cook at his place and eat at garden.



Tomomi and Lukas.

By talking to him, I also felt how much people love Rhein. He is now considering to move the town but he cannot think of moving to the place without water.

It was the day getting know to new city and also warm-hearted local man who is proud of the city.

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