Friday, September 28, 2012

Day 8 - update

Okay, I have a lot to catch up on from yesterday, but I'll try and keep it short-ish (yea, right). I think I left off when Christa picked us up at the Bern airport...

She was leaning against a pole in the meeting point of the station. Once we started talking, it was like we hadn't missed a beat. She's just so fun and sweet! She took us to her car, talking in great English the whole way. She told us she hadn't used it much in the last few years, so she was sorry if it was bad. Then in the next sentence, she said, "Shit! Stupid machine!" as she was trying to pay for parking. Ha, at least she's got the curse words down! ;)

She drove us through Bern, the capital of Switzerland, chatting the whole time. She's kind of a crazy driver, and kept apologizing. Matt said there was no need to apologize, because I was a crazy driver too. :( Bern is a very beautiful old city. Christa went to school and lived there for 7 years. We asked her about that bear with his tongue sticking out, and she said that was the logo for that whole region, Bern included. And that there were real bears in the city! Of course we had to stop and see those! They were along the river, with great views of the old part of the city. She took us to one more spot, higher up with better views. It was ridiculously windy, but still great to take it all in for a little bit.

That's the Bern bear...down there in the trees...

We were telling Christa all about what we had done that morning, and about the cows coming down through he streets of Lauterbrunnen. Of course she knew all about it - they do it where she is from, too - but as soon as she saw the video, she said, "Uugghh!! Disgusting!" We didn't know what she was talking about, but I guess they use REAL flowers where she is from, and put them on the cows backs, too. Not just fake flowers on their heads. She was not impressed, haha. We still thought it was great though! :)

We started heading to her village, Sumiswald, after our little tour of Bern. It was about an hour away, down little hilly, windey country Swiss roads. It was a gorgeous drive on a gorgeous day. Christa seems to think everything is this pretty in the US. She is going to be sadly disappointed when she comes to visit. It is nothing like this. Nor is it anywhere as clean and green as this country!

As we got in to town, there was a rather large woman walking down the street. They really are few and far between here. When Christa saw her, she said, "Wow, that is one...large...mother. " Haha, we both died laughing. You could tell she was struggling with the translation, and the way it a came out with the accent was just hilarious!

We stopped by her house first to see if Dik was home (he wasn't). It's a cute little house that Christ and Dik have the first floor and her grandmother has the floor above them. Her uncle lives in the house just behind them!  Family is close here, that's for sure.

Since Dik wasn't home, we left for the local dairy farm. It was just a few minutes away, and they had it set up so you could learn the whole process of how cheese was made. I was in hog heaven! (And we found another Swiss flag there to buy - again - since we lost our first one!)

Look at all that fresh CHEESE!

We purchased Swiss flag number TWO for the trip...

Christa asked us if we would like raclette for dinner. I hadn't ever heard of that, but Matt had. It's just thick slices of cheese that you melt over potatoes. Sounded good to me! So we tried some at the dairy, and she bought an absurd amount of it. She must of thought we were starving! We also bought some sausage, and four kinds of ice cream. All from that little dairy! Pretty cool!

Some of the cheese we bought

We finally got to go IN her cute little house. (The last time we just drove by.) An entry-way area, bathroom + washer/dryer to the right, kitchen straight ahead and their bedroom straight off that. Left of the entry way was the family room and fireplace, and then another bedroom / office off that. It's all so cute. They have these awesome lights hanging above the coffee table, and they're from Thailand, where we met!


Corner of the family room (new house blue prints on the wall)

Our bedroom / the office

Cool paper lights from Thailand

Christa also thinks everything in the US is bigger and was apologizing for their "small" house. It really wasn't small at all. The bathrooms are a little smaller in general here, as well as the doorways, but the rooms are decent size, and their floor of the house is just like any apartment in the US!

(So, there are these little raised areas in each doorway, between each room. I'm not sure why or what purpose they serve, but they've been in every place we've stayed. And Matt has triples over them in each place, haha. He just can't get used to them!)

Dik was home now, so we all sat around the coffee table and chatted over water (we're drinking tap water again) and some chips. I might of almost finished the whole bag. :( Anyways, we saw the floor plans for their new house above the fireplace, and asked about it. Dik pulled out his iPad and showed us all the 3D drawings. And HE did them all! He is an engineer, and loves to so that kind of stuff. They looked professional, and even had their cool white lights from Thailand drawn in the new house. I was very impressed with them. It's really going to be a nice house, but the cool thing about it was that its going to be a GREEN house! Not literally the color green, but solar panels and all kinds of other cool features. All made from local things, and Dik is doing most of it himself. So awesome! I already can't wait to come back and see it when it's built!

We moved our chatting in to the kitchen while Christa got dinner ready for us. Oh, and get this. They have a garden and grow just about everything!! The potatoes were from from her parents farm, but the lettuce and tomatoes and peppers for the salad were from their own backyard. She made her own salad dressing, too! They also had fruit: apples and pears and cherries and some other dark little fruit that they didn't know the word for. We thought either plum or prune, so they went out and picked one for us to try, but we still didn't know from trying it, ha. We had to google translate it (they had wifi) and it was a very small and very sweet plum! Dik said small country = small plums! ;) It really was awesome how they grew so much of what they ate. And everything else they buy is all local. Why isn't the US more like that?

While we were waiting for food, I pulled up Facebook and saw that IKEA is going to open a store in Merriam, KS. I was pretty excited about that, and told Christa, thinking she would know about it since its a European company and they are all over here. "Eye-key-uh? No, I do not know what that is." We went on trying to explain it to her, but no, she didn't know. She told us about something similar that is just 25 minutes away, called "eee-kay-uh". Haha - it was the same thing, we just all pronounce it wrong in the US! Half their house came from IKEA!

Once dinner was almost ready - potatoes were done and Dik brought out the raclette maker (a table top grill basically) - Christa put all the salad in a bowl, snapped a lid on, and pulled on a string that made the bowl spin! It was a salad dryer! What a cool little invention! Are those things normal in the US? Probably so, but I've definitely never heard of them!

The raclette was delicious. Well, of course I thought it was. It was cheese! We took these thick slices of cheese, put them in the little raclette pan, sprinkled toppings on it (peppers and ham, usually, for me), then stuck it on the grill until it was melted. Then you used a lite squeegee type thin to scrape it out over your cooked potatoes, and sprinkled it with seasonings. Delicious. Oh and the salad - and especially the salad dressing - was delicious too! Paired with some red wine, it was just a great relaxing night.

We talked for hours sitting there at the table. Government stuff: who we are going to vote for, how our government works, what kind of health care we have, what our countries problems are, etc. They are very proud of Switzerland and love that it is strong enough to withhold from the European Union. They have health insurance and it sounds like that system is kind of similar to ours. They have a ton more vacation time than we do (Dik had 9 weeks in Netherlands, where he's from). Christa just couldn't wrap her head around how we only had 10 days of vacation in a whole year. She asked us, very seriously, if that was something we could ask Obama to change, haha. We told her no. :)

With delicious food in our bellies, low lighting, and the heat from the grill, we were both struggling to stay awake. But we still had four things of ice cream to eat! Chocolate, caramel, pistachio, and strawberry. They were all really good and so creamy! Dik also informed us that the higher elevation makes you more tired there. That would explain us falling asleep every time we sit down! That, or the fact that we've been going non-stop since we left home...

After ice cream, there was one more course before we could go to bed. Schnapps. It's a Swiss tradition to sip on schnapps after dinner. So Dik left to get it, and came back in with 5 bottles of it!! I chose the one with the pear in it first, and it was awful. Of course that was the strongest one with 37% alcohol! I tried two other ones - and by tried I mean had a tiny sip - and they were both actually pretty good!

Schnapps was it for me. No way was I staying awake after that. It was 11pm anyways, so I didn't feel too bad about calling it a night.

Only one thing we had to do before we went to bed was...the dreaded plug in. I did NOT want to blow a fuse I their house! I went out to the kitchen with it and explained what had been happening, but that that one had worked last night. Christa took it and was going to plug it in when Dik told her to hold on. They talked about what they were going to do if it blew, and who was going to go upstairs to fix it, etc. Christa finally just did it, as we all literally held our breath. And no problems at all. It charged fine. Phew!

So we washed our faces and brushed our teeth and crawled in our big bed...with my socks on. Apparently shorts and socks isnt attractive? Matt couldn't believe I was wearing them to bed. I couldn't of cared less. My feet were cold!

The sheets were like terry clothe kind of and were so comfy! There was one big pillow and one little pillow. I talked Matt in to sharing the big pillow so I could use the little one for my knees (he's the best) and we both fell right asleep...

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