Monday, March 30, 2009

Swiss Peanut Butter Recipe Suggestion

I was finishing off my jar of peanut butter I bought at the Migros today and decided to try to decipher some of the French on the back. I found this a great practical way of learning some French and try to do it as often as I can.

Here is a recipe suggestion:

Pizza au beurre de cacahuete: Tartiner un fond de pizza de beurre de cacahuete puis disposer des oignons, de tomates, et parsemer de fromage rape.


Pizza peanut butter: Spread a background of pizza with peanut butter and then have the onions, tomatoes, and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Um yeah... can we say "yuck" collectively? Basically replace any marinara sauce with peanut butter? Man - who writes these recipes? The worse part about this was - it was chunky peanut butter!!!!


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Appenzeller Holzfass-Bier

Brewed By ~ Brauerei Locher in Switzerland
Another CoOp Beer Find. Tasty but not for the everyday. 


Swiss Kuchen Yogurt

This is my favorite yogurt in Switzerland. Citron Cake and Linz Torte. Mmmmm...

This is not exactly a content filled post, but I just had to share! Find it at Migros! There is also a chocolate cake flavor!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Fail Blog ~ some hilarious photos . . .

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pictures

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pictures


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Swiss Doctor & Worldwide Health Insurance

Last week I finally made my first visit to the doctor since moving to Switzerland . I was terrified but told myself I was a "big girl" and could handle going alone.  I made the appointment online (more below about that) and showed up when expected. The building I walked into wasn't a collection of doctors sharing a waiting room and reception desk like typical doctor's in the US.   The building consisted of individual offices each with their own waiting and reception.

I walked in and said shyly, "Bonjour".

They immediately spoke English to me.

"You must be Tina"


"We got a request from HTH, just fill out this piece of paper and I'll be with you in 5 minutes."

The piece of paper was really basic and they didn't ask any medical history. It was just name, birthday, address, occupation, nationality, etc. Simple and easy. Not like in the US when you fill out 10 sheets about everything that has ever happened to you and sign all your rights away to sue. 

The doctor came and got me and then introduced me to the med school student who would be sitting in and observing. They both were really nice. I didn't have to sit on a piece of paper on a stiff bed. I sat in a chair, across his messy doctors desk, like a human being. He scribbled away as I talked about my ailments and he asked good questions. His handwriting was terrible. I guess it must a global thing that you can't read a word of what they write. He wrote a few presciptions down, and  I walked out, without paying ONE CENTINE. 

Easy, painless, and I picked up a flyer because he does house calls for urgent care! Can you imagine that! Not that I hoping to be sick, but I am glad I know how to take advantage. 

Side Note ~ In Geneva - you can call 022 322 20 20 for urgent medical care in your flat (not emergencies obviously) between 7 AM and 11 PM. 

Rob and I did a lot of research before I stopped my job in the US about finding healthcare to cover us here in Switzerland. We finally settled on HTH Worldwide. They mostly do healthcare plans for students traveling abroad and and for larger groups such as business that employ expats all over the globe. All the paperwork to sign up was online and the customer service on the phone was SUPERB! I have never had an insurance company be so nice. I made my doctor's appointment online and they called the several doctors offices to schedule an appointment for me. They found one that was available and set the date with the constraints I gave them. I didn't have to deal with any French receptionists!

We settled on HTH for one VERY BIG REASON. It complies with continuous coverage under the HIPAA law of 1996. This law requires you to have continuous health coverage for 12 months or your next employer's health insurance could turn you down if they knew of a serious condition.  Lots of foreign health insurances (including Switzerland's and CERN's) do not comply under the HIPAA and do not count as continuous coverage. Don't take my word for it, read up for yourselves. I am not an expert, but this is what we learned with our research.  We are just trying our best to cover our butts in case of serious medical conditions occur while we are here. 

I don't expect to go back to the doctor before I leave, but its always nice to have met one in person.


Beers Around Ecole De Medecin & One at Home

Just a few beers to document as we continue to try new things! We went out last week to a cute bar near the medical school called Cafe De Lys and had a couple drinks.

Grimbergen Triple Brewed By Brasserie Union (They also own Heineken) - 9%
Powerful Belgium Beer (as most are). When drinking it you start to feel warm and fuzzy. 
Found at the CoOp. 

Rob's Choice - Calvinus Noir (Previously drank the Calvinus Blonde)  
This one is much better then the blonde! Very dark and coffee like. 
Brewed By Locher in Appenzell, CH. 6%

Duchesse Anne - Blonde Belgium Ale - 6.5%
Brewed By Cervoiserie Lancelot In Le Roc-Saint-André, France
Tina's Choice for the evening ~ very tasty and easy to drink!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Refreshing Beer and a Swiss Alp View

Erdinger Weißbier
5.3% - Cloudy White Wheat Beer
Enjoyed at the Verbier Ski Resort. This is what life is about - beer and a view! 


No Marshmallow's Allowed - Rice Cereal Snacks

So, Rob doesn't eat marshmallow's because they contain gelatin. Gelatin is made from animal bones that are boiled up. That may sound kinda gross to some, sounds pretty tasty to me! I remember my mother boiling bones and letting me suck the goodness out the the middle.

Anyways, I have been on a hunt for a substitute rice cereal snack that is ooey gooey enough that the marshmallow is not missed. Here is the recipe I used. They didn't stick together so well, but they tasted amazing! Instead of dried cherries, I used cranraisins. Next time I am going to try to use more peanut butter and hopefully the stickyness will improve.


Skiing at Verbier

This past weekend Rob and I headed up to Verbier in the Swiss parts of the Alps. It is pretty close to the intersection of France, Italy, and Switzerland. We had to drive up and around the lake thru Montreux and into the Alps. This way, we avoided any French freeway tolls and super windy roads thru the French part of the Alps near Chamonix. It has been way too convenient for us to just ski in France but we really wanted to try out a Swiss resort. We were not dissapointed.

We got SUPER lucky and parked at the top. It was really difficult to find a parking spot and many had resorted to parking at the train station and taking an additional telecabine up the hill. We drove right through the Verbier village itself and parked in the second closet spot to the entrance. We were grateful because we hate walking in ski boots.

The Verbier resort has a ton of different lifts and different levels of slopes. I always stick with the super easy if I can. Because I stick with the super easy, I am normally skiing on roads covered with snow and share the pathways with cross country skiers, snow shoer's, and hikers. Rob adventured a little further and took some red slopes and mogul's down a few sections. I definatly fell a few more times than I wanted to this weekend, but people were pretty nice and helped me up! The British were being very helpful!

We decided against packing a lunch and enjoyed a "pizza au thon" and a "oeuf/fromage crepe". Since we ate at one the mountaintop restaurants we got to enjoy the sunny deck and the amazing view. It was definately worth the overpriced food.

Here's some pics from the weekend.


Sitting on a chair lift

Alps were amazing

See the dog sled team?

On the drive down the mountain

Wouldn't this be fun to ride?

Us and a View

The St Bernard was so damn cute. It posed for pictures with people and crossed its front paws. 

Hot chocolate, lunch, and a view. 


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Another Unreasonable Swiss Complaint Letter

This is our second complaint letter from our neighbor downstairs. It is really making me upset and angry. I know I should just shrug it off and ignore them, but I can't help feel like I should do something.

This one says:

We were disturbed at 11:20, 11:26 and midnight
it's not possible
you have to respect the neighbors
the next time we're going straight to the regie
thanks for your understanding


1. We do not have a regie or a lease with a regie. Yes, a regie does manage our building but we are directly leasing from the owner. We do not pay our rent to a regie and we have never ever talked to the regie.

2. We are not being loud. Not at all. This is a TOTAL LIE and it really makes me mad when people lie about you. I'm SO SORRY I stay up past 10 PM, I'm SO SORRY that we need to walk to the bathroom from the living room. I am so sorry we heaven forbid, talk to each other. (If you can't tell - I'm being ultra sarcastic. Not normally my way of dealing with things, but I'm pissed)

3. Midnight? Midnight! We were in bed watching TV on our computer falling asleep and chatting with each other. Why use specific times when it is a lie? ARGH!!!!!! You should only be specific when you have exact facts. Otherwise, you set yourself up to being a fool.

4. We live in a 7 story apartment building. GET USED TO IT.

So what would happen if they do go to the regie? Complaint letter to our owner? Who knows. Any advice anyone?


Monday, March 9, 2009

Yay For American "Nones"

A new religious survey of the US came out today. Finally, the numbers with no religious affiliation is rising! Check out these articles. Richard Dawkins has said, atheists are like cats. They all have a mind of their own and are impossible to heard. But if angered, they can make a lot of screeching noise.

USA Today Article

US News

Washington Post


Sunday, March 8, 2009

L'Alexandrin and 100th post!

Because we love fine dining and wanted to experience the gastro city of the world properly, we decided to dine at L'Alexandrin of Lyon. Sorry, this may be torture by photos, but it was exquisite.

Rob and I probably were the youngest people in this place of only about 15 tables by at least 10 years. Embarrassingly enough, we were also the first to get there and be seated. We had made reservations for 7:30 and it took about 4 hours to complete the meal. 4 hours - 10 courses. Other people must have eaten faster because we were not the first to leave. We left when the place was about 1/3 empty already. The menu only advertised 6 courses, but with like lots of fine dining, they throw in surprises. Lots of them. I think we actually groaned at the end, when they brought out the after dessert, dessert. We enjoyed the meal with white wine and sparkling water. I ordered a glass of champagne. Well, I didn't really order it. They offered it to me as soon as I sat down, before we even got menus! It was sweet and bubbly, just the way I like it.

Here is Rob's stated Menu: (Vegetable)

Plate of five needs of the moment (This great tasting fried potato ball, a mushroom soup, a pumpkin soup, lentils combined with some yummy pork bits (Rob didn't eat, obviously), and some kind of puree with a small tiny fried shrimp. All neatly presented in little cups all in a row)
Cappuccino cepes the tonka bean roasted hazelnuts
Breaded and fried egg on Arborio risotto slices of truffle emulsion  
Fried apples and parsnips with curry and cranberries
Fresh Granny Smith, cider butter
Vegetable casserole Mr Bail spices fresh almond milk and toasted almonds
Bleu d'Auvergne-cherry jam and cherries with spices
Dessert of Choice - Rob choose Chocolate- Guanaja chocolate madeleines, marmalade of oranges preserved in Grand-Marnier, dark chocolate cream dessert and its pure cocoa sorbet

Here is my stated Menu: (Lyon Specialties)

Plate of five needs of the moment - same as Rob's.
Fricot carp Royal Dombes vinaigrette and beet chips
Real muslin pike dumpling and creamy crayfish
Fennel granita Chartreuse Green (I have to be honest - this tasted weird - and the waiter didn't think I liked it)
Braised chicken with vinegar embeurrée potatoes and mushrooms fricasséede
Half Saint-Marcellin and his small salad with walnuts
Choice of dessert- I choose seasonal - Iced chestnut parfait and cardamom sugared milk,
Medjoul date biscuit, almond ice and milk

In addition to these lovely 6 stated course.... here's what else was included (Sorry I don't know the fancy names!):

- Amous Bouche - Toast Points with cheese and salami. (I got to eat it all)

- Lots of bread and butter.

- Pre Dessert - This lovely foamy cream over a soft vanilla ice cream. It tasted like a cloud.

- With Dessert - About 6 small plates with macaroons, chocolates, mini pastry puffs, and chocolate covered marshmallows.

- After Dessert - A chinese spoonful of sweet strawberry sorbet.

Rob and I finished the evening with a great cafe for him and darjeeling tea for me. We left stuffed, yet happy.

Sorry - I didn't take pictures of every course. I also had to adjust and lighten these up a bit. But you can still appreciate the plating! 

Tina - Fricot carp Royal Dombes vinaigrette and beet chips

Rob - Cappuccino cepes the tonka bean roasted hazelnuts

Tina - Real muslin pike dumpling and creamy crayfish
(I laughed when I got this one in front of me)

Rob - Breaded and fried egg on Arborio risotto slices of truffle emulsion
(This was the best dish of the night. It takes amazing skill to bread and fry an egg but keep the yolk runny - skills!)

Rob - Vegetable casserole Mr Bail spices fresh almond milk and toasted almonds

Tina - Iced chestnut parfait and cardamom sugared milk,
Medjoul date biscuit, almond ice and milk

Tina - Braised chicken with vinegar embeurrée potatoes and mushrooms fricasséede

This is also my 100th post! WooHoo for me keeping this thing alive!


Amazing Day in Lyon

Rob and I really wanted to get away this weekend. We have been itching to go but didn't plan far enough in advance to go anywhere far.  Lyon is only an  hour and a half drive from Geneva and we have been neglecting to go there. It is the 2nd largest city in France and the gastronomy capital of the world. There were a ton of fantastic looking restaurants and amazing markets! We ate lunch at a place that had bagel sandwiches and tortilla wraps. It was busy and  very crowded so we knew it would be a yummy place. We also made reservations at a one star Michelin place for dinner - which I will blog about later this week.  Let me just say it was amazing!  Lyon's old town is a UNESCO world heritage site and had many "traboules" to explore. Traboules, according to wikipedia are - 

"These intra-building passages link inner courtyards with the streets and are found mainly in "Vieux Lyon" (old Lyon) and on the Croix Rousse hill. They were first made for the use of the "canuts" (silk workers of the late 18th to mid 19th century) so that the pieces of fabric could be moved from workshop to workshop without being spoiled by rain. They also were used as hiding places during the German occupation by the resistance members. Certain traboules are not open to the public, because of security measures, but the city has made a point of keeping the most beautiful ones open during daytime hours."

It felt like being in the long hallways and courtyards of private homes from the past. Really beautiful experience. We hesitated going into the first few because it felt like we were trespassing. Apparently, the residents have an agreement to let tourists come in during the daytime and they closed them off at night. 

Basilique de Fourvière - Lyon's Cathedral. It was two floors and one of the most decorated cathedral's I have ever seen. 

Theatres Romains de Fourviere - Ancient Roman Amphitheatre. Built around 16 AD

View from the seats. The stage used to have a 30m wall behind it blocking the view of the city. 

Us at the ruins

A small section from amazing panoramic view from the cathedral.

We really wanted to go down this slide by the riverside park. Don't you?


Geneva Car Show

Here are finally some more pictures from my 2 job as press at the Geneva Car Show.  The work was for a US based company that were looking for a few local people with the time and energy to go. My assignment was to go to the vehicles assigned to me, and photograph them at over 300 different angles each. It was actually quite exhausting.  People were climbing in and out of them constantly and it was hard to get pictures without people in them.  I even had to get pictures of the chassis and engines and got strange looks for booth attendants in the process. Another pain was the car models. Oh yes - the models would lay on the car, hang out by the doors, and sit in the driver's seats. They seemed mad that I was more interested in photographing the steering wheel controls then their legs. I finally learned the real reason for car models at the show. If there is a model on the car, the more attention that car gets. There are more photographers and people oggling the goodies (the car's and the ladies) when they are there.  The best benefit of the car show was the press lounges. VW by far had the best lounge, and I hung out there a lot. How can you pass down free drinks, appetizers, and desserts? I also frequented the Kia and Alpha Romeo stands for a tea, coffee, and champagne. There were a few really fancy press parties at the Citroen and Renault stands that I couldn't get into. Anyways, enjoy the photos! 

A really cool display and a classic mini. 

A sign at the Mini booth and a huge plug at the Volvo booth

Concept car by Dacia with a bike inside. The Mini booth with a really cool ice cube theme. They had a fabulous bar and DJ at the booth. 

View from the VW Press Lounge. Partial overview shot of Car Show. 

Hanging out in the press lounge. With drinks and food. Yum. 

The VW Press Lounge. To think this is a temporary structure is amazing. 

The sleek Alpha Romeo press lounge. I had some champagne. :)


Friday, March 6, 2009

Hillary's Here!

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in town! She is meeting with Russia. I wonder where they will be? The UN?

Here's a news article - WRS "Spirit of Geneva"


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Today's News & Politics

News Story #1: UBS refusing to hand over names of people from America with bank accounts in Switzerland.


How much money is in secret off shore accounts here? Millions? Billions? Gazillions? Maybe they can compromise and just hand over names of people with accounts (or sum of accounts) totalling over a certain amount.

If I was a rich person with off shore accounts, I would be ashamed of myself. People are suffering because of the financial crisis. If you are rich and hiding money, you are contributing to their suffering. They probably already live crazy luxury lives, why shouldn't they pay for their fair share of taxes?

Switzerland is in serious risk of being blackballed in the global financial system. Tax evasion can't be tolerated. The swiss "rules" need justification. The laws shouldn't continue to be the way they are just because they are laws. Rules and laws should have good reasons. But, there are always two sides to the coin. Right now, switzerland, by helping extremely rich people, is hurting those who are suffering and could benefit from the money instead of it sitting in a bank account.

Gordon Brown, thanks for standing up and saying what needs to be said. Sen. Levin, thanks for standing up to UBS.

Links To Learn More:

WRS Story

Bloomberg Article

UK Gaurdian Story

Washington Post

News Story #2: CA High court listens to opening arguments in the Prop 8 debate.


Finally, a court case and a court trial. We all knew it was going to come down to this. Thousands of people across CA held a candlelight vigil last night to rally in hopes to spread awareness and attention that the trial is beginning today. Rob and I plan to listen to the webcast tonight. I think this issue is a simple one.

Protect minority rights and do not let religious values dictate laws for everyone.

If either of these two ideas are broken, we will have inched closer to majority and religious rule. Do I need to explain further? Maybe. But I think founding fathers of this country can do it much more eloquently.

Here is what Thomas Jefferson had to say about majority rule:

"Bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will, to be rightful, must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal laws must protect, and to violate would be oppression." --Thomas Jefferson: 1st Inaugural, 1801. ME 3:318

Here is another simple thought. America is a republic and we elect leaders to study the issues and create laws. The mass of people in America do not have the time or the intelligence necessary to create laws. One person can be smart, a crowd of people is always dumb. Therefore, I don't want uneducated people voting on my basic human rights.

I could go on and on about how much I really want religion to stay out of government. The answer always boils down to this one thing. People are scared to die. Instead of facing this fear, they fill their head with a religious story (fairytale) that tells you "your never going to die in mind and spirit". With this fairytale, in order for you to prevent death and suffering, you have to follow these religious "guidelines" and impose them on others. NOT COOL. Recognize that your religion should have nothing to do with others. Keep it out of other's lives. Forget about me, save yourself and we'll both be happy.

Sorry, need to stop ranting.

I would love to hear your comments on this one. I am always up for a good debate.

A Funny Post CA Election Sign

Get it? Let's not do either.

Links to Learn More:

LA Times - Candlelight Vigil's

Mercury News - Calif. Legislature supports gay marriage challenge

USA Today

And for fun - an intresting Dilbert Blog thread. Some people get it, some people don't.


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Yearly Supply Of Cheetos

Thanks Dad - for sending me a year's supply of Flaming Hot Cheetos. :) I complained about not finding them in NYC a few posts ago, and of course my Dad just had to send 11 bags of them! It cost $45 to ship! He's a nut, but I love him dearly. Fun fact - 11 bags of cheetos is 5 lbs of calories! I better moderately eat these!


Geneva Auto Show - As Press!

What I'm up to this week - being "press" and taking a ton of pictures at The 2009 Geneva Auto Show! What a great job I landed - two days - get to see the show I was going to anyway - and free juice/coffee stands for the press. Here's a teaser of some pictures I took anyway. More about it later! I'm exhuasted from climbing all over seats today.  

The Auto Show Guide

My Press Badge

Funny Concept Car

Renault "Green" Concept Car

Overview of Hall 5.  There are 7 halls! 


About This Blog

Tina & Rob have relocated their lives to Geneva, Switzerland. This blog is a story of their adventure during the year and all the details inbetween.

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Finding Simplicity

Three rules of work: Out of clutter find simplicity; 
From discord find harmony; 
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.
Albert Einstein

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