Well we have officially be in Europe for a little over 2 weeks, having left California 3 weeks ago today! Time flies, doesn't it?
In many ways, we became naturally settled into our new life in Kilchberg quite easily. The town is ever so charming, and quiet. We revel in our gorgeous lake view, and while the town doesn't have much activity, we walk 100 yards to the train to be downtown in 10 minutes! Running along the lakefront has become a new daily ritual of mine, allowing me to reflect on how lucky we are to share this adventure as a family!
As I already knew most of the logistics regarding Swiss life from our 3 months last summer, the transition has been natural (yes, we are now used to paying for grocery carts and about $1.15 for a garbage bag!). I also knew what things to bring from home this year-- like all of our arts and crafts supplies which has already made our new house feel like home for us!
The girls started school, and it is taking some getting used to. We are so lucky back in California with the incredible preschool "Children's Center" Grace has attended for the past two years, it is an adjustment getting used to swiss schooling. I have always said that the only parenting decision I have ever made that I havent had to question was sending my kids to Children's Center - it is a deeply nurturing environment. The Swiss School system is a bit different, taking us all outside our comfort zone, which is exactly why we signed up for it! Emery is going to school for the first time on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. School starts at 7:45 which means I need to get the girls up, dressed, pack their bags (ugh, I have to pack food/bottles/extra clothes/sunscreen and other gear every day), feed them breakfast, wrangle them into coats (I miss you, California Weather!) and then we walk about a mile to school on a lovely little pedestrian path covered in vines where the air smells like chocolate from the neighboring Lindt Chocolate factory.
On Wednesdays, Emery and I drop Gracie off at the foot of the Forest in Ruschlikon for Forest School. As we have to take the bus, Emery and I have been going up to Park im Gruene every Wednesday for our own Mommy & Me adventure exploring the playground, petting donkeys, enjoying the lake view and grabbing brunch together by the indoor playground before doing our weekly Grocery shopping at Migros. Grace is 50/50 on forest school. This week it was POURING rain. Getting her ready for forest school (which fortunately starts at 8:15!) means lots of tick and mosquito spray, sunscreen, a layer of long clothing a layer of hiking pants/jacket/sunscreen scarf/hat/etc along with long socks and hiking boots. They are SERIOUS about the gear, and I think it is a little overwhelming for my American princess 3 year old! They hike miles upon miles, have snack time around a firepit, and come home beyond muddy. In many ways I "get" it, but I also wonder if we are pushing it a little bit...
My schooling has been interesting, but I have actually greatly enjoyed my classes this semester, despite having to log-in to Vanderbilt at 12midnight until 4am every Tuesday night/Wednesday morning for our class time. I really love my professors and the lectures have been thought provoking! I am quite glad I bought my textbooks back in the States and brought them with as there is no Amazon here in Switzerland and I am unsure how I would have gotten them.
Our apartment is lovely, on two levels with three bedrooms and two big bathrooms - a real upgrade from last year with such a cherished Lake view - sunset and sunrise are spectacular! There is a little playroom for the girls and the patio makes for the perfect place for outdoor painting and craft projects on sunny days!
We joined the local Kilchberg Seebad on the lake which has a neat little restaurant, pools, a pirateship playground (the same one as at PAMF Palo Alto!), some fountains for the kids to play in, ping pong tables and a giant waterslide that goes right into the lake! We have made some friends there, already the culture down here on the Silver Coast of the Lake is so dramatically different from Oerlikon where we lived last year, seems much more conducive for family time and lots of SAHM or part time.
Grace and Emery's school hosted a wonderful mother's day brunch which allowed me an opportunity to meet many of the other mother's, I walked away with a heart of joy having met so many incredible mamas - most of whom were not from Switzerland but were expats - some fairly recent and others a decade ago! Many of the moms I met worked/had worked in tech and had been through Silicon Valley or had other USA connections which allowed for some great conversation. Ive even connected with a few over WhatsApp and set up some play dates!
Speaking of playdates, we had a disaster yesterday! I met a lovely family through school and mentioned we were attending the LeMady Craft and Storytime on the rainy Wednesday afternoon, inviting them to come join us! Well I have taken the kids to messy play back in the states, but this one was out of control - toddlers covered head to toe in paint, I can't even describe it! Grace doesn't like to be messy so she didn't want to participate, and Emery kept slipping and getting hurt and not wanting to share like the terrible 2s she is right now, which was melt-down city! Thankfully the other mom was beyond kind and understanding, but gosh was it embarrassing! That said, I signed us up for the next one in June to make Princess and Pirate Puppets -- sounds more our speed!
Although we relocated here for the Spring/summer to be closer to Grant with his company's HQ in Zurich, he has had a lot of opportunities to travel in our short time here - already going to St Gallen, Oslo, Norway; Vasteras and Stockholm, Sweden. He will meet us in France this weekend then take the chunnel to London for work next week.
We are off to Paris in the morning to meet up with friends and family over the long weekend, hope you and yours are enjoying Springtime where you may be! Lots of love from the Allen Family!