Our first week in Switzerland!

What a whirlwind of a week it has been as I reflect on all of the beauty we have witnessed, jet lag we have overcome, and overwhelming sense of gratitude I have for all of these lessons we learned last year to make our transition of 9 time zones that much better!

We arrived on Tuesday at 8am and took a black car to our new apartment in Kilchberg right along Zurich's Silver Coast. The girls slept on the plane, but when we opened the apartment door, they immediately found their beds and claimed them with a quick power nap while Grant and I unpacked and got settled. Soon after we went to the trainstation to pick up some food and necessities and explore the local parks and Kilchberg bade (Lakeside Pool Club) which I joined today for a brilliant afternoon of relaxation and taking in the beauty of Lake Zurich and the Alps Cascading behind it. 

Aside from grocery shopping where eggs come in ten packs and you have to pay for shopping carts, our big adventure early in the week was taking the 165 bus up to Park un Gruene with the Migros restaurant which was a delightful morning where the girls and I played with so many other families and enjoyed the sunshine and big open spaces.

I also took a day trip to the city of Zug with the girls which was such a treat as we explored the shops (great shopping right of the train tracks!) art throughout the city and the lakeside which led us to the charming old town and even a beautiful aviary. Just 25 minutes away, I will be back with more energy to explore as we loved our time adventuring about.

We unpacked a bit more and explored our own neighborhood the next few days as Grant was at the St Gallen's Leadership Conference until Friday night when I met up with some fellow members of the World Economic Forum at Frau Gerold Gartens followed by dinner at Viadukt which is a hip restaurant built into the railway arches! It felt nice to get away and have some adult conversations (mostly blockchain and FinTech Related) but the highlight may have been when I stumbled upon the CucumBAR by Hendricks and had an opportunity to plant my own cucumber plant! (On June 14th I get to go back and trade it in for a drink at the bar!) 

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Saturday we did what all new expats probably do and hit up IKEA for some of the essentials missing from our executive apartment, you know, all of those things you don't really need but you get anyway! The kids both went to the kids club which may have been the highlight of their week as they played and played and even got to go in the kids cinema and watch Mickey Mouse for a bit while we knocked off our to-do list! Ikea may be the only place you can get breakfast for under $5, we will take it! My favorite part is the rolling tray carts, we don't have them in the states but I adore them so I can add a tray for each of the girls and myself and seamlessly push it through the restaurant - they are most everywhere here!

Sunday we went to Lichtenstein for a day trip and were constantly "wowed" by the beauty of all of the small lakeside towns on our quick 1 hour, 15 minute drive there. We fell in love with the town of Valduz as an Orchestra played and food was cooked al fresco while we awaited getting our passport stamped and bought tickets for the tiny train tour of the city. The vineyards surrounding the castle and city were both breathtaking and surprsing, adding charm to the city whose streets are filled with fascinating sculptures, shops and delicacies abound! The girls even found a castle shaped bouncy house to jump in with new friends at the foot of an actual castle!! Toddler dreams do come true! 

Speaking of castles, we were driving home as the girls were exhausted when we saw the Gutenberg Castle in Balzers, Lichtenstein which was a great work out to climb up, and we found ourselves winding again through vineyards on the way down after marveling in the beauty of the castle which was constructed around 1100 AD. Just 1000 years ago...

Today was a big day as Emerson Claire had her first day of pre-school ever, as she and Grace will now attend the Double Decker bilingual preschool in Kilchberg a few days a week. We decided to enroll them as last year we found the girls and I were looking for more of a community and knew that a school would help solve for that, and after only orientation day, it certainly has! The school welcomed us so warmly and the other parents as well! After school I took the girls to the Lindt Chocolate factory next door to pick out a chocolate treat (the air literally smells like chocolate all day while they are in school!) and then we went down to the Kilchberg Bade where we swam and played at the gorgeous lakeside playground. Ya'll, this life I am living right now is an absolute dream! 

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I'll start my own classes on Wednesday (well Technically Thursday, as my classes will be from 12midnight until 4:30am, thanks Vanderbilt University and central time!) but I didn't want to risk taking a semester off of my doctorate work so here goes nothing!

Hope each of you are finding the blessings in each new day! Lots of love from the Allen family in Switzerland... Tschuss! 

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