Ramblings about nursing a child in Switzerland

Up until recently, I was lucky enough to be employed by two business owners that worked out of their homes. They had no problem whatsoever with me bringing my infant with me to work, and of course nursing him whenever needed. That was a blessing.

I am still breastfeeding my five month old. No one even bats an eye here at a woman breastfeeding. We had a native Swiss over for dinner recently, and after our dinner Eddie was ready for his. The guest and I were sitting in the living room while my husband cleaned up the dishes. I politely threw a receiving blanket over my chest, and while I was blindly fumbling to unhook my bra and get the kiddo latched on, the guest said, “We don’t do that here.” Continue reading

Minibreak

We’re back, safe and mostly sound (Eddie was a holy terror for about 75% of the train ride home) from our minibreak to Montreaux for our second wedding anniversary. It was absolutely the most gorgeous place on earth, where incredible mountains meet an aquamarine lake, and vineyards zigzag around chalets shooting up the foothills. Much more later. For now, time to relax. 🙂

Baden, the Rheinfall, and Schaffhausen

I’m very much behind on my travelogue, and unfortunately, don’t have time to write in full detail about my excursions with my lovely pals Marjolein and Matthjis. Today (in just a few minutes, actually) we’re leaving on a train to go down to Lake Geneva as a belated wedding anniversary trip. We’re staying in Montreaux, and will be exploring castles, wineries, and the other delights of the “Swiss Riviera” for three whole days (a very short vacation by Swiss standards, though).

I’ve not updated the website yet, but here are links to the pictures I took while out and about in Switzerland a few weeks ago. I didn’t take any pictures in Zurich, but we had a lovely time there.

In Baden, there is a gorgeous covered bridge that is the main highlight of the city. There are also natural hot springs, but we couldn’t figure out how to get to the free baths. We did take a long walk along the river, though, and that was relaxing. It reminded me a little of the Guadalupe in Texas where, up until this year, we used to go innertubing with our friends in an annual trip. Here are the pictures I took in Baden.

While Heath and I had been to Schaffhausen before, I’d not yet viewed the Rheinfalls from the more popular side. I went alone last time to the other side, and it was pretty amazing, but it didn’t even compare to my experience on the other side. The noise, the power, and the hypnotic flow of the water was just amazing! And you can get SO CLOSE to the water that you could almost touch it as it cascaded over the rocks. We also spent some time in Schaffhausen, one of our favorite towns, which is right next to the falls. Pictures can be found here.

Gotta run! Have a train to catch!!!

Houston – we have a problem!

For those of you watching back home, our son has figured out a “fun” new trick. I sometimes put Eddie in his infant car seat, and put that on the kitchen table while I’m cooking dinner. I attach a few toys to the handle, and voila! occupied baby! He can usually see me in the kitchen, and I can see him. Since the car seat is really stable, I’ve never strapped him in while on the table (of course he’s strapped in very tightly in the car every time).

Today as I was prepping some vegetables, I heard a wiggling and shuffling behind me, but thought he was playing with his learning puppy (thanks, Emily!). As I turned around to throw some pieces of fat I’d just trimmed off some meat, I saw in horror that he’d wiggled to the bottom edge of the seat, and was almost completely on the table! He can’t sit up just yet on his own, so the result would have been a head bonked on the table, and probably the car seat rocking on his forehead. Of course I didn’t want to pick up my child with raw meat on my hands, so I threw the meat down (some of it landing on the floor, ugh), ran my hands under our searing hot tap, and dove to the table just in time.

I thought it was a fluke. I thought I’d seen him sitting rather low in the carrier earlier, so of course he could have wiggled out. This time, I resituated him up as high as possible, gave him back the talking puppy toy, and turned back to the counter to finish up. Not even three minutes later, I heard a grunt, and he was at it AGAIN!

So, no more using the car seat unless he’s strapped all the way in. Sheesh.

Customs and a birthday greeting

Ok, I’m a bit behind on posting, but here’s a tidbit for you.

One of the customs that I’ve been a little awkward with is greeting and leaving friends and aquaintences. Back home, I am a big hugger. I hug my friends, my family, my dogs. Family usually get a single quick peck on the cheek or lips and sometimes very close friends as well. In Europe (not just Switzerland), there is the three-kiss cheek greeting. I’m still a bit confused about when to use this greeting and with whom.

We went to a local annual festival on Saturday and met up with one of my husband’s coworkers and his girlfriend. I gave the girlfriend (whom I’d met before) the three kiss greeting, but some how went brain-dead and angled in for a hug from the coworker, which I think took him by surprise. When we said our farewells later that evening, I gave both the three kisses, and the coworker gently teased “See? You are using the Swiss greeting now!”

I’m quite grateful to a new found friend and Texas expat, Stacy, for pointing out to me that when the Swiss toast, you need to look each person in the eye. You don’t look at your glass, or over their shoulder – you must look them in the eye. And, if you are out for cocktails, every time a new round of drinks is started, or someone joins the group, you have to toast everyone again. Since then, when we’ve been out with local Swiss, we’ve heeded Stacy’s advice.

The little cultural differences I blab about here aren’t bad things – just different, and take some getting used to. We want very much to integrate ourselves into Swiss society, so taking the time to learn all these little things is really helpful. I’m sure that there are odd cultural things that we do that would take a native Swiss some time to get used to (like hugging as a greeting).

And lastly, because I miss her dearly, and it is nearly her 2nd birthday, here’s a picture of my dear little Rosie as a puppy. Yes, I’m a sap.

Rosie asleep on Heaths lap

Rosie asleep on Heath's lap

Mmmm… Flauder

So, Switzerland has a wide variety of soft drinks – some familiar, like Coca Cola, and some not, like this one:

Imagine ginger-ale, or maybe Sprite, but instead of ginger or fake lemon/lime flavoring, the soda smelled of flowers, and tasted, well, flowery. It sounds a little odd, but it is really good! The same company makes another flavor that starts with an “h” – I’ll let you know what it tastes like when I get my hands on some.

Supposedly a very typical Swiss drink is Rivella. I don’t really like it, I’m sorry to say. I can’t put my finger on it, but there’s something very off-putting about the aftertaste. I can’t say I’ve tried anything other than the red-labeled flavor, though, so I should probably branch out a bit, eh?

Sometimes, I like to get an Ovo Drink, which is basically Ovaltine, but it is pretty darn tasty.

Of course there are tons of beers and wines to be sampled…