25 September 2010

Solothurn - Swiss City

A few days ago, I went for a stroll through Solothurn.  A city located a few minutes from my home.  The old town was developed in the 1500s.  It's such a beautiful city with centuries-old structures and cobblestone streets.  But I must say, at night it can be pretty frightening.  There are old statues that appear to glare at everyone who walks by; there are dark, narrow streets and passageways; and there are sounds of creeping doors and heavy footsteps.  Added to this is that the old town is quite deserted at night.

Soon, I will continue my Deutsch language lessons in Solothurn which will require me to walk through the old town after dark.  I'm not too thrilled about that. 
If I'm brave enough to stop or slow down, I will snap a few photos as proof.

22 September 2010

Patience Is A Virtue

I'm happy to say that I am a proud owner of a new ironing board.
You may recall from a previous post my frustration with originally seeing an ironing board for 98.00 CHF (Swiss Francs) and my refusal to purchase it.

I saved 64.00 CHF (Swiss Francs)!

Patience really is a virtue.

Why I Love Q-Tip

Mark Ronson & The Business Intl - Bang Bang Bang

I'm not sure if this song is being played in the US.


20 September 2010

Nope, I Don't Like The Weather!

It's barely Fall and winter gear is out!.  Boots, coats, sweaters...  What did I get myself into by moving to Die Schweiz? 
I don't like cold weather.  And yes, I lived in Chicago for over five years, but I must say that I am glad to be rid of Chitown's brick, frost-bitten weather.  But now I'm scared because for the last few weeks I have seen numerous people wearing boots and winter coats; pea coats and a goose down.  Yes, a goose down.  This is crazy!

13 September 2010

Guest Blogger

Check out my guest post on Balanced Melting Pot.  I love that blog!
I write about taking the plunge and becoming an expat. 



06 September 2010

Beautiful Switzerland #2

Just wanted to post photos of our beautiful boat ride along Lake Lucerne.  They were taken some time ago.  I forgot to post them.

05 September 2010

Teaching in Switzerland

Before moving to Switzerland, my husband (then fiance) and I decided that I would not work for a while; atleast until I got my feet wet in the land of cheese and chocolate. 

Fast forward a few months later (sooner than expected), I now teach 3-5 year olds at a bilingual private school. I assumed that most international and bilingual schools required teachers to speak both German and English.  Well, I was wrong.  I sent out my resume to 10+ schools; received responses immediately; went on interviews; received multiple offers and landed a job. 

So let me run down a few unique differences between Swiss and American schools:

1. My first brush with the education system came not too long after I moved to Switzerland.  You can imagine my surprise when I found out that full time cashiers at the local grocery store make more money than I did as a first year teacher in the US.  Considering that I worked in one of the highest paying states for teachers, I was blown away.
2. Schools do not have cafeterias.  Children go home for at least a 1 1/2+ lunch break.  This means that most Swiss mothers do not work or work part time when their children are young.  (FYI- the average married Swiss mother works 14 hours a week)
3.  There are no government funded day cares nor preschools.  They are all private with a typical price range of 1500.00 CHF a month for one day a week attendance to 2700.00 CHF a month for full time attendance.
4. Swiss children do not learn how to read until the age of 6 turning 7; compared to the US which is age 5.  Swiss children spend the first few years in school playing, learning to socialize, learning how to behave as students, etc.  (I love this!)
5.  For public schools and some private, Wednesdays are 1/2 days.  Also, many schools operate on block schedules, meaning students may spend all day at school part of the week and 1/2 days the remaining days of the week (hence, again, making it difficult for mom to work).
6.  Students spend a lot of time off school grounds on field trips (I think this has to do with the Swiss' love of fresh air)  Therefore, on many weekdays I see the streets and trains jammed backed with students and frustrated teachers.
7.  The Swiss have many public holidays and school closings (many closings are designed for family holidays - the Swiss are very family-oriented).

This bit American kids will love.  The Swiss finish school at the age of 15 or 16 (FYI - 15 being one year before the legal drinking age of 16 for beer, wine, and cider).  The catch is that they must work or gain an apprenticeship.  If they are unable to get either they must go to school for another year at the parent's expense.  Most Swiss students attend vocational school or develop a skill through apprenticeship after graduating.