Bonne fête de Suisse

Happy birthday Switzerland! We celebrated by hiding indoors all day to avoid today’s oppressive heat and humidity.

But after dinner we headed downtown to watch the fireworks. And they were great! There’s nothing better than a small town for fireworks, because we were able to get really close and still had plenty of room to sprawl out on a blanket and drink wine until the sun set. Friends brought some firecrackers that kept the kids busy in the meantime.

The show started with a bang – haha, literally – but more actually with a Céline Dion song, thanks for the hometown nod, Switzerland. The fireworks made their way around the lake from Geneva, timed to start and end in each city along the way for a traveling “wave” of celebratory ‘works. We stood right under ours and felt each bang like a gunshot and a rumble in the ground. And the show capped off by lighting a huge bonfire on a barge in the lake. To represent… I’m not sure what. But it was impressive.

Afterwords the fire brigade let all the spectators with their own fireworks set them off safely from the same official location. A few hilariously blew up or plummeted into the water, which is always the best part of discount explosives.

Here’s to another year, les suisses!

Swiss summertime

Switzerland takes its seasons seriously. Quite literally, on the day of the summer solstice – the first day of summer – suddenly the weather changed. Nearly overnight it went from damp and foggy to sunny and clear. And the season was glorious: every day was blue skies and golden sun, flowers blooming and green trees, warm evenings and incredible sunsets.

And making the most of this weather is no joke. Everyone goes to the beach for a dip and after-work drinks every evening, and the cities come alive with festivals and outdoor activities every weekend. We did our best to copy them.

We also made it out to several weekend festivals. Early in the summer, to celebrate the anniversary of the steamboat fleet on Lake Geneva, we went to a little town called Morges and watched the boats parade by with thousands of colored balloons to release at once. Don’t worry, the balloons were biodegradable. Too bad we didn’t get to actually see that part of the parade, because the kids were too hot in the sun and spent most of the time being fussy. It was a nice idea, though.

In August, it’s Swiss national day, so we went to celebrations in both Geneva and Nyon. We thought the event would be huge and exciting in Geneva, so we headed down to the city in the morning to see what was happening. Not much, as it turns out. There was just a little event in the park with some fife & drum bands, a kids’ climbing wall, and displays of Swiss wrestling. Schwingen, which involves wearing giant shorts and trying to literally lift the other person by their shorts and throw them to the ground. Worth it.

Later that night we headed to Nyon to watch the fireworks over the lake. They were timed so that all the lake cities set off their fireworks in order, so we could see them in the distance along the lake over about half an hour. It was neat! But it was no Canada Day celebrations… Anyway, thanks for the nice summer, Switzerland!

Happy New Year!

Selamat tahun baru!

We had a very nice night at home to celebrate the new year. We made homemade toaster oven pizza, drank far too much wine, enjoyed good company, and we were treated to a free fireworks show from our balcony.

It turns out that Indonesians love their fireworks. I think we were the only household in the city who didn’t set off our own display. The whole horizon was lit up for almost an hour. It was intense and beautiful!

This was a snow play area in the mall we visited yesterday. But the snow was more like slushy ice, and it was pretty gross. Oh yeah, and it cost SIX DOLLARS to play in it.
This was a snow play area in the mall we visited yesterday. But the snow was more like slushy ice, and it was pretty gross. Oh yeah, and it cost SIX DOLLARS to play in it.
Our friend brought over some sugar so we could predict the future in the Finnish tradition.
Our friend brought over some sugar so we could predict the future in the Finnish tradition.
You melt the sugar and then pour it into a bucket. The resulting shape then tells you something about your future.
You melt the sugar and then pour it into a bucket. The resulting shape then tells you something about your future.
Too bad we did something wrong, and this was the only shape that survived the process.
Too bad we did something wrong, and this was the only shape that survived the process.
So I guess most of us are going to die... or get married. I'm not sure.
So I guess most of us are going to die… or get married. I’m not sure.
We watched the telecast of the Sydney fireworks.
We watched the telecast of the Sydney fireworks.
Then we watched the live neighbourhood fireworks from the balcony. This was around when I lost my wedding ring over the edge. So maybe our future prediction was true after all...
Then we watched the live neighbourhood fireworks from the balcony. This was around when I lost my wedding ring over the edge. So maybe our future prediction was true after all…
Champagne!
Champagne!
Obviously fireworks are hard to capture on an iPhone, but I tried my best...
Obviously fireworks are hard to capture on an iPhone, but I tried my best…
Fireworks 2
Fireworks 2
Fireworks 3
Fireworks 3
Fireworks 4
Fireworks 4
Fireworks 5
Fireworks 5
Fireworks 6
Fireworks 6

Best wishes to everyone for the new year!