Sunday, May 4, 2008

The First Day With the New Famlilie

I woke up at 7:30 to little feet on hard wooden floors and the shrieks of my little host brother, Felix. Pain? Joy? Didn’t matter, I was awake. I stayed in bed a good 30 minutes more before getting ready for a day of who knows what.

Breakfast here is different, but good. I had a granola, nut, and banana mix with milk and, as usual, chocolate milk. I have to have the chocolate milk, yes, every morning.

After breakfast, I played with the kids a bit. The host mom isn’t into toy guns, but one somehow made it into the house, so that provided a good 30 minutes of entertainment as I died over and over again, shouting, “NEIN!” the entire time. We made it up to my room a couple times where we settled down when they found my iPod. This family has no electronic things for the boys to play with, except the stereo, so they were quite interested. I gave them free reign to explore that little thing of wonderfulness. WE ended up listening to Relient K, closing my blinds, and creating a disco setting with different kids manning different spot lights and one “dancing” in the middle.

Discovering the iPod.

Dance Party

Then I got on the floor and we started taking jumping pics. They would jump off m y blue couch onto my comforter, and I tried to capture them at the peak. The hardest was Felix, as he didn’t really jump, he fell. So that gave a good 1 second to capture him and try and make it look like he was flying.

I then asked Lisa for a mini concert. Lisa plays the violin quite nicely with great intonation. However, a concert was not physically impossible with two brothers doing all they could to stop it. It was insane! They would grab the violin, or turn the page of the music, or play the recorder, or jump on the bed, or whatever they could. That lasted a good 20 minutes. Finally I got to hear one song and it was worth the effort of getting the concert in the first place.

The hostrent kindly asked us to go to the grocery store to pick up the fixings for one of my favorite Swiss meals, Älpler Magronen… so fine! Ah! So good! We all hopped on our bikes and rode the 2 minute trip (with the Felix it was more so 4 or 5) to our local grocers. There, we proceeded to maneuver in the shop trying to decode the hostmom’s bidding. We couldn’t figure out the cheese and ended up with Parmesan. So the Älper Magronen was more Italian than normal. Then the apples and bananas. A kilo each? So we proceeded to weigh out different apples, bananas, and lemons for the hey of it.

Shopping with 4 kids (including me) in Luzern? Definitely.
Berchtolds in Luzern

So, well, we all went shopping in Luzern. Vrenni needed a picture book about water, anything with water, and a music book too. So we all bundled up, hopped on the fast train, and made our way towards that lovely old town. On the train ride, the ticket man came. He asked Felix if he had a ticket. Naturally he was joking as at the age of Felix, no ticket is necessary. And Felix giggled, laughed, shook his head, and said, “Nein.” Then the old man reached into his pocket and pulled out a “play ticket” for Felix and the rest of the kids.

I was just starting to see how the Swiss really can be. Normally I am just a teenager to them, or with exchange students, so service isn’t top notch. They don’t really go out of their way to help us. But with a host mom and little kids, things change.

In the pharmacy, each kid was treated to a little plastic toy when the host mom bought some “wellness tea.”

In the Lackerli Haus, we each got a sample of that amazing stuff. It is like gingerbread, but quite different. It originates, I believe, from the Basel region in Switzerland.

Then we went to “Lollipop,” a bit quaint, but well stocked candy shop in the heart of the old city. There, Vrenni let us each pick out two gummy candies! I felt honored, cause gummy candies are amazing, I am beginning to find. I ended up with a gummy frog and this stick filled with raspberry crème stuff… no idea what, but it tasted good. I also learned to eat a gummy like the Swiss, suck on it. I normally chew and bite through, but when I saw that my host sister had barely made a dent in hers, yet was tasting it, I was stoked to try this new method.

Then we went to Bachman’s, the big bakery in Switzerland that can be found almost anywhere. There we were once again allowed to pick something out. I got what the siblings got, this big bread roll filled with chunks of chocolate. And it was amazing! And I loved it! And it made my tastebuds happy!

Schoggibrot... it has some Swiss name, I forget it though.

So yeah, going out with the host family was quite the enjoyable experience.

We had quite the simple, but lovely dinner. Typical Swiss dinner… bread, meat, cheese. But to my surprise there was cream cheese, Philadelphia cream cheese, on the table. Just like in America. You would think with so many cheeses, cream cheese would be normal here, but they only have Philadelphia. And that lead to a long discussion between me and my hostmom about bagels. She was in America for a while and really enjoyed the bagels.

Then she went away to a orchestra practice and I was left in charge, the Chief. It is quite the honor to be chief… except for the responsiblities that come with it. I was to put the kid’s down to bed. After listening to some jolly children’s music, including “Lollypop” in German, the mighty fight began!

No, not fight. Struggle! Go to bed! Nah, not so easy. So yeah, that was an interesting experience I think that I will have many times in this family. Am I their sister or their babysitter. Luckily we have family in town, a walks away, so I will not be always obligated to watch themm when I already have plans in store.

After they were in bed, I showered, unpacked a bit, and pretty much had a relaxing evening without computer or tv.

The new host family, naturally I have small fears about being a babysitter all the time, but I have a feeling that will work out. They seem like a great host family full of snazzy people.

I always think that at the beginning, but so far, every family has gone, overall, well.

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