Postcard from August
August saw us back home from our summer adventures with a couple of weeks before the stresses of school resumed. The month began with a quiet Swiss National Day celebration at home. While the rest of Switzerland enjoyed farm brunches and organized parties, we stayed at home, making bread, swimming in the lake and enjoying a cooked-for-us dinner at my inlaws. We did, though, pop quickly down to our local village to watch Little Z perform with her Trachtentanz group. But as soon as their adorable dance was over, we headed back home, settling in to watch fireworks from our balcony.
We initially had planned a long weekend away for this first weekend in August, but to be honest none of us felt like packing a suitcase. Instead, we day tripped to the Planetarium at the Verkehrshaus, hiked locally and enjoyed an escape from everything and everyone at my BIL's secluded mountain farmhouse. A good reminder that relaxation doesn't have to mean sleeping elsewhere.
Ticking off our Summer Bucketlist
Before the kids headed back to school, we knocked off their summer Bucketlists. For the older kids, it was a visit to a high ropes course at the Swiss Holiday Park. An easy 30-minute drive from our place, a visit to the Swiss Holiday Park always leaves us with the feeling over being away longer than just half a day.
Little Z's summer goal was to learn to ride a bike. Thanks to riding a balance bike for the past few years, it didn't take her long (and plenty of encouragement from us) before she got the hang of it. She also figured out the swings too, a very productive August for our little kiddo.
As we do each year, for the final, and this year sweltering, day of the school holidays, we drove up the narrow winding roads to our local Bärgfäscht. The annual mountain festival put on by our local yodel group began with an outdoor yodelling mass set in front of an alpine peak backdrop. Lunch was in the large party tent where we willed our tummies on barbecued pork steaks and pommes frites and homemade cakes. Little Z again donned her Tracht for the afternoon's entertainment that included Chäszännä, where the kid who pulls the craziest face wins a chunk of cheese.
And then it was back to school.
If you ask Little Z, starting Kindergarten is probably up there with the best day of her life! She has also begun learning the violin, which she says makes up for the fact she isn't big enough to go to afternoon-Chindsgi like the older Kindergarten kids.
However, if you ask the older two, I am not sure if back to school was as exciting from them as it was for Z - this year is going to be a big one. While Little Z takes her first steps into the independent-focused Swiss school system, The Teen is at the other end of the spectrum. In the second last year of compulsory Swiss schooling, the main focus is on careers, in particular choosing a Lehrstelle (apprenticeship). While I am trying to present an outward image of parental calm, internally, I'm trying not to freak out. Despite my years of living in Switzerland and even having a Swiss husband who has been through the system, navigating apprenticeships (and further education in general) is totally out of my comfort zone. I am learning patience, trust and knowing when my opinion is wanted (and needed) or not. I plan on writing more about this complicated topic, so watch this space.
Oh, and I mustn't forget The Boy who is cruising away there in the middle. He has just entered his last year of primary school, which in itself brings another "life" decision: Kanti (Gymnasium) or Sec (local high school), which will it be? I have to keep reminding myself that the Swiss school system is flexible. No one decision is the end of the world.
Exciting Events and News
Distracting us all in August from the pressures of back to school was the ESAF in Zug. You can read about when 400,00 people descended on our little lakeside city to watch wrestlers in sawdust here and here. And if you have no idea what I am talking about start here. In a nutshell, I got too little sleep, was proud as punch watching Little Z walk in the parade and drank too much Most. It was such a big weekend I needed an entire week to recover.
Last but not least August brought a big decision. We finally signed on the dotted line on a VW California Beach pop-top van - I've been dreaming of this day for the past three years. However, my patience was put to the test all month as I didn't get to drive the van home until September.
Looking forward to September
Coming up in September, other than trying to get out and christen our van with a night away, we are still finding out feet in the new back to school/work routine. The kids are figuring out what it means to study again, and I am enjoying more freedom to work on the blog and my photography. I agree with Gretchen Rubin, September is the other January and its a great time for a restart.
September will hopefully bring some clear nights for trying out The Boy's telescope which we finally configured over the summer. Not forgetting I am heading to Basel for a weekend writing course, excited to meet you, Naomi!
On the blog front, I've updated the family-friendly restaurants in Lugano post and posted a campground review. This month I need to get around to writing more about our summer and not to mention all the autumn topics like mushroom hunting and eating Zwetschgen. Yay for autumn in Switzerland!