A postcard from September 2019
I'm wearing them again.
I've tried to hold out as long as possible, but now that the leaves are turning from green to gold, if I don't wear them, my feet slowly start to freeze. But only in the morning. By lunchtime, my feet want to ditch the socks, happily forgetting that summer has been and gone for another year. September is one of those in-between months when figuring out what to wear feels like a complicated puzzle. Socks aren't my only problem.
Midway through September, the Boy had to dig out warm socks, thick hoodies and his suitcase, for a four days school trip near Andermatt. Packing in autumn is tricky, especially when mountains are involved, and plenty of layers was a must. On a side note can we talk about how lucky Swiss kiddos are to have school camp in the alps? Fresh mountain air, hiking and searching for mountain crystals were not on the cards for my school camps growing up. I think the first time I went away with school, we spent the night in the library of an out of town primary school.
There are many traditions here in Switzerland that would have been unheard in my Australian childhood. Going on an autumn hike, for instance, forget about it. All school trips required a rental bus and a signed permission slip. In our Swiss village, the entire school takes a whole day off to take part in the annual Herbstwanderung (autumn hike), no permission slips required. Here a simple note comes home about a week before the big day sharing the chosen route, where to be when and what to bring. For Little Z's age, they bring a snack to share and walk up to the local Playground and are back by lunchtime, but the older kids are out all day long.
Poor Little Z though had to miss out on her very first Herbstwanderung thanks to a bout of conjunctivitis. I cheered her up by creating our own mini-herbstwanderung up on the Berg (mountain) including the required brown coloured picnic foods. She chose bread, cervelat (sausage), a bottle of rivella and a packet of chips. I threw in some colour variation in the form of cut-up cucumbers. Our lunch though was cut short by a rookie mistake, forgetting to bring enough warm layers to survive the cold "Bise" wind. So after lunch, in the not warm enough sunshine, we drove back home for a nap under the warm blankets. Little Z has been fighting off sickness what felt like the entire month of September. I blame all the new kindergarten germs. But she takes being sick well, watches a bit of TV, colours in and practises her violin (which is becoming a whole lot less squeaky by the day!).
We are not only well into sock season, but pumpkin season as well. I managed a visit with a friend to a pumpkin farm, before the crowds arrive, to stock up on pumpkins (which resulted in my first pumpkin soup of the season). This year we chose Bächlihof (not Jucker Farm) which has more accessible parking, is closer to Zug and still has the spectacular pumpkin displays, farm shop and restaurant that the made famous by the Jucker brothers. As well as four pumpkins, I grabbed a jar of heavenly plum and cinnamon jam eaten best on a buttered slice of fresh Zopf.
After a break over the warmer months, I have returned to my bi-monthly Zopf baking. This past weekend I not only made my two loaves (one for Sunday morning, the other put into the freezer for the next), I made an extra batch of dough and made 18 mini Zopf's to freeze for z'Nuni (morning tea). Combine that with a bunch of grapes or a couple of Zwetschgen (plums) is Little Z's favourite lunchbox treat at present.
In September, I also took myself to Basel for a book-writing course with teacher Naomi. I loved being in a room filled with inspiring women talking about writing, books and habits. Under Naomi's guidance, we discussed our ideas in a safe and supportive environment and left with a bag full of motivation and tips to get us on our book writing way. My only problem? Choosing one concrete idea (nothing new there) and being so far away from my fellow writers in Basel. Any writers in Zug out there keen to meet once a month for some accountability?
This past month also marked the end of a three patient-year wait (although I don't think Rolf would call me very patient); We are now the proud owners of a VW California Beach. I still sit inside and pinch myself that it is ours. It is taking a little bit of getting used to, driving such a big car. Being in a vehicle that is almost 2m tall (1.98m to be exact), has turned into a little anxiety-ridden experience. How silly I must look ducking down as I juuuust make the height in the underground carparks. Now, all there is left to do is take it out for its first camping trip!
It's now the second day of October, and we are counting down the days to our first break of the new school year. Despite only starting back at school six weeks ago, Little Z in particular needs the 2-week break. We will spend the next two weeks mostly at home, but hoping to take our van out for its first overnight trip.
I am looking forward to taking it easy, but also to catch up on some projects: finishing off writing a photography course, add my newly printed photography cards to my website and a bit of brainstorm is on my agenda. The kids' wardrobe needs an autumn/winter update, and I must buy myself a pair of new socks.