cooking

The Fall

Autumn in Zurich Feeling a bit sad lately for various reasons. But not depressed. It’s full-blown autumn now and I’m finding myself slightly dreading the winter months of cold and dark weather and being stuck indoors. Which is kind of crazy because last year’s winter was actually pretty magical with all the snow. And this year, I’m not even pregnant, which basically sucked last winter. There were lots of blue skies too, although people have told me that’s quite unusual for Zurich.

A freelance job ended recently and it was a bit of a shock. I’m mostly relieved, because the work really wasn’t compatible with my family commitments. But still, it was a rather abrupt and unexpected finish that left me flailing a bit.

It was also a bit annoying because after my recent post musing on work v. German classes had helped me decide I should focus on the German, it turned out the classes I was interested in were booked solid! And then I thought even more about it and figured starting childcare and German all at once would put too much pressure on not just me but the family so I’d decided to leave it for a few months and focus on work. Luckily I have other bits and pieces to do.

My baby is 9 months this week and I’ve just this morning dropped him off at a casual daycare, which should give me a bit of a breather… I thought it would be easier leaving the second child. And it is, in a way. On the other hand, it’s somehow more devastating.

I’m also sad because October is the month I’m usually off to Australia – for the past four years I’ve visited my homeland in October-November. I may have slightly talked myself into this one but it doesn’t stop the fact that… ARrrgghhh!!! I could-should-would be getting on a plane right now!! Instead of golden leaves and crisp breezes, I would have a lilac sea of Jacaranda in soft Sydney springtime. Not to mention the sea itself – that sparkling blue-green ocean, set off by tawny beaches and buff cliffs of Sydney sandstone. And now Facebook is showing memories of me out on the town with my two besties/bridesmaids… Oh, my heart.

Besties

Homesickness can take some funny forms though. Out of the blue recently, I got a craving for Iku macroburgers. These meatless mofos were a delicious treat, best eaten when one was hungover or equally ravenous! Anyway, after a bit of frantic googling, I decided to have a crack at making my own. The Iku website lists the ingredients for the tofu fritters, but has no recipes – however I found this approximation on Billie Bites and, with a few modifcations it came up a treat (couldn’t find Aussie-style brown rice, and wanted to include umeboshi vinegar, not that I could find the stuff in Zurich!) I also found a recipe for the steamed buns but since I am not a breadmaker and it would involve purchasing special equipment (ie: steamer) they will have to wait for another day. If ever. My homemade Iku-style tofu fritters and tahini sauce, on a bun and with salad, while not a dead-match, is close enough to quite vividly recall the real thing. Yumm. I was going to post pics but a) They don’t look that amazing and b) I didn’t take any – too busy eating.

Plus there was a mystic ipod moment – while eating them, my ipod on shuffle threw out Crowded House (Weather With You), Cat Power and AC/DC… I dunno, sometimes things just come together.

Now I’m also wondering if it’s time to really have a crack at that novel? There’s so many ideas floating around in my head. My biggest problem is picking one to stick to and then fleshing it out with, hey, actual story, plot, characters (rather than just fancy turns of phrase). I guess now we’ve started this childcare, I might even have time for that too…

Sometimes, I think Autumn is my favourite time of year. The turn of season and the bite of the wind feels like there’s so many exciting possibilities, with that all-so-important dash of melancholy or nostalgia that seems to produce the best art – stir the creative juices. I hope I can capture that feeling and not be too sad as the days close in this year. Maybe I need to also book a plane ticket for Sydney at some point. I don’t know if I can wait until 2017!

 

 

Feeling better

This place was opposite the Babyhaus store. S*x toys, tupperware, vitamins and everything else a new parent needs!

This place was opposite the Babyhaus store. S*x toys, tupperware, vitamins and everything else a new parent needs!

There’s been rather a  lot of doom and gloom on here so I’m trying to do some more cheerful posts! I had a good day on Friday. Maybe even… somewhat of a breakthrough?

First of all I had my “slacker” German class (it’s back on after 5 weeks’ holiday) and I’m enjoying seeing my fellow students again. Plus, since I’ve sneakily been doing the semi-intensive German course during the break, I am suddenly the dux of the class! (in my semi-intensive class I mostly feel like a dunce). Going back also made me realise that I have learnt lots of German in my six months here. There is tons more to learn of course, but it’s nice to be reminded of the progress I’ve made. From a standing start too!

In the afternoon I had a message from a friend saying she’s up at Bad Allenmoos outdoor swimming pool with her daughter. Her text came at that moment all parents of young children will recognise: mid-afternoon just when you’re wondering WTF are we going to do to get through the next few hours until dinner? So we packed our togs and went – it was not super hot but a lovely sunny afternoon and P adores the water. He’s pretty good with the “swimming” in his rubber ring too :). My friend’s husband also showed up and distracted the kids so we could have a decent natter. Win!

Then, on the way home, I ran into one of the few other people I know in Zurich and we had a nice chat. Amazing how a chance meeting can suddenly make you feel connected and like everything is right with the world. Hey, maybe this is gonna work out OK after all!? I reckon this is also a previously unthought-of benefit of moving to a small town – the more people I am friends with here, the more likely I am to see them. Watch this space for when I start to complain that I can’t go anywhere without running into someone I know. ha ha ha

On the weekend we headed out to the big baby/kids store Babyhaus Wehrli and I had the smug joy of givin’ it straight to some newbie, expectant parents who were buggy shopping: “Don’t worry about the second kid you might have down the track, just get the stroller you want now! You’ll probably get a different one once the kid turns six months anyway.” Ahhh they must have thought I was a know-all cow. But it’s nice to feel like a slight expert in sOMETHIng.

I’ve also been cooking and baking a bit, which is satisfying. Food, especially eating out and/or takeaway, is so pricey here, you really have to cook more often. I do quite enjoy it but I hate feeling like I HAVE to do it. Lately it hasn’t seemed like a chore though so I’ll chalk that up as another Good Thing.

A few more small Good Things About Switzerland that I may not have mentioned:

* When I was a few rappen short on my shopping a few weeks ago, the lady at the supermarket waved it off – bring it next time. That would never happen in London

* Yesterday when I ran for the tram, the driver waited and even opened the back door for me as I panted up to it!

* Every time HI takes P to the farmers market, stall owners give him freebies – an apple, a tiny bag of fresh pasta fur Kinder, etc. So nice.

* It is like the 1980s here – I love the fact that kids still walk to school and there’s not a load of OH&S signs on everything

* There’s two suburbs called Pfaffikon within coo-ee of Zurich as well as Dietikon and Dietlikon, both of the latter have an IKEA