June 23, 2021

My lovely little girl...

You were in a hurry the minute you were born. Kicking in my tummy like a football player and when you popped out within a few hours the consensus at the clinic was « c’était sportif! ».

An easygoing baby who was happy as long as she had her food, you very quickly became Ms. Independent.

Your first word was « màs » which was quickly followed by « Who me? » and « It wasn’t me, it was my hand » which had us all in tears laughing. 

True to yourself you never crawled but hopped along on your bum. By the time you reached the "terrible twos" you were conversing in sentences and squeezing your trembling handballs when you’d get mad… which was every time things didn’t go the way you had planned.

Daddy loved your bouncy curls and I fostered your curiosity. Expat boy was just happy he did not have any more siblings. « One is enough » his famous answer to the question « how is it having a little sister? »

You couldn’t wait to join your big brother’s school and I remember the disappointment when we announced we’d be moving 6 months later.

Lugano was your habitat despite no one realizing you understood but actually didn’t speak Italian when we first arrived.

Breganzona allowed you to spread your wings and live your independence in a safe way. You defined your values and made friendships for life. Many of these experiences have and will continue to guide you along your path. Trust your instincts, sweetie, while listening to people’s advice.

You are hard working, super organized and focus on targets. Remember not everything always goes as planned, the challenge is to find a way that works for you.

With your outgoing, kind and fun personality you captured the locals’ hearts and made Lugano your turf. “Home is where the heart is” was definitely your motto.

Moving to Paris was tough but as a true girl warrior you took it in strides and patiently waited for the next move… realizing it would not happen you changed attitude and dug your heels in declaring - after three years - that Paris wasn’t that bad after all. 

By Middle School you regained a certain independence and found your groove. You made Paris your playground and the “velib” your vehicle of choice.

While you excelled at studying, the end of school year was always difficult as you had to bid farewell to your besties every single spring for a decade, nevertheless you always found new friends from all parts of the world with whom to share your energy and enthusiasm in whatever project you set your heart on. 

The International School of Paris became your second home and you have been one of their best ambassadors in every way.

You convinced Papy to let you travel to New York (much to my delight) and ventured out to the Namibian desert a year later following your humanitarian spirit.

When I told you not to let the pandemic cramp your style you listened and your sweet 17 has been one of your best years so far. 

It is your tremendous heart and your brilliant mind that has lead you to become an extraordinary young woman. Your charisma entices others to follow you happily. You have proven time and time again what an amazing leader you are, even at a young age. No one messes with Expat girl! 

Never lose that vibe. Continue to believe in yourself and defend the issues you care about making your contribution to the world. Share that passion, don’t take no for an answer and never, ever give up! 

I am so, so, so proud of you my love. Happy 18th birthday, poppet!

May 30, 2021

Proud, proud Mummy

Our family has reached another milestone this weekend and I am not sure if to be happy or sad. I have decided to focus on the positive. 

Expat daughter, our baby girl, has graduated from High School with flying colours and a whole load of honours... yes, I am a very proud mummy... and Papy needs to wrap his head around the fact that she is no longer a baby girl!

Expat Girl is a beautiful, confident, strong-headed and focused young lady who cares about others as much as herself. She goes out of her way to include everyone around her and is a tireless advocate for the less-fortunate. She's a believer without being a dreamer. She is a doer and won't wait around if she's set her mind to something.

She is convinced she can make a difference in this world and has proven how to in more than one occasion already. Her life is not about finding herself but to create herself as she grows into a resilient and determined young woman with a bright and diversified future ahead of her.

Whatever it may be that you wish to achieve, my love, you go get'em and keep reaching for the stars. Remember to be happy ALWAYS, pursue your passion and work hard. Excel in what you are good at, look after others and trust your instincts for they will guide you through thick and thin.

And one day, maybe, your peers' prediction will come true when they voted your name as most likely of Class 2021 to become President. 

May 8, 2021

Magical moments in Paris

Motivation has been difficult to come by lately which means - for the first time in ten years - I have been lazy in feeding my blog. Inspiration is lacking albeit living in a worldly city such as Paris. For nearly a decade I  have been spoilt picking up the Parisian vibes as they come and taking advantage of all that the city of lights has to offer.

Eclectic as I am, rarely do I miss the occasion to adventure out to experience something new. My palate has been blessed with wonderful emotions and memorable stories: theatre class, cooking course, chocolate workshop, wine tasting, photography lessons, essay writing group, samba dancing, literary evenings, musical performances, classical concerts, jazz sessions, ballet premières, behind-the-scene opera insights, warehouse light shows, city tours, historical visits, UNESCO gatherings, Grand Palais openings, charity events, cultural encounters, ambassador's' receptions, consular lunch invitations, business networking hubs, peaceful manifestations, fashion shows, foodie gatherings, garden parties, heritage days, National Christmas bazaars, Foundation vernissages, Europe's largest flea market, the flavours and colours of the fresh produce "marchés" and I am forgetting many more.

However, the most memorable moments remain the magical terraces views: from the roof top yoga class looking onto the Eiffel Tower, to a farewell picnic on top of the Arc de Triomphe. A clandestine champagne brunch on the Eiffel tower's second floor springs to mind as does the unforgettable grand opening of the Peninsula Palace or the well-deserved pink champagne glass in the rose garden on top of Hotel Raffael. The first visit to the Louis Vuitton foundation and its many level terrasses was breathtaking as is the view of the St.Jacques tower in the city center. The ice rink on top was the Eiffel Tower was another fun moment.

So, the lights have gone out for a while but I am ready to jump into action and start "flaneusing" around town as soon as the portals open up again... and it looks like it will happen soon... slowly but surely. Stay tuned!

Tour de St.Jacques

Centre Pompidou

Eiffel Tower

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

Tour de St.Jacques

Arc de Triomphe

Tour Eiffel

Fondation Louis Vuitton

Peninsula Hotel terrace

Eiffel Tower

UNESCO building

Maison Blanche roof top yoga session

Galeries Lafayette roof top ice rink

April 24, 2021

Nearly there...

France, currently under its third national lockdown, is set to lift restrictions on May 3rd. Relaxed travel rules are planned as of Monday on expectations that daily Covid-19 cases will soon begin falling, however, the nighttime curfew - now in place from 7pm to 6am - might be maintained.

Nine more days... a month ago it seemed like we were back to square one but this time things are looking a bit more promising. Restaurants are set to serve patrons outdoors from mid-May, while cinemas, theatres and museums will be opening with reduced capacity. This is huge since restaurants, cafés and bars have been shut since October 30th, 2020. 

The Covid case decrease remains fragile, so we'll need to wait for the government to give further details on the reopening during its weekly press conference on Thursdays.

I cannot wait to finally be allowed to sip a coffee on a "terrasse parisienne" for 6.- Euros a cup... it will be worth every penny for the first time.

Spring is in the air... and we are allowed out for some exercise.

Lovelocks are hard to come across without tourists in town

Three more weeks to go before this place will be buzzing again

Some bars are pretty even when closed

Full points for initiative and marketing

Hanging on to the belief that soon this place will be full of life again.

April 4, 2021

Easter under lockdown

It is Easter weekend... we were suppose to be in Madrid, maybe Ibiza with a bit of luck even in sunny Ticino. However, we are... once again... in lockdown... this time across all of France. Graciously we will not need to fill out a "justificatif de déplacement" every time we leave the house and we are allowed to venture out 10km rather than 1 km but nevertheless the Parisian have all but resigned and the mood is very subdued. 

All the French aggressiveness has been sucked out of the people. Obviously amiability is still not Parisians' forte but the city has become more liveable. The lack of millions of tourists has calmed the speed and intensiveness of daily routine. The city renowned as global center for art, fashion, gastronomy and culture is unrecognizable. We have now reached a point of utter monotony. All the reasons that make Paris such a unique city are not available... restaurants, bars, museums, cinemas, arenas, concert halls, monuments, galleries, shopping malls, exhibitions, tours, all gone since October 2020!!!!

Still Parisians are showing their defiance. The river banks are full to the rim with picnickers when the sun is shining (despite lockdown) and personal trainers are making a killing giving exercise classes in the parks... who would have ever believed that is what living in Paris boils down to?

Indeed, while the country's first lockdown a year ago meant closed parks and gardens as well as a stay-at-home order that allowed just a single hour a day for getting fresh air, France's latest lockdown encourages venturing outdoors. The new rules allow unlimited time outside within a 10-kilometre radius before the 7pm nationwide curfew and public green spaces remain open. The upshot: Easter egg hunts are allowed.

So, for those of you who have not fled town in search of greener pastures, enjoy your Easter Sunday in an usually quiet city known as Europe's most popular tourist city. Joyeuses Pâques!

March 21, 2021

A quick escape to Madrid

Parisians weary of their strict national lockdown are flocking over the border to Madrid, where bars and restaurants are open and people can stay outdoors until 10pm, even as COVID-19 batters Europe in a virulent third wave.

With France’s cultural venues shut, restaurants unable to serve meals on-site and a strictly-enforced 6pm curfew, leisure-seekers have eyed their southern neighbour’s capital and the Spaniards are everything but thrilled. 

Airports have been eerily empty and most duty free shops have been closed. Until recently you could breeze through customs (yes, IDs are required within the Schengen area again) and they whizzed you through the security check. Travelling hasn't been this easy since before 2001. 

As a regular commuter between Paris and Madrid, I have noted the increased activity as of late, the aircrafts are fuller and passengers look younger than usual?! 

It has been almost half a year, since Parisians could enjoy a drink on a terrace. The overriding feeling, traveling to Madrid, has been one of freedom. It must be said that mask-wearing and social distancing is much more respected here than in France. I consider myself lucky having a valid excuse and being able to escape to Spain regularly to get a taste of what life will hopefully look like again in the near future. 

Blue skies awaiting me in Spain

A welcome apertivo of Cava and truffle-flavoured chips

Waiting to serve clients on the terrace

A taste of Argentina

This is pure luxury

Enjoying the sun during a Sunday lunch

Buon appetito!

Suggerencias del dia

A funky bathroom

No day would be complete without an ice cream

Globetrotting and loving it!

March 20, 2021

Lockdown No.3

Well, twelve months on and we are back into lockdown - for the third time. Every time it's a little different and even if President Macron refuses to use the term "confinement" we all know how this will go down. No restaurants, bars, theatres, cinemas, discos, stadiums, galleries or any other social gatherings allowed for another 4 weeks.

The attestation is now TWO pages long and has so many option you do not know which one to tick without getting into trouble. Fortunately, even the government realized this and less than 24 hours later word has spread that we do not need an "attestation de deplacement" as long as we remain within a 10km radius of our home. Merci M. Castex.

Given you are allowed out the house for exercising, all of a sudden Parisian have become sporty. A year ago the population took to the bikes as our green city mayor took full advantage of the trend extending Paris' bike paths to over one thousand km... literally!

Today the river banks were overflowing with joggers, bikers, boxers, zumba dancers, yogis, weightlifters and capoeira athletes working out in the sun.

We will all be fit and ready to hit those restaurants when they finally open... in the meantime, my Swiss chocolate stock is diminishing rapidly as my exercise level intensifies.

A view down the Seine onto Le Grand Palais

All that is left of the tourists... lovelocks!

Working out in front of Musée d'Orsay

Picture perfect

Time for lunch on the go

Enjoying the last rays of sun...

before the clouds take over! 

March 8, 2021

Happy Women's Day

To all my girlfriends across the globe - most of whom I have not seen in a very long time - stay strong, knowing you are unique and beautiful, that your voice is powerful, your heart compassionate and your ambition always welcome.

The time will come when we can travel again and fall into eachothers arms, tears will flow and many new memories will be made. For the time being, take care and stay in touch. I miss you!

March 7, 2021

The power of food

It is normal to feel homesick when you are living away from your home but I start feeling homesick when I return to Switzerland. This manifests itself especially in delicious food. My favourite shopping spree is not to the fancy fashion boutiques but rather a quick runaround the Coop, one of Switzerland's two supermarket giants. Further, I just cannot resist those Early Beck bakery's? Too many temptations in too many shapes and colours. I call it Swiss comfort food... here are some of my favourite.

Teatime on the balcony. A chocolate-filled Carac with my tea.

Expat Girls favourite: Chiacchiere di Carnevale

Take-away lunch on top of the mountain 

The most Swiss of all drinks: Ramseier and Rivella

Hot chocolate last year in a cosy café

Hot chocolate on-the-go this year due to Covid restrictions 

I'll take them all, please. Carac and Vermicelles

No winter holiday is complete without a raclette accompanied by a glass of Fendant

Gruyères' best kept secret outside of Switzerland: meringues and cream

A typical Swiss light lunch: Laugenbrötli, Bündnerfleisch, Salat und Ramseier

Cannot get enough of those tea cakes

An epic chocolate bar for yourself or as a present

This little lemon cake made it all the way back to Paris for teatime.

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