Posts in Living

My Favorite Cafés in Boston/Cambridge

Hi people,

It’s Friday soon and some of us need a coffee especially on a Friday morning to get things started, right?

I LOVE cafés, there’s just something about them. They are a place where you can stop and take in a moment of reflection and of course enjoy a great cup of coffee, tea as well as beautifully made and (even more importantly) deliciously tasting pastries. Oh YES.

Whether you’ll be visiting the area soon or are a local looking for inspiration, I’ve got you covered. What follows  are my favorite café spots so far (granted I haven’t seen ALL of them yet, I’m still researching. But those six have definitely won a special place in my heart, yes yes).

Have a great cup of coffee and take on that day, ok? Enjoy the weekend! I’m off to Zurich for the next 10 days and am looking forward to a wedding of a beautiful friend of mine, SO E-X-C-I-T-E-D. Hard to spell a word out when your that excited. Anyways, all the best and will talk to you next week!

Loyal Nine

Oh, I love this place. All about it. It’s concept mainly is that they use ingredients and create dishes that the settler a few (!) years back would have cooked with. I love Loyal Nine at every time of day, in the morning the café annex next to the restaurant is a lovely option with great coffee and tea as well as great and creative café food. If you want to go all out, I’d recommend you try the Brunch on the weekend (go for the bread pancakes, absolutely delicious) or dinner. Loyal Nine will not disappoint, it’s one of those restaurants where you leave with a happy belly, not feeling overeaten. The drinks are amazing, too. Can you tell that I like Loyal Nine?

Tatte Bakery

I couldn’t do a favorites list without including Tatte. It’s just…Fantastic! Friends and family who came to visit can attest, it’s a pastries heaven for anyone looking for a delicious sweet or savory breakfast. Seriously their display in the morning is just, unbelievable. They have grown quite a bit in the last time and now have various branches all over the city, definitely check them out if you ever wanted to try super delicious chocolat croissants, pecan nut roses, lemon tarts, meringue, halvas, kouign-ammans and the list goes on. They really know their stuff.

Thinking Cup

Thinking Cup seriously convinced me with their coffee in the first place. They use Stumptown Coffee (remember, that was the coffee I drank in New York that I loved so much). It’s actually seriously the best coffee I’ve ever drank, no doubt.

Longfellows

A brewery at night, a coffee shop in the daytime. I love Longfellows if I want to get a productive working morning or afternoon in. It’s a place to get good coffee and get on your laptop. There’s just this peaceful atmosphere that I love. Also, the chairs are #goals!

Pavement Coffee

I especially love the Pavement café on Newbury Street, as it is tucked away a little in the underground and you kind of have to know where it is. Nonetheless, quite a few people know about it, as it is ALWAYS full. But hey, I get it, pretty decors, chill atmosphere and good coffee. Yep, it’s a cool place.

Flour Bakery 

Hands-down the best sandwiches. If you ever feel hungry, check Flour Bakery out. The Harvard graduate Joanne Chang has opened a few branches since opening up her first one here in Harvard Square. And yeah, those sandwiches are just, wow.

What are your favorite cafés in the place you live? Have a fantastic weekend!

Going Vegan for One Week: An Experiment

Hi gang,

I’ve come up with yet another food related experiment. After 3 weeks of full on food overload (delicious though) with friends and family and many many outings to restaurants, cafés and bakeries and I thought why not try….and going vegan for one week (meaning, besides no meats to eat no dairy products).

So, what happened, you ask? I failed on day 3 (that was two weeks ago). And I must say it was mainly due to the fact that I hadn’t really prepared for it and thought I could just wing it.

Well, no.

I decided to give it another try, put a little more thought into it and went for a big shop on Sunday.

A short excursus here: We went to our regular neighborhood supermarket (still big in comparison to Swiss supermarkets) and not to Whole Foods, which I’m sure would have had more vegan options. Still, “armed” with all the salad items, vegetables, grains, oatmeal, fruit, vegan butter, vegan cheese (ewww) I felt like I could take on this week without a problem.

Still I only passed my vegan experiment by 95%? Read on more about it below!

Breakfast

Breakfast actually was the one meal I found the easiest to do throughout this whole week.

I normally eat porridge for breakfast and even when I’m not doing a vegan experiment, I use almond milk to cook it as I find it delicious and feel like it doesn’t sit too heavy in my stomach either. In short: I had either porridge with almond milk (also bought a chocolate almond milk version to spice things up a little, very delicious), dates and bananas or strawberries. I switched between the porridge and homemade acaï bowl with bananas and granola. Usually accompanied by a herbal lemon or fennel tea. Very delicious.

Lunch

Rich Salads were my go to option for lunch. However, I went to one lunch talk at MIT where I was confronted with their buffet options (grilled meats, cheese platters, … you get the picture. NOT VEGAN.). Let me just say that I was the person eating all the hummus and olives.

Snacks

I mostly ate fruit like grapes, bananas, strawberries, dates or energy and protein bars (I actually kind of developed an obsession for energy bars, more on that topic soon). And dairy-free ice cream by FOMU or Ben & Jerry’s. Other than that, nothing special to report.

Dinner

I discovered a new grain: FARRO (Dinkel for you Swiss and German readers). I love it! So I went for it and made a zucchini risotto. I tried to sprinkle a bit of vegan Mozzarella on it at the end, which I regretted. It just didn’t taste right. Other options were a delicious vegetable curry with rice, lots of chickpeas. I basically must have eaten 5 tins of chickpeas all by myself.

I don’t regret it though. I love me some chickpeas.

Why I Failed

I failed twice to be exact.

AND it was other people’s fault (of course, no but really).

Let me explain. The two times I could actually not keep up the vegan promise (if you want to call it that) was when I was involved in social situations with other people. On Friday for instance, we had a boardgames and pizza evening with our international Harvard friends. I even tried to research vegan pizzas in Cambridge before going out. But a few clicks in, made it clear that the next vegan pizzeria was way too far away, I gave up. I know I know. I just didn’t want to be the special one who had to order a pizza especially made for her.

Second time I gave in was at a baby shower on Sunday. I just wanted to taste some of that beautiful cake, I mean, do you understand what I mean? Weak me. 

Conclusion

I really do admire vegans, as I now understand how much preparation and discipline it must take to really go through with it. Obviously every vegan reading this will shake their heads at my weak (or non existing) discipline.

Could I be a vegan? I consider myself a flexible vegetarian, meaning that I will mostly eat vegetarian 90% of the time, with the odd exceptions of a good and organic piece of meat, cordon bleu or a bit of bacon at breakfast every once in a while. I find that it is way more easy to upkeep a vegetarian lifestyle as you still are allowed to eat honey, eggs, yoghurt and cheese. Foods that I simply love.

The milk and the butter I find rather easy to substitute, while it seems impossible to me to find a good substitute for cheese. I did try a coconutmilk yoghurt but didn’t like it too much. And eggs every once in a while are nice to have for breakfast. This has become more of a ramble than a structured text now.

All to finish off by saying that I find it very important to eat a balanced diet including everything there is (even though I am mostly leaving out meats and fish), while I of course respect everyone’s decision on how to eat the way they want to. I totally understand all of the reasons behind going vegan and again, I admire the determination. Still, I don’t think it’s for me.

Are you vegan or trying to be? Could you picture yourself being one? I’d love to hear your comments below!

The Weekend Notes

People!

Hope you’re doing well. Two announcements.

One: This is my post #101, crazy isn’t it? Would love to hear from you if there’s anything you’d like me to write about! Let me know in the comments below (don’t be shy!).

Two: A good friend of mine once mentioned to me that he saves links from interesting stuff he stumbles across on the internet during the week to then read it on the weekends. I found that interesting and tried to do it myself this week, hope you’ll enjoy my eclectic choice of links that I will read up on this Sunday. Have a fantastic weekend yourself!

America

“U.S. life expectancy varies by more than 20 years from county to county” says the headline of this Washington Post article. I’m like whaaaatt? Bookmarked. I’m going to read that. In case you’re into finding out more too, join me.

Another article, this time by the NYT got my attention. It’s a (much needed) fact check on the G.O.P. Health Bill. And yes, I will have to read that in order to not create any alternative facts when discussing it with people around me (get the pun?, maybe it’s a bit far fetched). Thanks NYT!

France

How relieved are we about the French vote? If you want to read up on a little more about last weeks elections, check out this cool and interactive NYT article

My hood (aka Cambridge)

This one goes out to my local friends: The two main source I turn to when I’m in a weekend planning mood and want to know what’s going on around here is The Boston Magazine and the Scout Cambridge.  If you don’t know them yet, check them out, they’ve got great ideas and articles about what to do and see! If you’re just interested in events and the like, there’s the Boston Calendar, which is also great!

Random

The Huffington Post shares some rather interesting news with us: Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal is running for Sheriff?

Don’t roll your eyes at me. I told you this was the random category.

Nonetheless, I want to know more about it, do you? Read about it here.

The noisy and curious person I am, I like this site ‘My Morning Routine’ a lot. People with all different kinds of backgrounds (athletes, business people, creatives etc.) share their morning routines. Always like to read up on some of them, as I find it interesting and inspiring!

Food

The weekend is not only all about the foods you eat but also about thinking ahead what to make for next week. Two inspirational and trusted sources on this matter are Lucky Peach and Bon Appetit.

Photos, photos, photos

Do you know the feeling, when you get sucked into a world of amazing images that almost make you feel like you are part of them? The Time and the National Geographic sure know they stuff.

What will you be reading up on in the internets this weekend? I’d love to know! Byeee!

13 Reasons Why It’s Complicated: A Review

Hello everybody, how are you?

So. This is a Netflix show that literally EVERYONE has been talking about here in the US. Media, people I know, everyone has seen this show or has an opinion about it. Which is a good thing, as the subject itself is very important to talk about, yet there are a few aspects of the show that I find rather complicated. So I thought I’d be original (haha) and share my humble opinion with you.

If you’re currently watching it, I’ll try and not spoil it for you (at least in the plot and twists, as we all know that the outcome of the story is pretty clear from the beginning on, unfortunately). If you’re interested in watching it, this might give you an input or two to think about the show while you’re watching it.

Here goes the trailer:

The Story

The series is based on the bestseller novel with the same title published by Jay Asher in 2007. It all begins a few weeks after the death of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), a junior at a high school. Clay (Dylan Minnette), a classmate (who also had a crush on her), receives a box of cassettes.

They contain Hannah’s descriptions of 13 events that led to her decision to kill herself, each addressed to the schoolmate or adult who caused her distress and pain. Clay, as one of the two leading roles, becomes sort of a detective, who tries to find out what happened to Hannah and confronts other people in the process.

A few reasons why it’s complicated

In the novel, Clay listens to all of the tapes in one night, while he only listens to them one by one (very slowly) in the show (and the show stretches over 13 episodes of 13 hours!). If I were Clay I would totally listen to them ALL AT ONCE. I couldn’t wait for as long as he did. I think every other person would agree with me, right? So this part is rather unrealistic, which sometimes gets borderline annoying.

You want to go and say “Clay, hey, move on a little faster, will ya?”.

But ok. That’s the smallest of all complaints I have.

In terms of dramaturgy the series starts off with you being curious about what happens next. Over the course of the 13 episodes there is definitely a slump in about the middle, where the narrative just gets overly repetitive. However, the final I’d say four episodes increase massively in darkness and gravity. It’s when things get really sad (certain scenes I can’t forget) and you as a viewer feel that the end must be near.

The blame game

We’re meant to see that the things that happen to Hannah (SPOILER ALERT ranging from High School banalities like getting a poem of yours published, over to all different kinds of bullying to very very serious and sad events) lead to her loosing self-confidence and feeling lonely to the point she doesn’t see no way out. While I can follow the narrative, I find that her performance isn’t all that convincing as she seems really strong, at times even very mean and inconsiderate to others too.

One of the most commonly heard criticisms that I actually agree with, is that Hannah turns her suicide into a blame game. She designates all that’s happened to her and the people who caused it – granted all not nice things – as the reason why she kills herself and lets them know too. She even leaves people like Clay behind who were nice and kind to her that now think they were guilty of her death. What I’m trying to say is that of course everyone around you influences you and you should always be considerate of other people’s feelings (as you also never no what they have going on in their lives) and always try to be a good person, still in the end the decision to take your life is yours only and no one else’s.

Suicide as the only answer

The second major thing that I find complicated with the show is that the main character Hannah only at the very end of her life SPOILER ALERT (actually on her last day) seeks help from a school counselor. She makes no other attempts to try and reach out to someone, not her parents or any other professional. I guess it’s difficult to understand such a situation from an outsider’s perspective, still the show has been critiqued for not showing how you can get help in a difficult situation like this when you’re having suicidal thoughts. And I agree. Also, the counselor really is shown as being weak and not of any help at all.

Be nice to each other

Clay says one thing at the very end, which stuck with me. He says something like “It has to get better, the way we treat each other and look out for each other”, which is maybe the thing I agree with the most.

Have you watched the show, did you like it? Apparently there will be a season 2 coming our way (those cliffhangers tho). Have a good day everyone!

Why Boston/Cambridge Is a Great Place for Curious People

Hello everyone

I want to talk about curiosity today.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about lately, especially since having moved to Boston/Cambridge. I think that it is a great place to live if you are a curious person and appreciate being surrounded by an innovative and intellectually inspiring environment. Why that is you ask? Find out more below:

The “Athens of America”

Boston got this nickname due to its over 100 educational facilities and its big teaching and student population. Also, many of the universities and colleges (e.g. Harvard University or MIT) are considered amongst the best in the world.

Students EVERYWHERE (making me feel old, thanks)

With over 250,000 college students living within Boston/Cambridge, they account for 1/3rd of the total population. In other words, lots of young people around (making me feel old, not cool. Happy for them of course. But still.)

A City of Book Lovers and Book Stores

Although the Library of Congress contains the most volumes in the whole country (more than 29,550,000), Harvard University’s Library is second with more than 15,000,000 and the Boston Public Library is third with more than 14,000,000. So many books, right? Also, there are SO MANY book stores especially in Cambridge with lots of events going on all the time. Take the Harvard Book Store for example, alone in the month of April it will be holding 27 events, amongst them with world-known authors, professors or personalities such as Sheryl Sandberg, Noam Chomsky to name a few.

The startup scene is going strong

With nearly 2,000 startups in all possible fields ((bio)technology, medical, etc.) the city is considered a world leader in innovation and entrepreneurship and rightly so. I’ve already met quite a few people (when I did small talk. Because that’s a way to learn things. Also a great way to “use” your curiosity as it is considered acceptable to ask lots of questions when doing small talk. Ok, long excursus over) telling me about amazing start ups they were working for. One girl (I sadly don’t remember the name of the organization) was working in a startup that was developing a tool that prevents people from dying from internal bleeding that could be used in war but also first aid situations, which I thought was really interesting (I’m sure I’ve done a terrible job at explaining as it was quite medical but the essence is, people do interesting stuff here).

Talks and Presentations to choose from everyday

One of the things that I enjoy the most here is the vast array and choice of presentations, talks and conferences you can attend literally EVERY day. If you wanted you could spend days only visiting MIT and Harvard public lectures (just to name two that I’ve gotten to know a bit better, there are tons of other colleges/institutes with their own stuff too).

It’s seriously a privilege being able to listen to so many intelligent and inspiring people that come to those institutions. So far, I’ve seen the mayor of the City of Boston talk about urban planning and the city’s future development, the mayor of Mexico City (a lot of mayors I know realize) giving a lecture on urban challenges and climate change or attended a conference on everyday feminism at Harvard Law School. I’ve seen Noam Chomsky and former Foreign Secretary of the UK, Mr. Straw talking about Brexit and Trump at MIT. It’s been super interesting and rewarding having the time to actually go to those lectures.

Today’s take away for you

If today’s post has a take away it should be that I’d encourage you to check out if the universities or other institutions in your city offer public talks and presentations that you could attend (if you’re interested in the topic that is).

For all of my Boston located friends who aren’t already familiar with those links, you’ll find the events calendars of Harvard University and MIT below.

Have a lovely day and remember:

A life without curiosity is quite simply a boring life.

My Current Netflix Favorites (When the Bad Weather Strikes)

Hello everyone

Well, the weather around here hasn’t been the best, let’s put it this way (it has actually been really depressing and shitty to say the truth), so Netflix as well as lots of tea and planning ahead for visits of friends and family was in order to lighten up the mood.

I thought I’d share my current Netflix favorites with you in case you’re in need of some entertainment as well. But as far as I have heard, you (Europeans you) have been treated to the most beautiful weather lately, so maybe this one goes out more to my fellow friends here in Boston.

#1 The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone

I got really sucked into this series on American history and had to watch all of the episodes within a few days, it’s really well done. Also, it’s really interesting to look into the American history and learn and discover more about its past presidents and important historical events (and about forgotten figures such as Henry Wallace, OMG, what a legend. Do you know him? If not, the movie will introduce him to you. Unfortunately though, he didn’t make the presidency and lost against Truman).

In short: If you’re into history this is definitely a good one for you. 

#2 Call the Midwife

I don’t know what it is but this series just makes me HAPPY. It’s an oldie but still going strong as they have started their 6th season last week in the UK. And it does go strong for a reason, it’s just an uplifting and thoughtful series that will leave you feeling nostalgic and content. Promise!

#3 Sour Grapes

This one is definitely on the lighter side, if you’re looking for an intriguing story about a man in the crazy wine world.

#4 In Extremis

This is not a movie for when you’re feeling depressed or sad yet it so important for everyone to watch (at least that’s how I feel about it).

#5 Janis: Little Girl Blue

Such A COOL woman. If you’re into music and want to learn more about this icon, then this is your documentary!

What are things that you are currently enjoying on Netflix? Let us know in the comments below! Also, are there any specific series or movies you are looking forward to? I am surely looking forward to the release of “Fruitvale Station” on Netflix, coming up in May 12th as well as the second season of “Master of None” in May as well.

Have a nice day!

7 Ways To (Instantly) Make Your Day Better

Hi friends

How are you today? Having a good day? No? I totally feel you. I had a bad day yesterday. Just feeling really ‘meh’ all day, not my usual self. Maybe it’s the depressing weather here or I don’t know what. Sometimes it’s just like that. It made me think what small things brighten up my day so I came up with the following seven ways. In case you’re having a ‘meh’ day today as well, I’m with you. And maybe some of those ideas might inspire you and make it a little better again.

If you have any other tips, let us know in the comments below! Bye!

#1 Make your bed when you wake up

It sounds SO SO stupid yet just the fact of doing it (and let’s be honest it only takes you less than a minute) will make you start your day on a productive note.

#2 Tackle your most daunting task first

When you prioritze your to do list and place your most dreaded task at the top, its power no longer looms over you all day. Whatever it is, once you check it off your list, you’ll feel so accomplished and ready to take all the other tasks on.

#3 Do something thoughtful for someone else

Doing something nice for someone else is scientifically proven to make your day better. Call or message a friend, send your grandparents a handwritten card, pay for your friend’s coffee at the café, bring your mother a bunch of flowers, the list is endless. Not only will this help take your mind off of whatever is bothering you, but it will also make someone else’s day better.

#4 Listen to your favorite song on repeat

Do you have a favorite song that you like to listen to when you’re in need of positive vibes? If not, it’s time to find one. Scientific American reports that “music distracts people from pain and fatigue, elevates mood, increases endurance, reduces perceived effort, and may even promote metabolic efficiency.” So. Today’s to do: Find a go-to power song, or go the extra step and create a playlist so that you’ll never run out of options.

#5 Say “please” and “thank you”—and mean it

Being kind is important, right? Being kind AND sincere is even better. The more genuine kindness you offer to others, the more genuine kindness you’ll see in return. Hold the door for a stranger today, thank people for their efforts at work, say “please” when you order your morning coffee, smile AND MEAN IT.

#6 Have a relaxing bath

Rather than having that quick shower, make some me time (read more on how to practice self-care here) and have a bubble bath. You can also do a face or hair mask or whatever makes you feel good! It is a great treat after a long and hard day.

#7 Sniff something lemon-fragranced 

Yep, you read that right. To improve your day, simply sniff a lemon, light a lemon scented candle or get yourself a citrusy perfume. Scientists at Tel Aviv University suggest that citrus fragrances – particularly lemon – can alleviate depression and boost our mood. Why that is? The smell of a lemon boosts your levels of serotonin (a feel-good hormone) and lowers levels of norepinephrine (a stress hormone).

How To Talk Like An American

Hello friends, how are you today?

A common question I get asked by my Swiss friends is how I get along with the language.

My answer will usually be, I get along well except for the odd moment where I’ll be searching for a very specific word. In Switzerland we get taught British English (if I remember correctly, it’s been a few years) so I wanted to dive into how you can start talking American English (if that is something you are interested in, if you aren’t I TOTALLY understand). Let’s get started, shall we? 

Instead of going through all the (real serious) details I recommend you going over to wikihow to read the article related to this topic here. If you’re interested that is. You’ll find my favorite recommendations according to wikihow down below with my added comments.

American phrases you “should” know*

  • “Awesome” and “cool” -> used to describe something great or used as a positive reaction to something someone tells you.
  • “What’s up?” or “Sup” -> used to ask someone what they’re doing, how they are, and as a general greeting. It’s fine to use casually with friends. It’s most often used by young men (haha, the last part made me lol).
  • “Hanging out” is spending time somewhere or with someone. It’s a phrase often used by teenagers to describe how they pass time and socialize, often without one particular activity or aim (again, major lol moment).
  • “Y’all” is a contraction of “You all”, the second person plural mode of directly addressing a group of people. It is used primarily in the Southern States, but is acceptable in other regions.

Say it loud, say it proud

“Try to speak a ‘little’ louder when you’re talking to someone in America. It’s perfectly acceptable over in the States, and it creates an atmosphere of congeniality.” I really had to giggle a little when I saw that.

Use ‘like’ in (almost) EVERY sentence

I’m like don’t do that, she was like no way am I going to that party. And so on. You get the gist.  It’s called the “quotative like,” and over the last 25 years, it’s become one of the language’s most popular methods of talking about talking. Yes, that’s a thing. 

Are you all ready to speak American English now after this thorough introduction?

Have a great day!

The Expat Tag Follow-up

Hi guys!

Remember, how a few weeks back I had created an expat tag? Well, lots of lovely people did it and I thought it would be nice to feature their blogs and share some of my favorite answers with you. Also, lots of other people reacted so thanks to them too for sharing their stories even though they aren’t featured here (shout out to Christine!).

Check out Sarah’s blog Endless Distances here to read more about her experience as an American yoga teacher living in Plymouth (also, beautiful photos alert).

“Are there any cultural norms/phrases in your new country which you cannot stand? I cannot bear the Plymouth accent. I really cannot. Growing up in the USA we all fell in love with the poshest of British accents (think Colin Firth) and were led to believe all Brits sound the same… this is NOT the case and my ears are now attuned enough that I can spot a Plymouthian accent from a mile away.”

HAHA.

Between England and IowaFollow a British Girl’s life in the Midwest of the States over here.

“What’s the one thing you said “yes” to in your new city that you wouldn’t say “yes” to, back home? Driving 3 hours to go to an airport.  In the UK, that’d be like me driving to Manchester to get on a flight.  Why would I do that when I have Stansted, Southend, Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, London City, all less than 90 minutes away and all flying internationally?!  Now, my nearest major international airport is Chicago O’hare (that’s the nearest airport that flies direct to the UK) and it’s 3 hours away.  Those 3 hours of driving are a killer before and after a long haul flight.”

The Frenchy WayFind out what the frenchy way of living in Santa Cruz is and check out this French girl’s blog here. It’s very interesting, lots of pretty photos too!

I had a hard time choosing an answer I liked most, there were too many, seriously (it might also been the beautiful French language or the Grizou GIF, not sure). 

“Quel type de réactions obtenez-vous lorsque vous rencontrez de nouvelles personnes et leur dites d’où vous venez? Les réactions sont toutes très sympathiques. J’ai été très étonnée au début. Je pensais que les français avaient mauvaise réputation outre-atlantique. En fait, c’est le contraire, on a plutôt la côte !”

This one was funny, too:

“Quel est votre plat préféré, nourriture ou boisson dans votre nouveau pays?
Les ARTICHAUTS ! Vous entendez le cri du cœur là ? En soupe, en crème, en salade, frits… Californie = artichoke. D’ailleurs la capitale de l’artichaut se trouve à Castroville, à 40 minutes de chez nous. Les artichauts californiens, tu peux pas test !”

An Aussie in San FranciscoCheck out this Australian’s adventures in beautiful San Francisco over here.

“What type of reactions do you get when you meet new people and tell them where you are from? Americans tend to love Australians. I’m not sure why. I get a lot of “crikey”s and questions about deadly animals. Sometimes they just ask me which part of Australia I’m from and let me continue on my merry way. Other times I get a rendition of their best Aussie accents. To this day I get a visit from a colleague once a week to regale me with his awful accent. It’s British. The more I tell him that it’s British, the more he assaults me with it.”

My Theory on BloomingCheck out Claire’s thoughtful blog on her adventures as an American mom in South Africa here.

“Your favorite food or drink item in your new country? Granadilla – It’s a passionfruit which tastes both sour and sweet, and full of flavor.  It’s good with yogurt, mixed in a drink, or made into a sweet dessert.  My daughters even eat them right out of the skin.  I’ve got a vine growing in our back garden.  So, when they are in season…I don’t even have to pay for them!”

Expat The WorldA sweet Spanish girl moves to Germany and tells you what it really is like, check it out here.

“What type of reactions do you get when you meet new people and tell them where you are from? Usually people tend to tell me something in spanish; “hola”, “sangría” or “paella” are the most common words people say. Another usual thing is to ask me about the weather; “do you miss the sun?”. They get really surprised when I explain them that the sun does not always shine in Spain.”

My March Favorites

People, IT IS APRIL. ALREADY.

I sound like a broken record I am aware because I seem to keep repeating myself every four weeks. Time’s flying though, don’t you think? Anyhow, I’m sparing you any more “how fast time goes by” comments and am jumping right into this month’s favorites. What have your favorites been, let us know in the comments below!

So, March has been a cold, snowy, grey and rainy one over here. Yes, Europeans reading this, you had a way nicer month in terms of weather. However, I loved spending a little more time inside cuddling up than I usually do. Most favorites relvove around me warming up on the couch watching or generally consuming something (not uber proud of it but such is life sometimes).

Drinks and Food 

I have been drinking a LOT of Yogi Ginger Tea (with an added slice of lemon if I am feeling fancy) in the mornings. There’s just something about it that makes me feel energized. Plus: I am even happier if I get to drink it out of my favorite (new) mug that Philipp surprised me with as he knew that I was so sad about the old one breaking (yes, he’s great. I agree).

On the alcoholic side of the drinks spectrum I have been loving Downeast Cider. It’s a locally produced cider only containing fresh table apples and ale yeast. Such a fresh and delicious taste. I will force everyone that is visiting me to drink it.

I am that annoying friend. yes.

You will (must) like it though. Haha.

Downeast Cider

Friends and New Plants  

Do you know the feeling when you finally think that you’ve arrived in a new place? We are slowly but steadily building a group of friends and you cannot believe how grateful I am for them. Plus, if they bring mini baby plants and orchids when they visit for brunch, I like them even more!

Books

Well, this is an interesting one that much I can say for sure. I am still reading it but will be sure to give you a review if you would like me to. Let me know if you do!

The Life Changing Magic of not giving a fuck

Spotify

I have rediscovered my love for Spotify this month, I am listening to it all the time. I have especially been enjoying Maggie Rogers, Agnes Obel, Ed Sheeran, Lorde and many more. I have put together a little playlist (check it out here) if you want to give it a listen.

Watching stuff (lots of it) 

You must have heard and read about it a million times already but I still had to include this as it just brought back so many memories and just downright melted my heart. So here goes the trailer for the mini-sequel of Love Actually. The full 10-minute film has already been released in the UK while it is going to be broadcast in May here in the US.

What do think, who has aged best? (Colin?, Hugh or Liam?). Also, check out some behind the scenes here.

What may sound odd at first is that I have been enjoying watching a show on Netflix called “Call the Midwife“. Hear me out on this one: It’s a story based on the real memories of a young midwife in East London in the 1950s. I find that you learn a lot about history, medical and social issues. I love it! There’s also a new season coming in April, yay!

Ok, so like millions of other people we gave in and went to see “The Beauty and the Beast”.

It’s crazy how much hype this film has gotten. A lot of people were saying how Emma Watson had turned down the role that Emma Stone (so many Emmas) later took in La La Land because she thought that “Beauty and the Beast” had more potential than “La La Land”. Well, I don’t know. The film itself was entertaining, I loved the music, the costume design and the effects. The story is pretty much what you’d expect. I feel like they kept it extremely close to the original tale.

I also had to laugh about articles I read beforehand saying that the beast was waaaay to ugly and how that was a huge disappointment. I’m going to be honest with you, I thought the BIGGEST disappointment of them all was seeing the prince’s face after two hours.

Seriously? Couldn’t they have casted a better looking prince than that.

A New Backpack Love 

I’ve done something I have never EVER done before. For the grand opening of a new Fjällräven branch here in Cambridge they offered the first 5o people in line on a Saturday morning a free Kanken.

As I was in need of a new backpack and had time that morning I went for it. I felt weird at first, because when I arrived there seemed to be two homeless guys lying in front of the entrance. I later found out that they had arrived at midnight to be the first in line. I got to talk to them and another girl in the line for almost three hours and had the best time. They served tea and coffee, good times.

fjällräven cambridge

And to be honest, I would have never expected that. Bonus: I walked out with a new forest green backpack and I LOVE IT.

Feeling those school kids vibes.

fjällräven

Thoughts On Living Abroad

Hi everyone, how are you?

Let’s talk about living abroad today. Everyone knows that you will miss your holidays with your family, having your friends around, eating your favorite childhood foods from your favorite grocery stores. But I thought I’d dig a little deeper than that.

What is amazing about living abroad

I am aware that living abroad for two years is an immense privilege so I take it for what it is: A gift. Usually, when you get a gift (unless you seriously lack of education) you say “thank you”, right? So what is there to be thankful for being an expat and living abroad?

  • Besides the obvious (cliché but true) stuff like that it widens your horizon, that it forces you to learn new things and be brave (make new friends, strive to master the nuances in a new language) what strikes me as the most important of all is this:
  • The confidence you gain with yourself when you go to this new place and start all over again from zero on and the knowledge that you can rely on yourself to build a life again. That is quite a reassuring and good feeling, right? It really is a new beginning, full of curiosity and excitement. You have to figure out how basic things work in your new country (from public transportation, applying for a job, how to be good at small talk, shop at grocery stores or how to post letters, the list is endless).
  • A thought I also like is that the mere act of living in another country, in another language, fundamentally changes you. It forces you to rediscover your own personality as you are in a new environment where you have to reposition yourself in (as opposed to your home country where it is pretty clear where you belong, who you are). For example, I feel more comfortable talking to strangers now (not in a bad way, don’t you worry) but in a more being open-minded towards people I don’t know way (it is just considered friendly behavior here and my Swiss shyness seems just dumb). I am already picturing myself back in Zurich talking to people on the streets just because I feel like I want to tell them something and they go like “who dat crazy lady?” (yes, I’ve referenced myself as a a lady, haha).

Being part of an expat* community

Of course we try and meet as many locals as we can. I try doing that by volunteering, where I get in touch with lots of Americans, which I sincerely enjoy. As an expat, however, there seems to be this magnetic power to get together with other expats. And we are no exception. So far, we got to meet lot (LOTS) of expats here. It is definitely a hub for people coming together from all over the planet.

I met lovely and super interesting people from Romania, Finland, Brazil, Spain, Canada, Iran, China, Israel,  Czech Republic, France, Italy, Turkey, Haiti or Germany to name a few. Even though we couldn’t have more different backgrounds and home countries, there is one thing that unites us: The experience of leaving and starting a new life in a new country. And believe me that is enough to create a link.

Having major FOMO becomes a constant

Besides all of the lovely things starting a life in a new country entails, there is still one question always nagging you in the back of your mind that is “What am I missing at home?”. I think that we manage to keep up to date with everything going on at home pretty well, still one of my biggest fears is going home and finding out that I have missed too many things. Because, let’s be honest: Life goes on without us. I guess there is nothing you can do than trying to stay connected.

Visiting home is wonderful and strange at the same time

As much as I love visiting home I find it is strange at the same time. Except for family and friends (which are obviously great) basic stuff like our apartment or jobs aren’t there anymore. We live a life of a guest in our own home country if feels like.

Anyway, I like how this American experience has shaped me so far, I also love that I get to connect with so many different people at volunteering. This is definitely something I would like to keep up when I get back home to Switzerland (after eating mountains of cervelats and bread first).

BTW: We went to a Swiss Soirée** a couple of days ago (yes, that is what you do when you are a Swiss person living abroad) and you know what? IT WAS AMAZING. It’s crazy how food can catapult you home INSTANTLY even though it’s more than 6000 km away (unfortunately, they didn’t have cervelats at the soirée but they had Salsiz and Bündnerfleisch, WIN!).

*Disclaimer: Even though I am not particularly fond of the word “expat” as I don’t see how I am really different from a “regular” immigrant, I’ll still use it.

**I had a fancy alcoholic drink with a little white cross in it (see photo above) and it tasted FABULOUS.