Posts tagged newhome

Boston Autumn: A Photo Album

Hi,

welcome to today’s photo post that is going to be a mix of things I’ve seen and done over the last couple weeks. Enjoy and have a great day!

Time For The Arts

Cambridge and Harvard aka our old neighborhood (still missing it)

Beacon Hill aka our new neighborhood (still getting used to it)

The Head of the Charles Regatta, the world’s largest two-day rowing event

Go Crimson! Attending a Harvard Basketball Game

Americans, you definitely know how to put on a show.

We went to see two basketball games over the last 7 days. One at TD Garden (Boston Celtics against the Milwaukee Buicks) and the other one was the Crimson Madness at the newly renovated Lavietes Pavilion. After seeing two baseball games in Fenway Park and a NBA and a College Basketball game it is pretty clear to me (Red Sox fans close your eyes or stop reading) that basketball is just SO SO MUCH more interesting and fun to watch. If you want to know more about our basketball adventures you may read on.

What is Crimson Madness you ask? I didn’t know either, so let’s get that out of the way first. Crimson Madness officially kicks off the 2017-18 Harvard Men’s Basketball season.

And, let me tell you, it was a very entertaining evening.

As images always do a better job at conveying a feeling or atmosphere I’ve included the official little recap that the HarvardAthletics account posted on Youtube a couple of days ago.

So here’s what’s happened as advertised before the game:

  • Special welcome from Coach Tommy Amaker
  • Pregame dunk contest
  • Three-point shootout
  • Intra-squad scrimmage
  • FREE giveaways
  • FREE team photos and rosters
  • Post-game autograph session

It was really impressive seeing how professional the set-up with all the analysts, team assistants, journalists, screens, cheerleaders, dance teams, athletes and trainers looked. I almost don’t wanna say it but seeing the whole thing made me realize that many European professional teams would have a hard time competing with that. Ok that might be a bit exaggerated but still, you get the gist. Harvard Basketball have their s*** together.

Overall, it was an interesting American experience, with the national anthem playing at the beginning, an inspirational address by coach Amaker, new and current players were introduced as if they were super rockstars entering the arena, free shirts were thrown into the audience, cheerleaders and dance teams presented their choreographies, food and snacks and you get the picture. After a short intra-squad game people would even go down to see the players and ask for their autographs.

If any of you are local readers, check out Harvard Athletics schedule here, it’s worth taking your friends and family out to a game as it was great fun!

America’s Pumpkin Obsession

When do you really know that it’s fall here in America?

It’s not the calendar that tells you (like everywhere else in the world) we’ve entered a new season, it’s Starbucks actually. People went crazy when Starbucks put the Pumpkin Spice Latte back on the menu a couple weeks ago as they do every fall.

People went nuts on Instagram using the infamous #PSL tag, which obviously (!?) means Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Anyways, a trip to any supermarket will confirm the obsession people have here with all things pumpkin related. From invading coffee to Oreos to beer, the P.S.L. (you’re an insider now, you’re welcome) obsession has truly gotten out of control.

There are such things like pumpkin pasta Sauce, pumpkin vodka, pumpkin spice eggnog, pumpkin shower gels, pumpkin spice M&Ms, pumpkin spice Hummus, pumpkin body butter, pumpkin protein, pumpkin spice flavored pringles. I think you get the idea. They’re crazy about pumpkins. It’s also a huge family tradition for lots of people to go pumpkin patches and pick their own pumpkins.

One of the things I definitely understand the obsession with are pumpkin pies. If you fancy doing some baking, there goes a recipe you might want to try (->Bon Appetit recipe). Let me know how it went!

What are your favorite fall traditions?

 

 

30 Thoughts on Being 30

Dear all,

The year you become 30, when you enter a new decade of your life….what happens then? Well. You turn 30. I’ve never been one to attach a great deal of attention to that age, still I think that by then you’ll (hopefully) have acquired some life experience and so I thought it might be interesting to share 30 thoughts/lessons (if you want to call them that) on turning/being 30. I’d love to know what your thoughts are. Let us know in the comments below.

  1. One that I like because I hear it pretty often around here: YOU DO YOU. Especially at 30, you’ve got this:You (hopefully) will have understood by now that you simply CANNOT please everyone.
  2. Your parents are cool and can also be your best friends.
  3. I would have never guessed that I would be celebrating my 30th birthday in a new country, let alone be living in another country at 30. So you see, life is an adventure, be open for all its opportunities.
  4. But, I’m perfectly okay with where I’m at. It’s funny to see how life unfolds.
  5. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Life is meant to be lived and fully experienced. Live, laugh, love.
  6. Trust your gut! Forreals. It usually knows what it’s doing. Especially at 30 you’re gut has been trained and tested maaaaany times, it knows what’s going on, ok? Trust you feelings.
  7. You believe that you deserve everything you set your heart and mind to.
  8. Sending hand-written thank you notes is just beautiful and it makes me really happy receiving them.
  9. All physical change begins internally.
  10. Set goals, reach them, and enjoy the success. Also, enjoy the ride along the way. 
  11. As a woman your girlfriends are very important. They will be your support system through thick and thin. When you find them, hold on to them. Be nice to them (see #12).
  12. Being kind never goes out of style, be a good friend, a good daughter a good work colleague. It will make you and everyone else around you just feel better.
  13. Happiness is not an achievement. It is a state-of-being and an active choice. You’re not always going to feel it and that’s okay too.
  14. A healthy lifestyle really brings you enjoyment.
  15. Also, it’s all about that balance y’all. It works when you couple healthy choices with the things that might not be so healthy but that do bring you joy.
  16. That said cookies, brownies and other chocolatey stuff is equally as amazing at 30 as at 3. 
  17. Living a simple life with clear focus based on meaningful values is where it’s at girls and boys. Slow down, be present, and be good to yourself.
  18. Sometimes all it takes is literally a change of perspective or talking to someone about it.
  19. Surround yourself with people that make you feel alive, curious, positive and allow you to be you.
  20. Life doesn’t work as a linear cycle; it’s a series of highs and lows that are intertwined, irregular, and often unpredictable.
  21. Sometimes you’ll have bad days or will feel down. That’s ok. It’s part of the deal.
  22. Be grateful for everything in your life.
  23. Giving can provide the same great euphoria as receiving.
  24. Money can buy a lot of things but it cannot buy you class.
  25. That drinking enough water thing, really IS IMPORTANT (had to find out at 30, took me some time).
  26. Nothing beats a home made dinner.
  27. Love Yourself (Justin Bieber says it, too, so you better believe it). 
  28. A title should never determine your self-worth.
  29. Sometimes you need to have a boring day? You don’t always have to have an overflowing schedule.
  30. Patience is a virtue (that I still need to learn).

Moving In Boston: 5 Things That Are Different Than in Switzerland

Friends,

moving house in the US is an adventure. We will move house by the end of the month and the apartment hunt was definitely quite different from what I’ve experienced so far in Europe. Let’s dig a little deeper.

#1 More people are involved in the apartment hunt

While you usually have an interested renter and a landlord in the mix in Switzerland, you’ll most likely have a a broker, a landlord, an owner and an interested renter talking to each other when apartment hunting around here. Many people use a real estate agent to find a place, which usually comes with a 1-month fee, which you will pay in addition to first, last, and security.

#2 Most apartment leases begin on September 1st

With such a large student population, it makes sense for the Boston rental market to operate on a September 1st schedule. Still, moving day is organized chaos it seems (I’ll see it in a week and will report back). The streets become parking lots for trucks and vans, the sidewalks become homes for unwanted furniture. In one part of the city called Allston there’s so much chaos going on that people lovingly call it Allston Christmas. It basically means that everything that renters don’t take with them ends up on the streets. Yum. It looks a little bit like that. Still, people from other parts of town know about Allston Christmas and will show up to get the things for free.

#3 You might have to sleep with your furniture for one night

What sounds like a weird exaggeration might actually be true for some people. As EVERYONE’s old lease ends on August 31st and EVERYONE’s new lease starts September 1 you basically have a problem. If possible, contact the current tenant of your new apartment to schedule moving times. Sometimes you’re lucky and you’ll be able to move in earlier. If not you’ll have to find a storage or pod for storing your furniture for a night. YES. Weird, right? 

#4 You don’t have time to “think about it”

If you’re buying something like a couch, you get to shop around, take a while to think about which one you like, go see a few more and then make the best choice for you. If you’re looking for apartments, you do NOT get that luxury. You should assume 4 or 5 other people are trying to rent any apartment you see. You have to pretty much decide on the spot if you want a place or not. That was definitely a new experience for me. Apparently, most apartments in Cambridge are usually only on the market for less than a week.

We were basically standing in the kitchen of an apartment we liked and after 10 minutes of looking around were already talking to the broker about the deposit and application process. We went home (it was 5pm in the afternoon) and filled out all the forms that night and also had to wire them the deposit. It went pretty fast to say the least. NO comparison to the slow process in Switzerland.

#5 Don’t touch anything you find on the street in Allston

Going back to #2, Allston Christmas might sound like fun, but it’s not. In fact, Allston Christmas is the least sanitary time of the year.

Everthing To Go Please And Thank You

Hi friends,

For here or to go? This will be a question you’ll get asked in any café where you order a coffee. Let’s talk about that in today’s post. Fix yourself a cup of coffee (!) and get reading.

The “To-go” concept – grabbing a coffee to go

Americans seem to like things on-the-go. They eat breakfast in their cars on their way to work. They eat lunch at their desks and catch up on emails. And of course, they drink coffee on the run. Most Americans seem to always be on the go, running from one appointment to the next, going to and from work, picking up kids, running errands, and going to business meetings and social outings. Every morning I walk into town I’ll see literally EVERYONE (not exaggerating here) walking around with a coffee  in one hand and a phone in the other one.

While there are obviously Swiss people who down their cappuccino on the go, too, I still think that it is less common to consume everything on the go. I would also say that in Switzerland, people slow down when they drink coffee. They sit down. They sip leisurely. They chat. They relax.

What I found interesting (to actually bring you some sort of relevant information today) was that even though it seems that everybody is drinking coffee at all times everywhere the United States isn’t even in the top ten when you rank actual coffee consumption per person. According to this article by the Telegraph it’s the Finns that come out on top. They grind their way through an impressive 12kg per person per year, according to stats from the International Coffee Organization. Switzerland makes the Top 10, while the US is on the 26th rank. (If you wondered where Italy is, it made it on rank 13 with 5.8kg of consumed coffee per person).

  1. Finland – 12kg per capita per year
  2. Norway – 9.9
  3. Iceland – 9
  4. Denmark – 8.7
  5. Netherlands – 8.4
  6. Sweden – 8.2
  7. Switzerland – 7.9
  8. Belgium – 6.8
  9. Luxembourg – 6.5
  10. Canada – 6.2

Saying Goodbye To Cambridge

Hello everyone,

how are you today? In case you missed my post “Why I’m going to buy a Harvard Sweater (even though I said I never would)” elaborating (not really) on why I have to have a sweater of said university because I need a physical souvenir as we are leaving Cambridge by the end of the month.

I went through my photo archive and thought it be nice to put my favorite ones together in a post for you, hope you’ll enjoy this virtual walk around the neighborhood throughout winter and summer time with me. Also, let’s appreciate those beautiful flowers and plants, they grow like crazy here in summer as it is so hot and humid and almost tropical feeling.

Why not have a little wander around your neighborhood today, I’m sure you’ll explore and find new little things around every corner.

Have a great day!

Winter

Winter (soft version, see that clear blue sky?)

Winter (not so soft version)

Spring

Summer

Why I’m Going to Buy a Harvard Sweater (Even Though I Said I Never Would)

Kids! We’re leaving town. We’re leaving Cambridge.

 

So very sad. I’m surprised at how nostalgic I’m feeling when writing down those words. Leaving this special place after having lived here for one year seems so difficult all of a sudden. It’s just SUCH a nice place to live in, especially in summer. I have to say, Boston and Cambridge are total beauties in the summer time (makes you almost forget how TERRIBLE winter is here). Maybe that’s a trick this city plays on you. Half of the year it’s the most beautiful place ever and you’re like, ‘cool place’, other half of the year….NOT SO MUCH.

Anyways. Why do I like it here so much you ask?

Cambridge has the feeling and vibe of a small town to it (a little more than 100’000 inhabitants, remember? Not that much after all), the houses are BEAUTIFUL, there’s tree-lined little cute streets everywhere. Still there are tons of things to do everyday (events, concerts, theatre plays, the list goes on), there are plenty of cool (is it still ok to use ‘cool’?) bars, cafés, amazing restaurants and little local shops all around the corner.

The mix of people is diverse and fascinating, there are obviously lots of proud Harvard students around, wearing all of the branded gear and clothes making it clear to everyone on the streets passing them WHO is going to Harvard. They are. You are NOT. Unless you’re a cute tourist buying all the Harvard shirts and sweaters from the Harvard store to pass as a student. I’m sorry to break it to you. People will notice YOU’RE NOT AN ORIGINAL. Still, I will buy a Harvard sweater as an emotional souvenir. And still, it’s nice to have so many young people around. There are also lots of families and people that have been living here for a long time. Aw, I’m going to miss you Cambridge, you beautiful town.

I sound very dramatic I realize now that I’ve read through that last paragraph. Because…let’s all not forget that we’re moving to the city…that is 10 minutes away by subway.

Anyways, I’m in a dramatic mood today.

Still, I’m going to miss the first place I ever called a home in the United States, I’ll never forget. And this eclectic and international mix of people. Ok, going to leave you now. It’s getting worse and worse.

Have a great day!

My Passport And I

My passport and I.

Our relationship has massively changed since I’ve moved to the US.

I’m going to tell you how (if you care that is). It also might change the way you see your own passport. Let us think about that for a second.

If you’re European, you’re living in Europe and reading this, I think you’ll agree with me that you RARELY to NEVER use your passport in daily life. Usually you’ll have your card of identity on you as a means of identification. Your passport, however, will only come out on very special occasions that is when you decide to travel longhaul and go far far away. That’s also why my original association when thinking about my passport back in the day was ADVENTURE, TRAVEL, FUN. It was the times I used to flick through my passport to admire all the stamps I had collected from former travels.

Now that I’m living in the States AND on top of it all in a state that is rather strict in terms of alcohol policy, my passport is my new purse staple that goes EVERYWHERE with me. I see it everday and I hold it in my hands almost everyday. Especially when I go out to a dinner, a bar, a liquor store or to a super market that sells wine and beer.

From seeing each other every couple of months or once or twice a year to almost everyday, my red passport is my constant companion now. There is a concept in social psychology saying that the more you are exposed to a certain object or person you’ll tend to like it more than others you are less exposed to. So in short: I like my passport more than ever, because I think it’s a great little piece of design (way cooler than other passports, have you ever checked others out in the lines at the airport?) and it’s never been more useful if I want to get a glass of good red wine.

Why all that drama?

They will not accept a card of identification. Trying to explain to them that it is an equivalent form of identification. Useless. I’ve once even got a comment when showing my ID (naive me, a few years ago) if I was a member of the Red Cross? Ehm, no.

Oh the funny comments I’ve gotten. The classic, ‘ah Sweden is a nice place’ (People, it is even written on the passport you are holding in your hands that the country is called Switzerland. Come on!) or the requirement to show my passport on the evening of my 30th birthday. No, she didn’t think it was funny to tell her that it was my 30th birthday. She basically didn’t CARE.

Long story to say, appreciate your Swiss passport. It’s a special little thing.

August 1st as an Expat

Friends!

Long time no see. How are you? How has your summer been so far?

I’ve had a great time. Isn’t summer just simply the best time of year? Anyways, we’re back in the US and settling in again.

And then there was August 1st.

A day that I normally don’t care much about. Surprisingly this time around I thought about it a lot. And as it seems, if you’re a Swiss living abroad you think about August 1st more than you would if you were back home (at least I think so).

So what do you do? You attend all sorts of August 1st related events. Yes. AND they all mainly revolve around food as they usually do (which is totally fine with me) so we went to an August 1st brunch at the Swiss bakery here in town (see my post about finding that bakery here).

And it was glorious. Birchermüesli, Weggli, Croissants, Wähen, Röschti, cheeses…the list goes on.

We were talking with some fellow Swiss friends at the brunch about what the holiday meant to them and they said that August 1st was mainly a holiday they spent with family and that they associated it with time spent outside (as the weather is usually really good round this time of year). What does it mean to you? I’d love to know! I felt still connected to Switzerland even though I wasn’t there.

Have a great week and see you back tomorrow with another say Swiss themed post!

How Living In The US Has Changed Me

Hi friends, how are you today?

I have been reflecting lately on how this American experience has changed me (be it small or big things) and wanted to share my thoughts in today’s post.

  1. It made me wear gym leggings in public. And not care about how I look that much anymore. Seriously, I’m not just saying that. It’s true people.
  2. On a more serious note: It changed my understanding of American culture. Even though I had travelled to the US several times before moving here, most preconceptions I had about American culture and daily life came from tv shows (hello Glee), movies and other people’s opinions. Obviously, even though there usually is some grain of truth in there, reality is different (what a surprise). What I’ve encountered and experienced here is that people are incredibly open and friendly. Especially in the first few months after my arrival people I newly met and told about my background were all very supportive and literally everyone would say “Welcome to America”. I don’t know why this simple sentence stuck with me so much but I found it to be such a nice detail. I also thought that if I were to have the same conversation in Switzerland with someone that had recently moved there I would never say “Welcome to Switzerland”. (Maybe I’m just not a friendly person or would you?). What I’m trying to say is that given the international and migrational backgrounds that basically everyone has that you meet here, people tend to be curious and welcoming towards “newcomers”, which is a nice experience. Furthermore, what I found to be even nicer, is how people here are genuinely involved with their community and do a lot of volunteering. Much more than is usual in Switzerland I think. It is regarded a total normality to be engaged in some sort of activity in your community and to spend time volunteering. I really do appreciate this “can do attitude”, where everyone wants to help each other out, at least around here. I think that communal feeling is what has surprised me the most (in a positive way).
  3. It reshaped my values. My generation is seeking in attaining extreme levels of success, notoriety (ha), or success in whatever they do (I know generalizing). Still, there is a constant thirst for more and to be more. While that may sound exaggerating I think that it is somewhat true, we (and I’m not excluding myself) are always looking into ways of further evolving and being successful at what we do. However, when I moved to the US, I was forced to slow down. A lot. I had to sort out all of my paperwork for the work permit, had to figure out this new living situation etc. The far slower pace of my life translated into me putting more time into relationships with friends (and new friends), personal interests and hobbies than into professional prowess, which was something I had never done to that extent when I was working before. As I am now back into the whole application madness, I look back and reconsider that it is important putting enough time aside for your personal interests, friends and family.
  4. It made me more open-minded. This sounds really cliché, but it’s just so true! Living abroad does something incredible: You are exposed to an eclectic bunch of different people and you learn more not only about others and their approach to life but also about yourself. I’m already grateful for the many fantastic people from all over the word that I’ve met, that I’ve had conversations with (even if it was about seemingly small daily life things like what sort of food or shoes are typical for the place they are from). I loved every bit of it. Because it allowed me to learn about people, their experiences and other cultures in such a personal and deep way. Even as a European meeting people from Finland, Sweden, Denmark makes me realize how little we know from each other. Not to mention, all my new friends from China, South Korea, Vietnam or India, which is even more interesting! In short: My change in attitude has been brought about by the people I have met and the friends I have made.
  5. It changed my language skills and ability to communicate When I arrived in the US, I was a confident English speaker I’d say. Still, I found it awkward at times speaking in English (to the extent where I would plan what I would say when I was going into a bakery or government office). Now, I am in a state where I don’t even think about it anymore, I. JUST. TALK. I’ am definitely enjoying speaking English, I sometimes even will drop a word or two in English when speaking to Philipp (and he will be looking at me like ???!!). Just because they seem more fitting to me than the German version of them.

Have you also lived abroad for a while? If so, how did it change you? I’d love to hear!

Have a lovely week!