Friday, December 7, 2018

St Edward’s celebrates Christmas

Did you know that Anglican worship has been held in Lugano for over a century? St.Eward's Church itself was consecrated in 1902. Among its features is a 12th century Venetian holy water stoup which is now the baptismal font.

St Edward’s welcomes visitors as well as permanent and temporary residents from all over the world. Whatever their background or circumstances, everyone is invited.

They have a very busy Christmas time coming up:

Sunday, December 16th:
Christmas Service and Sunday School Nativity Play at 11 am.

Sunday December 23rd:
Service of Nine Lessons & Carols at 10:30 am
Come and sing some of the best-known and most-loved Christmas carols – the works of poets and musicians from different lands down the ages, that testify to the universality of the Christian message

Christmas Day, Tuesday December 25th:
Sung Eucharist for the Nativity of our Lord at10:30 am
O Come all ye faithful, O come let us adore Him, born this happy morning!

Christmas market from Saturday, Dec 1st to Wednesday, December 12th: 11am – 7 pm
Also... don't miss the St. Edward's Christmas Market stall in Lugano. ALL YOUR FAVOURITE TRADITIONAL CHRISTMAS PRODUCE WILL BE ON SALE AT THEIR BOOTH AT PIAZZA MANZONI... Christmas puddings, cakes, chutneys, marmalades, mince pies, scones and sausage rolls, as they reach out to the larger local community in Advent.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

When San Nicolao pops by...

It hit me this afternoon while I was sitting in front of my computer... Samichlaus had not come by! A big tradition in Switzerland, one that cannot go unnoticed even if you live in Paris. I popped out to buy some ingredients and went to work.

Expat daughter would be so happy to find a taste of "home" for teatime. She still remembers when her school class in Lugano went into the woods looking for San Nicolao. He would be waiting to distribute a Grittibänz, mandarines and some nuts to the good children, the bad children had to work things out with his helper "Schmutzli" who was considerable less understanding. However, after reciting a little poem in honour of Saint Nick they would all walk back to school with a big grin on their face carrying lots of goodies to take home.

Here is a super-easy, fast, yummy recipe for Grittibänz:

500 gr flour
1 tablespoon salt
70 gr sugar
70 gr butter
2 dl milk
1 egg
25 gr yeast
1 egg for coating
For the decoration: raisins, shelled almonds, candied fruit, possibly coarse granulated sugar.

1.) Cream the yeast with a little sugar in a cup.
2.) Place the flour in a bowl and mix it with salt, sugar, slightly warmed butter, lukewarm milk, the egg and the yeast to a dough.
3.) Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Cover and leave to rise to twice the amount in a warm place.
4.) Knead the dough again, use a knife to cut off pieces of dough in the desired size and roll out to an oval shape.
5.) Mark the head by pressing the dough together slightly and turn the head to the back to make the neck. Cut out the arms and legs with scissors and place them in the required position.
6.) Decorate the figures with raisins, shelled almonds and candied fruit and trim the hat with remnants of dough. Leave to rise and put in a cold place for 20 to 30 minutes.
7.) Before baking, brush with egg and possibly sprinkle with coarse granulated sugar. In a preheated oven, bake for 20 to 30 minutes at medium temperature.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Study at ETH and become a real Master!

This is were it is clear to me that Switzerland has evolved in so many different ways since the times when I grew up in this little country in the heart of Europe.

Just take a peak at the Zürich University's promotional video... we are talking ETH Zurich... one of the world’s leading universities for technology and the natural sciences. An institution known for the excellent education it provides, its pioneering fundamental research and for the way its new findings are transferred directly into practical applications.

Well, here's a taste of the new Swiss vibe... totally cool! For a better world. For a better future!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Experience the magic of Christmas in the center of Lugano!

This weekend Lugano will start wearing its Christmas outfit. The City will be transformed with Christmas lights, sounds and colours. The most beautiful festival of the year is celebrated with the markets, a children’s village, concerts, entertainment, the New Year’s Eve open-air party and many other events that will fill the city with the magic of Christmas up to January 6th, 2019.

Christmas in Lugano starts with the lighting of the tree in Riforma Square. From that moment, the heart of the city becomes a bright village, bestowing opportunities for entertainment, musical performances, a market and surprises until the Epiphany.

Following is the programme:

01.12 | 17:30
Piazza della Riforma

With the attendance of the city authorities, the Christmas tree in the Piazza della Riforma will be officially "switched on" with the help of the children present. From 17:30 a little gift offered by Migros Ticino and MANI International will be handed out to all children, accompanied by the Christmas concert of the "Harmony Gospel Choir" gospel group. Then it will be time to switch on the Christmas Tree lights together with Julie Arlin. Finally, the ceremony will close with the concert of the duet Looppoli.

01.12 – 23.12 | 11:00 – 19:00 24.12 | 11:00 – 17:00
City Centre

The aroma of Christmas sweets, mulled wine and other delicious food, as well as handicrafts and Christmas decorations: this and much more will be on offer at the traditional stands with their red roofs lining the streets from Via Nassa to Piazza Dante. In addition, from this year Piazza Manzoni, set among beautiful Christmas decorations, will also host more than 40 wooden huts that will offer Christmas shoppers lots of surprises.

01.12 – 06.01 | from 16:00
Piazza della Riforma

A great destination for a hot chocolate, to have an aperitif with friends or to try winter cocktails, all accompanied by tasty nibbles and background music. This is the recipe of the Food Lovers' Chalets for making the long winter evenings of locals and tourists much more enjoyable.

01.12 – 06.01
Piazza Manzoni

In Piazza Manzoni you can breathe in the atmosphere of a true traditional village with wooden huts, a giant Father Christmas with his sack full of surprises, a surreal and fascinating landscape to be photographed, horses on wheels for trotting around the lit-up fountain, workshops, readings and entertainment in the Big Chalet, music and many other events and attractions to entertain both children and adults alike.

02:12 - 09:01
Piazza Luini LAC

The LAC is hosting a new interactive installation that will transform the Piazza Luini into a giant kaleidoscope. Prismatica is made up of 25 rotating glass prisms more than 2 metres tall, which project multicoloured light in different directions and produce music.

23.12 – 06.01
Riva Albertolli

Gli Amici del Presepe Sommerso place typical figures from the Nativity scene in the lake. Until 6th January you can admire these statues, which during the day seem to vanish under the water and in the evening appear to float in the light of powerful underwater spotlights. On 23rd December at 17:00, the Baby Jesus is carried in a fascinating procession from the lake.

31.12 | 23:00 – 02:30
Piazza della Riforma

A big party in the piazza to welcome in the new year together. RSI will bring the evening to life with music and entertainment from RETE TRE’s best-loved DJs. Special guests: Vad Vuc in a concert that will have the whole square up on its feet.

01.01 | 11:00
Palazzo dei Congressi

Convention Centre With the attendance of the city authorities and the Lugano Volunteer Corps. Aperitif offered to everyone (start of the parade from Piazza della Riforma at 11:00).

Take advantage of the special opening hours of city centre stores to do your Christmas shopping.
08.12 | 10:00 – 18:00
09.12 | 10:00 – 18:00
16.12 | 10:00 – 18:00
23.12 | 10:00 – 18:00

For a detailed programme in Italian click here:

Monday, November 26, 2018

Lugano's International Christmas fair

December! Yes! Such a busy month. So why not kick it off with style? Meet your friends or make some new ones in a lovely central location in Lugano.

Where? At the annual Christmas fair at the Hotel Pestalozzi co-hosted by the lovely IWCL, the Lugano Meetup and InterNations Lugano. You are even invited for a FREE aperitivo at the end of the event. Of course, snacks, small wine tasting and water will be served.

However, don't miss out on the Christmas shopping before aperitivo time starts. You'll also find Christmas photo shooting by appointment with Egle Berruti photography throughout the morning. Excellent gift idea for your close ones! EVERYONE IS WELCOME!

Following is the programme of the day but be sure to pop by any time as there's much more going on:
11:30 - Harp Concert with Eleonora Ligabò and Harp Center
12:30 - Panettonata
13:30-17:00 Christmas Market
15:00 - Christmas Aperitivo

Venue: Christmas Fair and Christmas Aperitif
Where: Hotel Pestalozzi, Piazza Indipendenza 9. 6900 Lugano
Date: Sunday, Dec 2nd, 2018
Time:  11:00 - 16:00
Please sign up if you are joining, although last minute guests are welcome, it's easier to plan for the organising committee.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

P stands for Paris: Two Fat Expats interview

I am delighted and honoured to have been picked as interviewée of the weekly "Two Fat Expats" podcast. Driven by two Aussie expats - whom like I believe that life should be lived large and that it is only fair to share - their podcast bursts with ideas and inspiration on how to make expat life fuller and therefore fatter.

The topics range from International schooling to money matters, from feeling the expat blues to celebrating lifelong friendships. They talk about moving families across continents, the complexities of caring for ageing parents remotely, coping with kids' homesickness and the empty nest syndrome. Career rebooting is a popular theme as is expat marriage. Each episode deals with real-life concerns no matter which nationality you are.

Two Fat Expats is listened to in over 160 countries and although we - the listeners - are all different and most of us have never met, we all come together on Kirsty and Nikki's site to have a good laugh, to seek advice or share soothing compassion. Somehow these two ladies have managed to create a global bond that is alive and active through social media where everybody is welcome to join. It has become a place to turn to, a platform where people pour out their hearts, a spot where honesty is expected, respected and valued.

The beauty of it all is that you will not find affiliations or hidden advertising, just expats looking for independent expat advice. The "Two Fat Expat" podcast is like a weekly cheat sheet on current expat trends where the charming and very professional Aussie Duo share what they have learnt that week.

The "Two Fat Expats" love a good story on the podcast and like most expat women they also love to sit back, relax and hear the stories of others about their expat adventures.

This week I get to tell mine because P stands for Paris!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Feeling thankful on Thanksgiving Day

Today a reader sent me a short message thanking me for helping him with his move to Lugano. He had been reading my blog and found it a useful resource. It is little gestures like these that make me continue my Expat with Kids blog.

Blogging has become my hobby. It gives me the opportunity to connect and network with like-minded individuals who share the same passions. Sitting down to write and doing it consistently is a challenge. Blogging requires time, devotion, commitment, and discipline.

However, by preparing myself for blog topics, I have learned many other things in the process mainly thanks to research necessary to write my posts. Writing allows me to delve deeper into the matters of today's life and the worldview that shapes them.

I enjoy the opportunity of sharing my knowledge in my field of expertise. The best part is seeing that you can make a difference. It’s a humbling experience when people talk about my blog posts and I realize someone pays attention to my writings.

At the same time blogging empowers me to showcase what fascinates me and build a brand around myself and my passion. So, all this to say that I am thankful today that others find inspiration in my writings… that’s a wonderful feeling.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Organisation of Swiss living Abroad

Dear Swiss Expatriates,

You must have numerous opportunities to talk about Switzerland in both private and professional circles. Without any doubts you do this with great pleasure and enthusiasm. But maybe you sometimes wish you had more pictures, films and posters about Switzerland? Or could you perhaps do with more information on the most spectacular hiking trails or the best restaurants in Switzerland? Maybe you would like to visit Switzerland again or are organising a trip to Switzerland for your neighbours or your company? That's the reason why Switzerland Tourism decided to team up with the Organisation of Swiss living abroad (ASO).

To get a little taste the Switzerland Tourism and the Organisation of the Swiss Abroad (OSA) offer all members of Fifth Switzerland a free desk calendar for the upcoming year.

You may order your copy of the desk calendar 2019 now. Enter your details on the website to get your free copy by mail. Beware it might make you feel homesick!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Curious about Online learning?

Ever thought about signing up for an online course? Online programmes offer the convenience and flexibility you’re looking for, especially if you're an expat in a country where you don't yet master the language or don't have a work permit.

Online learning may not appeal to everyone; however, the sheer number of online learning sites suggests that there is at least a strong interest in convenient, portable learning options, many of which are study-at-your-own-pace.

Online courses are a great resource! Not only is education is moving more in this direction of personalized learning it also gives you a chance to pursue your passion or interest on the sideline. Who knows it might become your profession one day?

I have been browsing through a few sites this week and thought I'd share my findings with you. This list is by no means exhaustive but it's a start...
As learning becomes more digital, universities are adopting new technologies to reach a wider audience of learners. Futurelearn's 149 partners carefully design each online course, so that you can study with them no matter where you are. They are partnered with top universities and specialist organisations who'll share their experience through videos, articles, quizzes and discussions.
Coursera is a learning site offering courses (free for audit) from over 100 partners — top universities from over 20 countries, as well as non-university partners — with verified certificates as a paid option, plus specializations, which group related courses together in a recommended sequence.
he edX site offers free subject matter from top universities, colleges and schools from around the world, including MIT and Harvard, and many courses are “verified,” offering a certificate of completion for a nominal minimum fee.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free online courses available for anyone to enroll. MOOCs provide an affordable and flexible way to learn new skills, advance your career and deliver quality educational experiences at scale. is an extension of edX, a leader in online learning and education. Whether you're interested in learning for yourself, leveraging online courses to educate your workforce or creating a MOOC, edX can help.

Looking for more? Click here:

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Signs of a multicultural family...

Can you guess where these different breakfast spreads are from? They are clues to our family's patchwork origins. We left the Marmite out since the British yeast extract is not a hit with our family. Instead, one spread has been adopted by Expat Girl even though we have no particular ties with that country... other than some really cool friends!

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