Monday, February 27, 2012

Stay Connected to Expat with Kids

"Your blog is your unedited version of yourself."

Ever since I started my Lugano blog, one of the things that fascinated me most was a feature called "Google Friend Connect". Basically it lets you click "Follow" on the Blogger tab if you like a blog.

And wow, it opened a whole new world to me. I could browse through all the blogs that tickled my fancy - and had therefore connected with - by going down my personalized reading list.

I must have been saying something right, something funny and/or something noteworthy since over 100 people are following my Expat with Kids blog about Lugano. This gives me tremendous motivation and is one of the things that keeps me going. For that, "Google Friend Connect" followers, I thank you from the bottom of my happy heart.

I recently found out that blogger is removing this feature effective March 1, 2012, this means if you follow me through "Google Friend Connect", chances are beginning March you won't be able to receive updates from me. The good news for “Blogger” (Google hosted blogs) is that it does not appear that they will be losing GFC.  I don’t know what the future holds for that decision since it is clear that Google is not getting out of the product what they had expected.  Read Google’s announcement.

Don't you worry, there are lots of ways to stay connected with Expat with Kids!

See the nice looking row of "Subscribe now" buttons on the sidebar on the top right of my blog? Head on over to it and click one (or it would make me happy if you click and subscribe to all) to keep updated.

It is my greatest wish that those of you that have been kind enough to take an interest and follow through GFC, will make the transition to follow through another avenue.  I will be leaving the GFC at the bottom of my Lugano blog as a reference for publishers while it lasts, but I am asking my faithful followers to use one of the other following options to keep abreast of what is going on at Expat with Kids.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I'd rather be skiing

"Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to."
John Ed Pearce

Officially it is the children's skiing holiday but we call it the "Swiss holiday". We return religiously - no matter which part of the globe we live in - to spend a family holiday on the slopes of Switzerland.

We gobble chocolate, we devour cheese fondues and raclettes, we appreciate the Swiss neatness and engulfe in fresh mountain air. We spend 10 days curing our Swiss homesickness by eating our way through local culinary delicacies, shopping trips to the Coop and listening to Swiss German radio.

Nothing - absolutely nothing - beats standing on top of a snowy peak, overlooking the sundrenched Alps on a clear winter day just before you hit the pristine powder snow and hear it crunch below your skis. It is the only sound you hear .... until I start yodeling! What a liberating feeling.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

International Mother Language Day

Did you know that today is International Mother Language Day. It is an observance held annually on 21 February worldwide to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. It was first announced by UNESCO on 17 November 1999.

In order to celebrate this special day I wanted to share Lonely Planet's language sheets that I came across. You can enjoy a week of linguistic love. Every day, you can download a free QuickChat language phrase PDF. Print it out, pop it in your pocket and hit the streets to talk it up. First up, it’s…

Day 1: Italian
Day 2: Spanish
Day 3: Filipino
Day 4: Turkish
Day 5: French
Day 6: Polish

So, while I'm off on the slopes of Switzerland enjoying sun, snow and sport, you can learn a language a day during this week by downloading Lonely Planet's handy phrase cheat sheets.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

We're off skiing....

"Skiing is a dance, and the mountain always leads. "
Author Unknown

I have followed my husband around the globe on his Interantional career path and am very happy to do so. I did set one - yes, only one - condition before we got married and flew off to Buenos Aires nearly 15 years ago. He had to promise me that ONCE a year I would be able to go "home" to Switzerland to ski. This has been our tradition ever since we met and I have the firm intention to carry on as long as my bones will carry me down the slopes. It is my moment of homesickness cure that allows my kids and me to connect with part of our roots. The children love the snow and can't wait to go skiing. Even my Neapolitan hubby has taken a penchant to the sport, although I won't deny that he prefers the après-ski experience!

All this to tell you that I'll be gone for a week while I hit the slopes in the Berner Oberland. Given the snow situation we are ecstatic that we will have fresh powder snow and hopefully lots of sunshine!
Buone vacanze a tutti!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Carnevale in Ticino 2012

The definition of Carnival: A festival celebrated with merriment and revelry in Roman Gatholic countries during the week before Lent, during a few days (three to ten) before Lent, ending with Shrove Tuesday. Any merrymaking, feasting, or masquerading, especially when overstepping the bounds of decorum; a time of riotous excess.

Carnevale in Ticino is as big a deal as it is in Basel just that nobody knows about it! That is if you don't live in the Ticino. We don't have skiing holidays like the rest of Switzerland, we have Carnevale holidays .... eventough everybody goes skiing!!!

Bellinzona's carnival is Ticino's most famous celebration. Following the Roman-rite, the party starts on Thursday night when the keys of the city are handed over to King Rabadan, who will rule the happy crowds until the following Tuesday. But not only Rabadan: many more carnivals are warming up the cold winter days in the Canton.

In Locarno, the "Stranociada" is an appointment not to be missed on Friday night, where the old town is invaded by masks, little tents, Guggen, music and pure fun until early in the morning.

The Nebiopoli Carnival in Chiasso is the most important Roman-rite carnival in the Sottoceneri region, and its peculiarity is the absence of a king: in fact, the hand-over of power during the carnival goes to a Prime Minister, who transforms the town into the "Free Republic of Nebiopoli"'. During the "republican week", masked groups and Guggen transform the streets of the centre into a place where fun rules. The peak of the celebrations is Mardi Gras Nebiopoli masked parade, featuring large numbers of floats, groups, bands and Guggenmusik.

In many different locations throughout the Canton, celebrations take place only at the end of the Carnival week, following the Ambrosian rite. Biasca, Brissago and Tesserete can pride themselves with some of the busiest Carnivals, with their Saturday parades featuring masked groups, floats and Guggen music bands. The large masked parties in public spaces all over the town centres start on Thursday night, with games, free risotto for everybody, many confetti and bands performing live music. A wild world of colors, masks and sounds, eventually winding down only on Sunday morning.

For those of you who are really serious about their Carnevale you'll find an application to download on i-tunes: or a facebook page to follow:

Here is the entire calendar for the Ticino Carnevale: Carnevali-in-Ticino-2012. So pick and choose your venue and start partying! Have fun!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

"Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and the delight in the recognition."
Alexander Smith

Each one of us celebrates Valentine's Day differently. Some don't celebrate it at all. Other can't sleep at night wondering who their secret admirer might be?

My unfortunate luck is that Italians don't "DO" cards. Not for Christmas, not for birthdays or anniversaries and therefore I will not receive a Valentine's card. My hubby will make up by surprising me with a great pressie, for sure!

In the meantime, I'll nibble on a piece of chocolate and share some fun facts about Valentine's Day with you.

Valentine's Day related history:
- The ancient Romans celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia on February 14th in honor of Juno, the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses. Juno was also the goddess of women and marriage.
- Many believe the 'X' symbol became synonymous with the kiss in medieval times. People who couldn't write their names signed in front of a witness with an 'X.' The 'X' was then kissed to show their sincerity.
- Girls of medieval times ate bizarre foods on St. Valentine's Day to make them dream of their future spouse.
- In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week for everyone to see. This was the origin of the expression "to wear your heart on your sleeve."
- In 1537, England's King Henry VII officially declared February 14th the holiday of St. Valentine's Day.
- The most fantastic gift of love is the Taj Mahal in India. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan as a memorial to his wife.
- Every Valentine's Day, the Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare's lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet.

- Casanova, well known as "The World's Greatest Lover," ate chocolate to make him virile.
- Physicians of the 1800's commonly advised their patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining for lost love.
- Richard Cadbury produced the first box of chocolates for Valentine's Day in the late 1800's.
- More than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine's Day.

- 73% of people who buy flowers for Valentine's Day are men, while only 27 percent are women.
- The red rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.
- Red roses are considered the flower of love because the color red stands for strong romantic feelings.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Introducing Whitney Houston to my daughter

How many times have I listened to "How will I know"?
How many hours did I dance to "I Wanna Dance With Somebody"?
How many tears lost over boys listening to "Saving All My Love For You"?
How many hopes flying high with "Greatest Love of All"?
How many lost loves accompanied by "Didin't We Almost Have It all"?
How many times did the beat get going with "I'm Every Woman"?
How many chills went down my spin when I listen to "Exhale"?
How many dreams were about me having a voice like Whitney Houston?

Call me a hopeless romantic, because I am, but Whitney had a song for every moment in my life. Whitney Houston released her debut album, "Whitney Houston," in February 1985 to wide acclaim. Rolling Stone magazine called her "one of the most exciting new voices in years". I was 18 when I first heard her voice. She accompanied me through my ups and downs at boarding school - and believe me there where many!!!! Until this day she remains my favourite singer of all times.

Daughter of the great soul-and-gospel vocalist Cissy Houston, cousin to both Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick and goddaughter to Aretha Franklin, Houston's family background seemed a magically appropriate fusion of both the grit and the glamour of late-20th-century African-American pop music. She was a pop phenomenon capable of breaching all manner of audience boundaries whether of race, age or geographic origin.You couldn't find a more auspicious template for great expectations. And she delivred time after time until yesterday....

Today I shared all her greatest hits with my 8-year old daughter. She now will carry on dancing to Whitney's songs, just like I did!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Meet my latest baby!

Gotch'ya attention there, didn't I?

No, I have not been pregnant over the last 9 months. No, I have not gone through labour pains. Been there, done that and happy to have two healthy pre-teenagers.

This is a blog baby. I just can't help it. I adore writing, posting, adding photos, researching the details and the wrapping it all up in a colourful package to present to you!

Since I was a little girl I have had a passion for cooking and a curiosity for any new recipe which is easy, uncomplicated and fast to prepare. Desserts are my speciality but I can bash up a 5 course meal if I have to in a couple of hours.

Over the past decades I have collected endless snips and snaps from magazines all over the world, saved recipes that tickled my interest on internet and gathered yummy secrets from my International friends.

Gradually I plan to post my findings online. So, go ahead,serve yourself a glass of white wine and enjoy my latest blog

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Snow in Lugano makes headlines around the world

"Before you complain about the toe-numbing temperatures today, cast your eye a little further abroad than the light dusting of snow in your back garden."
Daily Mail Online

Photographs taken along the lakeside of Lugano have made their way half way around the world. Yes, Lugano is now world famous for cold and snowy weather. Kind of ironic for a part of the world that claims to be the sunshine state of Switzerland. - Middle East - 31st Jan, 2012

In the U.S., France, England, UAE and Australia, numerous newspapers and Internet sites that have used a photograph, taken by Karl Mathis Keystone, to illustrate articles about the current wave of cold weather that is raging across Europe. Lugano has featured in Le Figaro, the BBC, the Daily Mail, of Arab News, the Seattle Post Intelligencer and in a host of other media. - Australia - Feb 24th, 2012

The combination of snow and palm trees, common in our latitudes, has caught the imagination of international journalists and some have placed the photo just below catastrophic headlines such as "More than 60 deaths due to cold spell in Europe." For the record, the current temperatures in Ticino - although cold - will not make not the Guinness book of records and have caused no deaths: more likely some traffic inconvenience.

Daily Mail - UK - Feb 9th, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Private School conference in Porza

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything one learned in school.”
 Albert Einstein

Ever wondered about the offer of private schools in Ticino? Yes, there is more than just Tasis!

You have got to hurry though, the American Women of Ticino (AWOT) is hosting a private school conference this Wednesday, February 8. Yes, that would be tomorrow. So gear up and get organized. The event is free and all are welcome.

Venue: Private School Conference - A Gathering of our local Private Schools
Where:  Sala Multiuso, Via Don A Torriani, 6948 Porza
Date: Wednesday 8 February, 2012
Time: 18:30-21:30
School Presentations begin at 19:00

Each school will offer a brief 2 minute presentation in English followed by an aperitivo with plenty time to mingle and speak privately with the schools. Italian speaking representatives from each school will be available as well.

Please call for more information: 078 792 0496 or e-mail

Presenting Schools Include:
Abaco asilonido
Eccolo asilonido
Collegio Papio
International School Of Como
Istituto Elvetico
Istituto Sant'Anna
La Traccia, La Caravella
Leonardo Da Vinci
Liceo Diocesano
Parsifal, Piccolo Principe, La Carovana
Scuola Montessori di Como
Scuola Media Montessori di Como
Scuola Montessori Ticino - Brand-new school opening in March and September
Scuola Rudolf Steiner

I would be VERY curious to hear your feedback!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Are you ready for the Super Bowl XLVI?

As I am writing this post I am watching the Pre-Show of the Super Bowl 2012 waiting for the clock to strike twelve which is when the game starts. I most probably won't make it to halftime, eventhough the thought of watching Madonna's show dedicated to her Dad does keep me hanging.

In the meantime I thought I'd preview the most anticipated commercials with my readers. With more than 111 million fans expected to watch this year's Big Game, the Super Bowl is an advertiser's biggest stage. And they're willing to pay $3.5 million for a 30-second spot.

They're willing to pay because last year a record 111 million Americans tuned in to see the game, making it the most-watched single program of any kind in U.S. television history.

Many of this year's commercials are already online. About 20 of about 36 Super Bowl advertisers put their TV commercials on the Internet prior to today's game. That's a big difference from previous years when only a handful of companies leaked their TV ads.

Let's take a look at some of the TV ads people might be talking about tomorrow:

Kia Optima "A Dream Car. For Real Life"

Motley Crue, a man riding a rhino, former UFC champ Chuck Liddell and SI swimsuit model Adriana Lima: This one takes you on a wild ride. It's not over-the-top hilarious, but you have to love the subtle message.

The Bark Side: 2012 Volkswagen Commercial

In this extended version of our 2012 Game Day commercial, the sporty, all-new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle inspires Bolt the dog to get in shape, and an intergalactic superstar makes a surprise appearance.

Ferris Bueller-Honda CR-V

The official 2012 Honda CR-V "Matthew's Day Off" is a fun homage to "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" with actor Matthew Broderick. We've all seen it, but it will likely be one of this year's best.

Sketchers-Dog Racing

By now you've heard of the controversy: Dog-racing to promote a new shoe from Sketchers? Some greyhound dog advocacy groups are not happy. We've only seen a teaser so far, so obviously we want to see the entire commercial.

Priceline-The Negotiator

William Shatner dies in a firey bush crash, doing what he does best: Give us great deals on But will Priceline name a new spokesperson now that Captain Kirk is dead?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Moonlight skiing in Airolo

"When it comes to skiing, there's a difference between what you think it's going to be like, what it's really like, and what you tell your friends it was like."
Author Unknown

Full Moon, fresh Snow and a Spirit of Adventure. Combine the three and you have the "Sciata & Racchettata al Chiar di Luna".

On Saturday, February 4, 2012, the town of Airolo-Pesciüm are organizing the yearly Moonlight skiing adventure. The meeting point is at 19:00 at the bottom of the cable car. You'll be able to hit the slopes until 21:00.

For some, snowshoes (racchetta da neve) may be a good alternative to skiing and an opportunity to walk the brand new trails for snowtrekking which just opened this Winter season 2011/12.

After skiing or "racchettata" the restaurant Pesciüm will be serving dinner. You'll be able choose between a good hot meal or a delicious fondue. After dinner, the cable car will bring you back to the valley.

Please bring a headlamp, especially if you plan to try the snowshoe adventure.

Venue: Airolo-Pesciüm (Funivie)
Date: February 4th, 2012
Time: 19:00
pass + hot dish and a drink on tap: CHF 25.- (Reservations recommended)
pass + fondue: CHF 35.- (reservations required by Feb. 3)

Tel +41/91-873'80'40

The next dates for the Moonlight Ski & Racchettata are:
- Friday, March 9, 2012
- Friday, April 6, 2012

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Snowfairy

Throughout the afternoon I watched them there, 
Snow-fairies falling, falling from the sky, 
Whirling fantastic in the misty air, 
Contending fierce for space supremacy. 
And they flew down a mightier force at night, 
As though in heaven there was revolt and riot, 
And they, frail things had taken panic flight 
Down to the calm earth seeking peace and quiet. 
I went to bed and rose at early dawn 
To see them huddled together in a heap, 
Each merged into the other upon the lawn, 
Worn out by the sharp struggle, fast asleep. 
The sun shone brightly on them half the day, 
By night they stealthily had stol'n away. 

Claude McKay

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