Monday, February 29, 2016

Marking World Down Syndrome Day

Come celebrate World Down Syndrome Day with PROJECT AVVENTUNO, a non-profit organization that through positivity, a strong network of alliances and clear goals wish to promote growth and development of people with Down syndrome.

PROJECT AVVENTUNO develops and provides services for

- Persons with Down syndrome,
- Families of children with Down syndrome,
- Professionals in contact with Trisomy 21,
- Organizations that share their goals,

Project Avventuno believes that the future of people with Trisomy 21 is full of opportunities, not limits. It is funded by associations and foundations to make sure each year the voice of people with Down syndrome, and those who live and work with them, grows louder.

March 21, 2016 marks the 11th anniversary of World Down Syndrome Day. A few days in advance Project Avventuno have organised an event you should not miss, especially if you understand Italian.

Venue: Project Avventuno FILM & APERICENA
Where: AULA MAGNA, SUPSI, Via Trevano, Canobbio
When: Friday, March 18th, 2016
18:30 Welcome
19:00 Short presentation of the Project Avventuno's initiatives, followed by screening of the film "Figlia del Silenzio" in Italian
20:30 Aperò and open buffet
To reserve tickets contact: 076 421 12 31 or mail:
For more info click here:

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Lost in reverie

Back in Paris, sitting at my desk, I am prone to serious homesickness after a smashing week's skiing in Switzerland. It happens every year. It takes me a few days to return to the city rhythm leaving behind the stunning views, beautiful sunshine, crisp fresh air, peaceful silence and pleasant local welcoming pace of the Swiss mountains. We will be back next year...

A glorious day to start off our holiday

Swiss energy ski break on the top of the mountain

You know you're in Switzerland when you come across one of these lamps on top of a mountain 

Returning to the bottom of the valley at the end of a fabulous day of skiing

This is how the village got its name... the red mountain

L'église du village

Typical chalet from the "Pays d'Enhaut"

What's left of our snowman

Time for a real Swiss treat: hot chocolate with whipped cream

Local window ornaments

How cool is this window display?

Seriously tempting... can you smell the cinnamon? 

Oh no, the weather has taken a turn for the worst... time to go home!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Export Shopping

Every time we travel back from Switzerland to Paris, we go "Export shopping" to the Coop supermarket before we hit the road. Each family member is entitled to fill their basket with their favourite comfort foods. Ski break might mean a long drive to the alps but driving allows us to fill the car to the rim on our way back without worrying about overweight luggage. Trust me there was not much space left for us by the time we finished loading the car this morning...

My kids' Export shopping

 My Export shopping

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A new Research Library on Swiss Studies at FUS

Two weeks ago Prof Steinberg visited Franklin University in Lugano to lecture on Ticino and why the Canton has always chosen to remain Swiss whenever it has been tempted by events around it.

Thanks to the generosity of this renowned historian, former Chair of the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania and formerly also at Cambridge University, Franklin University Switzerland now hosts a new collection of 2300 books about Switzerland and Swiss studies at the disposal of the Franklin community and the general public.

The new book collection, previously hosted at the University of Pennsylvania, includes periodicals, journal articles and books focusing on Switzerland and its history, politics, and culture. The generous donation was officially acknowledged at a ceremony held on Tuesday, 2 Feb 2016.

In acknowledging the gift, FUS President Greg Warden said: "Universities are repositories of knowledge, and Franklin is honored to have been offered the opportunity to house a comprehensive compendium of publications on Switzerland and Swiss studies as part of its library."

On his part, Professor Steinberg said: "Giving up your library is like sending your infant child to school – you turn around, and it’s not there anymore. But I am very happy that my Swiss collection is going to Franklin, as I know it will be in good hands. I hope you will read and enjoy these books."

So, if you feeling inspired, why not pop by Franklin University Switzerland and find out more about your home/host country?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Photo of the day

A photo posted by Newly Swissed (@newlyswissed) on

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

An funky smoothie recipe for the winter

How about some extra vitamine C that your kids are gonna loooove.... ever heard of Orange Julius? As a nod to this frothy, orangey drink, which remains one of the best takes on a smoothie ever, I have stumbled onto this recipe, a fancier homemade version of the original.

1 1/2 cups freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup coconut milk
3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 1 medium lime)

1.) Place all the ingredients in a blender, then add ice to the 3 1/2 cup mark.
2.) Blend on high speed until smooth and frothy, about 1 minute. Serve immediately.

Easy peasy and, ohhh, so sweet!!! Enjoy!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day around the world

When did it all start?

There are various theories on the origin of Valentine's Day but the most popular dates back to the time of the Roman Empire during the reign of Claudius II, 270 A.D. Claudius didn't want men to marry during wartime because he believed single men made better soldiers. Bishop Valentine went against his wishes and performed secret wedding ceremonies. For this, Valentine was jailed and then executed by order of the Emperor on Feb. 14. While in jail, he wrote a love note to the jailor's daughter, signing it, "From your Valentine." Sound familiar?

More Valentine's Day-related history

The ancient Romans celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia on Feb. 14 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 Feb. 14 the holiday of St. Valentine's Day.

Chocolate Facts about love

Casanova, well known as "The World's Greatest Lover," ate chocolate to make him virile.

Physicians of the 1800s 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 1868.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Get involved with GoEco App

Current mobility patterns are dominated by car use, even though a number of alternative and energy-efficient mobility options are already available. So why don’t you go to work by bike more often? Why don’t you use public transport, find yourself some car pooling partners or apply for a car sharing program? You don’t know how to best do it? The GoEco! app created by SUPSI & ETH can help you make this transformation happen. Become more sustainable: GoEco!

GoEco! seeks to overcome traditional awareness-raising approaches and, by taking advantage of the wide acceptance of smartphones and tablets, proposes an innovative, community-based approach, directly addressing citizens and their everyday mobility choices.

GoEco! will conduct a study with 800 users from Canton Ticino and the City of Zurich. By taking part in their study, you will have the opportunity to test the GoEco! smartphone app which helps you to make your mobility lifestyle more sustainable. The GoEco! app tracks your trips and uses game elements to challenge you to modify your mobility behavior. You will learn how to become more sustainable and you can even compete with your friends to find out who is the best.

If you wish to get the GoEco! app click here:

The GoEco! app experience nudges you to:
- understand how you travel,
- define your personal goals for change and get personalized suggestions;
- see your progress week after week;
- share your experience with friends and other users and compare your performances with them.

If you are interested in joining the GoEco! experience, please fill in the "Get involved" form.
Click here for more info: and become a GoEco! citizen!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Gotthard: Ticino's traffic nightmare?

For most people living in the Ticino, the Gotthard tunnel is a part of life. You might use it regularly or maybe only once a year but it is the main artery that connects the Italian part with the German part of Switzerland. It is also the highway many Nordics descend on during the summer months in search of the Mediterranean sun often creating hours of traffic jam.

With five million cars and 900,000 long vehicles a year, the Gotthard road tunnel is one of the major crossing points in the Alps. 58% of vehicles crossing the Swiss Alps transit by the tunnel, linking Göschenen in the north and Airolo on the southern side, which at 16.9 km is one of the longest road tunnels in the world.

After 35 years of service – it was inaugurated in September 1980 – the tunnel is in need of a complete structural overhaul. This major work means a prolonged closure of the existing two-way underground tunnel.

So now the question is: "How is the flow of goods and people between the north and south of Switzerland but also central Europe to be maintained during the renovations?"

For the Swiss government, “the best and most lasting solution” would be construction of a second tube followed by renovation of the existing tunnel. As an alternative, opponents of the two-tunnel approach favour the “rolling highway” concept, with cars and trucks being loaded onto shuttle trains.
This would mean that heavy vehicles would move along the new Alptransit tunnel, while cars would go via the old Gotthard railway line.

The last word will be with the voters on February 28. In the two preceding nationwide ballots, in 1994 and 2004, a majority of voters were against doubling the capacity of the Gotthard tunnel.

Source: Federal Roads Office 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Memorize with Memrise

Always wanted to learn a language without leaving home? Feel like catching up on your kids' technology? Need to know Harry Potter's spells (all 89 of them!?) Wish you could take your current course with you wherever you go... to the office, on holidays, to the mountains or to your in-laws?

I have stumbled across an app called Memrise where apart from learning new languages, you can learn how to pattern in programming, pursue the study of the galaxies, become an expert in the animal world, acquire skills in electronics or gain a better understanding in anatomy.

Why, you can even create your own course. Although there are thousands of public courses to choose from, there are many reasons why people create their own courses, for example:
- Memorizing new colleagues' titles or teachers' names
- Naming bike parts
- A simple list of vocabulary for a test

You can keep your courses private, share them with friends, or open them up to the world to let others learn from you. Creating a course is easy, Do you have a good idea for a course? Ready to make one now? Just check it out here:

This app is free and you can take your learning on the go, with an offline mode also available for learning in those hard-to-reach places.

Just for the record I am in no way being sponsored for any of the products or apps I post on my blog. They are all creations that my kids and I use in our daily lives and like to share with others. We used memrise when Expat girl needed to choose a new foreign language for school and wanted to learn a wee bit before she made a choice. For those who are wondering: she chose Mandarin Chinese.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Ticino in the media

Meet Marko and Alex Ayling, vagabonds and brothers known online as the Vagabrothers. They are award-winning travel videographers, photographers and writers as well as globally-engaged storytellers on a mission to explore our planet by connecting with other young people and inspiring viewers to do the same.

In 2014, they launched their own YouTube show, Vagabrothers, where they release new travel videos every Tuesday. They were recently nominated as the “top 100 most influential travel bloggers worldwide” by the U.S. White House summit on global citizenship and cultural exchange.

Join the Vagabrothers while they explore the Ticino for a week of paragliding, bungee jumping, canyoning, a Film Festival and an after party. Any of it look familiar?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

What's with the sirens?

So we all know that the Swiss are extremely cautious citizens. They have the right protection for every possible situation. The prejudice that Switzerland is a country of insurance is absolutely true. The average Swiss household (2,23 persons) will spend approx. CHF 1700.-/month for mandatory insurance, including health insurance and contributions to social security or else CHF 20,400.- per year.
Did you know, however, that more than CHF 50 billion are spent each year for non-compulsory insurance, that's CHF 6588.- per head.

But it doesn't stop there.

Be prepared because on February 3rd, 2016 the annual test of the sirens will be held in Switzerland between 13:30 and 15:00. 8500 mobile and stationary civil-defense sirens which can alert 99% of the population, will be tested. Sirens for this alert have a regularly ascending and descending tone lasting a minute and repeated after a two-minute interval. Following that, the 700 water alarms, will resonate twelve low sounds lasting 20 seconds each between 14.15 and 15.00 in downstream areas of dams.

Every year, on the first Wednesday of February, Switzerland's sirens are tested. During this test, general alert sirens as well as the sirens near dams are tested to see if they are in working order. The population is informed of the test days ahead by radio, television, teletext and newspapers. The siren tests do not require the population to take any special measures.

Introduced during wartime, they are now used to alert the population to impending catastrophes or water dangers such as flooding. The population is instructed to inform those around them to proceed inside. Once inside, people are instructed to listen to emergency broadcasts made by the Swiss Radio and/or TV.

This is what it sounded like from my balcony in 2011:

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