Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rugby for kids in Lugano

"The whole point of rugby is that it is, first and foremost, a state of mind, a spirit."
Jean-Pierre Rives, French rugby union player.

May I introduce you to Valerio Marani. Apart from being a father of 3 kids, he is also the President of RUGBY CLUB CASTORI LUGANO where kids aged from 5 to 12 play minirugby twice a week in Cureglia.

Did you know that the most common reasons why Kids play sport are
1.Its fun
2.Its with friends
3.It makes them feel good
4.It allows them to learn new skills

Rugby training is an opportunity to pass on key concepts of the game to kids and to increase their understanding of particular aspects of the game. However, it is important to recognize that kids play rugby as a means of having fun as much as for the technical benefits, and introducing the game through enjoyable activities is important for any coach of junior teams.

For more information check out their lovely site at:

Where: Via Bel Bosco, Cureglia
When: every Tuesday and Thursday
Time: from 18:30 to 20:00
Classes start on Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hanging on to that summer feeling!

"With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts."
Eleanor Roosevelt

A walk down paradise lane.

Surfing in Spain

Massage on the beach - absolute bliss -

followed by a relaxing suntan session

culminating with a dip in the Mediterranean Sea

Unfortunately Summer 2011

has come to an end!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Back to school in Lugano

"Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself."  
John Dewey

Wishing all children of Ticino a brilliant start today!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Expat with Kids in Paris

The time has come again........we are starting a new life - once again!

It wasn't planned that way but then life gets in the way of things and before you know it you are heading in a entirely different direction.

We settled in Lugano in January 2007 thinking we would be staying there until the kids finished their studies....sweet dreams!

As our friends well know we just couldn't get rid of that twitchy feeling in our toes. We tried, we seriously tried to lay down our roots, and I am very happy to say that my children as well as my husband have definately established a couple of long-lasting foundations that will hopefully stick with them for life. I, of course, consider myself Swiss! ;)

Lugano did become a home for all of us: for me it was all about moving back to my home country and sharing part of my background with my children. Expat hubby became more Swiss than the Swiss culminating in the acquisition of a Swiss passport. Expat boy made some life-long friends and for Expat girl Breganzona will always remain home, I think.

We have sold our lovely house and left Lugano end of June with a heavy heart but excited about the change (except Expat girl). The family is following Expat hubby as he starts his new job. We are on our way to Paris this weekend after having spent a fabulous summer in our holiday house in Spain surrounded by our Spanish and International friends here.

Expat hubby and I have lived in Paris before, therefore I dare say this will be a relatively easy start. We have friends in Paris and both speak French. The kids will be fluent by Christmas, trust me. ;)  I do miss the novelty factor a bit, I thrive on exploring new cultures and learning new languages but hey, we are moving to Paris....I won't complain. I am sure the French will provide me with plenty of challenges!

I will be very busy setting up shop over the next couple of weeks and am looking forward to it.

You are wondering: what will she do with her blog? Over the past ten months I have put all my energy and all my passion into developing my Expat with Kids blog. My Lugano guide has become a much bigger success than expected therefore I will continue writing and see where it takes me. So don't worry, I have no intentions at all in letting go of this baby of mine. First love never dies, they say!

In the meantime, I have created a new home for my blogging, where I plan to write about my adventures avec les francais! So keep posted right here:

You can also sign up via facebook at:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bike sharing Velopass Lugano-Paradiso

Take advantage of these hot summer days and go for a bike ride. Don't have a bike or live on a hill? Not to worry, there is a solution. It's called bike sharing. It has become very popular in major European cities.

The fastest, most economical means of transport in town, velopass gives you access with a single card to all bike sharing networks in Switzerland. If you want to combine short and long shifts, the mobilitypass offers you both velopass bikes and Car Sharing.

Velopass rents bikes from self-service stations open 24/7. With this service, you can rent a bike in one station and give back it back in another, when you have reached your destination. For a day or a year, for one network or for all Switzerland, several types of subscriptions are available. For further information also refer to

Today there are 68 bikes available to those who want to get around Lugano in an ecological way. The number will increase in coming months. The bike sharing project's bodes well given the success in these first twelve months of activity.

The availability of the bikes and the location of the bike stations can be consulted at any time. Click here for more detail or download application for free at AppStore.

The assosciation that provided the bikes, the Lugano Sud Climate Fund, is also promoting the development of a bike track to Grancia, thus creating a link with the existing network Lugano-Paradiso. Just imagine you'll be able to go shopping to the commercial center Lugano Sud by bike!?!

Lugano Sud Climate Fund is an association founded by a convention between the ATA Ticino section, the IKEA Group and WWF. The aim of the association, funded solely with the proceeds of the Lugano Sud Parking house, is to promote and support initiatives protecting the climate, encouraging the use of energy saving products and raising awareness of alternative energy use.

Sounds good to me. I'll be taking a ride along the lake this weekend. ;)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Thank you for stopping for me!

"Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves. "
Abbé Dimnet, Art of Thinking, 1928

Monday, August 29th is THE big day for all Ticinese children: School starts!

Thousands of children will be walking from their home to school. Every year the Swiss Touring Club launches an advertising campaign to raise drivers' awareness of the fact that many young children are absorbing the pedestrian jungle. This year the City Police of Lugano have decided to join the prevention campaign called "Thank you for stopping for me," to secure the way to school.

Next week police officers will distribute practical parking time discs with the slogan of this campaign to drivers near the elementary schools. In addition, the first day of school first grade pupils will receive a little red baseball hat. The color helps to increase the safety of students and improves the visibility while recalling the driver to pay close attention to the children wearing them.

During the second week of September the Lugano City Police will launch a second campaign to further improve safety at pedestrian crossings.

It is important that motorists come to a complete stop before the children start crossing the street. A child in fact, may have trouble understanding if the driver will stop or not and is hardly able to estimate the speed of the vehicle. It takes a child up to 10 seconds longer than an adult to decide whether to cross the street. The reaction time is longer.  Add two additional factors that should not be forgotten: the children's reduced and narrower field of view due to their stature and the fact that, for this reason, the driver may not see them right away.

To ensure an even safer school start, before the opening of schools for the entire month of September police will be checking speed (radar) and circulation (driver behavior) in the vicinity of school locations and on major routes to and from school.

Therefore - driver or a pedestrian - be prepared and ready to lend a helping hand (sometimes literally) to all those little ones who are standing by the zebra crossing wondering when to move. A big smile will be the best thank you for stopping for them.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Lugano LiDO Season's closing weekend

"Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."
Henry James

The Lido's summer beach lounge has become quite a hit with the locals over the past two years. With a bit of imagination you feel like you're hanging out a the Copacabana thanks to the Monte San Salvatore's resemblance with Rio's Pão de Açucar, the delicous Mojitos at the chiringuito and your toes tingling in the sandy beach.

Get the picture? Well, then head straight down to Lugano's Lido this weekend because it is celebrating the summer season's closing this weekend.

Thursday, August 25th at 18:30: "Girls on the Run"
Friday, August 26th at 18:30: Beach Party
Saturday, August 27th: "AFRICANS AL LIDO" Sambo Art Expo, Body Painting, Resident DJ and DJ Flavia Sabatino will keep you entertained until 1am.

Lido di Lugano, Viale Castagnola 6, 6900 Lugano
Restaurant reservations:  091 971 55 00
Terrasse reservations: 079 820 94 90

For more detailed info click on their site at:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

English for tots in Lugano

The summer holidays are slowly coming to an end......sorry, I hate to break the bad news! A lot of you will be in full preparations with gathering school materials, sports equipment, etc. and expertly (!!!) coaching your kids into a soft start back into reality.

Back to school season also means hunting down extracurricular activities, organizing courses that interest your kids and coordinating schedules. I will be posting various suggestions over the next couple of days/weeks which hopefully will tickle your fancy.

Primi Passi in Inglese or Easy English for kids is a Parent-Toddler class TO LEARN and SPEAK ENGLISH. Its different from a normal toddler group in that they actively promote English speech and understanding (using of course, lots of songs, puppetry, arts and crafts activities and FUN!). It is open to children age 1-4 years old, accompanied by parent / carer.

Miriam Harpur-Kaegi and her team are qualified teachers with experience with children. They started teaching English to kids last year and have now decided to expand and are moving the Primi Passi (the toddler group) class to Centro Bambini in Lugano. The course starts in September on Tuesday mornings.

It is their aim to teach and learn English through listening, singing, repeating and speaking in a relaxed, easy, fun way.

For more information call Miriam Harpur-Kaegi on 077 435 2131

Where: Centro Bambini, Via Trevano 13,  Molino Nuovo
When: Tuesday mornings 9.30am - 10.45am
Cost: 195.- CHF from September to Christmas
Note: Miriam is also planning an Easy English course for children aged 6 to 11. Please contact her directly should you be interested.

Monday, August 22, 2011

InterNations Networking Event in Lugano

“Our conference in 1945 did much more than draft an International agreement among 50 nations. We set down on paper the only principles which will enable civilized human life to continue to survive on this globe.”
Harry S. Truman is an International social network service designed with expatriates in mind. The website was founded by three young German businessmen. They had come to recognize the need for a global online network for expatriates when they were living abroad themselves. They decided to come up with a web-based dot-com solution to address issues like relocation, intercultural competence, cross-cultural communications and everyday life as an expat which today spreads over 230 cities worldwide.

“Connecting Global Minds” is the motto of InterNations. The term global mind refers to individuals with an International mindset, a multicultural background, or a place of residence in a location other than their home country.

InterNations are happy to invite you to their August 2011 Lugano get-together, to mingle, catch up with friends and meet new people.

InterNations is organizing a meeting on Wednesday August 24, 2011 from 7 pm onwards, at the SASSA BAR LOUNGE at Villa Sassa with panoramic view of Lugano and the Lake.

As usual, entrance is free, drinks are pay self (pay as you go/no tabs), and the Villa Sassa is offering a selection of finger foods.

For many guests, it’ll be the first InterNations event; quite a few people will arrive on their own. Please help make them feel welcome. If you see someone alone in a corner, it’d be great if you introduced them to your friends. In this way, we can share the spirit of connecting global minds, and every member will have a lovely time. Thanks!

Please register for this event by signing up at their site and by clicking the Accept Invitation button. Feel free to bring your International friends but please do invite them to sign up to InterNations, too.

Venue: InterNations Networking Event
Where: Sassa Bar LOUNGE at the Villa Sassa, Via Tesserete 10, 6900 Lugano
When: Wednesday, August 24th, 2011
Time: 19:00

Keep calm and carry on!

The Keep Calm and Carry On Poster, which was originally posted around Britain during World War II, has been making its rounds in the blog world in various versions for months now.

Upon the outbreak of World War II the British Government's Ministry of Information commissioned posters to be distributed throughout the country as a means of allaying public fear. Three different posters were produced and while the first two designs were widely distributed the third poster, simply bearing the words 'Keep Calm and Carry On' along with the royal crown, was held in reserve intended for use only in times of extreme crisis.

Although hundreds of thousands of these posters were produced, only a handful ever saw the light of day. Even now 'Keep Calm and Carry On' is a phrase which perfectly encapsulates the traditional British 'stiff upper lip'.

Posters are available in nearly every color imaginable on! From rugs to t-shirts, the age-old expression has made its way to every home and fashion accessory you can think of. Even plasters...

I'll do admit that on some of the slogans, I can't help but smirk at the interpretations of the poster. It has now made it to my computer with the "Keep Calm and Carry" On Laptop Decal.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

5 modern day movies about Expat life

Fed up with rainy days caved up inside eventhough it is summer....supposedly?!? Well, here are five suggestions for some great afternoon video sessions with your family.

The Last King of Scotland
Plot: A Scottish doctor who is relocated to Uganda and after a chance meeting with Idi Armin after a minor car accident, eventually becomes the personal physician of the dictator. The film describes how the lust-filled lifestyle of expat Nicholas Garrigan eventually leads takes a very sinister turn that leads him to commit acts he never thought himself capable of.

Insightful expat exchange:
Idi Armin: Look at you. Is there one thing you have done that is good? Did you think this was all a game? 'I will go to Africa and I will play the white man with the natives.' Is that what you thought? We are not a game, Nicholas. We are real.

Plot: A Seattle call centre manager is fired from his job and relocated to India in order to train his replacement. The film takes a comedic look at some of the cultural differences between the American and Indian cultures, while also sharing some more serious messages about the globalization of the world and life and love overseas.

Insightful expat exchange:
Manmeet: Why do Americans need these things?
Todd: Ah, they don't.
Asha: Then what is the purpose?
Todd: There is no purpose. In America, you can do whatever you want. You can be the President, or a scientist, or you can even invent novelties like (holds up novelty item)
Manmeet: (laughs) What is that man?
Todd: This? This is exactly what I'm talking about. See, maybe no one needs this, but in America no one can stop you from making it. This is the definition of freedom.

Lost in Translation
Plot: Lost in Translation describes the chance meeting between a well-known American actor, Bob, and a trailing spouse named Charlotte who is accompanying her celebrity photographer husband, John, while he is on assignment in Tokyo. The film focuses on Charlotte’s personal struggle as she attempts to see a future for herself as John’s wife while also finding a career with which she can be happy. Bob and Charlotte become fast friends, and as they explore the culturally rich landscape of Tokyo, their friendship threatens to develop into something more.

Insightful expat exchange:
Bob: What are you doing?
Charlotte: My husband's a photographer, so he's here working. I wasn't doing anything so I came along.
Bob: What do you do?
Charlotte: I'm not sure yet, actually.

Under The Tuscan Sun
Plot: San Francisco writer Frances Mayes flees to Tuscany suffers from major writer’s block after a difficult divorce and fears that she may never recover. To try and reignite her passion for life she takes a trip to the Tuscan town of Cortona in Italy and makes an unexpected purchase of a dilapidated Tuscan villa. The film describes the process by which Frances adapts to life abroad and develops new friends and relationships.

Insightful expat exchange:
Frances: Do you know the most surprising thing about divorce? It doesn't actually kill you. Like a bullet to the heart or a head-on car wreck. It should. When someone you've promised to cherish till death do you part says "I never loved you," it should kill you instantly. You shouldn't have to wake up day after day after that, trying to understand how in the world you didn't know. The light just never went on, you know. I must have known, of course, but I was too scared to see the truth. Then fear just makes you so stupid.
Martini: No, it's not stupid, Signora Mayes. L'amore e cieco.
Frances: Oh, love is blind. Yeah, we have that saying too.
Martini: Everybody has that saying because it's true everywhere.

How To Lose Friends And Alienate People
Plot: Sidney Young is an up and coming British journalist who is relocated to New York after an interesting incident in which he accidentally sets a pig free at a party. He finds that life in New York is anything but simple and successfully manages to get on the wrong side of every single person he comes into contact with. The film is fun and laidback and takes an amusing look at the life of a quintessentially British expatriate overseas.

Insightful expat exchange:
You know, when I told my wife I'd hired another Brit, she was excited.
She still thinks you're all like something out of Pride And Prejudice,
But after what she just saw in that room,
now she thinks you're a British person born in New Jersey.


And then of course there are always the great classics like Casablanca (1942), The Third Man (1949), The African Queen (1951) or The King and I (1956).

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mad about Macarons

The craze both sides of the ocean nowadays are macarons. The world seems to have discovered these marvellously light delicacies which dissolve on your tongue. The Swiss have been eating them for over 50 years under the name of "Luxemburgerli" made by Sprüngli.

Now you can try them out at home. Jill Colonna's new book "Mad about Macarons" will unveil all the secrets of French macaron recepies. Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe you can experiment with all sorts of other flavours (see Dark Chocolate filling). Arrange them on cupcake stands or create your own macaron dome birthday cake – a perfect way to dazzle your guests.

Macarons have a reputation of being devilishly difficult to make and accordingly, there’s a price tag to match.  But the process is straight-forward and fun in this colourful new book by Jill Colonna.  She explains simply and clearly her secrets so you can make macarons just like the French at home.

You will discover that making Parisian macarons can be the most gratifying and addictive of life’s little luxuries to make at home yourself.  Warning!  Once you start making macarons you’ll be hooked.

Bon appétit!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer Beach Party at Lugano's Lido

"Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability."
 Sam Keen

Join the spirit of a relaxing, fun summertime and get ready to party at Lugano's Lido Beach Party with DJ Vigor this Friday.

Enjoy good company at the Lido beach "Chiniguito", sip a succulent aperitivo, dine under a starry sky and chill out at the beach lounge. What better way to end your summer vacation?

Pareo, flip flops, bikini and great music... get ready to partyyyyyyyyyy!

Venue: iL LiDO
Date: Friday August 19th, 2011
Time: 19:00 - 1:00

Reservations for restaurant: 091 971 55 00
Reservations for privè: 079 820 94 90

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

World Youth Days in Madrid 2011

World Youth Day is a youth-oriented Catholic Church event. While the event itself celebrates the Catholic faith, the invitation to attend extends to all youth, regardless of religious convictions.

This year's World Youth Day is held over six days from August 16–21 in Madrid, Spain. I am not particularly religious but I happend to be in Madrid this past weekend and was amazed to see the sea of people exploring Madrid prior to the World Youth Days.

Another part of the Culture of WYD is the manpower that the events get from various volunteers from all over the world. Before a massive and gargantuan task that awaits them on August 16, the international volunteers of World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid arrive ahead of the pilgrims that flock to the city these coming days. There are over 30,000 volunteers with 30 different nationalities and countries including Mexico, USA, Portugal and the Philippines, that will help in organizing the events.

Following are some of my personal impressions.

Puerto del Sol

Fastest way to get around Madrid

KM 0 is where it all starts from


Spain's two religions: Catholicism and football

Plaza Mayor

Madird's Cathedral "Almudena"

Palacio Real

The aisle Letizia walked down when she wed the Prince of Spain

Madrid's Opera house where I met Iker Casillas (Real Madrid's goalie)

Madrid on a Saturday afternoon in August

WYD volunteers

My absolute favourite volunteer: el Gallego!

Everywhere you look: Madrid is declaring its faith!

For detailed info please check out the official WYD Madrid site: 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Chocolate muffins recipe

"If it ain't chocolate, it ain't breakfast!"

What better way to start your day than with a chocolate muffin? OK, I admit I have a terrible sweet tooth. These chocolate mufffins do the trick every time I feel a craving. They also make successful children's snacks or dinner party gifts. The recipe is as fast as it is easy. Even beginners cannot go wrong. So go ahead - have 1/2 hour to spare - indulge in some devine chocolate muffins.

100gr dark good quality chocolate
80 gr butter
130 gr sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
1 pinch of salt
2 eggs
1 dl milk
270 gr flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 table spoon sugar

1.) Melt chocolate in a double boiler then add melted butter and let cool slightly.
2.) Mix sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, eggs and milk in a bowl and beat until the mixture becomes lighter then stir in chocolate.
3.) Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda, add to chocolate mixture and blend together.
4.) Pour batter into prepared muffin cases, sprinkle with sugar.
5.) Bake in preheated oven at 180ºC for 15 to 20 minutes.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Ferragosto 2011

Ferragosto is an Italian holiday celebrated on August 15. This holiday is taken most seriously by every Italian – Non si tocca! Hands off!

The Catholic Church celebrates this date as a Holy Day of Obligation to commemorate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Before the Roman Catholic Church came into existence, however, this holiday was celebrated in the Roman Empire to honor the gods—in particular Diana—and the cycle of fertility and ripening. In fact, the present Italian name of the holiday derives from its original Latin name, Feriae Augusti ("Festivals of the Emperor Augustus").

But in practical terms, how do Italians have fun during Ferragosto? Well, it is quite easy to find a reasonable answer just describing the huge tables of “sharing food” they are able to create on the beaches, in the mountains, on the boats… pizza, cheese, lasagne, pasta, grilled fish, mussels, BBQ and everything that you ever came across in a typical Italian restaurant, added to good company, selected wines, sun and relax… from noon until midnight. And last but not least fireworks!

Ferragosto makes for great people-watching, as beautifully adorned, perfumed and blissfully confident Italians laugh, chat and sing, safe in the knowledge that they are with a host of people they know & love, as they enjoy yet another course.

The holiday often coincides with peak activity of the Perseid meteor shower, leaving Italians at a particular advantage to view the astral event seen best at pre-dawn hours.

So think about it for next summer ……Ferragosto, 15th August 2012 in Italy!

Buon Ferragosto!

The following video might make my Italian readers smile. Welcome to Ostia beach:


Sunday, August 14, 2011

IWCL teams up with MeetUp for a friendly aperitivo!

Welcome home to those of you who are back from holidays! To sweeten your return to Lugano following is an appointment which is sure to be fun!

After the holiday break the IWCL Evening Group is joining forces with Meetup to organize a relaxed aperitivo. You are invited to join them on Wednesday, August 17th at the Restaurant La Lanchetta for an informal get-together.

Meetup is the world's largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. Meetup's mission is to revitalize local community and help people around the world self-organize. Meetup believes that people can change their personal world, or the whole world, by organizing themselves into groups that are powerful enough to make a difference.

The Ticino Meetup group can be found under The Lugano English Speaking group. This group counts 229 members. Whether you just moved to Lugano from a foreign country or have been living in Lugano for a while and simply would like to speak, practice and/or improve your conversational English, this group is what you're looking for.

The IWCL Evening group will be catching up with Meetup ( The previous joint events have been a great success and many new friendships have been formed as a result.

Kindly be reminded to pay your bill in full before leaving the event (including any food).

Sabrina and Sandrine are looking forward to seeing you there, let them know if you want to come: Sabrina Nicod at or Sandrine Nelisse at

Where: La Lanchetta, Viale Castagnola 16, Lugano
When: Wednesday, August 17th, 2011
Time: 19:30

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Full Moon Weekend in Lugano!

“Tell me what you feel in your room when the full moon is shining in upon you and your lamp is dying out, and I will tell you how old you are, and I shall know if you are happy”
Henri Frederic Amiel (Swiss writer known for his masterpiece Journal intime, 1821-1881)

With a bit of luck the sunshine will stay with us this weekend, so we can enjoy a estival escape without leaving Lugano.

 aL LiDO, a restaurant, a disco-bar and a beach lounge right on the lakeside, where you can relax, taste a wide range of gastronomic products, sit back on the terrace and enjoy the spectacular view of the Gulf of Lugano. The Lugano Lido believes in an endless summer.

During the month of August they have set up a "Chiringuito", a beach bar where you can wiggle your toes in the sand while sipping at Mojitos, Caipirinhas, Caipiroskas, Fruit smoothies or drinking a simple beer. The lakeside terrace is transformed and becomes the scenery for after work drinks, dinners à la carte and outdoor disco bar with live DJs.

The Chiringuito is open from 18:30 to 01:00 from Thursdays through Saturdays. This weekend's full moon renders Lugano's beach especially romantic.

Venue : aL LiDO Lugano Beach Lounge, Castagnola 6, Lugano
Reservations: Ristorante: 091 971 55 00
Reservations: Privè: 079 820 94 90

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