Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Carnival outfits for kids

Are you ready for the most important event of the year? You knew Brazil has a carnival tradition and that Basel and Luzern have a long-standing love affair with Carnival but did you know that the Ticino also has its history with this annual festival?

Well, Soazza started celebrating last Tuesday, while Goss Lostallo starts today. "Rabadan", Bellinzona's carnival, starts on February 27th and is Ticino's biggest event. Lugano's "Ul Sbroja" kick-off date is February 24th, 2014.

The local schools usually celebrate Carnevale and your kids will not want to miss the fun of dressing up and walking around town. If you are still searching for a costume, here are some places to shop:

L'Allegra Bottega in Tesserete:
Patchwork in Bellinzona:

Or else, the online option is:

For a list of all Ticino Carnevale dates click here:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Your pet on a Swiss stamp?

Did you know you can personalize your own stamps? It's all online, you don't even need to go to the post office. It's a fun personal touch I indulge in for Christmas cards and newsletters.

Now is your chance to participate in the grand WebStamp easy competition held by the Swiss Post. They are searching for the most amazing animal photo of Switzerland! Upload a successful snapshot of your favorite animal or pet and win great prizes.

Among the top 18, a jury will select the 5 winners. The main prize is the premium WebStamp easy starter: an iPhone 5s for photography and a printer with labels. You'll be able to print your own stamps on

No animal photo? No problem, even if you only wish to vote you can win. Every day Swiss Post gives away 3 coupons from or for a value of CHF 50 each.

Hurry competition ends until 13 February! Click here to start:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Skiing for your kids

Admittedly, the snow has disappeared in Lugano already but we are all hoping for some more before the Carnevale holidays start in February.

If you are looking for an affordable and excellent Ski Club for your children and teens as a weekend activity, then check out the Ski Club Monte Lema. They take the children to various Ski resorts on a Saturday and give them classes all day. You pay a basic membership and approx. 55 chf per whole day including transport, classes, lift tickets. As a good Swiss tradtion you carry your own lunch "Al Sacco" or you can eat at the restaurant at your own cost. I have been told that the staff are fantastic with the kids. Their pick-up sites are Novaggio, Magliaso and Bioggio at about 07:00 and they are dropped off around 18:00.

Next Saturday, they are actually going all the way to Davos, one of Switzerland's finest ski areas. For more info click here: Beginner skiers and snowboarders are also welcome.

You can e-mail them in English at or call Mirko Degiogi at 091/606'56'92.
The website, unfortunately is only in Italian:

As the Swiss Germans would say: Ski Heil!

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Have you heard? There's a new kid in town? It's very easy to be his friend and he is looking for Expats as well as local companions. He is very flexible and full of information. He will always try to be useful to you. You can turn to him any time of the day or night and he'll lend you a listening ear. You can always approach him with a question or a concern. You can tell him insider secrets and local tips. He can give you advice and will spark your interest for new adventures. He will keep you up to date. He will also introduce you to people living close to you and have similar interests.

I am talking about the new facebook group called EXPATS IN LUGANO SWITZERLAND. It is a new group where we can all share ideas and information about whats going on in Lugano. Also if you have anything to sell or your are looking to buy anything, recommend a service or just want to ask a question or post something funny to brighten our day. After only one week, are over 100 members already. Please come check it out and add your friends, the more the merrier!

Click here to join:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Davos' Do's and Dont's

The World Economic Forum starts today in Davos.

Although this event probably won't influence any of your daily routines - except maybe listening to the news about the day's conclusions by heads of state and business leaders -  I couldn't resist sharing this charming little video with Richard Quest, my favourite journalist, about the dos and dont's of Davos.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Third Culture Kids books

Third Culture Kids is one of the best books written about expatriate children. It defines what a third culture kid (TCK) is and discusses some of the problems and feelings they experience as well as the results of all the moving around!

Club Expat: A Teenager's Guide to Moving Overseas is written by two expat brothers who wrote the book while attending Yale. This book is the culmination of experiences of students all around the world and of broad consultations with dozens of experts in the field of international relocation.Check out what both kids and adults have to say about this resource on the comments page.

Expat Teens ‘Talk’: is a book aimed to support Expat Teens with the real life challenges they are confronted by as a result of having an transient, International life. Expat Teens worldwide were invited to write their stories, experiences, challenges, fears and issues as a result of their lifestyle and in response would receive solutions, advice and support from responding groups of Expat Peers, Expat Parents and Expat Professionals. In a nutshell, it is a supportive ‘self help’ book for Expat Teens.

Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child: The only thing you can be sure you can move around the world is your child's ability to increase his or her interpersonal skills. In today's global world, each of us is searching for effective tools that can help our children to thrive. Emotional Resilience for the Expat Child provides a step-by-step guide that is designed to increase a child's emotional vocabulary and emotional intelligence. Doing this will enable your child to achieve his or her fullest potential. The bond between an adult and child is key to the psychological health of the child. For the expatriate child, this bond is more vital than ever. This workbook has been created for you to use together and will provide the perfect place to connect for you and your family.

Home Keeps Moving: This tale follows Heidi and her missionary family on their many moves through the eyes of a Third Culture Kid (TCK) and the unique phenomena of having four very different home countries to relate to. It tells the true story of being catapulted from continent to continent constantly: leaving friends and starting all over again, her unquenchable search for a home and sense of belonging in this world.

Raising Global Nomads: Parenting Abroad in an On-Demand World gets 5 stars all the way. This book specifically for parents relocating with children really hits the mark with readers.

The Art of Coming Home by Craig Storti: Expecting that home will be the way it was when you left? Are you instead shocked to discover that both you and home have changed? The Art of Coming Home offers the solid advice you need to reduce the stress of the transition experience.

GenXpat: The Young Professional's Guide to Making a Successful Life Abroad by Margaret Malewski
Are you a young, mobile professional looking to start a life abroad? Then GenXpat, The Young Professional's Guide to Making a Successful Life Abroad is the guide for you!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Play, learn, and explore together

It's been a while since I've posted some app suggestions for kids, so here goes:

The Human Body is the first app in the Tinybop Explorer's Library. Everything, from the bones and brain to cells and veins, is animated by particle physics in this interactive playscape. Children can poke, probe, and examine the skeletal, muscular, nervous, circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems. Each app contains a recording tool so you and your child can ask questions, listen, and respond to each other.

Barefoot World Atlas is a magical, interactive 3D globe that invites children to explore the regions and countries of the world, discovering 100s of fascinating features and immersing themselves in the rich wonders of our planet.

Geographer and BBC TV presenter Nick Crane is your guide as you fly at will around this beautiful globe, created by artist David Dean. Explore the world’s continents, great oceans and changing environments. Meet different people around the planet and find out about their way of life. Encounter amazing wildlife, and discover landmarks, natural features and famous buildings.

The pack comes in English, French, Spanish, Catalan, Japanese, German.

Inside the app you’ll find 29 game cards, each illustrated with an animal and a letter. Each screen contains its own unique animal game, with each animal representing a letter. ZOO Alphabet invites your child to play along with these animals as they run, jump, hide, play, hunt, and even change color. ZOO Alphabet features two modes of play. Children can practice and learn the letters in the study mode or take a quiz in the quiz mode. Quiz mode provides your child with immediate feedback – helping him or her correctly memorize the letters.
And the best part: it comes in 11 languages including Russian, Chinese and Japanese.

4.) NINE IN ONE childrens' games:
This free games package brings 9 of our cool children games for you to try at no cost!
You'll find:
Logic and Logic Advanced games
Peekaboo: Find Hidden Characters game
Tangrams game
Mosaic game
Memoria game
Juicy Math and Juicy Math: Multiplication and Division games
Mathlandia game

Have a good time and enjoy playing with your children!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

MusicNet Lugano 2014

If you like music and are searching for a different and quirky activity this weekend, why not head down to the Centro Esposizioni in Lugano.

MusicNet is the only Expo-Event in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland entirely dedicated to music.
A unique trade show that brings together different generations and proposals, all connected to music and the many ways to experience it, under the same roof: exhibitors’ booths, show cases, concerts, shows, workshops, dance contests and performances without neglecting arts and leisure. The growing success of MusicNet, that in January 2014 will open its doors for the fifth year in a row, has brought over 18,000 visitors last year.

The trade show has a wide area for exhibitors working in the music industry such as radios, music and instruments stores, bands, music schools, dance schools, labels and artisans that will have the opportunity to display and promote their products.

Concerts and showcases featuring local groups and renowned international guests will take place in the main hall. An area is dedicated to dance fostered by Ritmo Costante where youths and adults will have the chance to learn different dances through workshops, show cases, entertainment, performances, contests and much more.

There are many proposals for the youngest ones as well, who will be introduced to the thrilling world of music by involving them in creative workshops and other activities.

Venue: MusicNet Lugano
Where: Centro Esposizioni, Via Campo Marzio, 6900 Lugano
When: Friday, Jan 17th from 18:00 to 01:00
Saturday, Jan 18th from 14:00 to 01:00
Sunday, Jan 19th from 14:00 to 22:00
Price: Single entry ticket CHF 10.-, 3 days ticket CHF 23.-

Here's the programme:
18:00 - Inaugurazione con taglio del nastro da parte dell’Onorevole Lorenzo Quadri. Madrina dell'evento: Iris Monè.
18:20 - Apertura area espositiva
19:30 - Palco ai Giovani Winter Session
22:15 - Alma Latina
23:30 - DREAMSHADE in concerto
00:30 - After Party allo Studio Foce

14:30 - Palco ai Giovani Winter Session
21:30 - Laccioland Company (estratto dallo spettacolo Cre/Azione)
22:30 - Contest di breaking
23:30 - THE ELECTRIC SWING CIRCUS in concerto
00:30 - After Party allo Studio Foce

14:30 - Palco ai Giovani Winter Session
14:30 - Zumba Party con Jorge Borja
20:30 - La Milonga
23:30 - THE DI MAGGIO CONNECTION in concerto

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Searching for Sugar Man in V.O.

The Oscar-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man tells the almost unbelievable story of a Mexican-American songwriter whose two early Seventies albums bombed in America, but who wound up finding a huge audience in Apartheid-era South Africa. Sixto Rodriguez had no idea he was a legend there until a group of fans found him on the Internet and brought him to the country for a series of triumphant concerts. But while Searching for Sugar Man is a fantastic film, it only grazes the surface of Rodriguez's life story.

Searching for Sugar Man was the opening film at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2012, where it won the Special Jury Prize and the Audience Award for best International documentary.

Did I tickle your interest? Well, tomorrow night, in order to kick off Lugano's MusicNet - the only Expo-Event in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland entirely dedicated to music - you have the chance to watch to film in it original version at Lugano's CineStar. Don't miss this unique opportunity. Click here:

Venue: Music Net event Searching for Sugar Man
Where: Cinestar, Via Ciani 100, 6900 Lugano, Tel. 0900 55 22 02
Date: Thursday, 16.1.2014
Time: 20:45
Entry: CHF 15.-

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

And the best country to be an expat is ...

China and Thailand are the two best countries to be an expatriate, according to a recent study by British bank HSBC that looked at economic opportunities and quality of life for expats in 34 countries.

They're followed by small, rich countries known for their globalized business classes. In descending order, they are: Switzerland, the Cayman Islands, Bahrain and Singapore.

Where could the worst place be as an expat? Egypt, it's xenophobia rose considerably since last summer's military coup as has a wave of populist nationalism. Many don't even want to go on holidays there anymore.

Switzerland has the most favorable economy for expatriates.What a suprise? NOT! That is why it is so difficult to get yourself posted to Switzerland. It's like winning the jackpot.

Although to be honest I wouldn't mind a couple of years in the Cayman Islands or Singapore.

This map shows how the 34 countries compare on economic opportunities and quality-of-life for expats. It does not include the metrics on child rearing. Apparently Germany is the best for raising expat children. I'd argue that.

Bluer countries are better for expats and redder countries are worse:

It seems that Asia's developing economies are very favorable for expat life. Companies in these countries prize expat workers and tend to pay them 15 percent more, the report explains. This, combined with lower costs of living, can give expats much higher spending power than they'd enjoy elsewhere.

A big surprise here may be the countries of Western Europe, which despite their wealth and high standards of living are considered among the worst countries to be an expat, according to the study. The report cites high taxes and costly services. The European Union's ongoing financial problems also mean that salaries are less competitive, particularly compared to the higher cost of living.

So, if you had a choice where would you move to?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Do you fit in?

Following Friday's facts about the world's Expats, here is an infogramme by Feedbacq Movers which gives you a pretty good visual perspective of where we fit in!?! 

Ah, now there is the question: do we fit in???

Friday, January 10, 2014

World Expat Population in numbers

How to start the new year? I am not a believer of New Year's resolutions that nobody ever sticks to, I therefore decided to share some info that concerns all Expats. Some of us will be moving on this year others will stay put, happy or not.

Did you know that:

1.) There were a ‘mere’ 73 million expats worldwide in the year 1960, that figure now stands at a staggering 230 million!

2.) Expats make up 3.1% of global population.

3.) If all the expats of the world were to form an imaginary country, it would be the 5th most populous country in the world. I love this one! I did not realize there were SO many of us!

4.) Lets call it the United States of Expatriates. Its population would be greater than large countries like Russia and Brazil.

5.) A human chain made up of all expats would be long enough to circumnavigate the globe – a distance of nearly 25,000 miles!

6.) Women make up 49% of the expat population worldwide, i.e., nearly 113 million, more than the population of Canada and the UK put together!

7.) The total expat remittances to developing nations amounted to US$ 328 billion in 2012, thereby propping up the economies of those countries.

8.) The top recipient countries of expat remittances are India, China, Mexico, Philippines and Nigeria.

9.) The Top 5 countries with the highest share of expats in total population are Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Jordan and Singapore.

10.) It is interesting to note that the top 3 countries with the highest percentage of expats in the total population are all oil rich middle-eastern countries.

11.) There are 6.32 million American and 4.7 million British expats living abroad. Roughly 700'000 Swiss live abroad.

12.) In the time taken for you to read this, 6-7 expats would have moved abroad for the first time! This sounds scary!!!

If you're interested in the details it is amazing the info you can find online:

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