Thursday, July 31, 2014

Switzerland is in your hearts or the 1.August speech 2014

Now that I am an "Auslandsschweizer" (Swiss abroad) yet again, I feel even more patriotic when 1.August comes around. During our expatriation to Argentina - years ago and feeling slightly homesick -  I insited that my newlywed hubby accompany me to the 1. August party held at the Swiss Club of Buenos Aires. I was the only person to speak Swiss German, the other guests turned out to be second or third generation Swiss with very little knowledge of German or Swiss German. However, it was there that I discovered that the President of the Confederation holds a speech specifcally for the Swiss abroad that is broadcasted thoughout all the Swiss Clubs across the globe. It actually reminded me a bit of the Queen's Christmas speech.

You will find below this year's message of greeting Address by the President of the Swiss Confederation Mr. Didier Burkhalter, Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs to the Swiss Abroad to mark the Swiss National Day 2014:

“Switzerland is in your hearts. You too have a place in Switzerland’s heart”

Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear fellow Swiss around the world,

The First of August is an opportunity to gather together, whether we are in Switzerland or abroad, out of love for our country, and for the men, women, and children who make it what it is. It is also an opportunity to wholeheartedly reaffirm the cohesion of our regions, languages, and cultures.

On the “Swiss Path”, which wends its way through the heart of our country, there is a section dedicated to each canton. And at the start, or the end, depending on where you begin, there is the “Square of the Swiss living abroad”. This square stands for a lasting part of Switzerland, in a world where challenges have taken on a global dimension: climate change, security, the environment, energy, resources, human rights, and not least peace...

You, the citizens of the “Fifth Switzerland”, strengthen our country. You lend it a voice, a face, and a presence around the world. You are growing in number too: in 2014 there are almost 750,000 of you. You really do constitute a Switzerland in the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Switzerland succeeds because it holds onto its values: freedom coupled with responsibility, dialogue, a taste for hard work, combined with modesty.

Switzerland is also successful because it is open. We have always traded with Europe and the world. Our nation was shaped by the major trade routes that run through it, which carried Swiss wool and salt from Africa. The Swiss have been travelling and settling around the globe for centuries.
The Swiss National Day is an opportunity to prepare our country for tomorrow. We do so, not just for ourselves, but above all to provide a better world for our children. Young people and their future prospects must be at the heart of our actions.

The Federal Council works to ensure Switzerland's security and prosperity in a safe and developing world. It is a long and often rocky path but a path to which we are committed through our constitution.

Switzerland has also undertaken various commitments through its increasing international assistance, its humanitarian efforts, new trade agreements, its ambition to consolidate and pursue the bilateral path with the European Union, its contribution to dialogue despite the crises, by chairing the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe this year.

Ladies and gentlemen,

You are clearly part of this Switzerland which succeeds by drawing on its values. Your ties to the country make it stronger. The federal authorities are aware of that: parliament is currently drafting a new law on the Swiss Abroad, which will build on its existing strengths and be oriented towards the future. Our network of embassies and representations is there to support you, by offering modern services such as the helpline or the guichet unique.

A new piece of legislation on Swiss education abroad has just been adopted to safeguard the future of Swiss schools. Young people travel, they are eager to explore, but they remain in our hearts ...
One of Switzerland’s key strengths is its education system, its blend of outstanding academic achievement and dual-track apprenticeships. Our country offers young people employment and further prospects; they are integrated through their work. The Federal Council wishes to share this experience with other countries and is equipping itself for one of the most rewarding fights: the fight to provide young people with jobs.

On this First of August I will be meeting young Swiss Abroad in central Switzerland. They are spending part of their summer here in Switzerland, and I look forward to seeing their smiles as they tell me about their ties to our country and their dreams for the future of our world.

More and more, young Swiss living abroad are taking part in federal votes. That is an important sign, because voting means building the future together as responsible citizens.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Fellow citizens of all generations, wherever you may be,

I hope you all enjoy this National Day, a day that we spend together ...

...because you can see it in your children's eyes and smiles: Switzerland is in your heart. And I assure you that you too have a place in Switzerland's heart.

The Swiss Club in Buenos Aires

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

1. August Brunch 2014

Switzerland's National holiday is approaching fast.

The 1.August Brunch has become a popular activity on our National Day. For the past 21 years Swiss farmers have been inviting city dwellers (Swiss and foreign alike) for brunch on a farm. Last year over 200'000 guests enjoyed the culinary adventure offered by 350 farms throughout Switzerland. Through this movement the farmers' families wish to promote a better understanding and sympathy of local agriculture by the city population.

The 1. August Brunch is an occasion that one should not miss. Hosted by selected Swiss farms who offer you a brunch, they will provide you with the opportunity to taste different kinds of cheese, meat, milk, bread, müesli and many other gastronomic specialities in a very particular atmosphere. You'll also have the certainty to try some excellent products with high quality standard's. If you're lucky you'll enjoy some typical Swiss music, meet a Swiss celebrity, be served out of a giant Roesti frying pan or admire some amazing National costumes. The kids will love all the direct contact with the farms' animals.

Book now for a brunch in one of the farms! Click here to find a list of Ticino's participating farmers.
For a detailed guide with info such as activites, animals or produce for sale click on the following link:

My favourite so far is: Alpe Duragno at the top of Monte Tamaro. See purple trail on map.
The Agriturismo Ponte di Vello in Breno looks intriguing. My friends recommend the farms on top of Monte Generoso.

As places in the farms are limited, registration is mandatory and better done early. You can register by telephoning the farmers directly before July 30th 2013. There are still quite a few spots left as of this morning. Please communicate how many children and adults you'll be. look for a brunch place near you here:

Venue: 1.August Brunch
When: Friday, August 1st, 2014
Time: 9:00 - 13:00
Price: CHF 20.- to 35.-
Directions: All participating farms will be signposted with the logo: «Brunch»
For more info:
Tel: 0901 56 43 43 on workdays from 8:00 bis 12:00 and from 13.00 to 17:00
or  091 851 90 90 for the Ticino.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

It's a serious matter

In continuation with my last post I thought I might jot down a few recurring facts I have observed with my family-in-law who visited us last week and that define a typical Southern Italian famiglia:

First and foremost: food is taken very seriously!
- Meatballs and spaghetti DON'T go together! This is a purely American invention.
- Always have fresh coffee boiling on the stove. Grazie mille for inventing Nespresso!
- Make sure you plan your meals ahead, preferably at breakfast or even better the night before during dinner.
- Have at least five different kinds of pasta stocked in the larder. Every pasta has its own sauce to go with it! No, spaghetti still doesn't go with meatballs.
- Be prepared to spend long hours at table.
- When you're NOT eating, be prepared talk about food all the time!
- Fuss over the bambini. 
- Make sure they get enough food. Follow them around the house with the plate - if need be - to make sure they eat enough.
- Prepare the fruit before your meal and stock it in the fridge to serve chilled.
- Stock up on wine and mineral water. Lots of it!

In general:
- Don't plan, improvise!
- Don't improvise when it comes to food, it's a serious matter.
- Forget about any kind of timing. "Andamento lento" is the rule. What are 15 minutes in a lifetime?
- Talk alot and laugh out loud!
- Skip museums and similar visits, food market so much more interesting!!!
- Invite friends over: the more the merrier.

As a general guideline: be nice to people and welcome friends anytime of the day. Even if they are friends of friends, friends of the family or family of friends. Where there is food for 10 there's food for 11.

I've gotta run now, my familgia is sitting downstairs like a pride of lions waiting for their next meal!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Around the World in 25 Children’s Books

Imagine taking your kids on a world tour without ever leaving the house. That’s the idea behind Spin the Globe: The Incredible Adventures of Frederick von Wigglebottom, a new travel-themed children’s book series. Learn the story behind author Edward Moldenhauer’s novel idea, plus get our picks for other great books that help kids explore the world.


The Spin the Globe series came from just that—spinning the globe. When author Edward Moldenhauer realized he needed fresh ideas for his kids’ bedtime stories, he had them point to a random place on the globe; wherever their fingers landed became the setting for his next tale. “One night would be about climate, the next would be about animals,” Moldenhauer explains. “My wife said to capture those moments before they were lost.” And thus The Incredible Adventures of Frederick von Wigglebottom was born.

Alice Springs, Australia

Frederick von Wigglebottom’s first adventure takes us to Alice Springs, a town in central Australia with heavy Aboriginal influences. “I tried to pick cities that are less well known, but big enough to have culture and unique characteristics,” Moldenhauer says. His geographical experience as a military intelligence agent—paired with extensive research about the sites—provides the factual base for each Spin the Globe story.

Trondheim, Norway

Mr. von Wigglebottom visits Norway on his next journey, learning about Viking heritage and Scandinavian history. Frederick always makes new friends on his trips, this time a pair of children named Nikolina and Erik (a sweet homage to Moldenhauer’s own kids, Nicole and Eric). Each book in the series features colorful illustrations, conversational prose, and a glossary of terms in the back, making Spin the Globe great for children—and parents—of all ages.

Paris, France

What’s not to love in a story about a 12-year-old boy living within the walls of a train station? But the award-winning illustrations are the real reason to pick up Brian Selznick’s creation: the book features more than 300 pages of pencil drawings depicting Parisian life in the 1930s.

Paris, France

We’d be remiss not to mention the other essential Paris-themed children’s book: Madeline. Whether readers are watching her visit tigers at the zoo or get her appendix removed, no one will ever forget the smallest of the 12 girls in two straight lines.

Prince Edward Island, Canada

Anne Shirley gives us the most idealistic version of Prince Edward Island possible, transforming the locale into its own magical character. Any kid will be begging to visit Canada after hearing about “The Lake of Shining Waters” and “White Way of Delight.”

Delhi, India

Monsoon depicts one girl’s thoughts and actions as she waits for India’s rainy season to begin. Through poetic language and dreamlike illustrations, author Uma Krishnaswami offers a sensory portrait of life in Delhi—the temple bells, oppressive heat, and hustle and bustle of the busy city streets.

Calabria, Italy

Strega Nona is one of the most popular Italian stories for children—and not just because it features infinite amounts of spaghetti. Tomie dePaola’s classic book may be fantastical, but it also wonderfully showcases the terrain, wavy roof tiles, and food of southern Italy.

Kyoto, Japan

Wabi Sabi is a kitten living a peaceful life in Japan, until she starts to question the meaning behind her name. When her master can’t give her a good answer, she sets out on a journey across Kyoto, discovering Mount Hiei, Ginkakuji, and the importance of beauty in unexpected places.

Moscow, Russia

The precocious little Eloise is known best for her antics at The Plaza Hotel, but she also spent time gallivanting around Russia. Along with her dog and Nanny, Eloise discovers Moscow’s marble subways, the Bolshoi ballet, and plenty of fur coats. The book also features one of Eloise’s greatest lines ever: “The Rolls is the only sports car I will drive in a Russian blizzard."

New York City

Before there was Night at the Museum, there was From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. This timeless book tells the story of two young siblings spending the night at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, exploring the details of this NYC landmark. Kids have been dreaming of overnight museum adventures ever since.

Rome, Italy

The Dodsworth series takes kids to on a different adventure in each book, led by the titular mouse and his sarcastic duck sidekick. In Dodsworth in Rome, the duo toss coins in the Trevi Fountain, compete in a pizza-throwing contest, and come dangerously close to repainting the Sistine Chapel.

Tibet, China

Tintin is perhaps the most famous cartoon traveler of all time. In this installment, he reads about a plane crash in the Himalayas and travels to the site in hopes of rescuing his friend who was on board. Rumor has it that Tintin in Tibet is author Hergé’s favorite story from the Tintin collection.

Peshawar, Pakistan

Under the Persimmon Tree tells the stories of two different people: Najmah, a young Afghan girl whose father is conscripted by the Taliban, and Nusrat, an American woman waiting out the war in Peshawar. As the two seek refuge and look for answers, their fates intertwine.

Johannesburg, South Africa

Thirteen-year-old Naledi and her younger brother, Tiro, leave their village to find their mother in Johannesburg, revealing the culture and landscape of South Africa along the way.

Ch'ulp'o-ri, South Korea

In this Newbery Medal–winning book, young Tree-ear works for a master potter in the village of Ch'ulp'o-ri, South Korea. He takes a long journey to the royal court to get commission for his work, determined to prove himself—even if it means arriving with nothing to show but a single celadon shard.

San Francisco, CA

In Fly High, Fly Low, two San Francisco birds hatch some eggs in a very unconventional place—the letter “B” in the sign on top of the Bay Hotel. This Caldecott Honor book features breathtaking vistas of classic San Francisco sites.

Saigon, Vietnam

This Newbery Honor book was inspired by author Thanhha Lai’s childhood experience of fleeing Vietnam after the fall of Saigon and moving to Alabama. The young protagonist not only gives a child’s-eye view of immigration, but also a realistic portrayal of the sights and thrills of Saigon.

Olst, Netherlands

After World War II, there is little left in Katje’s town of Olst. But one spring day, the postman delivers a box of food and clothing from a girl in America, beginning an international correspondence that's full of surprises.

Basra, Iraq

Alia Muhammad Baker, a librarian in Basra, struggles to save her priceless collection of books after war breaks out in Iraq. This true story teaches powerful lessons about the life of women in the Middle East and the universal love of knowledge and literature.

Berlin, Germany

This is the true story of seven-year-old Mercedes, a girl living in West Berlin during the Airlift, and Lt. Gail S. Halvorsen, a pilot who would drop nourishment and supplies to the children below. The book’s youthful tone and evocative paintings help portray life in 1948 Germany.

London, UK

Ever since Michael Bond first wrote about Paddington in 1958, the marmalade-lovin’ bear has become a staple in the children’s literary canon. In his first book, Paddington’s adventures take him all over London—on the Underground, to the theatre, and, of course, to Paddington Station.

Beijing, China

Little Leap Forward is a coming-of-age tale that brings to life the era of China's Cultural Revolution. A young boy growing up in the hutongs of Beijing in the 1960s discovers the heartache of loving and having to let go when he captures a bird, only to discover that she will not sing in confinement.

Vienna, Austria

This installment of the Magic Tree House series takes us to Vienna, Austria, during the 18th century. Set against the backdrop of the famous Schönbrunn Palace, this book is packed to the gills with history, mystery, and magic.

Chicago, IL

In this nearly wordless picture book by Elisha Cooper, a young beaver is accidentally separated from his family. Beautiful pencil-and-watercolor illustrations depict Beaver’s efforts to find his way home, highlighting the landmarks and busy street life of Chicago along the way.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Container Lugano: a beach in the city

Feel like sticking your toes in the sand? Look no further, just head towards Lugano's lakeside (La Riva Caccia) and look out for one or more maritime containers. Yes, the sort that you see unload and load on ships in ports all over the world. To do what? To turn them into mini-beaches, such as is seen in Paris, for example.

Inspired by the great cities of Europe, Lugano also will have its own container of emotions. Appetizers and trendy music will be featured during a non-stop, action-packed 16-day programme.
Their facebook page has caused quite some hype in town as has their advertising campaign.

Have I peaked your curiosity? Well, it all starts tomorrow, July 19th, 2014. The grand Opening will be at 17:00. You'll experience Lugano's first Beach Bar ever. Have fun!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Nutella Croissant Pudding recipe

Sunday morning usually contains a family breakfast with pancakes or waffles. This morning I thought I'd try something new. We're on holiday so let's go over the top a little. Easy to make even for little hands:

Nutella Croissant Pudding

3 croissants
6 big tablespoons of nutella
¼ cup pecan halves
2 eggs
1 cup thickened cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup caster sugar
1.) Preheat oven to 180C fan forced
2.) Cut croissants in half lengthways
3.) Spread two heaped tablespoon of nutella onto one side of each croissant
4.) Put halves back together and then cut croissant in half to make six pieces
5.) Place croissants into a small ovenproof dish
6.) Sprinkle pecans over croissants
7.) Add custard ingredients into a large jug and whisk to combine
8.) Pour custard mixture over croissants
9.) Press each croissant into custard mixture
10.) Cover with foil and bake in oven for 25 minutes
11.) Remove foil and bake for a further 10 minutes or until golden
12.) Serve warm with icecream

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Long Lake Festival Lugano 2014

The beating heart of the Lugano summer is once again the LongLake Festival. Over 250 events and outstanding guests will enliven the city, its squares, streets and parks each and every day for almost a month. So, what are you waiting for? Head down towards the lake shore this weekend and be part of the fun!

The 4th International Festival proposes entertainment, theatre and dance shows, concerts as well as a lot of activities for kids. To better acquaint yourself with the ongoing events, the LongLake Festival has been split in six different Festivals:
Rock’n’More Festival Lugano
Classica Festival Lugano
Buskers Festival Lugano
Urban Art Festival Lugano
Family Festival Lugano
Words Festival Lugano
and many other side events Plus.

You'll find the daily programme in English here:

For an extensive programme in English click here:

The Family Festival offers a wide choice of events for families and children, it proposes fairy tales reading, movies, magic and illusion shows. For a programme in English, click here:

Download the official app of the Long Lake Festival here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Free online multilingual support

Reading is so important for language learning and there are several fantastic websites that offer free books and activites in several languages.

Maria has collated and excellent list of websites where you can find a suitable children’s book in your language:

Michele has found Spotify to be useful for finding audios of nursery rhymes and stories – note that the stories will be interspersed with adverts if you go for the free option:

Frances uses audio books to teach her children to read Spanish:

In Amanda‘s post you can find information about her five top favourite Chinese learning apps:

Annabelle writes about her family’s favourite iPad apps to support her childrens language development:

Monday, July 7, 2014

Navigating the seven Cs of multilingual parenting

Did you know there are seven "C's" of successful multilingual parenting: communication, confidence, commitment, consistency, creativity, culture and celebration. These are core components for successfully passing on a family language to the next generation.

Rita Rosenback, spills her secrets in the book entitled “Bringing up a Bilingual Child”. Children and languages are her passion, and she has written this book for parents and carers in families with more than one language.

It is an easy-to-read guide with practical advice for parents raising bilingual children. In addition to the down-to-earth hints and tips, she also tells you about her family’s journey and how her daughters acquired their languages. The Special Edition contains two additional chapters – the first one list ideas on how to engage your child to speak your language and the second is a list of encouraging thoughts for when you need them the most.

If you would like to read more about bilingual child raising check out her blog:

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Voilà ma Suisse!

Now, here is a summer project if ever there was one: "Voilà ma Suisse".

Ever heard of a crowdsourcing project? Until October 2014, you can borrow one of ten Mazda cars - kitted out for filming, thanks to streetview cameras - and film your favorite spots in Switzerland on a trip up to 30km.

Discover a colourful, multi-faceted Switzerland, like you've never seen before. Become part of Switzerland, reserve your trail along with the Street View car of your choice and tell your own story. Do you know an exceptional story, a special place or an adventourous track? Then go ahead and contribute!

Photos and personal videos are obviously welcome, since the idea is to share your unique experiences, favourite spots and personel tips on social networks and the internet.

To participate, you must register. I highly recommend you visit the site "This is my Switzerland". Click here and let the fun begin:

The only little hick is that the site is in Switzerland's three Official languages and not in English!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Italian Hand Gestures RAP

Take a look at this video and tell me what the American Consulate in Milano was thinking. This crash course on Italian Gestures will teach you how to talk with your hands like a real Italian. I am wondering if the Ambassador is in the loop?

Here are the 16 gestures:

I am hungry
You are crazy
This is perfect
Time to go

There is nothing
I don't care
Full of people
Are you scared?

Have some water
Drink some wine
Get a coffee
Take your time

This and that
So and so
What do you want?
You must go!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...