Thursday, June 30, 2016

Old-fashioned technology

This video is priceless if you are from a pre-computer generation like myself. You know how kids get a kick out of it when adults can’t handle technology? Well, adults, this is for you...

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Language facts of Switzerland

Switzerland has four language regions: German, French, Italian and Romansch. Multilingualism is an integral part of Switzerland's national identity, however, that does not mean every Swiss is multilingual!

It is important to know that there are three official languages in Switzerland (German, French and Italian) but there are four National languages (German, French, Italian AND Romansch). Although Romansh is spoken by only some 10,000 people in certain parts of Graubünden, it has five distinct dialects: Sursilvan, Sutsilvan, Surmiran, Puter and Vallader.

Here are some more facts:

- German is the main language of around 64.9% of the population. However, they do not speak standard German but rather various Alemmanic dialects that are collectively known as “Schwiizerdütsch” (Swiss German).
- Swiss German is not a written language, although it is used sometimes in personal correspondence. Standard German is used for all formal, written communication.
- French is the main language of around 22.6% of the population.
- Italian is the main language of around 8.3% of the population.
- Romansch is the main language of about 0.5% of the population.
- Several cantons are multilingual: Bern (German-French), Fribourg (French-German), Valais (French-German) and Graubünden (German-Romansh-Italian).
- Swiss German is the most widely used language in the workplace (66%), followed by standard German (33%), French (29%), English (18%) and Italian (9%).
- Over 42% of the population over the age of 15 regularly use more than one language.
- Foreigners living in Switzerland also contribute to the country's linguistic diversity. English and Portuguese are the most commonly spoken foreign languages.
- Other commonly spoken foreign languages include Spanish, Serbian, Croatian and Albanian.

Monday, June 27, 2016

7 tips for better communication with your tweens and teens

Any parent of a tween or teen will know things change when the hormones kick in at puberty. If you throw an international move into the mix it does not make it easier. We may talk using words, but our looks, gestures and actions and even our silences all convey messages to our children.

At the end of the day, you know your child better than anyone, and you are best placed to help him/her. Below are some pointers to guide you on your way.

These tips are especially useful if you lead a mobile lifestyle, as having meaningful chats with your child during times of transition will help deepen your relationship, meaning you’ll both feel stronger.

1. Listen more than you talk
As philosopher Epictetus once said, "We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak."

2. Empathize with the child and his/her message.
Avoid giving instant solutions to your child. Advice can come later, when/if they ask for it.

3. Show acceptance
Clearly communicate acceptance of the child and what they are trying to say.

4. Talk with your child, rather than at him/her
Facilitate a two-way conversation, rather than giving a lecture. Children of all ages want to be understood, not preached to. They are also far more likely to take your advice on board if they have felt included in the conversation.

5. Request, don’t demand
Requests are best made in a simple, positive, one- or two-step process. Do not demand, ask kindly and with respect.

6. Treat your child as an equal
Communicate with your children at eye level, rather than from above. Take a seat together, or crouch down with young ones. This way the communication is both less threatening and more supportive. Going for a ride in the car together can work wonders!

7. Discuss change openly
If you are raising children who are growing up outside of their parents’ home culture(s) make sure you discuss each move with your child and prepare them for it.

It’s also crucial to remind your teen that friendship and love are never gone; their loved ones from a previous country or school are always there. Your teen can still communicate via email, Skype, telephone. Encourage him/her to take advantage of online technology.

.. and never forget... you lead by example!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A sunny Sunday in Caslano

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Love is in the air

Now here is an intriguing infograph that I stumbled upon... it supposedly shows you the best places to find love abroad. Hmmm? What do you think? Where did you meet your partner?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Lugano's LongLake Festival 2016

Summer has hit Lugano...finally... and with the beating heart of a Lugano summer, once again we welcome 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.

The 6th edition of the Festival, one of the biggest urban open-air festivals in Switzerland is ready to kick off! It will bring the city of Lugano to life for an entire month offering good music, shows, theatre, performances, encounters, street art, 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:

LongLake Rock’n’More Festival Lugano 
The Festival, entirely dedicated to live music, offers a rich international programme ranging from rock to pop, folk, indie, reggae and punk music.

LongLake Classica Festival Lugano
The world class line-up goes beyond the traditional classical music boundaries with original cabaret and crossover proposals. As a complement to the Festival, the appreciated Sunday matinées in the outstanding scenery of the Ciani Park and the great performers of the Cello Love review.

LongLake Buskers Festival Lugano
The street artists’ Festival which is an apparent delirium of freaks, artists, egos and musicians assembling and disassembling in an artistic harmony of beauty and fullness.

LongLake Urban Art Festival Lugano
A variety of arts initiatives aimed at connecting the residents to the urban background.

LongLake Family Festival Lugano
With a wide choice of events for families and children, the Festival proposes fairy tales reading, movies, magic and illusion shows.

LongLake Words Festival Lugano
This Festival gives voice to writers, actors, artists and other speakers who will interact with the audience. Within the Festival, words take on different shades and expressions when used in music, theatre, movies and images.

Not to be missed is the Mojito Tropical Lounge, a venue for anyone who wants to sip delicious aperitif or cocktail, listen to music and admire the spectacular view of Lake Lugano.

Venue: Long Lake Festival, Lugano
Where: Lake of Lugano
Date: From 23.06.2016 to 23.07.2016
For more info click here:
Click here for the detailed programme:

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Hit by a wave...

We are Expats, we have moved many a times, we have left homes and started anew with much enthusiasm and motivation in new locations again and again. However, there is a limbo in between these two stages that makes my heart sink every time I think about it. Once the movers arrive to pack my life up into boxes I know the moment is near when I'll need to step out of my front door never to return again.

It is like watching a huge wave heading your way. You can see it coming and you know once it reaches you it will hit you hard - really hard - but you also know you cannot avoid it, you NEED to get through it. The wave is a whirlwind of emotions all happening at the same time: vulnerability, happiness, sadness, relief, anxiety, enthusiasm, weariness, curiosity and eventually exhaustion. When you emerge the other side of this wave you are not the same person, something has shifted. You have closed a chapter of your life to start a new one. Your attitude with which you begin writing this pristine page will often set the tone of a more or less smooth settling down for you and your family.

Moving within the same city has been a new experience for me. Usually I get to close the door behind me one last time, rush to the airport and am in floods of tears before the plane even takes off! It is part of the mourning process, a way to bid farewell to a place my family calls home.

This time I climbed into an Uber taxi carrying a hoover and two pairs of curtains to ride 1 km down the road and walk into our new home, only problem is: it isn't home... not just YET!

Leaving our imprint on the flat through these marking of Expat kids' growth over the years!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

One day escape in Lugano

Lugano Tourism is offering some “all-inclusive” programmes at the tourist information offices to help you get the most out of the Ticino region.

The itineraries can be modified to best suit your needs. Starting and finishing points are only suggestive, so you’ll be able to organise your trips depending on your preferences.

Why not adventure on a fascinating excursion from Lugano to Casino? The trip includes a visit to the Fishing Museum as well as to the Chocolate Museum.

You could also take the cableway from Miglieglia to the top of Monte Lema and 10 minutes later, you’ll be rewarded with a spectacular view which will accompany you on your hike to Monte Tamaro. From Monte Tamaro, a cableway will take you to Rivera.

Or take a boat trip to Gandria, a romantic fishermen’s village, to visit the small hamlet and have lunch in a typical grotto. You may go back to Lugano either by boat or by taking the Olive Path, a pleasant walk back to town where you can stop for a swim and bask in the sun at Lido S. Domenico.

You don't have to be a tourist to enjoy these outings. Why not plan a fun afternoon with your kids when there are off school?

Download the brochure here:

Monday, June 13, 2016

It will be alright... or how to move a pink flamingo

After five years sitting tight enjoying a splendid view onto the Arc de Triomphe we are moving ... again! It is a weird move, at least for our family! We are used to crossing borders even continents, this time instead of travelling thousands of km we are moving 1000 meters down the road.

This still implies packing up the entire house and fitting your life into x amount of boxes. (I don't dare mention the number of boxes.) What I will say, however, is that it is scary to see your home - yes, that would be the one you spent days, months even years building and improving - being dismantled within hours ... by total strangers!

I usually avoid this part of the move. I will plan all the logistics, including insurance, parking spaces, freight elevator, labelling, wrapping personal items but just before the movers arrive I leave with tears streaming down my face. It is my hubby who takes over for a day in order for me to avoid seeing our home empty and desolate. I then pick up the other end rebuilding our family home for the umpteenth time!

This time around it is me instructing the movers to be careful, label correctly and answering their questions. I must admit it is easier knowing we won't be leaving our friends behind, we can still enjoy a scrumptious fois gras on a swanky Parisian terrace and stroll through Paris' lovely parks and museums knowing we are on home turf. We are NOT tourists! This is our home!

There I've said it out loud and written it down: Paris is our home. We have been living here for the past five years and will most probably remain for at least as many. That is VERY good going for perpetual expats such as ourselves.

But for now, I am listened to my kids playing hide-and-seek in between the many, many, many boxes and making make-shift goals to play soccer in a corridor stripped of family photos and emotional keepsakes.

Last week, a little token caught my fancy and on a whim I bought the transparent snow globe enclosing a miniaturized Tour Eiffel and a Pink Flamingo! I just could not resist and told myself it would help me to keep smiling should things get rough during the coming week.

I have looked at my little snow globe a few times this weekend while preparing our household for the movers to take over and my smile returned. An army of movers turned up at 8am this morning with their moving boxes and you'll never guess what was pictured on their cartons? A PINK FLAMINGO!

At the moment I knew it would all be just fine!!!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Meet Swiss Miss

Swiss Miss is my absolute favourite Swiss blogger despite the fact that she lives and works in New York.

Tina Roth Eisenberg, a Swiss born and raised graphic designer, runs four side-projects-gone- businesses out of DUMBO, Brooklyn; a collaborative co-working space called Studiomates, a global, monthly lecture series called CreativeMornings, TeuxDeux the simple to-do app and Tattly, a design-y temporary tattoo shop.

She is one busy and creative women. Come meet Tina and read her story how she turned several side projects into full time labors of love: Click here

Tina is often referred to as Swissmiss after her popular design blog which is also the name of her Twitter handle. Check out her Friday Link packs, they are full of eclectic tips and creative information.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Lugano's English speaking facebook page

Just in case you hadn't heard... Lugano's English speaking community has an awesome Facebook page. Ask any question or seek any kind of advice and you'll receive a stream of answers. Its members are truly passionate about sharing information with newcomers and "oldies".

Don't hesitate to organise a "blind date" with the IWCL Evening group or ask them where the coolest yoga session might be on a Thursday morning. Every day Lugano's Expat group will recommend fun and interesting things to do or places to visit. Should you be looking for info about parking outside of Malpensa Easyjet terminal or wondering where you can buy a 5kg jar of Nutella, they will have the answer.

On the ENGLISH SPEAKING IN LUGANO SWITZERLAND you'll find appartements to rent, recommendations for cleaning ladies and even new friends should you be inclined to party.

Maybe you have a hobby and are looking for clubs or others to join you, Lugano's English speaking community will find a solution.

So, if you are new to the area or just have a question on your mind, don't hesitate to post on Lugano's English speaking Facebook page... you'll be surprised at how happy they are to welcome you and how forthcoming to share their knowledge.

A big THANK YOU goes to Caroline Garrod who initiated this Facebook page with the aim to help by offering information as to what's going on in and around the area, where to buy things, services offered or needed, or advice such as doctors, dentists, kids clubs, sight seeing, etc.

Please join us and become part of the fun:

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Swiss abroad

Didi you know that one in ten Swiss nationals lives abroad.

In 2013, there were 730,000 Swiss nationals living abroad. Referred to as the ‘Fifth Switzerland’, the expatriate community makes up around one-tenth of the total Swiss population.

60% of Swiss expatriates live in Europe, predominantly in France and Germany. The United States, Canada and Australia are also home to sizeable Swiss expatriate communities.

Swiss citizens who live abroad can participate in Swiss political life. Some 570,000 Swiss expatriates are entitled to vote in elections and referendums.

From the 15th to 18th century, Switzerland's best-known exported skill was soldiering. Even in the 1800s, around 70,000 Swiss mercenaries were still in the employ of foreign armies. Poverty and religious intolerance in a number of cantons during the 18th and 19th centuries led to waves of mass emigration, particularly to North and South America.

Nowadays, most of the Swiss people who live abroad are professionals, students, researchers and artists, who have left Switzerland temporarily to continue their education or further their career. One in five Swiss expatriates is over the age of 65.

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