Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Ticino beaches praised in European report

More than 100 Swiss beaches have been rated excellent in a European-wide report on water quality.
In total, the European Environment Agency (EEA)'s bathing water quality report 2016 found 145 Swiss beaches to have ‘excellent' water quality.

Beaches rated ‘excellent' were clustered around the lakes of Lugano and Locarno in Ticino, as well as the lakes of Zurich, Hallwil, Zug and the eastern end of Lake Geneva.

All the more reason to head for Lugano's Lido to check out the wonderful fine sandy beach on the shores of Lake Ceresio, the heated Olympic swimming pool, the medium size swimming pool, the diving pool with trampolines up to 10 m high, the kiddies' pool with water games, the beach volley court and the five-a-side football pitch.

The weather conditions are perfect. Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts! And when the sun starts setting you can carry on relaxing at the Chiringuito Beach Bar open every day in good weather from 9:00am to 9.30pm.

Why not have a drink after work at the Al Lido Bar? Loosen your collar, slip off your high heels, feel the sand under your feet and pretend you're on holiday.

Lido di Lugano, Vle. Castagnola 4/6, 6900 Lugano

Opening hours:
May: Mo-Su 09:00-19:00
June, July and August: Mo-Su 09:00-19:30
September: Mo-Su 09:00-19:00

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Leave your mark at the Grand Tour through Switzerland

Breathtaking 4000-metre peaks, beautiful rolling hills, medieval towns, the roaring Rhine Fall: on the Grand Tour, the places of interest line up like pearls on a string. There is plenty to discover during the Grand Tour of Switzerland. Sometimes it is new, surprising or exciting, but whatever it is, it is always typical of this particular location.

Come and visit the many interesting attractions of the tour and let others know that you were there. There are different interactive stations where you can get active and leave “your footprints”. The Swiss tourist office has signposted and outlined the most scenic viewing points along the route. This overview makes it easy for you to find all the Grand Tour photo spots.

You can be part of the fun, just share your photos from the Grand Tour photo spots with the hashtags #SwissGrandTour and #INLOVEWITHSWITZERLAND.

For more detailed info click here: Grand Tour Switzerland

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

10 facts about Switzerland you should know

Following are 10 statistics you should know about Switzerland. 

Did you know the average Swiss travel 2'258 km by train each year? Mindblowing, considering the greatest length from east to west in this country is 350 kilometres!

Friday, May 19, 2017

StraLugano 2017

Don't miss the event that is synonymous to enthusiasm, solidarity, health, friendship and well-being. The StraLugano is a great week-end entertainment for families and sports fans. This year there is even a KidsRace over 700m, 1400m and 2100m for the little ones on Saturday.

Why not try the Charity Run? This 5km race is for mums and dads, grandparents, families and teenagers all in the name of a good cause. Everybody can manage 5km with little help from their loved ones!

For the more serious runners there is the 10k City run, the Relay Run and the half marathon all happening on Sunday.

Take a peek at the programme:

Saturday, May 20th, 2017
14:00               Piazza Manzoni - Opening Village Stralugano
14:00 - 20:00   Lugano Exhibition Center: Start number collection and late registrations
14:00 - 18:00   Piazza Manzoni - Dining & animation of the village
                         Registration and collect race KidsRun
14:00 - 20:00   Piazza Manzoni - Registrations Run4Charity 5km KidsRun
19:00                KidsRun: The race for children
21:00                Piazza Riforma - Lakeside - Check Run4Charity 5km

Sunday, May 21st, 2017
7:00 - 11:00    Lugano Exhibition Center: Start number collection
9:15                Piazza Manzoni - Warm Up SUVA for Halfmarathon
9:45                Piazza Manzoni - Lakeside - Starting ceremony with Swiss anthem
10:00              Start 2a Stralugano Half Marathon 21.0975 km and RelayRun
11:00              Piazza Manzoni - Lakeside - Early arrivals race Half Martahon
11:30              Podium and prizes of the 2nd Stralugano HM
12:00              Tent in Parco Ciani - Migros Pasta Party
12:15              Piazza Manzoni - Warm Up for SUVA City Run 10 km
13:00              Start CityRun 10 Km
14:00              Podium and prize giving 10 Km CityRun
16:00              Closing of the 12th edition of Stralugano

This event started out in 2006 with a little over 800 participants. I wonder how many will be taking part this year?

For more info click here: StraLugano 2017

I'll add this video of last year's StraLugano 
for all the people feeling homesick for Lugano like myself!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

10 family dinner question about moving

Late spring is the most delicate season for expats. It is the period when you are in limbo between knowing you will need to leave your current home at the end of the school year but having to sit out the time until you actually move to the new destination.

Here are ten family dinner questions in the weeks before you move to help open up the worries, concerns and excitement that the whole family is feeling for the upcoming move. Make sure each family member gets equal chance to answer. Parents and children alike, but try and get the children to start with their answers. This is a great way to animate lively and insightful conversations that will help you all understand where the rest of the family is at. Research the questions together that you can't answer and start solidifying your team spirit as a family. You'll need it once you get to the other end.

1.) What have been the best things that have happened here?
2.) Do you think we can do these things in our new location?
3.) What activities do you want to continue doing?
4.) Are there new things you would like to try at the new location?
5.) Moving means lots of changes. Sometimes we worry about things that will be new or different. Do you have some worries?
6.) How do you think we can help each other lessen our worries?
7.) Are you excited about moving?
8.)  What do you think will be different?
9.) What do you think you will like about the new location and its culture?
10.) Do you need help to work out the best way to say farewell to friends?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

10 tips to help your kids say goodbye

Moving abroad is tough at the best of times, as adults moving alone it is a great adventure to be embarked upon. But when you have children there are so many extra concerns to take into account. The adventure is no longer about you as part of a couple but how you will be as a family.

Helping your child relocate well is one more demand on you as a parent when you are already stressed, but it is essential to the family unit, in fact I think you will find going through these strategies will ease your stress, not add to it.

Following are Jump Overseas Top 10 tips to help children say goodbye to one location and hello to the next.

In the last month before a move, help your children by making sure you hit their top things to do locally before you go and also line up fun things to look forward to on arrival in new place.

Use your dinner time to talk through thoughts and worries in your heads about the move, and how to say good-bye. Here are 7 great Family Dinner Questions to get you started. Encourage your children to open up to their friends as well, as their friends will be having similar concerns, but without the parental support as their parents may not be aware of the upcoming move. It is consuming all your thoughts, but make sure you let others know too.

Ask your children who they want to spend extra time with in these last few weeks. Arrange a sleepover with their best friend(s).

Ask friends to write a postcard of a favourite memory they have shared together that can be taken with them to read after they have left. Or provide them with a stamp-addressed postcard to fill in and send in a few months to say hello.

Make a collage of the area, friends, activities, school and get all their friends sign it. Create memory books by looking through your photos and pick the important ones. Arrange them in a scrap book with titles for each picture. This is a great way with smaller children especially to take memories with you and being able to engage with them on an ongoing basis after you leave.

Create or buy gifts they can give to their friends, so they know they will not be forgotten. Or ask your children to choose something of theirs to give to their friends. And if you know their friends mum's well enough, ask if they would encourage their child to give something of theirs to my child. Picking one personal toy that they own and exchanging with a friend will help the feelings of keeping each other close. This is especially good with smaller children. Making friendship bracelets together. I wore mine for at least a year after repatriating as a 8 year old.

Purchase numerous school merchandise items and mementos of the region to take with you. This is the time to indulge them and be a tourist again! Enjoy the area, eat at your favourite restaurants, visit your favourite places and on leaving each say a quiet good-bye in your head and take a minute to stop and take in all the sights and sounds of the location. Take lots and lots of photos at these places. Fun places, regular activities, friends, schools, teachers, the route to school even…

Post a big poster sized paper sign on the fridge door. Divide this into two vertical columns. Title the left side with "What I'll miss about HERE*" The other side says "What I'm looking forward to THERE*". The comments are then added by all the family as they think of them, you are likely to find them funny, insightful, and surprising. This can bring out different worries than mentioned out loud at the dinner table, yet keeps the channels open. (*replace Here and There with the actual town names relevant to you.)

Write or record a “day in the life” journal entry with them as to what they do on a normal school week. What the routine is. As all too soon the new location will take over and they will forget what the previous life was like. Then get frustrated at not remembering, so record it now. Find the time. Yes I know there are a million other things to think about but this is HUGE in their lives and it must be noted.

Make sure they have Skype details swapped and test it between your houses there before you go. Then fix a date and time to Skype after you have left. It will help her leave and settle knowing she can keep contact with her friends.
If they are older still, setting up E-mail, Instagram and facebook accounts. Just make sure you are part of their circle.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

How to help your children settle abroad

Following is a lovely video about how to move abroad with a family. No client of HSBC, I must admit they have done an incredible amount of research on Expats across the globe.

In this video the talented, empathetic psychologist Kate Berger of The Expat Kids Club shares useful, effective insights for children living across cultures, to help them overcome the challenges and make the most of the benefits of moving abroad.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

20 Questions Every Woman Should Ask Herself

Nuturedmama is a life-examiner. She's been working with coaches and therapists for many years. She writes about her life because it helps her to understand it. It has also helped her to build a lot of self-awareness and understand how she functions in the world.

As a result, when something feels wrong or frustrating or difficult, Nuturedmama starts to question in order to identify what needs to change.

Have you ever taken the time to do that? I haven't... really.

Following are 20 questions to get to know yourself better. Don’t like the answers? Don’t have answers to some of them? Then that is where your work lies.

What do I really want in this moment?
How do I want to be loved?
Who do I need to forgive?
What is my superpower?
Am I in my body?
What did I love to do when I was a child?
Do I love myself exactly as I am right now?
What can I let go of?
What would I love to learn?
When was the last time I felt truly joyful?
Who is my community?
What is beautiful to me and do I have some of that in my life right now?
Do I know the sound of my own true voice?
What practice consistently brings me home to myself?
What do I want my legacy to be?
Have I planned for my own death, and my survivors?
What have I done for myself today?
What is my story?
How can I speak with more love today?
Can I ask a better question?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Six steps to a successful trailblazing expat spouse

All you Expat mums: ever wondered how to cope when the going gets tough? Mary Todd, a management consultant and expat wife herself, has identified six steps to transition through the expat cycle and thrive in an expat assignment.

To successfully apply the following steps requires an open mind and positive attitude, a desire to examine what makes you tick, a healthy dose of determination, a willingness to communicate openly with your spouse, a commitment to make the most of the situation and a group of family and friends to encourage and empathise.

Step 1: Build awareness
The first step is to understand how moving to a foreign country has affected you by considering all dimensions of your situation as dispassionately as possible. Use this example to prompt your own thinking.

Step 2: Accept need to change
Because so much has changed, an expat spouse needs to face the reality of reinventing herself. She does this by acknowledging that she is the one who has to adapt. Spend time looking through your personalised version of the example in Step 1 as you consider where and how you will change.

Step 3: Discover possibilities
With awareness and acceptance it is now time to take charge of your life again. Each individual has a blend of roles that forms part of her identity (e.g. mother, professional, mentor, wife, friend, care giver and so on), a personal set of interests, strengths, and skills and a range of motivating activities.

During Step 3, an expat spouse brainstorms possibilities for using or exploring her interests, strengths and skills in light of each role, in light of changed circumstances and personal motivators. Listing possibilities opens the way to new beginnings.

Step 4: Establish your focus
After working through Step 3, the challenge is not whether there are possibilities, the challenge is where to focus. During Step 4 an expat spouse sets priorities and makes choices based on her personal goals, motivators and constraints.

Step 5: Plan your steps
Dreams are seldom fulfilled without a plan. In Step 5 an expat spouse creates a structured, realistic plan to move ahead. Such a plan enables real change and a feeling of accomplishment.

Step 6: Work your plan
The final step is to work the plan. It is exhilarating and energising to have a realistic plan and to commit to action, one step at a time, against the plan. With imagination, commitment and a sound plan almost anything is possible.

With an open mind and deliberate effort, opportunities abound for an expat spouse: to develop latent talents, to do something you have never had time for, to take a different career direction, to build new skills, to return to school, to travel, to learn a new language or refresh one that is rusty, to get involved in community work, to learn about a new culture and traditions.

You will learn that by developing a personal plan with a long term perspective, you just might open yourself to a whole new approach to life.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Zürich is my home town

Feeling at home as soon as I step onto the plane in Charles de Gaulle airport

Thank YOU for letting me take three!!!

Looking down the river Limmat

Walking through the old town

View from the Lindenplatz

Hurray, the National circus Knie is in town

Memories of my childhood 

Old-fashioned window bars 

Zurich's symbol: the Grossmünster Church

St. Peter's Church with one of Europe's biggest clocks

Fraumünster Church famous for its Chagall windows...

... but there is much ...

... much more to be discovered!

Birchermüesli for breakfast...

... Chocolate for lunch...

... and Luxemburgerli for dinner! 

One of the many public lidos where I spent so many hours of my youth swimming in the lake.

Loving the Swiss vibes from a very familiar place.

Time to fly back to Paris.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Benefits of learning a language

Learning to speak a second language can be challenging, for sure, but that’s because you’re training your brain to do something much more complex than memorising new words and their proper pronunciations. You’re expanding your thought capability, in more ways than one.

Now, here comes the interesting bit... your brain actually gets bigger. Why?

A 2014 study titled "Age of language learning shapes brain structure" found the cortical thickness which is generally associated with higher intelligence of the bilingual brain is only altered when language learning happens later in life, after developing proficiency in their first language. The later a second language is acquired, the greater the effect on brain structure increase, the study found.

Given I learnt my last language at age 30, I might need to consider taking up a new language... as they say: It's never too late to learn!

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