Thursday, December 31, 2009

HAPPY NEW YEAR

I searched the internet for some words to say to you in this special day - that's what I found:

I wish you health,
So you may enjoy each day in confort.

I wish you the love of friends and family,
And peace within your heart.

I wish you wisdom to choose priorities,
For those things that really matter in life.

I wish you generosity so you may share,
All good things that come to you.

I wish you happiness and joy,
And Blessings for the New Year.

I wish you the best of everything,
That you so well deserve.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYBODY

Monday, December 28, 2009

Winter time




I am not enthusiastic about Winter, you know that, much less of snow, cold and short days. But then, when I'm spending a day up in the mountains, I think that it's not sooo bad after all. All is white, the vibe of the people is cool and when the sun is shining then everything seems so beautiful. Promptly, I start thinking about spending one week up in the mountain... and get really enthusiastic about my idea until... I hear how much it costs which makes me think about what I could do with this money during summer time and this brings me directly to the (usual) conclusion: one day (two days max) per season is fine with me. I save the money for something else (like another trip to the States??).

Saturday, December 26, 2009

the last days of 2009...

Wenn dann der Weihnachtsrummer (endlich!!) vorbei ist, alle Geschenke ausgepackt, der Kühlschrank (fast) leer gegessen, dann beginnt, meiner Meinung nach, die schönste Zeit. Nicht aufs ganze Jahr gemessen natürlich (der Sommer schlägt nichts und niemand!) sondern nur auf Christmas bezogen.
Ab dem 26. tickt die Welt anders. Oder zumindest fühle ich das so. Es kehrt Ruhe ein. In den sechs letzten Tagen des Jahres tickt die Uhr anders. Langsamer. Ich beginne nichts Neues (es lohnt sich ja nicht), ich erledige auch nichts Altes (das mache ich dann noch - später, im neuen Jahr). Diese sechs Tage gehören nur mir. Dann kann ich machen, was ich am liebsten will. Kein Druck. NADA.

Nach dem Silvester ist das Gefühl ein anderes (obwohl ja dann meistens auch noch ein paar arbeitsfreie Tage folgen). Doch dann ist schon das neue Jahr und in meinem Kopf wirbeln dann immer die neuen Ideen und so weiter.

Das fühle ich jetzt nicht. Nie wie in diesen sechs Tagen fühle ich mich so ... schwerelos.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The English language

I've overheard a conversation between two mums. I was doing some shopping and kind of HAD to eavesdrop because they were talking in English and these days my attention is drawn to English speaking people.

One mum was saying how wonderfully well her child was doing in kindergarten. bla bla bla. I supposed that she was a Swiss German lady (her accent gave her away).
The other mum (accent of some Eastern European country), of course, had a wonderful child as well who was doing even better in kindergarten (you know how mums brag about their children in public and then when you meet the kids at home... it's a whole different story ... ha ha). The discussion (or showing-off) goes on and on (I couldn't decide on which flakes I should buy - I didn't eavesdrop on purpose - I SWEAR!).

Then I hear the first mum say: "You know, she is so ancient."
I don't remember what else she said or in which context but this one word made me laugh (inwardly, of course!).

I suppose she wanted to say "altklug" "precocious" but then she kind of translated only one part of the German word "alt" and choose the wrong English word "ancient" which, by the way, means "antik".

Or maybe I got it wrong and they were talking about furniture the whole time?????

Saturday, December 19, 2009

American Christmas trees




I've been back a couple of days now and I'm slowly getting used to the European way of life again.

I must admit though that the American are quite better at decorating their Christmas trees. We, over here, have no chance. NOT A SINGLE CHANCE. The American decorations are so... how should I say? ... opulent? rich? fanciful? We Europeans can try to have our trees look like the American cousins but the goal is unreachable.

Look at the pictures I took of the Christmas tree of the Inn in Wilmington I was staying at.
Wonderful, don't you think? And as I said: UNREACHABLE.

White Christmas


It's snowing. I like the feeling of the world outside when everything is white and quiet. When it's snowing the world seems a better place. The rythm of the hectic city gets slower, people are nicer (because, I suppose, when they look at the snow they feel like kids again) and car drivers are less hectic.
A white wonderful world.

Something is funny though during winter time. When all the trees have lost their leaves, the unexpected appears. Like in the bush in front of my window. I couldn't believe my eyes when I noticed this football (a European football, not the American version :-)). I HAD to take a picture.
Don't you feel a kind of pity for him? He must have been loved by someone and then they just left him there, in the bush, on the street. Poor little thing...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Some thoughts during an insomniac night due to jet lag

2 am: I should be sound asleep by now but I can't. I hate jet lag.

2.10am: I open my eyes. Who am I kidding? I can't sleep.

2.15 am: I turn on the lights, decide to read a chapter in my book. Maybe that will get me sleepy.

3 am: Read even two chapters. Still not sleepy. Decide to turn off the lights. I MUST sleep.

3.20am: I start to think about... STOP don't think. Otherwise, you won't sleep at all.

3.25 am: My mind and my body tell me that it's only 9.25pm and I am not sleeping at 9.25 pm - usually!

3.30 am: I f... hate jet lag

5 am: I eventually fell asleep.

NB: Tomorrow, I will look like hell. I know it. I JUST know it...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

About long distance flights and ... kids

I did some last minute shopping in DC and then it was time to leave. I can't believe how quick time went by, really! I'm back in Zurich and kind of jet-lagged (I look like hell!!).
I will assimilate my US impressions and adventures here on my blog in the next weeks, I'm afraid, but today I'd like to talk about oversee flights and ... children.

You know that I love children. I really do. But there is one thing I don't understand. Why do parents travel (on a plane) with small children? Why do they expose themselves to so much stress? I really try to understand but I can't.
Do you wonder why I'm talking about this issue? Because I spent my 8 hours flight from DC to London in a plane with a couple of children (and their parents). I haven't slept two hours because the kids kept crying and crying and crying. I wasn't really tired (my body was on dinner mode and not on sleeping mode) and therefore I didn't really mind (the not sleeping part, I mean). It broke my heart though, hearing these small sweethearts cry like ... (sorry, I can't find a word to describe what their cries felt like. It simply broke my heart).
This gets me back to my first question: Why do parents travel with their small children on airplanes on long distance flights? There might be some family reasons or whatever other reasons, I understand, for them to travel. But how can they stand having their own children cry like this?

I don't know.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Back to Washington, DC

12 Stunden Bus fahren später bin ich wieder hier: Washington, DC. Als der Bus in die Stadt fuhr, sah ich von Weitem schon das hell erleuchtete Kapitol (mein absolutes Lieblingsgebäude hier in DC). Sowieso, die ganze Stadt ist ganz wunderbar dekoriert. Das haben die Amis schon im Griff.

Als ich dann endlich aus dem Bus stieg, überkam mich gleich ein so komisches Gefühl. Ich konnte es nicht gleich orten, doch schon bald hatte ich begriffen: Ich bin wieder in der Stadt!! Alles geht schnell, die Leute reden anders, sie bewegen sich anders, der Taxifahrer unhöflich.
Als ich hier ankam, vor nun 4 Wochen, fand ich alles sehr langsam und tranquillo. Doch nun habe ich den Süden kennengelernt und muss sagen: Hier herrscht totaler Stress verglichen.

Schlussendlich ist eben alles relatif.

Noch was. Als ich hier ankam, hatte ich Mühe, den Ami-Slang der Leute zu verstehen. Nach diesen Wochen im Süden, ist hier alles easy zu verstehen. Gut, vielleicht ist einfach mein Ohr besser geworden, in diesen Wochen, doch das ist nicht der einzige Grund.

Es ist eber wirklich alles relatif!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Back to North Carolina


It is so strange to be back in Wilmington, NC (even though coming back to Michael and his wife Glenda at the inn felt like coming home!). I travelled the whole distance (what was it? 300 miles? more?) from Savannah to Wilmington today. It was a nice trip (American Highways have NOTHING to do with European highways. Strictly nothing, be assured...) and permitted me to kind of re-live my journey backwards. It's a nice way to say good bye.
I forgot that some of you may not be up to date: I've decided to shorten my trip and therefore will travel back to CH next Monday. No, no, don't worry. Everything is fine. More than fine. It's just a money thing :-)

I can assure you of one thing though: I'll be back. And I'll be back during springtime when all the Magnolias, Azaleas, etc. are in flower. That must be soooo nice.
Who wants to join me?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Churches

Ever since I arrived in the States, one thing amazed me. The different kind of churches I noticed all along my way south. I didn't even know there were so many different kind of faiths. Although I believe it's not the faith that changes, but only the shell...
Only in Savannah, and I am reading from my map now, there is the

First African Baptist Church
Trinity United Baptist Church
Lutheran Church of the Ascension
Christ Episcopal Church
Independent Presbyterian Church
(...)

I stop my list - you got the idea. Believe me I counted 12 (twelve!!) of them, only in downtown Savannah. Isn't that amazing? I have nothing against different churches. Au contraire. It made me think though (yes, again!). During the various guided tours I took, I kept hearing how the English (back at the end of 1600/ beginning 1700) left their nice (English) homes because of the strict (English) church.

Wouldn't they be proud if they saw that their heirs still believe in liberty of faith? They not only believe in liberty of faith but they live it (when I told somebody that 98% of all Italians are Catholics, he didn't believe me...).

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sturmwarnung


Ich stehe da so am Strand und drehe gerade ein Filmchen über diesen Wake-Boarder (siehe oben), damit ich L (auch bekannt als Räuber) dann zeigen kann, wie cool sein Aufenthalt in Südamerika sein wird. So eine Art "Vorgeschmack".
Ich merke, wie der Wind zunimmt.
Auf einmal höre ich von Weitem ein komisches Geräusch. Ich checke es nicht gleich.
Sirenen.
What the hell?
Sie werden lauter. Ich weiss zwar nicht was das soll, entscheide aber, es ist Zeit, nach Hause zu gehen. Der Wind ist einfach zu extrem.
Ich gehe zum Auto zurück. Fahre los. Die Luft ist immer noch geschwängert von diesen Sirenen. Ich habe das Gefühl, Krieg bricht aus oder so. Ich höre Radio und da wird meine R & B Session von einem komischen Geräusch unterbrochen. Wieder eine Sirene. Und dann sagt eine todernste Stimmung etwas über eine Sturmwarnung (nordöstlich von hier - zum Glück!).
Unglaublich.
Es beginnt zu regnen. Zuerst nur Tropfen, dann immer mehr. Es windet extrem. Die Sirenen begleiten mich noch eine ziemlich lange Weile. Erst als ich wieder den Stadtrand von Savannah erreiche, hören sie auf. Jetzt "strätzt" es so richtig. Aber richtig.
Ich hatte vergessen, wie Hurricanes und sonstige Stürme hier schon sehr viele Schäden angerichtet haben.
Das gesamte Hinterland besteht praktisch nur aus Sümpfen und Flüssen. Wenn es mal lang regnet (so richtig regnet), dann geht das sicher sehr schnell, bis alles überflutet ist. Nicht zu vergessen, der Atlantik ist vor der Türe.
Buh, gruuuselig.
Ich war froh, wieder (trocken) im Hotel zu sein..

Monday, December 7, 2009

American Highways

Ich finde, Strassenbeschilderung ist nicht gerade die stärkste Seite der Amis. Gut, ich bin mir gewohnt von Italien, da ist ja auch nicht immer alles perfekt, aber so wie hier? OHNE WORTE.

Manchmal glaube ich, dass ich mit mehr Glück als Verstand an meinem Ziel ankomme. Nein, lasst mich das richtigstellen. Ich glaube es nicht, ICH WEISS ES. Viaggio con tanto ma proprio tanto fattore C (=culo).

Manchmal muss ich ab mir selber lachen. Ich fahre, biege natürlich an der falschen Highway-Ausfahrt ab, muss alles wieder zurückfahren, nur dass die Ausfahrt nicht mehr die gleiche ist. Es heisst anders. Ich beginne zu schwitzen. Dann plötzlich sehr ich wieder die Highway Nummer (Beispiel 17 South). Buh, ich denke, jetzt kommt alles gut. Doch dann bin ich auf einer Strasse, die mich zu lange dünkt und irgendwie nicht richtig. Ich biege wieder ab, dieses Mal die richtige Ausfahrt, fahre wieder gerade aus und auf einmal bin ich am richtigen Ort.
Ihr habt nichts verstanden? Tja, ehrlich gesagt, ich auch nicht, doch so fahre ich hier Auto. Ich verstehe es selber nicht. Doch ich lande immer am Ziel. Irgendwie.
Vor ein paar Tagen, als ich noch in South Carolina war, wollte ich auf eine Tea Plantation. Ich schwör's. Ich habe mich sicher, ganz ganz sicher, 10 Mal verfahren. Doch dann bin ich trotzdem am richtigen Ort gelandet.

Ich sagte es schon: MEHR GLÜCK ALS VERSTAND. GRINS

Tybee Island, Georgia (formerly known as Savannah Beach)







Sunday, December 6, 2009

Savannah, GA is... gorgeous!


Have you ever seen "Forrest Gump"? There is this scene where Forrest is sitting on a bench and telling his story to whoever is getting in the bus? This scene was filmed in one of these squares... Gorgeous as I said!
The whole south seems to be about Hollywood anyway. I have seen many places where series or films were shot.
In Wilmington, for ex, they shot "Dawson's Creek" and "One Tree Hill" (series).
In Magnolia Hall "The Patriot" (with Mel Gibson)
In Boone Hall Plantation "North South" (with Patrick Swayze)
As I said - it's all about Hollywood! Even though we are really far away from California (and they don't esteem Californian very much over here!)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

African Americans

Ever since I left Washington I kept wondering about one thing. Where are the African Americans? All the places I have been to since leaving Washington were almost 100% white (Washington is kind of a black city and I had told you that on the Greyhound Bus I was part of the white minority) even though I had read and heard that the Southern part of the U.S. of A. were African American territory, so to speak.

I couldn't see them.

Of course, some neighborhoods were inhabited by blacks (unfortunately, not always the nicest parts of a city). I could see them when I passed by with my car. That made me think. Why don't black and white mix? Is this some kind of a modern segregation? Blacks here (suburbs), whites there (downtown)?

But then today I arrived in Savannah, GA (Georgia) and I realised that my worries were needless. I had thought that I was in the South but actually I wasn't. Not until today at least.

Black and white do mix. They do mix here, eventually. What a relief. I feel better. OK, I admit I don't know if they "really mix" in everyday's life but on the street, at least, I see white people and I see black people. I have definitively arrived in the South.

Have you ever been to a swamp? (sumpf, palude)

The green stuff which looks like a lawn? That is actually the swamp...

It was a cloudy day and not many people were visiting the Magnolia Plantation, SC. Therefore, I was on my own during the walk through the swamp. It was kind of creepy, I tell you. And my imagination was working so hard that at some time I had to force myself NOT to think about what kind of animals actually live in these waters... (I was told later that there are quite many alligators but when the weather is "cold" they stay at the bottom of the swamp where it's much warmer. Lucky me!!)




But then, suddenly, I wasn't alone any longer. I had company. At first I didn't notice him, the Blue Heron. Isn't he cute? His legs are just long enough in order for his body not to touch the water. He stood motionless and ignored me in a royal way that I found fascinating. By the way, the Blue Heron was, apparently, George Washington's favorite animal...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Humidity

This morning I woke up to the noise of rain... heavy rain (I've heard afterwards that some streets in Charleston were actually flooded). Eventually, it stopped and it got warmer. Much warmer. Do you understand what I am getting to? It became HUMID. Oh wow, it got really humid and I could feel my hair getting... how should I say ... "bigger"???
What must it be here like during summer time? I don't even want to imagine.

But anyway, one thing (out of this humidity disaster) was nice, neverthless.

After the rain stopped and the temperatures got higher, the city started to smell like a big flower garden. It was amazing. Like the city had put on some floral perfume. I have no idea where this smell came from (it's winter time and there aren't so many flowers around). I don't care, honestly.

It was simply WONDERFUL.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Altro che ponte sullo stretto di Messina...

Mr B (Berlusconi for the non Italians) dreams of such a bridge between Sicily and Calabria