13 Januar. 2021

Well so far, January has not turned out to be much different than 2020. I loved the meme that was going around: My 7 day free trial of 2021 is over now I would like to cancel my subscription.

It has been a fascinating/distrubing time. The time difference makes watching what is happening in the US very strange. Like many of you, Julie and I were watching live when the Trump supporters broke into the Capitol to try and stop the electoral college certification. We then missed how it all ended, but when Congress finally did certify it was the middle of the morning for us. This morning at 2:00 AM I found myself up, so I was able to log into a zoom meeting where a group of talking heads I follow were discussing impeachment.

I have also been kicked out of my office once again. Switzerland announced that on Monday, they are going into Lockdown phase II, but since we are also getting blitzed with snow today, Julie is working from home starting now.

View from my kitchen window

I am going to call this lockdown: “lockdown light”. From what I can tell, the only thing closing are retail establishments. We have already been under some COVID restrictions. Restaurants are open for take out, unless the restaurant is in a hotel, then it can stay open. Bars, museums, theaters, and large events are closed.

This morning I walked to the town of Thalwil. I went into my barber and asked if he was going to still be open next week. I think he told he said that he would remain open during the lockdown. (I tried to hold the conversation all in German, so I know he is open for sure next week, because I got an appointment for a hair cut. 🙂 ) I then walked down the block to Starbucks. Julie and I drink a combination of their Kenyan and Espresso beans. We mix them together for the Jura, and it has been our favorite coffee. Anyway, they also informed me that they were staying open during the lockdown as well. So it looks like lockdown light, is a mandatory work from home order for office staffs, and a shut down of all retail establishments except for grocery and pharmacies. Everything else stays the same status as the week after Christmas. What does seem strange to me, is that the COVID numbers from Switzerland have been pretty steady since early November. In fact for about the last month, they have even fallen slightly. I know the hospitals are still at capacity, so maybe that is what prompted the lockdown now. Julie and I were both really expecting the lockdown to happen in November when the numbers peaked. We already had our first lockdown argument. She asked me why I hadn’t shaved this morning, and I told her I was growing my lockdown beard. I’ll probably wind up shaving tomorrow. :).

Our new car

We did get our car last night. I have not driven much for the last 18 months, so it was a little hairy at times. It is going to take some time to get used to the navigation system. I have to figure out what a half left turn or half right turn is. I am not going to be surprised if I get a little surprise ticket in the mail next week, because I am sure I broke some driving laws as we we were coming home. We made the mistake of driving home after dark, and because I didn’t know what a half left turn was. We wound up having to drive through the city the entire way from Julie’s office. Zürich has cameras seemingly everywhere looking for traffic violations, and between going 2 KM’s over the speed limit, and changing lanes too close to an intersection, I am sure they got my picture more than once.

Until now, the nicest car I had ever driven was probably my F-150. It is just A LITTLE different driving my pickup vs driving this. Thank goodness the owner’s manual is in English. I’ll be doing some reading over the next day or two. Especially since I am NOT going to be taking the car out until the snow melts. 🙂

Other thoughts: I brought over my guitar. It has been sitting under a bed, and I had picked it up exactly one time in the last 18 months. My goal for this year is to practice every day I am at home for at least 30 min. My fingers were sore for a couple of days, but it has been fun playing again. I think I will wind up having to change the name for my blog sometime in the next few weeks.

I have come to grips that I am really not an ExPat Educator. I was turned down by another private school last week. I am apparently not qualified to work in the IT field over here, even as an entry level network administrator. Add that to the fact that I cannot even convince one of the public schools to let me volunteer, and I am officially giving up being able to do anything in education while I am here. In the private sector, I have learned very quickly that my IT background is not nearly as important as not having enough German to work in the IT field. I do not know where I will find employment, but I figure I will wind up having to wait until the lockdowns are over, and then start trying to look at retail, or something else. I have learned that I am simply too young to be a “kept” man. :). Not meaning to end this on a down note. Things are good here! Just a little disappointed about being turned down for an entry level job with a school that SPEAKS ENGLISH.

I don’t want to end on a bad note, so I’ll end talking about food. My family was really torn about what to get Julie and I for Christmas. Shipping things over here is very expensive, and if you (for example) buy a sweater and ship it here we get charged for VAT before we can get it. It simply just makes things a lot more expensive to buy in the US and then ship here. So we asked the family to buy some spices, and that kind of stuff that we just can’t find. Two of our favorite spices are: Taco Mix from Costco, and Penzy’s Revolution. Last week we wound up getting two boxes of spices one from my Mom and Dad, the other from the kids. It really made our week! We made tacos twice, and then we used the Penzy’s to roast a chicken. We are good to go for the next year, now! It kind of surprised me how those small tastes from home could impact the happiness level! We also finally ate the chocolate box! It was hard eating the face of the angel, but it was delicious when we got our nerve!

I don’t have many pictures from this week. But here are the ones I took

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