29 Oktober. 2020

Getting ready for the election and winter!

Fall has come on very quickly. It seems like only yesterday I was walking around town in shorts and flip flops. No it doesn’t bother me that much that everyone recognizes I am not Swiss. Heck it is very obvious I am not even European. One only has to look at my clothes to know I am not from here. Clothing wise, the only thing I have bought in the year I have been here, have been some socks, ski pants, and a coat. I’ve actually gone shopping once or twice, but I have not found anything that fits me the way I like.

I did spend some money the other day, though. If you remember almost a year ago now, I wrote about blowing up the one tool I moved. It was the best knife sharpener I had ever found. I have been dealing with dull knives ever since. Well earlier this week I found it on sale here in Switzerland. It cost a little more than in the US, but I figure the electronics won’t blow up when I plug it into the wall. I’ll have to buy another one when we move back home, but that won’t be for quite a while yet!.

I have been putting some COVID updates on Facebook; so I will just do a quick re-cap here. Just like the rest of the world, once things have turned cool the COVID numbers have risen quickly. There are two cantons that are requesting military help to set up field hospitals because the normal facilities are becoming full with COVID patients. What is most worrisome to the Govt is the positive test rates are over 30%. I’m not an infectious disease specialist, but the news says that is an alarmingly high number. We were prepared for more lockdowns. Julie and I ordered an extra large delivery of bottled water for making coffee, and other staples. I am not worried about shortages, but it is so much easier having COOP deliver us 12 liters of water, than it is to carry that much up the hill. The only changes are that masks are required everywhere now, bars and restaurants have to close at 10 or 11 pm, public events have to be under 50 people, private events have to be under 15 people, and there is no end date for these restrictions to go away. I thought the lockdown would be a lot more severe, but I guess the government doesn’t want to lock everything down again. Though as history has shown us, that is going to be the only way to slow it down.

Julie and I were very excited, at first, because the Government also announced that some of the quarantine restrictions after travel would be lifted. They decided it made no sense to quarantine here, if you were coming from an area that was controlling the virus better. We thought that would mean we could see the kids around the Holidays, but the US is still on the naughty list. You can come in from the US now, but ONLY if you an “exceptional reason.” I am going to be checking, but I doubt if seeing your children is considered an exceptional reason. 🙁

I am very happy that we are missing election season in the US. Especially because Wisconsin seems to be on both candidate’s advertising list. I saw an article that on a per person basis, Wisconsin has more money being spent on advertising than any other state in the US. I AM GLAD I AM MISSING THAT. We did get our votes in eventually. I think I talked about that last week as well. I made a tweet about this being a very expensive election, though, and a writer from the New York Times tracked me down. She was doing an article on over seas voters and what we have to do to get our vote to count. It came out in the paper yesterday. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/28/us/politics/mail-ballot-americans-abroad.html
I do not mind showing my own stupidity if I can help others. A Swiss newspaper picked up the story as well, and called me for an interview yesterday. https://www.blick.ch/news/ausland/uswahlen/die-amerikaner-george-und-julie-sorrells-aus-zuerich-wollten-um-jeden-preis-waehlen-stimmabgabe-in-den-usa-kostete-80-dollar-und-viel-aerger-id16166619.html

So now, people that speak two languages know that I am not very smart!!

The last thing to get ready for winter we have a new bed being delivered tomorrow. Julie and I have been pretty uncomfortable the last year. In the US we had a Select Comfort bed. (I can’t recommend them enough. Fabulous product!). Over here, she has had to pile layer after layer of foam pads on her side of the bed, to get comfortable. Now when we lay down, she is 4 or 5 inches higher than I am. For all the rest of the old married people that read this, that makes it very hard to snuggle when her feet get cold and she wants to warm them up. So we went bed shopping. We found something we think we can live with for the next few years, and it gets delivered tomorrow. I can hardly wait.

VAN GOgh Alive

Our cultural tour for the week was a visit to an exhibit called Van Gogh Alive. Basically the promoter took some of Van Gogh’s painting from the different times of his life, paired them with music, and displayed them on screens in a big room. You will get an idea from the video below what it looked like. I wasn’t a big fan. I like my art displayed statically. With this, you actually never saw a whole painting. For me it is just wasn’t as satisfying seeing part of a painting as being able to soak in the whole thing.

We learned a little about the history of Van Gogh. I had no idea he was such a prolific painter. He only lived to be 37 years old, and he really didn’t start painting until he was 27. In those 10 years he created about 2,100 artworks, with 860 of them being oil paintings. What I found most fascinating is that most of his paintings were done the last two years of his life. The other thing that surprised me was learning only ONE of his paintings sold while he was alive. Just think of the dedication and passion it took to do all of that knowing you were a commercial failure. As part of the show, one of the screens displayed quotes. Here are a couple that stuck with me:

I put my heart and my soul into my work and have lost mind in the process.

I can’t change the fact that my paintings don’t sell. But the time will come when people will recognize that they are worth more than the value of the paints used in the pictures.

I dream my paintings and I paint my dream.

If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.

And the last one

What would live be if we had no courage to attempt anything?

Van Gogh Alive Zürich

I also took a couple of pictures from the exhibit, and of a water tower near the hall. Julie and I were surprised to see this water tower that seemed to be about a 100 years old in the middle of this more modern area of Zürich. Hopefully someone that knows German better than I can tell me if I am right, but the way I read the sign was that it was built in 1892 and it is special because it is one of the only smoke stacks built with a water tower attached to the stack. I found it interesting anyway.

The next time I write something, hopefully the election nonsense will be over with the US. I don’t think the noise from the election will be completely over, but I am hoping that within a day or two at most of election day the US will know which road it has chosen to go down. Whether you are a Trump or a Biden supporter I wish you all a safe and trouble free election day. Now that I know my ballot is in, there isn’t a whole lot left to do but wait!

Take care and I’ll write next week.

2 thoughts on “29 Oktober. 2020

  1. Hey my friend. Good post this week. How long will you be over there? I know you have been there a year now, boy time has flown. For some reason I’m thinking it’s a three-year stay but maybe it’s longer. You’re not missing anything over here. Mitchell shut down again yesterday to go back to e-learning for two weeks but I talked to a couple of teachers and I figure it will be at least the first of the year. They planned on only going for three weeks but they got 11 weeks and so that helped the teachers really focus on how to e learn better, how to help the students he e-learn better I guess. So we shall see. Flu season is getting ready to kick in. The temperatures are dropping so the numbers are going up, just like you said over there. And I think people have become less vigilant. You see a lot of people with no masks, I think they’ve done it long enough or they think because the numbers were pretty good over the summer that they don’t have to but I think we are getting re-educated that it’s not over yet. So who knows. I just try to do my part. Yes I have two will be glad when the elections over. At the end of the day, neither one of those two guys, Frick and Frack, will influence how I live my life or how I do things. It’s just sad that it’s such a division in this country. But we’ve always had dividers and that will probably never change here unfortunately. I just try to keep my bubble positive and if it sheds light on someone else that’s good, and if it doesn’t well I probably can’t help those people anyhow. Keep traveling and keep posting updates. That’s very interesting to see how you were doing and how things are going over there. Stay safe and stay healthy.


    1. Well we were originally saying three years, but Julie got a big promotion about a month ago; so that time table will most likely be a little longer now.

      Honestly I am very surprised as how quickly the virus got out of control over here. I know that masks are important and for people over here they wear them (probably some of that is due to the fact that they are required) . I think the biggest factor (at least here) is weather. About three weeks ago, fall arrived. You couldn’t sit outside at restaurants any longer and as people come to visit in your home you were not sitting on the balcony. You sit around the dinner table. You don’t wear a mask while you are eating, and you certainly don’t wear a mask in your own place.

      The government is not saying where new cases are coming from, but I am convinced it is restaurants and bars. Dinner over here is a 2 – 3 hour production, and people are not wearing masks from the minute the first drink is served until you leave the table. That is an awful lot of exposure.

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