you ARE the weakest link... goodbye!

Matt's home after 5 days in Munich for HILTI training. It's good to have him back, mostly because he brought me German chocolate. But Erin and I had fun watching movies and the British (harsh) version of "The Weakest Link." Anne, the intimidating hostess, has lots of opportunities to make fun of bad teeth. Speaking of, Daniel was teething (aka not sleeping well and feverish) but has improved a whole lot, and is walking like crazy. I'll try to post a video if I can.
Erin, Danny and Matt in Venice about a month ago--just thought I'd throw it in
Erin, Danny and I also took an afternoon trip into Zurich--the largest city in Switzerland. It is beautifully old and has cobblestone roads, giving it a storybook feel (but a storybook filled with well-dressed Europeans and all the best shops). We visited St. Peters Kirche (church), did a lot of window shopping, and ate Sprungli's heavenly Luxemburgerli (little chocolate sandwichy things) while we sipped hot chocolate. We stayed until it got dark, which was neat because all the Christmas lights and decorations are starting to be hung with care. There is definitely more to see and do there (some great museums, etc) so we'll be heading back for sure.

Me, Erin & Danny in Zurich--you can see the clock of St. Peters Kirsche behind us

Aerial view of Zurich

Yesterday Erin, Danny and I went to Schlos Sargans (Sargans Castle) dating back to the 1200's and ate the perfect meal--schnitzel and streudel. Sargans is a little town about 10 minutes from where Matt & Erin live. The temperature has dropped quite a bit in the last two days, and yesterday we awoke to lots of snow on the mountains and hills surrounding the apartment. Winter has arrived in Switzy, and I have a feeling it's going to be much colder in London (see next paragraph)--better pack the leg warmers. But when I go back to Florida, we'll probably still have lows in the mid 60's, so I should take advantage of the cold weather while I can.

Sargans Castle from the back

a view from Sargans Castle on an overcast day

And... I am going to London this weekend to visit my friend Sokphal who is studying there! (I love RyanAir and cheap intra-European flights.) I should take notes while I'm in her presence--she's the ultimate thrifty traveler, and has introduced me to a new method of traveling called couchsurfing (see link: www.couchsurfing.com). She just returned from a trip to Portugal, and is quite the inspiration. She has a blog as well: www.carpediem16.blogspot.com.

I just finished reading a good book recommended by my friend Rita (and borrowed from my friend Ashley) called A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It's about the coming of age of a girl in Brooklyn at the turn of the 20th century and I found it a stirring social commentary. My favorite anecdotal advice was given by the main character Francie's illiterate grandmother (in response to the question: what must I do to make a different world for my daughter?)

"The secret lies in the reading and the writing. You are able to read. Every day you must read one page from some good book to your child. Every day this must be until the child learns to read. Then she must read every day. I know this is the secret..."

And a different world was made for Francie. The two books Francie's mother read to her over and over again were the complete works of Shakespeare and the Holy Bible. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn compelled me to work harder and find fewer reasons to complain. (But I still woke up at 11am this morning... I love vacations and staying up late to read). Now it's time to dedicate myself to 1776 (still working on it) and A Concise History of Germany.

Aside: My sister Klarissa has gone and created her own website (to fulfill a requirement for her ISYS class, I think). She posted some beautiful pictures and some other inspiring items... if you know her (and even if you don't) and would like to see for yourself, the link is: webpub.byu.net/kj257/

I'll be back in a few days to tell all about my London adventures.

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