Tuesday Round-Up

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“The Case for Letting Kids Be Kids” by Ben Hewitt was a great read.

Loving this funky little tune by Michael Kiwanuka titled, “Love & Hate.”

Come on…who loved gym class as much as I did as a kid?  This article made perfect sense.

What a great listen from Impact Theory. Yes, yes, yes to strong, powerful, ambitious women!  Listen closely to 3:54, powerful advice! “Your life comes down to your decisions.”  Listen to 26:40 I love the philosophy of “winning the day.”

Congratulations to my friend on the release of her first book!  I feel grateful and honored to have been part of the process.

This quote, especially this week means everything.

“It takes nothing to join the crowd.  It takes everything to stand alone.”

– Hans F. Hansen

 

 

 

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The Trailing Spouse Reimagined

Content

If you are considering moving abroad or even if you are a long-time resident in your new country, this new book (not yet released) is the perfect companion.  With honest insights from those living the “expat” life, this book dives into the ups, downs, ins and outs of leaving your home country for the unknown.

The book is perfect for:

  • Those considering a life abroad
  • Family members who may not understand the journey of the “expat”
  • Those currently living abroad

To get your signed copy and to help support this book make its way around the world, please visit The Trailing Spouse Reimagined.

Expat Life – House Guests

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This is a hard post to write because it is a tricky subject to navigate, but it is important and thus I will do my best to simply dive in.

Switzerland’s unique position in the center of Europe is certain to attract visitors. Friends, families and even acquaintances will make the journey to Switzerland to enjoy quality time with you and your family, all the while, discovering the beauties this small country and the surrounding countries have to offer. Preparing yourself and your guests for the days, weeks or even months that are about to unfold will certainly make for a more memorable stay.

Our experiences with visitors have been genuinely positive, but as all expats can tell you, there are times, as Benjamin Franklin once said, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”

Here are a few tips below and I will say, 99% of our visitors have been amazing, so if you are reading this, rest assured, you are welcome to visit us again in Switzerland.

Finally, ask your guests what they hope to get out of their holiday.  What do experiences are essential and how can you help them achieve their goals?

Set expectations prior to arrival – This is key!  Always inform guests the cost of travel,  food, lodging, dining out, etc. in Switzerland.  Life in Switzerland is very expensive and guests need to be prepared in advance.  Also inform guests that unless otherwise stated that they will be responsible for all of the costs they incur while they travel.

Let guests know you must still resume your normal work, school and life schedules.  Though it would be incredible to skip out on the requirements this life deems necessary, it simply isn’t possible, therefore, they should be comfortable filling their time with activities.

Ask if guest will be staying with you – Never feel bad about saying your dwelling is too small to house guests.  Especially if this disrupts children’s sleep habits, work routines, and general comfort levels.

We live in a small flat, with just enough rooms to house our family of four.  So needless to say, whenever we have extra guests, it is no surprise that our home starts to feel very, very small.  Our new rule of thumb is one guest is all right, but more than one person will require lodging somewhere else.

If your home is too small, look for alternative, affordable accommodations for your house guests.  The key is to make everyone comfortable.  Being crammed, or having guests sleep on a couch is not ideal and there are better ways to ensure a memorable visit.

Consider Airbnb, or even asking a dear friend or neighbor if they are away, if you could possibly rent or use their home for your guests.  We have done this in the past and it was brilliant!

How to make guests comfortable – If at all possible, create a small space exclusively for your guests.  This provides guests with privacy and a place to retreat after a long journey.  In addition, it allows guests to work out their jet lag, write an email, read a book, or take a much needed nap all in the privacy of their own room.

Provide a toilet plunger in the bathroom – No real explanation required.

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Accommodate Guests – Have snacks, water, Kleenex, a trash bag/bin, a map, tram passes, itinerary ideas available for guests upon their arrival.  Having these items in their room will allow your guest the time to sift through important information and decide where they would like to go, what they would like to do while they are visiting.

Pick guests up at the airport or train station – This is huge.  If your guest is comfortable navigating the area alone, fine, but there is nothing more joyful then stepping off a plane and seeing a familiar face. Welcome your guests by picking them up, it requires extra effort, but believe us, there is nothing more deflating than arriving at an airport alone.  Bring the signs, and the fanfare, believe us, it’s worth it.

Ask guests to assist with routine activities and help out – Unless you are comfortable running a bed and breakfast, there is nothing wrong with asking your guests to help out.  By having an extra set of hands to help clear dishes, prep a meal, or read a book to a child, you can relax and truly enjoy your visitor without feeling exhausted at the end of the day.

Encourage guests to take trips on their own and to be independent – The best way in my humble opinion to deal with guests that stay more than a week, is to encourage them to venture out on their own for a few days and nights.  This allows the host family time to clean up, catch – up on laundry, meet a work deadline void of distraction, chill on the couch in PJ’s, pay bills and do all that necessary life stuff that sometimes gets put on hold with visitors.  The space is necessary and welcome for both parties.  Plus, you will have something to discuss upon their return.

Also encourage your guests to visit museums, cafés, book stores, grocery stores or to take walks independent of you.  The distance will be refreshing and necessary for both parties.

Bring something, anything – When you are a guest in someone’s home, show up with something from your home country.  It doesn’t have to be big, or large in monetary value, but the considerate gesture will go a long way.  Consider a bottle of wine, flowers, a book, a magazine in their native language (if they are residing outside the US), a food item that is not obtainable in their new country.

Enjoy and remember, showing family and friends your new home can be a genuine delight, if boundaries are set and expectations are put in place from both parties.

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Birthday Parties for Children in Basel

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Happy Birthday

Birthday Party Ideas

In your home country, you are more than likely already aware of all the places in which you can book a birthday party for your children, but once you move abroad, the searching begins. Don’t allow this to stress you out. The more birthday parties we attend, the less hoopla that surrounds the event, the better the party seems to go. To help you plan your next party, I have compiled a list of ideas to get you started.

 

Local Parks

We have attended several birthday parties at local parks, and I must admit they are a real treat. Children run freely, come around for snacks and cake and are once again, off to play and explore. Parents love this idea because there is little mess to clean up and the worry over too many children in one house or location simply doesn’t exist. Plan a few activities such as face painting, water balloons tosses, or other creative games to pull the children together during key times.

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Okidoki

– Küpferstrasse 3,

79540 Lörrach, Germany

+49 7621 424940

A huge indoor play place, this haven for children hosts birthday parties for children of all ages. Book in advance especially during the winter months.

 Community Centers – Familienzentrum

For a nominal rental fee, the community center in your neighborhood will rent out their common space, typically consisting of a kitchen space, equipped with a coffee machine and access to a stove, a toy room for the children in the group and a space for parents and children to sit and relax. We have enjoyed renting these spaces for our son’s winter birthday when weather prohibits long celebrations outdoors. Contact your local community center well in advance, as they tend to book – up far in advance.

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The Forest

The forest is another prime location for birthday parties. Invite friends, plan to grill with plenty of sausages, bread, also known in German as Schlangenbrot (pre-made pizza dough works perfectly if you don’t have the time to make your own), plus children love cooking the bread and the sausages on sticks over the campfire. Bring a few games to play, invite the parents to stay and allow the children to simply explore and play in their new surroundings.

Some forest playgroups even offer organized birthday parties for children of all ages. One example of this is the Waldentdeckungsraum located in the Allschwiler Wald.

Waldentdeckungsraum:

Contact person: Andrea Pfandlbauer

077 464 0959

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Zoo Basel

Basel Zoo

The Basel Zoo is a particularly special place to celebrate a birthday. The zoo will help you choose a theme for your party and will provide a unique experience, including personalized tours for all of your guests. To learn more about their offerings or to book your birthday party, please call +41 061 295 35 35.

McDonald’s

For a nominal expense, children can celebrate their birthday at McDonald’s with a few of their closest friends. Meals, a cake and party favors are all provided along with craft making possibilities.. Contact your local McDonald’s to learn more about the price and available dates.

Robispiel – Several of the Robispiel sites allow families to rent the space to host birthday parties.  Consider SpielEstrich, which costs 200 for an afternoon rental.

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Aquabasilea – Hardstrasse 57, 4133 Pratteln

Birthday parties can be booked in two – four hour time frames for children six years of age to 15. Entrance is CHF 18 for two hours per child and CHF 27 for four hours per child.

To learn more about the birthday parties offered by Aquabasilea, or to book your party visit their website at http://www.aquabasilea.ch/de/wasserwelten/kindergeburtstage.php.

Sutter Begg

The Sutter Begg located on Frankfurt-Strasse 80 in Münchenstein offers birthday parties for children from 5 years of age to 12 years old. To learn more about what they have to offer, please call +41 061 685 9696 or email them at info@sutterbegg.ch

Basler Kinder Theater Schützengraben 9, 4051

If your child enjoys theater, consider scheduling a birthday party with the Basler Kinder Theater.   The theater is for children and by children, is located at Schützengraben 9. The productions change on a routine basis and are certain to engage children from four to 16 years of age.

All Familienpass cardholders receive a discount on tickets, so be certain to have your card with your upon entry. Children who are celebrating a birthday receive free entry and all friends of the birthday child receive entry at just 5 francs. What better way to bring in a new year in your child’s life?

To learn more about the Basler Kinder Theater, please visit the website at: baslerkindertheater.ch

Happy Birthday!

*If any information is not correct, please let us know!

 

Women Who Hike

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Here are the details for our next hike!

Date:  Saturday, June 9

Time:  10:00

Meeting Point:  Tram 10 – stop Aesch Dorf (we will meet directly at the tram stop).

Route:  We will walk through Aesch, up to the Pfeffingen Castle and possibly on to Ettingen (tram 10).  There are a couple of steady climbs, so bring hiking polls if you wish.

Estimated Time:  3 – 4 hours and roughly 10+ km

Bring:  Plenty of water, snacks, smiles, dogs, but please no children!

Notes on Weather:  If it is raining, stay home, drink a coffee and we will plan another hike in better weather!

Notes on Friends:  Bring a friend because we love to hike with awesome women and the more the merrier!