Potatoes, radishes, beets

Slavic peoples get their physical characteristics from potatoes, their smoldering inquietude from radishes, their seriousness from beets.

Tom Robbins, Jitterbug Perfume

That’s me! After too many books on pregnancy, birth, and child development in the past four years, I picked up Jitterbug Perfume to re-read it after 10 years. It felt surprising — characters somewhat familiar, but I’ve forgotten the twists of the plot. And delightful — my English has certainly improved over the past decades so fewer puns are lost on me.

New Country Unlocked: Egypt

We arrived to our one-week holiday to be greeted by pouring rain. Apparently it was the first time it rained in more than a year. Sharm el Sheikh was clearly not prepared for this.

Tired after a mostly sleepless night of packing and a long flight, we piled our bags and kids into a creaky, dusty taxi. Kids in the laps, we were on our way.

The driver turned the windshield wipers on. The left one (on the driver’s side) stopped working before we were out of the airport parking lot. Okay… The right wiper was still on, and the driver could still see the not-so-busy road, sort of. It was going to be a short ride.

We pressed on. A minute later, the right wiper died, too. I guess those things just don’t get much use or testing in the Sinai desert.

We ended up completing the rest of our transfer with the driver sticking his head out of the left window while holding onto the driving wheel, going down the road slowly, indicator lights blinking. Those ten minutes lasted pretty long.

Swiss Tradition: Hacking Duty

Learned about a Swiss fall tradition this morning, Häckseldienst aka Hacking Duty. You can sign up to trim the trees on the streets so that they meet very specific requirements in terms of how tall they can be, how much they can stick into the street, and how much light they can let in. Sounds like a great way to get some exercise, let off some steam, and mix with your neighbors.


Pastorini toy shop in Zurich

Pastorini is an incredible kids’ toys and craft store in the center of Zurich, at Weinplatz 3, 8001 Zürich. Three levels of high-quality wooden toys, musical instruments, gorgeous books, puzzles, various craft materials. I popped in for 15 minutes to buy a birthday gift, and was so enthralled, I could barely make my way out after over an hour (reminding myself that my parking ticket has expired).

It was the first store where I actually saw a cube chair (looking to buy a few of those for our home), a simple wooden model for “only” 149 CHF. You guessed it right — this store is high quality, high price. I still recommend visiting it, because you can get unique gifts or toys that don’t have to completely break your budget, and also it’s a great way to get inspiration and check out items from different brands, then perhaps look up the same or similar items online.