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Bern – Capital of Switzerland (8 Jan 2010)

On my last full day in Europe, Désirée was nice enough to drive me to Bern to spend the day. But before we left, we checked out Jamie’s kindergarten. It was really big and super clean with all new looking desks and whatnot. Very cool. Reminded me of being in kindergarten. Unfortunately, because of child protection laws I am not supposed to put any of the photos I took there on this blog. So I can show them in person though sometime later. Anyway, Bern… So Désirée and I decided to just walk around for a bit and check out the tourist attractions. Then we crossed the bridge to look at the bears Bern has in the bear pen. But they were nowhere to be found. Probably, they were inside staying warm like any sane man. It was windy in Bern and I was getting cold. Then we went back to the center and grabbed some lunch from a street vendor. And waffles afterward. I got cinnamon on mine. Delicious! Next we went to see the Einstein Museum. There was a whole exhibit on his life and about events going on at the same time and how they interacted with his life. Exhausted after this museum trip, we headed back to the car to drive home. I got hungry again on the way home so I made a chocolate sandwich. Then I fell asleep a couple of times on the way home in the car. Kind of unfair because I slept on the way there as well. But Désirée wouldn’t let me drive despite my offers. She dropped me off at her house before picking up Jamie and coming back. Désirée, Marcel, and I had dinner (Jamie already ate) and then we watched the very motivating movie “Remember the Titans” in German. It was still motivating. So I decided...

Christmas Day – December 25th

I didn’t get the white Christmas I had hoped for. But it was still fun and seeing the green countryside during our drive to Christmas dinner more than made up for it. I woke early in the morning to call my parents during their Christmas Eve. As I was sitting on the stairs getting the computer ready I heard the phone ring a floor up. My dad had called Desiree to ask her where I was, as I was apparently supposed to call them 5 minutes ago…patience please, try not to wake the hosts of the house. But we all got to say hi and it was fun. Jamie then opened her Matryoshka doll I brought her from Europe and I slipped back off to bed for a few more hours. I woke to the sound of a remote control motorcycle, a gift from Jamie’s godfather, Mike. Then I ate some Muesli with yogurt and got dressed for a short run. The scenery is quite relaxing and it felt good to go jogging around town. I took roughly the same route as last time but reversed the order of the loops and extended it a little bit. The elevation change didn’t have a noticeable effect on me as my first run here. Anyway, it was a nice Christmas run and I got to practice my Swiss German greetings with others who were also enjoying the day outside. When I got back, we hung out for a little and I did some work on the computers in the house before getting ready to drive to Desiree’s sister’s house for Christmas dinner. I told Desiree that I could spend all day in the passenger seat of a car driving around Switzerland. There was so much to see, and the roads here are much better for driving than the ones in California,...

Rorbas, Switzerland – December 20-24

Customs was short. I walked up to the guy behind the window, gave him my passport, and nodded when he said, “Holidays?” Then I walked out to the exit and looked for Desiree, Jamie, and Marcel. I saw Jamie and Desiree first through the window and when I walked through the doorway saw Marcel. Desiree was my sister’s and my au pair when I was 6 and I was going to spend Christmas with her and family. On the way home we stopped at the store to grab breakfast. Once home, I devoured my yogurt, bread + nutella, jam, honey (each on a different piece), and juice. This was waiting for me downstairs on my bed: And guess who helped me unpack? We hung out for a bit and when afternoon rolled around drove to Marcel’s sister’s house to go for a walk with her family. It felt good to stretch my legs. Then we went back to Jasmine and Rolf’s house to have coffee, water for me, and pudding. We stayed for dinner, which was delicious. I gotta say, Swiss food is much better than Russian food. Desiree had to keep me awake at dinner as I kept nodding off. Then we went home and I slept early. And slept for 11 hours straight. And 11 hours the next night too. But before that next night we went over to one of Marcel’s friend’s garages to check out his bikes. These are a bit heavier than the ones my dad collects. The next day I got up and went for a run. Wow, I had no idea how bad of shape I was in. The little elevation change really shocked me. But I got to see some farmland. I kept feeling like I was in the Shire running up to Bag End. This country is beautiful. When I...