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Showing posts from November, 2015

Returning to Mani Matter's Flight Across the Alps

There are times in the expat experience when you feel very far away from your home country. Even I get a little homesick now and then. Things are going well but at any in some moments there is a tiny voice piping up asking for a little bit of Switzerland.

I have found that the best remedy for those cravings is a bit of nostalgic youtube-ing which basically means watching my childhood favorite "Fascht e Familie" (a Swiss 90ies sitcom) or listening to Swiss German music. Another childhood favorite of mine that I keep visiting on youtube is the singer and songwriter Mani Matter.
Songs that still matter today His songs are not only funny but also rich in Swiss German expressions and phrases. More than 40 years after his death, the songs of Mani Matter are still meaningful - maybe even more so today than ever. Look at "I han es Zündhölzli azündt" and think of the wars raging around the world. If only more people would pick up their cigarette butts from the carpet if you…

How to Make Your Own Lantern

We are fast approaching the shortest day of they year. The days are getting shorter and colder and it's nice to stay inside in the evenings and enjoy a cup of hot tea. It's also very enjoyable to light a few candles and enjoy their warm shine.
Another option to light your home with a subtle light are little wax paper lanterns. You can also buy one made from glass and metal or - and that is the better option in my opinion - make some simple ones yourself.  
The main thing with lanterns is that they need to be made from heat-resistant material. For most of us averagely talented crafters it would be quite challenging to create a lantern from glass and metal so we must resort to more easily manageable materials.  One material that most of us feel comfortable working with is paper but obviously it is quite the opposite of heat-resistant or fire-proof. Therefore, it is not simple paper but wax paper or baking paper that should be used to make lanterns. Nevertheless, any kind of lan…

Off to School (Part2 ): Secondary & Middle School

The initial years of public schooling in Switzerland - kindergarten and primary school - are still (fairly) straightforward. The whole things gets more complicated for older children.

As you may know, Switzerland is divided into 26 districts called cantons. According to Swiss law it is the cantons, and not the federal government, that are responsible for a functioning public school system.  This leads to a few interesting differences from canton to canton. For example the years it takes a student to reach the Matura (Swiss university entrance qualification) vary significantly from canton to canton. In some places of Switzerland it takes 10 years and in others 12 years.

However, it is not only a difference in years but also in the structures and names of the schools a student passes through on his way to the Matura or before starting his apprenticeship (which is a great option for professional education in Switzerland). In the canton of Zurich a student either goes to the Sekundarschul…

Off to School (Part 1): Kindergarten & Primary School