03 January 2009

Christmas 2008 (in Switzerland)

Getting to Switzerland, as is usual with Mitfahrgelegenheit, was an adventure. I couldn't find an available ride, so I offered one and got a plethora of calls and emails of people wanting to go with me. Two of the people wanted to get out and risk the train at the border because the girl isn't allowed to leave the country. Of course, they didn't know where the train station was and we ended up driving to the French border and being checked there. They told us to drive to the roundabout and turn around. So, I was in France for about one minute before I dropped them off at a train station. Woohoo.

The GPS stopped working in Switzerland, which was no problem for finding Bern. However, it took a while to find the train station, and it took at least an hour to find where to return my rental car. Then, dragging all my things, it took me a while to get back to the train station and take the Postauto to Meikirch. When I finally got to the Bieris' a few hours late, I was so glad to eat some delicious raclette potatoes. We had fascinating conversation and finally went to bed.

The next day, the 24th, I helped Pit decorate the tree and Ursula decorate the table, candles included.

Thanks to a senior sister I have been exchanging emails with (Sister Grassli), I was able to go with the sisters in Bern (who are currently a three-some consisting of Sister Langhurt, Sister Fredrikksen and Sister Lehmann) to celebrate Christmas Eve with the Kempa family. (The Bieris had an invitation to meet Sue's fiance's parents, so I used one of their cars to get to the Kempas' house). One of the sister missionaries knows many people I know, as she comes from East Germany, so we had a lot to talk about. The dinner there was so good, the family was so friendly, and I was amazed that they even had presents for me, labeled "To Miss Student." I was particularly excited about two presents: one was mango lotion from The Body Shop, which I've wanted for at least the last 6 years but have been too cheap to buy, and the other was Ds Nöie Teschtamänt, or Das Neue Testament (the New Testament) in Swiss German! Yay!

We had two cakes, one of which was purely made of balls of ice cream with whipped cream squirted in the holes. I brought banana bread, which they considered cake and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Here are all of us after food, presents, and singing:

The next day, I finally got to meet Sue's fiance, Phillip, a very nice gentleman.

I also got to see Rolf and Bea, who lit the candles on the tree. Sophie was everybody's entertainment as she showed up with angel wings and an interest in anything and everything.

We sang songs, with Rolf and I switching off at the piano inherited from Pit's mother.

Ursula made very artful and tasty appetizers.

We opened presents. I gave everybody socks--the girls got those fuzzy ones in pretty colors and the guys got argyle socks. You know I consider socks to be the best presents.

I was so pleased to get house shoes with the Swiss flag on them, and a Swiss mug!

The food was so good, Pit asked Ursula if he could lick his plate.

Rolf and Ursula helped me read the Christmas story from my Swiss German New Testament, and then I helped Ursula arrange her cookies on a plate. They were so beautiful, I had to take a picture!

It took a million tries, but we finally got a suitable picture of all of us except Sophie, who was sleeping (albeit fitfully).

When I got back from jogging, Pit and Ursula were finished setting up the tent they'd gotten for Sophie for Christmas. As soon as she realized it was cool for hiding in, she loved it.

It was negative 4 degrees Celsius, but we decided to go for a walk because it was so gorgeously sunny.

Rolf, Bea, and Sophie catching up with us was a striking image.

Here are some panoramas I took:

I was so sad to leave, but the Bieris stocked me up with some beautiful cards that Pit had painted of Bern and brought me to the temple in Zollikofen!

1 comment:

  1. Yaay! An update from Michelle. The ice cream cake is awesome. I think I should try it. The house slippers are pretty sweet. And I recognize some of the ornaments on their tree from Ikea that we also bought. Yay for Christmas and family. They all look very nice.