Tuesday, December 28, 2010

NYE (Gaming Mode: On)

For years and years it was really hard for me to enjoy this evening. As a teenager I was so hard pressed to find the best party and the most popular place to be that I ended up either spending it with only a bunch of my best friends or regretting that I didn't. Although most of the former ones were fun, I felt somehow left out of the huge fun that was New Year's Eve. But when I did choose the latter I kept thinking how very stupid it was to go to a party just because it was NYE. Most of my best parties have had nothing to do with any particular date (save for our wedding) and my New Year's parties were notorious failures.

Until recently.
For a couple of years ago I found myself in a group of friends discussing how these parties suck and how difficult it is to do anything fun on NYE because everyone's attending them. Then we realized. We needed a renegade party. So we founded the Gamers' New Year Parade, and it's been my official New Year's program for three years.

So it sounds a little geek.
So what? I can assure you that it's not -- but at least that puts the clubbers off. =)
What we do is play with our fav boardgames and try a couple of new ones, eat some delicious stuff and listen to some cool music, all the while talking a lot and having lots of fun. Normally there's not much dancing but there are so many opportunities for that during the year that I'm not really missing it. Not because I don't like clubbing. But I don't think I have to dance or drink to let my hair down. There are many other ways as well. Whenever I try to explain to someone why I love these parties, I can see that they don't come through as fun as they really are. I guess it's because most people wouldn't enjoy sitting around with their friends talking and laughing -- and playing boardgames. It's their loss. =)

This year it will be a little different. We've changed the venue, and a lot of 'friends of friends' are coming. So I guess it will be a little more party-ish. But we also have a number of new games to try and the 'older members' are coming as well. I'm planning to compile a list of the games we've played and tell you guys why we liked them. So keep tuned for that.

Oh, and
Happy New Year
Everyone! ;)

Merry Christmas -- From Snowy Hungary

As much as I like Christmas, I have to say that this one's been (yes, it's still 'on') the best one I can remember. It's difficult to say why. But there've been a couple of things I really liked.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On Being Bilingual...

Technically I don't qualify.
I was born and raised in the same country, the language of which was the mother tongue of all my closest family.
I don't know if it's in our genes, though, or rather in my curiously multicultural family history, but a love for languages has been passed onto me and by the time the Berlin Wall fell I was ready to absorb all linguistic influences flooding in from that direction. And there were plenty about.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bern, Baby! [The One After ;)]

Uhh... I can't upload any more photos. I'll soon find something to replace picasa, but for the time being I'll just comment on our trip -- which was awesome!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Escalade!

Yes, I've just bought out Marmite for this year's Escalade.

If you don't know what all the buzz is about, check out www.1602.ch for more info! ;)

Our 'victim' this year is made of milk chocolate and is from Auer again. I loved last year's dark chocolate one but, always the one for change, I wanted to try something new. I was considering buying it somewhere else, just to give the other stores a chance but looking through their wares I liked the appearance and price of the Auer ones the most. I'm not really a cheapo considering I'm willing to pay almost CHF40 for the thing, but I would definitely not go to hundreds. Soooo, I ended up buying it at Auer's again. Actually they're really good and they look a lot nicer than the slightly more expensive ones across the street.

Well, tomorrow it's Bern (the coolest map here!) and then all the fun begins! With marmites and marches and fondues and mulled wine! I can't wait! If you're in Geneva, it's a must. Vive l'Escalade! =D

Chocolate kisses and spicy hugs
from Geneva! ;)

Your Geneva news, given to you by fleur

Bern, Baby!

It's so exciting!

We're having some friends over from Hungary and there will be so many awesome things to do this weekend. I can't wait!

First off, on Friday, we'll go to Bern. I've picked up a bunch of daily train tickets* and we'll leave in the morning and spend the day there. I've never been to another Swiss city, so I'm really looking forward to it.

Then on Saturday the Escalade starts, so I guess after a comfortable breakfast we'll head to the Old Town to "revel" in the specialties. We're really lucky this year, as last year it was freezing cold. But I'm prepared not to leave anything to luck. If need be my woolen stockings are at the ready! =)

* This is amazing, guys, you should definitely try it once in Switzerland! Bought at the local tourist office (Pont de la Machine in our case), they're valid for a certain day on all SBB/CFF lines. Isn't that awesome? And they're only  CHF 35, so it's a lot cheaper than plain tickets, even if you have demi-tarif. You need someone, though, with a local residence (permit) to buy them. Worth a try, huh? But be quick, for they sell out weeks in advance! ;)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Yuletide Spirit ;)

I love holidays and I especially love Christmas.

Not because of the shopping or gifts or the like. But because for one reason or another (mostly another) people really make an effort to do their best. Streets are decorated and the scents of mulled wine fill the city, shopwindows look gorgeous and as the Day gets closer people try to be nicer and nicer. I know that this time of the year generates a lot of waste, in the form of torn and thrown wrapping paper as well as electricity and the like, but none of it is wasted on me. I sometimes feel like absorbing all the scents and sounds and I definitely fold away wrapping papers (I'm a huge recycler, to the dismay of my husband).

And I do like the effort. Sometimes I really believe the world should be like this. We should always look for little ways to surprise others and be kind and forget our grievances just for the day. I'm afraid human nature would not allow for it though, and I don't harbor any illusions as to a perfect world. But it would be nice regardless. I love the air of "special" that hangs about this time of year and I wish it would linger. But then I guess it wouldn't be special any more.

So I savor every minute of it, drinking it in. I never start before December, just to prevent the Yuletide Spirit from draining out before January 2. But during this one month I'm all for the fun. Decorations all around the apartment, essential oils in the little burner, Christmas lights and all sorts of merriment. ;) I can't wait to be on my way to Hungary to meet my friends and family. But I also enjoy the present moment, as I know this period is so short and then it will be just regular winter again...

I wish you all an awesome holiday season,
stressless shopping
and huge Christmas fun
with the ones you love the most!
;)

fleur

Sunday, December 5, 2010

How I Got Good Skin

I looked much the same at 13 as I look today. So (as much as I ever matured) I can say that I matured early. As a result, I never suffered much from puberty and I don't remember having any skin problems at that time. Actually, I remember that, until quite recently, my skin has been revered as one of the softest and clearest among my friends and relatives. I put it down to my never having gone through a major hormonal havoc, and partially I was right.

So you can imagine what a shock it was when I started having all sorts of problems, which, as I later learned, are nowadays labeled adult acne and are a newfound challenge to dermatologists. Adult acne is different from teenage skin problems in a number of ways and can range from mere annoyances to more serious conditions. I counted myself among those fortunate enough not to develop very bad skin, but I was still furious at all that caused it. For I knew very well that the only thing that could have messed up my hormones was the Pill I had stopped taking a couple of weeks before. From then on, with the sudden drop of "mature" hormones in my system, I was back in junior high -- the kind I'd never been to.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Our Winter Wonderland

I've never lived on the southern hemisphere, so in my mind Christmas and the holiday season is closely associated with cold weather. Not necessarily snow, because winters in Hungary haven't been the same lately (though last year was pretty snowy), but cold nonetheless.

But this!

Guys, this is amazing. Very beautiful and very scary at the same time.
I spend much of my time outside, walking from one class to another, and all this snow takes me back to the time of my great grandfathers. Traffic is really slow, buses are scarce, and people are wearing rubber or sturdy boots and ski jackets. The whole town seems to have slowed and the usual throngs are missing from the snowy streets.

I don't know if it's to be considered good or bad in general, but I really like the fact that no salt or sand is poured onto the streets. Some say they're saved for the highways but I put it down to environmentalism and smile when trudging the 30 cm deep snow.

Oh, well, I guess I'll need to get some of those boots. This snow doesn't seem to be stopping soon.

Hugz and snowflakes
from Geneva
with love.

fleur

Cool with Style

Madonna lied to us guys. Getting frozen has nothing to do with your open heart (which, to keep the pun, is hard to keep when friends are out to harm you, as Axl told us).

So if I was going to get snowed on I decided to do in it style. =)


Look at my half mitts! (Sounds like some Jewish ceremony...) All (except the silk bow, which had spent its former life as a hair clip) from H&M, which is my go-to place for items I must buy but don't want to spend a lot on. (BTW, thumbs up for the weird nose, I guess it's the flash but I could claim some Cirano-esque heritage...XD)



Thanx so much for reading. ;)
Happy holidays, guys!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ken il neige a Geneve -- Life under the snow ;)

It started snowing on Saturday morning, a beautiful sight that we kept glancing at from the comfy armchairs of our warm living room. It looked amazing, never stopping, like a real winter wonderland.

Then we left to see some friends and play some boardgames. My first grievance was that the cardboard boxes kept peeking out of my bag and getting wet. But soon I realized that was a minor issue. Public transport in Geneva was pretty nightmarish, though.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Leggings Aren't Pants -- well, most leggings... =)

Hi there. I'm one of those people who believe in diversity, the greater the better. I don't think fashion is in any way to determine what one wears or to prescribe one's style. From year to year, season to season it provides one with new ideas and inspirations and it should stand for freedom and not restrictions.

I also don't believe in fashion faux-pas, because in my opinion it's all relative. A look that might be avoided when going for one effect (e.g. extra mini skirts are not really the right choice for a sophisticated look) can easily become a must when striving for another (they're awesome for a wild night out) and might even work for the first on some occasions (I've seen minis with thick woolen tights that looked so good in the office). So saying that something is just not to be worn that way is really narrow minded.

That said, I have to admit that there are things I would never ever wear in some way or another. Most of the time it's due to my hourglass figure (which I'm not extremely fond of), which changes the overall look of anything I wear, meaning that I have to be more careful. But this doesn't mean that I condemn any looks, it's just that I would never wear them because they wouldn't have the desired effect. And this is the case with leggings.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pre-Holiday Diet ;)

Hi there. I'm posting this because I feel promises are easier to keep once written down. =)

I have to start with a disclaimer, before I tell you about the diet itself. First of all I'm not doing it to get thinner or anything. The actual "trigger" was that I just ate too many sweet things yesterday and felt really sick afterward.Sick in my case usually doesn't mean sick but with my really crazy blood pressure and blood sugar level, if I eat too much "quick" sugar in one go I just feel really queer and sometimes even pass out. So I try to avoid it. I can absolutely eat what I want weight wise. I have a totally normal figure and I don't often eat a lot, my stomach's pretty forthcoming about when it's full and I don't normally eat just for the fun of it. I used to be really weird about eating, but since I don't take any medicine that would influence my weight I'm just really normal about it. So I don't have a disorder, I don't think I'm fat or anything. So this diet is about health -- because I know I might not be such a good girl during Christmas time. =)

Well, the actual decision I made was
not to eat any sweets and "quick" sugars (white bread, pasta, pizza, etc.) till Christmas!

We'll see how it goes, I won't force myself, I mean if I'm really really craving that cake everyone's having then I'll have a bite or a slice. Normally it's better to give in a little than go on craving and cracking for something worse. So I won't go crazy but I really want to give my body some time to relax before I eat all that stuff my friends and family prepare.

So that's it, I hope this wasn't very boring. It might actually inspire some to eat healthy for a while before Christmas time. Though in many countries Thanxgiving might interfere. But it might be a good kick to start a healthy diet between the two holidays...

Have a very nice weekend! ;)

Cheers

Fleur

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holiday Look #1 (OOTD)

So now that the holidays are getting closer I feel like wearing more glamorous and va-va-voom-ish outfits. Not that I'm drab otherwise but now I really feel I can pull off more accessories, etc. Like wearing bolder makeup, winter and especially the holidays allow you to wear "bolder" looks. I'm sure you know what I mean. So I thought I could share these with you all and maybe provide some inspiration, whatever. Not that I'm so savvy or anything when it comes to fashion but I do have my style and I do know what fits and suits me.

So here's the first one, which I wore today. I still felt the vibe of yesterday's fashion event and the flapper inside me roared for frills. This was the result:




OK, this is not the look, it's me sporting the Lanvin for H&M brooch. =) I'm sorry I just had to include this. (Though I could have smiled and stopped warming my hands in my coat pockets in such a weird way...) Anyway, the scarf is Promod from last years batch and the coat is H&M.

So this is an H&M dress (also bought last year) and I just love this powdery champagne pink color, I think it's awesome! Then I'm wearing a Pull & Bear cardigan (an oooooold find), H&M cotton leggings (you'll hear about these more, I love them!) and a Promod (CHF 9 on sale!) necklace. The shoes are from one of Budapest's many little shoestores, which I sorely miss in Geneva.

I hope you liked it!
Please rate it and tell me what you think. ;)
Should I do more of these?
Or you think my now-and-then kind of style sucks? =D
Let me know what you think. ;)

cheers

fleur

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lanvin for H&M : Take Two

And I don't mean take two dresses. =)

But I did go back around 2 pm to check for some of the remnants of the collection. All was gone (save for a couple 36 shoes and 42 dresses). But I got a lot out of all this, much more than the actual items. This was my first time and now I'm fashion rush savvy. Here's my experience.

Fleur < 3 Lanvin < 3 H&M

This love triangle will be legendary.

I'm home and ready to report on the magic I've just seen with my own eyes. If you're still queuing up, you can read this on your phone/iPad/iPod -- I know you want to! ;)))


 (The lipsticks -- ultimate pocket couture! ;) -- the brooch and the necklace that I will wear as a belt -- works awesome! -- aaand the 100% wool scarf we got as a gift as well as the little dress shaped gingerbread. This is Christmas 0.1! XD)

So I arrived at the store around 6.45 and I was like #45, which meant I was in group 3. I got the bracelet for 8.45 but I think I actually got in the shopping area a bit earlier. I was surprised to see how few people turned up before the official opening. I guess Lanvin is less well known among the usual customers of the store...

I'm planning to write a longer post on the actual collection and the individual items. For now I'll just say wow! and have a huge mug of tea. =)

Special thanx:

To my Mom, who bought me all the more expensive items a lot cheaper in Hungary. For this she woke up so early, traveled all the way to the store and fought her way through the crowd! She was in the 2nd group! She's so awesome that her fashionmoonstruck daughter can only keep thanking her.

To the awesomest husband in the whole world, who not only supported his wife in her crazy endeavor to wake up with the birds and go queue up in front of a shop while all sane people were still sound asleep, but also brought her a huge STARBUCKS mocha latte and an awesome caramel muffin while she was doing all this craziness! I would marry him again! LOL

OK, it's time for my tea and a bit of rest. ;)

Have an awesome day!
May Lanvin and the Starbucks latte be with all of you! ;)

Hugz

fleur


Monday, November 22, 2010

"Eeeeenteeeeern!"

This is what my husband calls me every time the topic comes up. He's just kidding and I don't mind (we never fight or anything and we're more like cronies so him calling me anything is not meant as an insult). But the question still pops up (and makes me interested): just how old can you be and still be an intern?

This immediately reminds me of that movie where Will Smith risks everything to get that trader job, a film I'll never forget. I could really identify with the general atmosphere of the movie, even years ago, for I've always been the person to leave bridges crumbling behind, fighting for new, glorious dreams. Except they never really crumbled, for all the wonderful people around me worked just as hard to keep the world from falling while I struggled for my dreams. But I could still feel for that guy and I always will. Could've been me.

Well, the thing is that I'm working part time now (I work as much a week as I was supposed to during a day, but that's fine) and I keep thinking that this means I could do something I've always wanted but never had the chance. Mostly because of those bridges but partly also because the opportunity never arose. Now it has. There are tons of interesting internships around and I fit much of the criteria. I've just finished my studies, I have the right qualifications, and even a little experience. This is my chance to become a researcher.

So I've applied and am looking forward to their response (or applying for some more). But people keep asking me whether or not this is a good idea. Well, I don't think being an intern is that different from any other job, but of course it depends on the way you do it or the way you look at it. I don't consider it in any way degrading and I don't think anyone should. Of course if you have a good job and you have a lot of responsibility, it might be annoying to be put in a simpler position. But for my part I would consider it easy to give up a job in one area for another. I mean I quite understand that if you switch fields your expertise doesn't necessary transfer to your new job. But you can take a lot with you, and you should. And internships are usually a way companies like to train their employees and give both parties time to feel each other out. Much like a probation period. Whether they're paid or not is a different question, but sometimes this is just another tool in the hand of the employer to find the most devoted and determined candidates.

Anyway, I'm planning to continue teaching anyway, because I like it a lot. But it seems in Switzerland this is much of a hobby and not necessarily something to live off. But I'm really excited about trying my hand at some professional research, as this is something I've been wanting to do for years. I hope I'll get that call soon. ;)

My best wishes to all
from gloomy Geneva =D
(only weatherwise, though!)

fleur

Good Quality Makeup from the Swiss Drugstore [Part 2 -- Lips]

I've been thinking about continuing this line of thought, but I've been delaying for a number of reasons. First of all, I haven't been buying a lot of makeup lately (erm, not so much as before anyway) and my application tricks  haven't changed much either. Second, I've been working a little more and that meant wearing makeup that is not too flashy or overdone. So I've been keeping to basics that work for everyone and every occasion, such as smokey eyes and gel eyeliners and light pink or beige lips. The last of the reasons is that now that my hair is a dark copper I can't wear so much makeup any more -- or rather I don't have to. =) I love dramatic looks but I find that with your hair a more defined shade less looks a lot more dramatic. Before, all my colors blended together, my fair shades one blur of a face. So I used lots of techniques to revive and accentuate my features, which I don't need any more. My eyes look bluer and my skin glowier, so I have to be careful not to go overboard with makeup.

But (and there's always a but =D) all this means that I had to find a way to wear my lips instead of my October favorite: the red lip. I can still pull off red lips but definitely not for a day teaching stressed out bankers. They need a soothing face to be looking at (comprehension relies a lot on facial movements) not something made up for a party. So I ditched my red lipstains for the day and went with these instead:

Thursday, November 18, 2010

OMG! OMG! [Fashion Alert! :D]

OMG! OMG! OMG! ... OK, I'll try and stop. But OMG! This is happening! I can't believe it!

What is happening? Lanvin! In H&M stores! Soon!

I'm no fashionista, never will be. I don't like fashion for itself, for being in any way up to date or trendy. Far be it from me. =] But I do consider choosing my clothes an important aspect of my life, just as I do make up. Not because I'm vain or anything or because I care too much about the way I look. For me all this is part of the world around me, its closest elements, things I can feel on my skin, see around my body, etc. So it is of huge importance for me to have them "right", which normally depends on my mood rather than any rule or anything.

I do have my own style, which has nothing to do with the latest trends. Most of the time the two clash (they did so continually in the 90s when one could only find glittery pastel colors everywhere) but sometimes a harmonious synthesis exists, which is what drives me to hunt down items, rush to stores and spend hours and hours browsing the racks.

The past two years have been like that. I don't know what's possessed the masterminds that have mostly been busy designing 80s inspired animal prints and piling color on color lately, but they have come up with a few looks based on much earlier trends that just put a spell on me and I can't stay away from the shop (window)s. Among retailers my shrine has been at the Italian brand Promod's stores and when I wasn't clearing the hangers there I was gauging at the looks a number of designers (the list would draw on too long) put on stage. Glam rock flappers flooded those stages and all I could do was sip on my pomegranate  juice and say ooooh and aaaaah -- and hunt for those trends among the racks of clothes (mostly glittery tropical colored leggings and shirts...).

And now a comet has appeared on the dark sky of 2010 fashion. Sure it's been a sky studded by stars but they were so far away from me (that is, my purse). But now, now this one will hit the earth (or stores to be more exact) very close and I feel it will be my Armageddon too.

LANVIN FOR H&M is hitting stores soon.

Sure the collection features a host of 80s inspired items. But look at those... those delicate colors and frills and those 40s-50s figures! Look at the flowers and beads and the coats and dresses that seem to be  leaping out of an Audry Hepburn movie or from an old old Chanel catwalk. Waving me forward, to get lost among their frills.

I'm not in love. No. Clothes would never have such a hold over me. But they do take me away, covered in lilac mist, floating above the smoking rooftops of Paris, London, New York, Geneva and even Budapest, the sparkles of these calm cities spread under my bare feet, musk and vanilla in the air, and yes, deep bergamot, and I'm wearing nothing but the mist and cheerful red lipstick and I know those houses are full of gentlemen and outrageous young women and some orchestra playing tango. And I want to float on like this forever. Not caring what time or age it is. For as long as I'm clad in frills and flowers, or riding boots and white shirts, I can feel that the world around me can never change so much in principles. Anything at arms length can be the most high tech and up to date. But my heart is covered in sweet vanilla and deep bergamot and what I wear should always reflect that.

So this is how I booked my first row ticket to the opening of the Lanvin collection, determined to sleep on the doorstep of our local H&M. Fortunately locals don't get up so early. =)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How do you say "Leave me alone" in a host of languages?

Well, it's time I was armed with a list like this.
I started toying with the idea back in France but I guess you might find it helpful in any multicultural environment.

The thing is that as much as I love multicultural cities, I have come to realize that there are annoyances. And what's really interesting is that they happen not because I am annoyed by someone else's culture but because they don't respect my own. I am not complaining, far be it from me. But it's still remarkable that while certain social groups demand the acknowledgment and acceptance of their culture or religion (uhm... minarets in Geneva, anyone?), they can just as easily go and ignore others'.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jobhunting

It's been so long. I know. I don't really have an excuse, except that I didn't want to be writing disheartening posts full of complaints. I'm just not that type. I don't believe that there's any point to criticizing things, as what cannot be changed is simply not worth it, while if I can do something to improve things it just feels so sad to be complaining about them. So instead I set to work.

Well, work is a key issue here, because since my last little ray of hope has been drowned in the pessimism of the ORP people, I have been busy finding myself something to believe in. Teaching English to adults is not as easy in Switzerland as it might be in other parts of the world, as I'm planning to explain in a post as soon as I can bring it up without swearing (only to myself, of course ;-]). So that made me think about what I wanted. Did I really want to teach English or was it something I was just doing because it was convenient? Would I want to try my hand at something else, given the chance? Where did I see myself in 5/10/20 years?

Well, the answers were really interesting. The ORP people told me (during that fancy introductory presentation, right before slamming the door in my face) that sometimes it was important to look for latent or not so latent competencies that just haven't been exploited as yet. I really did like that idea and spent some time outlining my skills etc. Truth be told I can be quite frank with myself and I don't shirk from admitting my faults and mistakes. I guess it's all that psychology training I've been through, but I don't see any point to denials, for they might make one stronger momentarily, on the surface, they don't really help me. Having a good insight and being terrible at lying, I don't think I could actually fool myself. So I came to some conclusions.

First of all, I'm all competencies. =] OK, of course I'm not perfect or even close, but neither can I say that I am good for nothing. I just haven't decided how to use them - yet. And the funny thing is that though I don't think teaching would long be my primary occupation, I can still see why I love doing it. Its requirements fit much of my skills and qualities and develop them in a way. In the long run, of course, I can see myself rising higher than these requirements. But that just gives me higher goals to focus on.

I took that knowledge with me jobhunting. Much of what I've been doing is actually "passive job seeking", meaning cold calls and the world wide web. Although many claim that only a small fraction of the positions available are advertised, I believe that if you really look you can find the right one. Besides, while the Geneva market has been quite unfriendly (meaning literally unaccepting) to some professions, blaming that for a lack of success is a weak excuse. I do know that I'm sorely needed somewhere, I only have to find the place.

So I've been looking. And I know I'm getting closer. I teach more and more for my current employer. There are more and more positions that fit my profile. Sooner or later the pieces will come together. I know. Till then I'll just keep working and looking. And I'll keep reminding myself of all I've learned through these months. About myself and about my goals, both short term and long term. I'll keep them ahead, like guiding stars.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Our Fav Boardgame: DnD 4th Ed ;)

Please skip if you don't like RPGs or if you don't like DnD. I'm totally free to like (and spend my time playing) whatever I want, and I'm sure playing a social game such as this one has no drawbacks for me. I've always loved role playing, mostly because of the social aspect, and because there are so many eccentric things that I'd love to try but in real life it would be either very weird or very dangerous.

Now 4th Edition is a little different, and some don't quite like it for that.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

About Having Nothing and Everything [Ramblings]

I don't know how to begin this post. Normally I wouldn't write something like this unless I had a story to tell or at least some rationale. Well, you could say that I have one. I came to Switzerland a year ago, and since then have been through several stages of expatness. Some were nicer, some more difficult, but they've all been ... well, informative. Or formative. Depends on how you look at it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Baby Doll Eyes [Makeup]

Guys, this stuff is amazing.

I was always a big fan of the doe eyed look, and I think it's one of the best weekend looks, easy to pull off when you don't want to wear a lot of makeup. It looks natural but polished and this product, my newest mascara, will give you that French lesbian chick look. Yes, no kidding. This is what we used to call the look back in high school and I think it fits the effect perfectly. It looks a bit as if you weren't gonna put any makeup on but did put on a little bit, weren't so good at it, maybe smudged around a little, but look gorgeous anyway...

You all know what I'm talking about and I'm sure you've dreamed of the look, or, if you're a guy, of girls wearing it. =)

Now you have the chance to try it out.

[Go to the end for a fun bit, if you're not interested in makeup. ;)]

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Unemployed in Geneva

OK, just a quick update if anyone ever gets unemployed in Geneva (or arrives as such on a permit) and starts wondering how it works.

I went to the ORP [or RAV in the German speaking parts, which is how I was looking for it in Geneva with little success as in French it's ORP ] yesterday and found out the following:

They are really helpful, upon registration (which you can do even if you're employed at the moment but getting laid off soon, etc.) you go through some aptitude tests and the like and you get all sorts of help and counseling in your search for a job.

If you've worked for at least 12 months in the last 24 months, you might be entitled to some chomage as well. Even if this was in another country. Due to bilateral agreements, I might even get some money but that's totally not what I'm interested in, so I don't really care that much. But it's good to know and anyone in such a situation should definitely check with them. There are lots of factors they consider so it takes time till they can tell you, though.

Anyway, then there are courses you can take and trainings and they might even persuade an employer to employ you, as they offer to continue paying you and you'd start working as an intern, sort of. So this can also give a kick to your career.

Now I don't know what jobs they'd find me. But as I'm not interested in the money (as a penalty for refusing an "appropriate" offer, you can be deprived of 30-45 days of chomage), I can refuse as many cleaning jobs as I want. (It would be a totally different thing if I didn't speak French or was here of my own accord. As I'm not I can't see how any of these would help me with my career.)

If you have any questions about this, please post your questions and if I haven't answered them as yet, I'll try. Note that I've only been to the introductory presentation so I don't know everything just yet. But I'm really looking forward to the whole experience, I've never ever been officially unemployed and they made it sound kind of fun.

There are lots of obligations, like the papers I'll have to fill in month by month and I'll also have to be looking for a job actively, but as this is what I'd be doing anyway, I'm not scared. And all they can penalize with is taking days off my chomage, which doesn't really concern me. However, I want to do this right, because I think it's a great opportunity to take advantage of some professional help.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Decisions...

Here's my post from EF:

"People say that it's best to resign or give someone the sack on a Friday, as then one has a weekend to celebrate or to cheer one on, meet friends, etc.

I seem to follow the same route, I always make these decisions on Friday. I guess during the week I'm just open to calls and opportunities that may come (but somehow never do). I don't work on Thursday, so I start feeling the pressure, and by Friday morning I feel really pushed to do something, to make my next week better.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

... And Red Hair

I guess it's coz it's autumn... But I've really been drawn to red and deep brown and deep gem colors. Last weekend we went hiking in the Swiss mountains and I couldn't take my eyes off all the beautiful colors that nature surprised us with. It was amazing.

So yes, my hair is red now, or rather a really dark copper. As I used a Henna "shampoo", it's gonna fade in like 3 weeks. But I'm quite determined to either buy the same product again plus some shampoo to maintain it or to find a more permanent color treatment. I don't wanna go like super red, but I really like the present color. If I go with the less natural approach, I might actually go a couple of shades lighter, like a light copper, bordering on a strawberry blond... but I don't know. I like the fact that this one fades so I can have my natural color back any time. I was dyeing my hair for years and years (practically all colors of the rainbow) and I hated going back to my roots. LOL It was horrible when I decided to go back to my natural color, as it either looked very weird when my colorist dyed it "back" and it wasn't any better when I had it cut like 2 inch long... Well, I'll think about all that before dyeing it permanently, but I'm loving this color and I guess I'll keep on wearing it for some time. ;)

Have an awesome day!

And see you soon! ;)

Things I'm Loving (Makeup)

It's still not a makeup blog. =)))

But as I'm really on a budget, real treasures are hard to find. And there's no real drugstore in Geneva, one has to scrape stuff off from supermarkets and pharmacies. No Sephoras in Switzerland to allow for a little splurge, you either go with "drugstore" stuff or go to the department store counters and drain your savings. -.-,

But I've been treasure hunting these 11 months, and I can let you in on the secrets... if you are interested. ;)

I'll have to do it in several parts as there are some gems, so keep tuned. ;)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Why Are All These Things Happening To Me?

Well, first of all, they aren't. Nothing just happens, dear, there's always a purpose. Without giving you a lecture on the purpose of life, let me just cheer you up with a little idea. Here's what I think of fate or destiny, or whatever you like to call it. ;)

Wellness Thursday

I might have mentioned this decade old habit of mine. But if you have no idea what I'm talking about, just keep reading. ;)

Wellness Monday originates from back in the old days, when I was very very busy all week long and hardly had time to let my hair down, let alone sit in the tub for hours. And then, one day I realized you can really amp up your day just by adding a small wellness factor.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Red Lips

... and nails! ;)
I've had the nail polish for like forever, but I never had the nerves to wear red on my lips. I'll tell you why.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Style Story

I've long been thinking about how I would define my style...
These days retro is back =) and there are all sorts of influences around, from pretty much every decade of the previous century. Everyone's free to choose how far they're willing to go back and there are a number of futuristic trends as well to add to the anachronism.

Giving much thought to my preferences, I have come up with the following terminology for my style:

Monday, September 27, 2010

On Love, Sex, Relationships and Marriage (The Truth =D)

I don't know why all these contemplative and very philosophic posts spring up now so suddenly... Must be because of the weather, or I don't know. If I come to think of it, there's always a trigger, though.

Recently I was reading Kandee Johnson's post on premarital sex, and then there was the ELLE.com article on marriage. I didn't quite get outraged but as close to it as I ever get. I mean I had that feeling that there's a lot left unsaid and my French coursebook from highschool came to mind: "on ne peut pas generaliser!"

Mine is not a romantic success story, nor is it a "not to" tutorial. I am just your average girl but I feel that if one wants to capture the essence of happiness in love, every story counts. In my opinion happiness is not a result of extremes, giving everything or nothing. Rather, I think, love is a complex phenomenon. But if you listen closely you can hear what your heart is telling you.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Anniversaries

I am so so sorry. Actually, I really am. I really like this blog and I would love to post more. But fortunately my sail has caught wind, and I'm getting busy with all sorts of projects. But I wanted to keep you guys updated, so here are some news.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Where I Stand [Ramblings :)]

Now that we've been back in Switzerland for a week and my 26th birthday is fast approaching, I felt the need to sort my life out a bit. So I've been spending the day in (mostly) silent contemplation of what I really need, what I really want and what direction my life will take.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Bali Beaches

Sanur, Kuta, Seminyak, Jimbaran, Candidasa...

Actually, Bali doesn't have so many great beaches one would think. In fact it only has a few. But everyone can find one to their liking, I'm sure. Let's see the ones we visited.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

[MORE] Videos from Bali

Sorry, guys, we've been real busy having fun. =)

Yesterday we came back to Sanur, stopping at the stone giants of Gunung Kawi and then at the silverware paradise of Celuk.

In the meantime I managed to upload these videos. ;)







I'll try to upload more, but our internet connection's not so stable -- the monkeys ate the cable. No, just kidding! =)

Hugs from Bali

fleur

And a couple more that I added once back home:
















Monday, August 30, 2010

Taming A Volcano

We've got back from our hike to Gunung Batur (Mt. Batur), the second highest volcano in Bali, and had breakfast and a little rest. And here I am, to tell you all there is to know. ;)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

(Literally) Dormant

This is just a quick note to let you guys in on our plans. ;)

We're going to bed early tonight, because we're leaving at 2:30am to climb a volcano. And it's the volcano that's supposed to be dormant, not us, so it's time for our (short =( ) beauty sleep. I'll tell you guys about our adventure tomorrow! ;)

See you soon!

xoxoxo

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Welcome to Ubud

So today we arrived in Ubud. This is the cultural capital of Bali, so to say. And out first has definitely been a busy day.

Balinese Massage

... is a dream.

I absolutely love it! We had our first yesterday (yes, I know =) ) and have kept to our decision of having one every day we're in Bali. This is simply amazing. It consists of long stretching strokes and the stimulation of various parts of the body that seem to be magically connected to all sorts of problems. One truly feels reborn afterward. And for a fee of around US$60, it's seriously a must.

See you, guys, in the next post!
Cheerio!
fleur

Friday, August 27, 2010

Paradise on Sale

Here we are in Sanur (Bali, Indonesia). Have been for the last four days. And tomorrow we're leaving for Ubud.

It took some time to adjust to the rhythm of things here. But once that short period was over, we found ourselves head over heels with this paradise of an island. Here's why:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Amsterdam, Baby!

Sorry for the delays. Not easy to get online when traveling the world...
Amsterdam was such fun, guys, I guess everybody should visit it once. That might actually be enough for some... =)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hugs from Amsterdam

Amsterdam's a charming city and we've had a very nice afternoon here. Though we're ready to have more fun during our 14 hour flight -- and of course in Bali! :)

Please keep checking,
there's more to come!
This is just a quick note
to let you know we're
fine and
ready to party!
=D
Love
Fleur from
Amsterdam!!! ;)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Outbound [UPDATE]

Hi my dearest readers

Tomorrow's so close now and it's all so interesting! :)
Our flight leaves at a comfortable time, so we can have a nice breakfast and all that and then head off to the airport. Our transfer's from Amsterdam, and as we booked relatively cheap tickets, we'll have about 7 hours between the two flights. [Our Amsterdam-Bali flight has been delayed 3 hours and thus leaves almost at midnight... I hope this means more time in Amsterdam if less time in Bali...]

Which we will wisely spend in Amsterdam! ;)

Friday, August 20, 2010

New Layout

I decided to freshen things up a bit. Please let me know how you like the new layout and colors.

I really count on you! ;)

A New Mission =)

For two weeks, this is going to be a travel blog.

I'm going to Bali, Indonesia on my honeymoon (yay!) and I'd like to keep you guys updated. I know this has little to do with Geneva or life in Switzerland but I really don't want to set up a new blog for these two weeks. Plus, some of you might start wondering what's happened to me. =) But don't worry, I'm all right, I'm just your special reporter of the week, writing from Bali.

Keep tuned for the stories and news (there'll be many as I know our little team of two, funny things happen to us any time we leave home)!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Permit me (Chapter CLXIX, Epilogue)

My dearest friends

This is just a note to let you know that I've received my B permit, I'm holding it in my hands (well not at the time of typing this but you all know what I mean) and it's 100% real.

I've also landed a job, which -- whenever it becomes a reality -- I will tell you more about.

But now I'm officially employable and I can leave on my honeymoon on Sunday knowing that when I come back tons of new opportunities will be awaiting me.

Cheers to that! =)

I wish you all a wonderful week
and will be back soon with some stories from the wonderful
Bali! ;)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

DIY Wedding Tips: Hair & Makeup

Hi girls

This is (mainly =)) for you. Grooms can go for a walk or brush their suits. =)

Jokes aside, I saw many people stare and go white when I told them I'd done my own hair and makeup for the wedding(s). Well, it wasn't that big a deal actually, it's like anything else: it takes time and practice and your enthusiasm. That said I can understand why you wouldn't want to do it. It might be frustrating and stressing for some and you also might have to stock up on products you'd never use again. BUT: if you're even a bit like me you'll enjoy it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I'm Unofficially Approved (for a Permis B!)

So this is how the story goes:

My husband (of two weeks ) came to work for one of the Geneva banks last October. Until the end of April I was traveling back and forth between Geneva and our native country (Hungary), finishing my studies, etc. In May I registered at the Immigration Office (OPC), as my 180/365 "tourist visa" was quickly running out and I wouldn't have been able to stay until the wedding. By that time we were registered at the Town Hall (Mairie/Etat Civil) for the civil ceremony, so I took that form as well to the Immigration Office.

Around two weeks later I received a letter from them asking me to send them after the wedding a copy of the marriage certificate and 2 passport photos, which I promptly did. That was almost two weeks ago.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The One in Geneva

I don't even know where to start...

I guess the 'story' started the day before the wedding, when most of our guests arrived in Geneva. Or they should have. Due to strikes in the south of France, my husband's witness was like 14 hours late. We were to meet her on Thursday morning and spend the day relaxing and getting ready -- mostly spiritually and mentally. Well, her morning flight got canceled and her evening flight was two hours (!) late. So she got to Geneva late in the evening and though we all felt exhausted, it was very reassuring that all our guests made it to Geneva and would be present the next day.

Friday began with a thunderstorm.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lots of Fun Stuff Coming!

Hi blogreaders!

I hope you've not totally given up on me. I know it's been a month and though I was not going to apologize, I'll let you in on the secret. Well, it's not really been a secret since I started posting on it, but you still might not know why I've been away. Well, WE GOT MARRIED! =D

So that means I have some excuse for having been away so long. And it also means that lots of fun stuff's coming soon! ;)

I'll write up a memoir of the events (from my laissez faire point of view so don't expect much bridezilla stuff) and publish some stories and adventures we went through. After the wedding(s) we stayed in Hungary for a week and had our French friend over as well. As she's the kind of person to whom 'some weird stuff will happen' all the time, I'm pretty sure you'll have fun reading the forthcoming posts.

So stay tuned for more to come (very very soon!)
Hugs and kisses
Mrs. Flower =D

Friday, July 9, 2010

Geneve Plage

Ok, this is something you should probably check out if, like me, you get all beachy seeing all this water. The hot sun and the cool and incredibly clear waters of the lake make me crave a swim and last weekend we gave in.

Norah Jones and the Montreux Jazz Festival

Now this is really difficult to review. First of all because it's such a complex topic and second because we didn't get to experience it to the extent we wanted to. But I'll try to summarize our experiences:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Make up for Glasses

Hi All

I know it's been a while. And I still owe you a post on the Norah Jones concert (and Montreux Jazz Festival) and on our outing on Geneve Plage. Those are to come very soon.

But there's something I've been confronted with lately, and I have to tell you about it. My makeup-loving harmony-addict lifestyle was quite crashed by the fact that I was prescribed glasses a couple of months ago. At first I felt like something very very bad had happened to me. I mean wearing glasses isn't something you'd voluntarily do, is it? But soon I realized it' an age old stereotype and glasses are pretty much like bangles or bracelets nowadays. And they can make you look just as gorgeous.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Montreux Jazz Festival

Some awesome friends surprised us with two tickets to the Norah Jones concert this Saturday!

I'm so excited! I haven't been to a decent concert in some time and I've always been dreaming about this festival!

Check out the official homepage, though I've been informed that tickets were sold in minutes. However, it is worth planning ahead for next year's event, or hang around the entrance for tickets sold for twice their price (if not more...) and there are free performances and programs as well! ;)

Have a wonderful weekend
(it's soooooon!)
and enjoy the sun.
hugs
fleur

Permit Me

After a period of trying to prove pessimists wrong, I have to admit that it is true.

If you don't have a permit to work in Switzerland, it is very difficult to find work here.

I would never say it's impossible. It's just very very difficult. You need something in your resume that makes you irreplaceable, or you need the right marketing to sell this very expensive product (meaning you) to companies. I'm saying these things to put anyone off. But agreeing with the above statement is not pessimism, it is pure rationalism. Of course, you can fight the tide and get yourself a job, but start by thinking up a good plan. I'll cross fingers for you! In the meantime, I'll be waiting for my permit. ;)

I hope this helps you guys,
thank you for reading
and
please, please never give up on your dreams!

xoxoxo

fleur

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Fun In/Around Geneva (My Fave)

OK, this is simply impossible. I could write a series of posts to answer the simple question often asked of me of late:

So what do you recommend for us to do in Geneva?

Well, I've composed a (very) short list of options (in no particular order) if you're spending one/some summer day(s) in the city. It does no justice to the incredible amount of fun you can have, but this is what I'd be doing:

Friday, June 25, 2010

Our Visit Chez U Bobba

Well... (I've realized I tend to start posts this way... But, you know, sometimes it just cools you down and alows you to start at the beginning.)

I saw some nice reviews of u bobba at resto-rang, an amazing site. (Check it out if you're looking for a place to eat in Switzerland.) And as on calling them they told me they accept the Lunch Check Suisse coupons (which we have tons of), off we were walking down rue de la Corraterie, one of the nicest rues in Geneva.

The location is a plus. Now that tramways are being upgraded to a noiseless level, you hardly notice them. I love the flags down the street and the Old Town just next to the restaurant. The terrace, where we were sitting gives on the Place Neuve and the street and behind you you can see the old city wall.

OK, we've got to the hard part. I'm not going to lie, we didn't like our dinner at u bobba very much. I'll tell you why. But I'll also tell you what I loved about this place, because it was charming and to only point out the things we didn't like wouldn't do it justice. I don't want any of you think ill of this place. Simply don't go there on a date with a significant other you'd like to impress. Unless your idea of a date is much different from mine. :)

So it was a rather windy evening and still the restaurant was sort of closed from the front and everyone was sitting on the large balcony. So there we made our way, and I guess we wouldn't have been served inside anyway. It felt a bit cold and my future hubby's been caughing ever since. But we stuck around all through the meal.

Being vegetarians, I knew we had three options, because I'd checked the website in the afternoon. Well, we had two, and only one was on the menu.  Not the best start, but we ordered one of each and were ready to overlook the issue. At this point we weren't really worried about prices, because we were looking forward to our feast at this nice (though cold) place.

We usually don't eat much, that's why we started with the main courses. But we could have eaten multiple plates of salads till our dishes arrived. I started to get impatient and sulky. When we got our fair share of their goods, my sulkiness lifted considerably. Fried tofu, some tiny bit of flavored rice and a considerable amount of the vegetables sauté (love! love! love!). I felt like in heaven. (I'm known for my love of rough food.)

My date mate was a funny sight. I'll give you the details so you can imagine. He's a very tall man, and likes his food substantial. A gourmand, you could say. Not that he eats much but he likes to eat well once he sets to it. And he was staring down at a tiny amount of (very special)  risotto on a huge plate. Ladies, if you wanna look slim, try wearing a huge plate. It works for risottos.

I'd say it was a nice risotto with some white wine in it and wild mushrooms, but it had absolutely no salt in it (and I cook practically without salt, ask my friends). And when a dish is not salty enough, it just doesn't have a taste. And when you've waited ages for your meal and it arrives in a tiny portion and it has no taste... That's when you get really disappointed. Which he duly did.

We ended up sharing my dinner and having his risotto as a sider (salted accordingly). I absolutely loved the vegetables, which I should as I often make them at home as well. The stakeholder of the evening was left unimpressed and feeling cold. But to give the place another chance, we ordered dessert.

Now you have to be aware of the fact that some people might not like icecream on a cold windy evening. I like icecream each and every evening, night, morning or any other moment it happens to be around, but some people don't. Now they'll have a hard time choosing a dessert. There were like six or them, one was the usual kind (creme brulée or something) and four had icecream in them. So he chose the Panna Cotta with some berry sauce and I chose a tarte tatin aux mangues with white chocolate icecream. I've once eaten panna cotta and I remembered it as a white, delicious cheese and cream mousse. As the waitress told us it was an Italian specialty, my memories revived and I recommended it to my partner with a wide smile. He also loves cheese and he didn't want the creme brulée (or whatever). When the thing arrived, however, our smiles melted.

My dessert was awesome! And it's not just my weird taste, my date (who ended up having a bit of mine as well) also loved it. The icecream was top notch with white chocolate slivers and the tarte had hot and crunchy leafy layers with real fat mango slices on top, upon which the above mentioned i.c. sat.

The panna cotta was sad. Small and "nothing special", the worst any cotta can be. I had the last bite of icecream, he shoved in the last morceau of the tarte still yumming, and we asked for the bill.

With the 20% off we had ("last minute" reservation bonus as advertised on resto-rang), and the fact that we were paying with our coupons, we should have been satisfied with the deal we'd got. This wasn't the case. We totalled some  CHF 65, preposterous for such a small amount of food.

We were kidding about stepping in at the Armures for a fondu before heading home. We passed that favorite spot of ours, saw it was full (but really full), and went home brooding on what makes a restaurant good or bad. Food has definitely something to do with it...

Thank you for reading!
Have an awesome weekend,
go hiking, rent a pedal boat,
or just have some white chocolate icecream out in the sun. ;)
Love
Fleur 
 
P.S. There are things to like about u bobba though.  It reminded me of the places we used to have a coffee/tea or a cocktail with my friends back in Hungary. It has live jazz music on Saturdays and has a really nice, sort of unique jazzy atmosphere. So definitely check out this place for an after work mug or glass of something spiriting, or even have a tarte to accompany it. ;) Prices might actually be set just for this type of fun.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Q: "Do you know a good restaurant in Geneva?"

A:

Well, I know several, but I'm always willing to try new ones. And you can get 20% off today at ú bobba, if you say the word.

Ohh, the word is merci. :)

Have fun, eat well and keep tuned for our humble opinion
on the food chez ú bobba
and in other places we've tried.

"How's Wedding Planning?"

They keep asking me. And I keep saying, welllllll,...

I'm a bit like a fish out of water with all of this. Normally I make impulsive decisions on the spur of the moment. Of course there is a (slight =D) chance that I don't chose the absolute best but most of the time my choices turn out to be stunningly appropriate and anyway, I never look back to brood on what I should've, could've or would've done. Usually I form next time...! statements, and there's quite a list of these in my mental notebook at this age. :)

But wedding planning is different. One (usually a bride, dam' tradition!) has long lists (a guest list, a to-do list, a shopping list, a groom's wishes list, a responsibilities list, perhaps even a death roll by the end...) that one's to consult every now and then and organize the decision making. You cannot just draw up a plan and send it to your caterer/hairdresser/vendor/friend, because there's the groom/your aunt Jane/the venue/the weather/the dress/the photos/the airport schedule/thousand other things to consider... It gives me a headache just to start thinking about one issue on any of those lists.

You know what? I'm seriously thinking it's all rather like a huge board game, a cooperative one, with some evil spirit (Life?) on the other end of the board... And we've gotta win!

It's not so terrible at all, that' not what I'm driving at. It's simply that I'm so terrible at it. Seriously, I suck at organizing such huge events, with tons of people involved. And it's not even that I'm trying to cater for their needs (no pun intended), but I do want this day (these 3 days) to be perfect -- in our way. And this means I cannot just order any cake but I have to find the right one. I cannot have the flowers look just nice, I have to have them our way. And (I learned this quickly) our way is a little off the beaten track. So we're beating that track through mud and jungle.

OK, enough of the complaints, for my friends know me for despising them. I'll give you the news, so you can see that we've been actually doing something instead of sitting down and crying.

My dress(es) are being made and they are awesome!
Yes, they are. I'm willing to recommend my Hungarian seamstress to anyone. I'm pretty sure if she was living in New York or Paris, she'd be working for some of the greatest designer houses! Her work is a marvel and she's supertalented in how to make one's figure look the best, what color suits what complexion, etc. She's gooood! (Check out her page, soon to feature me among the pics! =D)

The groom's dressed too!
Yes, the miracle has happened. We've found suit, shirt and tie for by beautifully slender, unfairly tall husband-to-be. He reminds me a lot of the Bonnie & Clyde myth wearing his new suit and cuts a real off-beat groom! ;) I'm (obviously) really impressed with this development.

We're negotiating prices, etc.
Which means "we have a plan". And that's a big step forward. We've submitted queries and are awaiting answers and propositions. So as soon as we have those, details about the venue and the food will fit into place.

We have a sketch of the reception program.
This is going to be fun! Oh my, I guess I'm a real performer at heart. I was really against entertaining guests at the beginning. But I soon found out that there are other (and more fun) ways than the traditional "torture the couple" type of games. We've found really nice ways to entertain all present, without sacrificing our dignity -- and we'll have our own portion of fun too!

We're awaiting responses to invitations.
In fact, we've already received one. So we'll see how our no-RSVP, "contact us by email" method works. Of course, we've talked to most of the guests personally or through the phone, because the guest list is quite small and they're mostly close family and very good friends.

I know this has been quite long. But you see, we've been at work. :) Despite all the difficulties. ;)

Thanks for reading!
And enjoy the good weather while it lasts...
I'm afraid it'll be back to rain in no time... :(

Geneva Music Festival / Fete de la Musique, Geneve [UPDATE]

Although it was raining quite a lot during the weekend, we had lots of fun at this marvelous event! We went for the world music performers, but there was also jazz and reggae and folk and rock and... some 600 performers all in all! So if you haven't been to this one, definitely schedule your calendar around next year's festival! It's such an amazing quality both in music and in experience, with a lot of that hippie buzz you immediately associate with the term music festival. A MUST:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Geneva Music Festival / Fete de la Musique, Geneve

Hi all, I bet you'll love this!

The 3 day music festival starts this Friday and hosts hundreds of bands an musicians.

Check out the program and pick and choose as you like, for there's no way one can go to all of these concerts! :D

Profitez-en! ;)
Bisous
Fleur

Motivated (language) learning

Probably you've noticed that I'm really a believer in motivation. Undoubtedly it is the main force behind all human action, and therefore determines the outcome of any such action. It is thus advisable for teachers and learners to understand it mechanisms.

As a teacher of English for 5 years now, I've found understanding motivation a core of any successful teaching. Working on my thesis I realized there was so little user friendly information on motivation. This is why I created this blog, which, if interested, you are all most cordially invited to join:

Motivated Learning (http://motivatedlearning.blogspot.com/)

If you have any questions or suggestions, or have a topic in mind that you'd like to see discussed here, don't hesitate to comment.

Have a very nice day! ;)
Fleur

Fleur, MA

Yesss. It's done. I hold an MA. Sounds so impressive! :D

It's no boasting, it's only some juicy details. I guess after 6 years I deserve so much. So I took the exam at my home university in Budapest (Hungary) on June 9, 2010. It was an extremely hot day, lucky that the buildings are so old at the uni that they stay much colder in summer. So on the corridor, where I was waiting some 3 hours, it was actually quite nice. I seriously don't know what I was so nervous about. What could they have asked me after 6 years that I couldn't answer. Believe me, they could think of something. :)

Well, after 3 hours I was in a fairly mild mood. I'd eaten nothing after all and even if you can't be nervous for 3 hours, the morning left me quite tired. So in I went, all smiles and a "whatever may come" attitude. It was a hundred degrees (I'm talking Celsius) in the room and the referees were a lot like drooping lilies. We had a nice chat about my thesis, where some questions were shot at me but I defended my baby like a lioness, and managed to convince them that whoever else doubts my words is wrong. :))) Then I had a go at explaining discourse analysis.

Now that I'm thinking of it, I should have recorded the nice things the head of the English Department said... They were really moved, believe it or not.

Now it's on to PhD and some nice job. After all, I hold an MA! :)

Thank you all for reading!
xoxoxo

Fiance Visa [UPDATE] (Q: "How to stay with my fiance in Switzerland?" Aliens' Police -- A Nice Experience! ;))

I've just received a letter from the Immigration Office in Geneva. As you might remember my previous post, I contacted them in order to be able to stay longer than the 180 days/year. It took them like a month to answer, after which I received a very short letter stating that after the wedding I should provide them with 2 passport photos and a copy of the marriage certificate.

I assume this means that I can stay :) I don't know whether I can look for work or not, but I guess it's fine if I start work once we're married.

Well, just thought I'd share the happy news. I'm glad I wasn't made an example of, hauled out by my hair or something.

Curious thing though: I was never examined boarding the plane or landing in Geneva a couple of days ago when I arrived. I don't think they knew I had submitted an application... Or do they check things through some system and registered my entry by my passport number (which is also registered with the authorities)? I was just so prepared to tell the police my story... :D

Good luck to all trying to settle in Switzerland! Not easy but totally worth it. :)

Thanx for reading!
Cheeerio!
Fleur

My DIY Wedding Invitations [UPDATE]

Oh, I haven't told you! They've been dispatched and now we're awaiting responses. Oh my, but they took a while to get ready! So if you're planning to make your own wedding invitations, give yourself time to prepare them.We had hand written invitations (yes, it was my hand...), because we felt it was more personal. Nevertheless, we wanted the writing to look nice and also used a golden pen, so the whole thing looked rather nice, and we managed to avoid the "postcard" finish.
I used a layer of floral hand made paper (think little ink blue flowers worked into the material) as the "cover" of creme colored folded cards, each bound with an ink blue ribbon of raffia. They turned out really special and cute and totally in line with the general atmosphere of the wedding to come.

Have you crafted your invitations?

Are you planning to craft them?
Tell me what you think of hand made invitations! ;)
Hugs
Fleur

Sunday, June 13, 2010

News from Hungary (with the Adventage of Hindsight)

It's been a while. My excuse is that I've just visited my home country for a while (and came back with an MA, not too bad is it?). And the experience made me think. On being an expat, on life in different countries. On Hungary and Switzerland. And I thought it was all worth a post.

Fist off, I have to tell you that I do not believe in Paradise on Earth. Of course I haven't seen all there is to see but I'm sure of this. No place is perfect, just as no person is. The important thing is to be able to live with the deficiencies and appreciate the advantages. Switzerland is no exception. Life is in no way easier here. But I do consider its disadvantages "cute" and I do like the things it offers.

That said, I recommend expat life to anyone not completely satisfied with their current location. It broadens the mind. A lot. Not only in the sense usually associated with traveling. It makes one more rational about the countries involved, about the whole world in fact. Being a tourist is nice enough and one can often imagine one's life in the country one visits, but actually doing it is a totally different thing.

Now that I've spent enough time in Switzerland for the pink fog to lift (fogs don't usually lift from Geneva), I can compare the two countries with the objectiveness of an anthropologist. Not that I ever believed it would be largely different anywhere (you're the same person anyway and if you're rude, for instance, don't expect to be treated differently in any country). I could definitely point out the downside of living in Switzerland, but for me its beauty makes up for everything. I can now, moreover, point out the advantages of living in Hungary, something I never thought I would be able to do. I'm not talking about things that are worse in other countries (like the manners of any national can easily surpass those of the people in the South of France -- offense guys, but you have some stuff to learn for sure!) but rather things that I don't think I'll ever find elsewhere.

First of all, my friends are in Hungary. This is a point that was very difficult for me to admit, but now I see that I do miss them (and my family) sorely. For beauty and fun are only really enjoyable if you can share them and although my future husband and I are having lots of fun in Switzerland, I keep thinking how one friend or another would love this or that.

Then there's the language. This is a sentimental issue, not one I often talk about. I love languages, I love English and French, they're all parts of me and I'd never be the same person without them. I consider English a second mother tongue for all the time I've spent using it and French is like the breeze on which my poetic side sets off floating. But I do miss Hungarian. For what we speak at home is now a weird mixture of the two, a lingua franca between our worlds and the many worlds that flourish in Geneva. It has become part of our identity, but I feel we're losing something of ourselves as well.

What's really difficult in Geneva is that you have to fight every step of the way, and where your rights and values were unquestionable in your home country, you are defined by totally different measures in Switzerland. Your degree might be invalid or you might have to repeat courses or take exams. Your perfect knowledge of a language might actually be taken granted rather than rewarded. Your mother tongue might not be acknowledged at all and if you were considered a speaker of 3 languages at home, here you speak only 2 or even 1. And, above all, you're often considered an immigrant. Note that 47% of Geneva's population is officially foreigner (which excludes tourists, illegal immigrants and the pending, like me), so it does not mean you're an outsider. But I do get that condescending smile too often to like it. (Maybe I shouldn't be pushing my French...)

On the other hand, I love it here. You know I do. I've rambled about it. This post is just a little nostalgic remembrance, so that I give justice to my home country and tell you the truth about expatriate life.

Thank you for reading!
I promise you more content next time! ;)
Have a nice day!
Lots of love from a decidedly tropic Geneva!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Pedal Boats on Lake Geneva

This post will be relatively short because I have to be packing. Tomorrow morning (very early if you ask me) I'll be leaving for Budapest, Hungary. I've mixed feelings about this trip, I'm really happy to see my family and friends and I'm certainly excited about graduating -- but I don't like leaving Geneva. This city is just too cute to be true and though working conditions are tough, I like ti here a lot. Well, I suppose that will be the topic of another post, one that is long due.

But back to our fun. As the Lake is not really open to naval transport (save the 4 little yellow boats on the river and the couple of ferries to other towns), it's a paradise for water sports lovers. In sunny weather (even when the water's too cold for swimming) sailboats and the like populate the water and many people hire pedal boats to head for the glittering waves.

There are only a couple of rules for pedal boat riders, and those are quite straightforward (no going under the Jet, into the city, etc.). But other than that you can go to Lausanne if you wish! ;) In our experience, however, there is an optimal time to spend on the lake. For two people one hour is too tight because it takes about 10 minutes to really take off and the beginning section is filled with the lazier pedallers so it takes some skills too. :) Two hours can seem a bit longish (but nice) when it's not so sunny (like last Saturday) and you can't swim. But if it's hotter and you can sunbathe a bit or swim, time flies by faster so be prepared to rent for a longer period. There are 2/4/6 seat drives so you can take your friends or family, however, only two people have to drill so be prepared to draw straws from time to time. ;)

It's no ad, so I won't tell you where to find the little blue hut but you'll soon find that there's only one place in Geneva to rent decent pedal boats. They have other kinds as well, motor boats and such, some of them driven by the solar panels on the hut's roof! They're not so expensive either, for a 2/4 seat pedal boat it's CHF 20/36 for 1/2 hours and motor boats start around 50 per hour (if I remember correctly). Compared to Geneva prices in general, it's a good deal.

Check them out and tell me what you think! ;)
Have a nice week!

your fleur ;)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wedding Reception Games: a Do Or a Don't?

Well, I've been reading some really controversial stuff on it. It seems, some people are completely appalled by the idea and would just leave immediately once a game is announced at a wedding reception. Others feel kind of out of place at wedding receptions, and feel that games help them find their place and make them more aware of what to do. There are also weddings where, for cultural, religious or completely other reasons, dancing is not an option. So reception games come into play.

I don't quite know about others. I have never ever been to a wedding reception (wait, I've been to a Caribbean one, completely by chance, but that was exceptional...very exceptional), so I don't quite know about myself. I guess there are situations where wedding reception games are a complete don't. But in our case they seem pretty justified.

I have to emphasize that by games I don't mean a) boardgames, however the groom would love them; b) games centered on "torturing" the bride and groom (or the guests). But as we're two extreme fun loving persons, our families and friends are also a bit on the extreme and fun loving side. There's absolutely no way they'd enjoy the cake-eating-dancing-hitting-bed kind of wedding. And neither would we. So we'd better be inventive, huh?

I'm not gonna tell you what games we've picked (why, guests may be reading!) but my tedious and long internet search has proved fruitful. We have found some really fun and cool games, and we've tweaked a couple to suit our needs.

My absolute fav is the Fun Fact game. You can play it in many many ways, we've just thought of one that suits us and the party best. The basic idea is that you gather some facts about the couple that guests/the other may or may not be familiar with. And then you play it all up. Taped interviews, flash cards are possible ways of doing it, but you can design your own. I prefer the ones that are the most original and the least TV show like. The web is full of info on this, and I'm sure to add ours to the list when the wedding is over. ;)

Another real hit can be the Kissing Challenge, as I call it. It can also be done in many many ways, but the basic idea is the same: guests like to clang their glasses for the couple to kiss. I think it's a rather nasty tradition (I want to have my fill of the wonderful food we've chosen!) and too easy on the guests. What we'll do: we'll make them pay for the kiss. I'm not talking money here... but there are so many ways to let the bride and groom have their fun too. (*evil laugh*) The web has various options too, we've picked and tweaked the one we liked best. Be prepared to pay for your fun, haaa haaa haaaa! :D

And there will be others like these, small things that don't require running around or shoving eggs up and down the groom's trouser legs or blindfolding either of us. Neither are these cheesy or childish, as you can see. It's just doing what we do best: giving old concepts a makeover and make our families and friends laugh their heads off. ;)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Why Are You Learning Languages? ;)

Hey, why not answer here?

I really appreciate any answers, guys. It's totally anonymous and I'm so very interested in getting to know what you think.

Have a long and ultimately cool weekend ;)
Cheerio! ;)
fleur