Friday, December 7, 2012

[A Geek Girl's] Christmas Wishlist // Karácsonyi Kívánságlista [ egy "Kockalány" Tollából]

Dear Angels. All this rubbish about Santa climbing down chimneys on Christmas Eve! Such superstitions! Everyone in Hungary knows that the jolly old man is responsible for some December 6 boot-filling, but it's you guys that decorate trees and take care of the logistics behind all those marvelous packets and parcels under the tree. And I know my friends and family might slip away on secret missions claiming to be Christmas shopping (what a thought!), I've long suspected that they actually leave you the dirty work. So, I thought I'd help them out and post you the list directly. It's not exclusive, but because you know my heart a lot better than I do and I'm sure whatever else you come up with is jut as nice. These are only a couple of ideas, so that you can help those relatives of mine out that come to you for help.
All right, Angels, take care and try to relax. I know these are hectic times but once it's over and done with, I'm sure you'll grab one of those last minutes and hang out at one of the beaches. And we're always so grateful and overjoyed about your help! ;)
Kisses and hugs sweet little angels.
Little Fleur

Kedves Angyalok! Micsoda sok butaság a Mikulásról meg a karácsony esti kéményen való közlekedésről! Mennyi babona! Pedig Magyarországon mindenki tudja, hogy a jó öreg szakállas bár megtöm pár csizmát december 6-án, a fadíszítésért és a fa alá kerülő kisebb-nagyobb csomagok logisztikájáért bizony Ti vagytok felelősek. és habár tudom, hogy sok családtagom és barátom hivatkozik mostanában a karácsonyi vásárlásra (micsoda ötlet!), én mindigis gyanítottam, hogy a piszkos munkát valójában meghagyják Nektek.  Ezért úgy gondoltam, hogy egy kicsit segítek nekik, és helyből el is küldöm nektek a listát. Természetesen nem teljes, de mivel Ti még nálam is jobban ismeritek a vágyaim, tudom, hogy akármi másra esik is a választásotok, annak ugyanúgy fogok örülni. Ez épp csak egy pár ötlet, azon rokonaim számára, akik Hozzátok fordulnak segítségért.
Nos, kedves Angyalok, vigyázzatok magatokra, és próbáljatok azért kicsit pihenni. Tudom, hogy ez egy igen hektikus időszak, de abban is biztos vagyok, hogyha mindezzel megvagytok, megkaparintotok majd egy last-minute utat valamelyik napfényes tengerpartra. És persze mi mindig nagyon hálásak vagyunk a segítségetekért, ami annyi örömet okoz! ;)
Sok-sok puszi kedves kis angyalkák!

The List // A Lista

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Samsung Galaxy S III Brushed Metal Back Covers

[Disclaimer: Sadly I'm not affiliated with any of the vendors or manufacturers mentioned, all I get for this post is some grumbling from my husband.]

Welcome, welcome. If this is your first visit to my blog, you most probably got here through a search engine or some such. In that case, I guess, all you want to know is whether those covers you've seen all around the web are any good, and if it's worth spending all that money on them. So I suggest you skip and hit the break to see for yourself. ;)

But if you're a regular and have been wondering what the heck was up with my previously diligent blogging, well, I have a confession to make. I've been busier than ever in my whole life. You know, as a university student, earning a living and managing a household, I always thought I was pretty busy. Then I came to Switzerland and started building a life here. For a while I was suffering from the lack of any respectable job: managing the move and keeping the home afloat felt kind of demeaning. I look up to those girls immensely who are good at being a stay at home mum or a full time wife. I'm not. I blotch things without remorse and get itchy and frustrated. Then I blotch things up even more, sort of destroying the cage, so that people can see I'm no good at home.

So long story short, I've managed to get myself a couple of jobs, piling on till I was satisfied. Problem was they soon started to grow on me and this summer had me fully exhausted and thinking about quitting some of them. It seems that by the end of the year I should be done with everything but my university duties, which is good. The only thing is that I started to reduce my other responsibilities only to reach the busiest period in my PhD project. So basically it was good timing, otherwise I'd be dead. But this also meant that I had to put everything else on hold.

But don't worry, I have a couple of posts in the brewing, so keep an eye out for those. Also, if you're looking for some good deals on ski holidays and the like in/around good old Switzerland, check out And now, let's see those shiny back covers!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Geek Joy -- My Galaxy S III [Updated]

We've finally cracked. I mean our resolve did. And we ordered a Galaxy S III. In fact it was really a no brainer, since orange actually paid us a frank to do so. Keep reading to find out how you can get a SGS3 free now from orange. Hurry, you only have a few days left. ;)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Driver's Licence Timeline :) [Updated]

It took me some time to figure out what to do when, so I thought I'd try and help out those of you thinking about getting a driver's licence in Geneva. I'll also be uploading some reviews of the places and teachers I've tried, to make that choice easier (or harder =D). I've already 'passed' first aid and am currently preparing for the test. So let's see the steps...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Bernese Overland, Knee surgery, and more...

Hi folks. I hope you're all having an awesome summer and enjoying one type of holiday or another.

I have to admit I'm in no form to be writing posts these days. =) I'll jot down a few things, nonetheless, to keep you updated. Not because I'm so conceited as to think you can't do without me, but I just can't bear the guilt of letting any of my loyal readers down. ;)

The reason why I've been so wasted recently is ... well ... manifold. First off, I'm at stage 3 in my PhD project, which means I'm perfecting my questionnaire, which stresses me out quite a lot. You see I have to get it perfect, because I can't very well just go back and ask around five hundred people to fill it out again. Secondly, I've been having a really tough time at the language school, because I just can't stand the fact that I'm doing ALL the admin on my courses, much more than a teacher's ever supposed to do. The moodle we have is a pain in the a and I'm honestly suffering under the stress of it all. I'm still wondering how I could make myself more effective but I'm a teacher not a secretary, no wonder I never became one.

But there are good exhausting things as well. =) Fortunately. We've just spent a week in the Bernese Overland, a post is coming up on that for sure! It was amazing, very very tiring but in an awesome way. For the first time in my whole life I was totally devastated to be back in the city. Those mountains just gave me such a sense of freedom that it's become so difficult to climb back into my cage... But having some friends over from Hungary for a couple of days changed my mind a little. We had a cool hike yesterday, and today we did a little tour of the town, and I got to rediscover the cute side of Geneva. Yes, it is very cute. The fact that it's made me an emotional wreck doesn't quite take away all the fun. I guess I'm to blame for that, as much as all the external factor. People say I just have to learn not to give a d, but I'm starting to think it's something I'm scattering around as I walk.

To be honest, I'm starting to feel as if I was 16 again, dissatisfied, rebelling, unsure of myself... And I think it's stupid, because I'm almost twice as old and have all the assets I need to change my life. I wonder how long this phase will go on, hopefully I grow out of it quite soon. Otherwise I might bore you guys to death. =)

Oh, I almost forgot -- as I often do nowadays -- the other thing I wanted to tell you about. It's my upcoming (or not?) knee surgery. Yes, folks, it seems that sudden jab of pain I felt one sunny morning on the slopes of the Portes du Soleil was actually my knee ligament snapping. The fact that I skied quite a couple of full days after that, hiked a couple of weeks and have generally been walking around, several hours a day, doesn't change that fact one bit. I saw a doctor in Hungary and their (very unprofessional) X-ray confirmed my hidden and well denied suspicions. I'm past all the why mes and well I deserved its, and am looking forward to the adventure. Crazy, right? I know. But if I start to think of it as anything else than courageous and sportsmanlike and cool, I might just break down in tears and act like a child. So I won't be a ninny about it, I'll be cool and ask the kind Swiss knee specialist to make it awesome and better than it was. I was seriously considering getting one of those sci-fi robotic things that buzz and toss you meters into the air, but I guess they don't do those around here. (Would be cool, though, I could ski on one leg, pivot around, jump and have a little engine push me higher... But, yeah, maybe next time...) So I'll just follow the cues (I already have a couple of addresses) and write posts about my journey so that all those looking for some good knee surgeons in Geneva can have something to help them. =)

So I'll stop my ramblings here and I promise you guys I'll be back soon with some more helpful (and interesting) stuff. Till then,

Enjoy the summer and your holidays,
Feel happy and free and healthy and inspired,
And see you very soon! ;)

Yours truly


Friday, June 22, 2012

My Kids FAQ

This is so weird. I'm pretty sure you could get a psychology PhD out of my awkward situation with kids -- or, more specifically about having kids. I'm totally fine and cool with other people's offsprings and usually have a blast of a time with them, but at the end of the day I can't say I'm impatient to reproduce the feat. But these days I'm compelled to think about these questions more and more often. And I must admit I'm becoming less and less sure of my answer.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sea You Next Year (Our Holiday Plans)

I'm so excited! It's finally time for us to continue our Swiss hiking adventures where we left off last year. Of course I tried to tone down all the rave when writing the aforementioned review, but I guess you all know by now how much I love the Swiss Alps. And it's not just the hiking. Living and working in the city, which we both love, leaves us nonetheless with a crave for nature and peace, a stark contrast to our daily lives. We just feel like getting away from all the buzz and do nothing in an active sort of way. As much of a success story our trip to Engadine had been, we felt a bit short of enthusiasm to return to the touristy resorts of Italy. So our votes went for Ireland and Skandinavia this year.

They would have gone, that is. Because a voucher to TUI changed our plans quite a bit. I won't go into it, but the short version is that as agencies add their little fees to each and every one of the services you choose our voucher wouldn't have covered the whole of the trip, in fact it most probably would only have paid the fees. To cut to the point:
we're about to re-visit the Swiss Alps, but a different part this time.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Driving Me Crazy [Taming the Wheels Part I]

Oh, I'm not being idle. I've just had way too much on my plate lately and I'm trying to prioritize so that i can finish my academic projects on time.

But don't worry, the adventures of Fleur continue, and she's added a driver's licence to her list.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

What I Love about Switzerland/Geneva [Live List]

Lists Intro
Hi, guys! This post is a Live List, which means that I'll update it any time I have a new idea to add to it. I think it's quite a neat concept since I'm trying to be as active here as I can and help you out with some tips or other info. I explain how these posts are supposed to work here, but the basic idea is that as I'm super busy most of the time these days, I've decided to compile some lists to give you content without the fluff. I'll still write longer posts whenever I can, but I on a daily basis I might just update the lists. So let's get started and see what I Love about Switzerland/Geneva! Don't forget to check your fav lists from time to time, and feel free to suggest new items or new topics in the comments section. ;)

What I love love love about this place (in no particular order):

  1. The air. It's so fresh and clean and 'natural' smelling, even in the city center! OK, there are traffic jams and if you stick your nose in a chimney or something, sure you can find some smog, but boy this city/country rocks when it comes to air quality!
  2. The food. Every place I've been to has its own specialties, and they're all delicious. Geneva's a little difficult for vegetarians, but still, the multitude of Italian restaurants and Swiss cheese dishes make sure you'll never go hungry. And my hubby's a great fan of the potato-based cuisine of the German speaking part. To me all this is just so yummy I want to go and yodel! :D
  3. The view. I can't even begin to explain. Breathtaking. The fact that anywhere you go in Geneva, anywhere you look, there are snow-capped mountains around and they are always sweetly calling to you to go and enjoy...
  4. The hikes. No need to go into details here. Google it and you'll see. Or ask anyone who's done some. That is, if you can get hold of them, because I'm not sure anyone trying the Swiss walks would ever want to leave them. :)
  5. The things to do. I guess I'm one of those people who easily enjoy any place they visit. I think the key is to let all your expectations and habits go and enjoy the flow. But I especially love the ambiance of Romandie (the French speaking part), as it transforms into a different type of luna park each season. I can't vouch for other areas, but around here you'll always have something to do. Skiing and snowshoeing, fondue and raclette parties in winter, hikes and festivals, pedal (and sail!) boats and grills in summer. And all kinds of good stuff in between, weather permitting.
  6. The size. Switzerland is small, compared to many other countries (even Hungary!) but packed with the gorgeous, the yummy and the exciting. I've just noticed that we're getting lazier and lazier and moan about taking a 2-hour trip for a (world-renowned breathtaking) hike. We're so used to having natural beauty and lakeside fun at arm's length that we find traveling more and more burdensome. However, I'm looking forward to changing that in the near future -- I'm about to learn to drive! No more moaning, hubby! Load up the trunk. ;)

Thanks for reading.
Don't forget to come back and check the list
every once in a while, I'll update it
as soon as I have some more nice stuff.
Have an awesome day.
Cheerio! ;)

What I Miss the Most [Live List]

Lists Intro
Hi, guys! This post is a Live List, which means that I'll update it any time I have a new idea to add to it. I think it's quite a neat concept since I'm trying to be as active here as I can and help you out with some tips or other info. I explain how these posts are supposed to work here, but the basic idea is that as I'm super busy most of the time these days, I've decided to compile some lists to give you content without the fluff. I'll still write longer posts whenever I can, but I on a daily basis I might just update the lists. So let's get started and see what I Miss the Most! Don't forget to check your fav lists from time to time, and feel free to suggest new items or new topics in the comments section. ;)

What I've been missing the most since I moved Switzerland (in no particular order):

  1. Friends & Family. I don't think I need to explain. They're the only ones I cannot import (though I try to from time to time...) and I miss the most sorely.
  2. Warmth. The Swiss are a curious lot in my experience. I find it much easier to mingle at work and talk to people than in some other countries, but it's way more difficult to become friends with anyone here than back home, let alone form stronger bonds. People are really polite and nice here in Geneva (well, there are jerks anywhere) and they tend to be quite open minded, but jeez it's so hard to get them talk about anything more... uhm personal. (I think it's because so many of them have had traumatic lives and I blame their family model!)
  3. Some foods. (Like real Eastern European cottage cheese and tons of ground poppy seed) But these really shouldn't be so high up in the list. =D
  4. A day without wind. Two words: La Bise.
  5. Honesty. Oh, my, where do I begin? Let's just say that the people of Geneva are a pretentious lot and I wish they were less hypocritical from time to time. There are too many taboos in this frikkin' society and even the most open minded people will give you the good old juice if any of those comes up. I actually sometimes enjoy teasing them, but I'm baaaad. =D
  6. Simplicity. That's mostly Geneva, and it's somewhat linked to honesty. There's so much poshness in this city, it's unbelievable. I enjoy teasing people about this too (money's one of those taboos), but I sometimes seriously get tired of it. Those days I just put on a pair of (gorgeously cut) no-name jeans and a blasphemous brandless handbag, and leave home determined to win a glaring match with anyone who dares to stare.
  7. Speaking up. I guess it's strongly linked to the others,but I find keeping quiet very hard. If people would call cheaper clothes charming but lie in your face about how much their holiday or apartment costs and still keep whining about gas prices, I'm itching to give them a piece of my mind. All right, fair enough, they're adults, they can lie and whine for all I care. But the fact that I have to do it too still bugs me. Ohh, I guess I'd rather zip up than join in their "fun", so yes, for the moment silence is golden. But I'm still looking for a way to be the wittier. :)
  8. Lazing around. Well, this is hard to explain. I guess it's the world we're living in, where time flies by so fast. But while I'm just as busy in Geneva as I was back in Budapest, my impression is that I couldn't just laze around here the way I used to in Hungary. I remember hanging aout in parks and cafes, watching people pass by and just read or browse a magazine, alone, or chatting about arts and psychology with friends. I guess what I miss most are the friends to hang out with. Most of my friends here are either busy or live in other parts of Romandie. But there's also the buzz of the city and the fact that while in Hungary it's cool to do nothing publicly and be proud of it, the Swiss are much more studious.

Thanks for reading.
Don't forget to come back and check the list
every once in a while, I'll update it
as soon as I have some more nice stuff.
Have an awesome day.
Cheerio! ;)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What Makes You Happy

I've studied a lot of psychology, so I happen to know what actually makes people happy. Interestingly enough, it's not a life without problems. In fact, psychological happiness is a result of struggle and success. Much like a thermostat, our body and psyche constantly works on righting wrongs, that is, achieving a state most advantageous for our existence. We have different needs, but, be they psychological or physical, they all need to be catered for for us to feel comfortable. And whenever a meter returns to state "normal", the system rewards one with a feeling of relief, no, more than that: happiness.

But is this really all there is to it? Isn't there anything else science might have forgotten about? Well, you know there's always that unexplainable fraction of a percentage point that we often call nature's randomness. In humans, it often manifests in a desire to sometimes act against their best interests. Of course it has been established many times that completely selfless deeds don't exist. However, I believe that the fact that some still long for the ability to commit one shows that nature's best take on randomness, the human soul might still be too random for science to explain.

So how can you be happy if you have your human needs to deal with, plus all the special aspirations that make you who you are -- and, you're even 'gifted' with a soul and it's crazy urges, however small or human those are?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A List of Lists (i.e. What's New)

 Why posting has become difficult
I wish there was a way to upload short posts and edit them on the go... I've tried the android app but it didn't work that well. =( Much of the silence here these days is due to my nomadic lifestyle =), since I work in a number of locations strewn across the whole town. And I travel on foot, for a number of reasons. (Actually, that could make up a list in itself...)

So I'm not really in a posting position most of the time. I'd love to dictate posts on the go and only edit them once I have some time in front of a computer, but I still haven't figured out how that could work in a time-efficient and totally-not-nutty sort of way. (Let's be honest, it looks weird.) But I have a feeling that we're getting there, technology developing rapidly and me becoming less and less interested in what other people think.

What this post is about...
But till then I want to keep entertaining (or annoying ;D) you guys. And I've come up with a cool way of doing so, all the while continuing to roam the streets and do 3645789462 things at the same time. no, it's not twitter. (For a number of reasons, though I'm sure you're not interested to see the list.) It's a series of lists. Yes, you're right, you'll have to do without the narrative, which I'm sure is one of the reasons you're reading these posts. (No, I'm sure it's not. It's actually my compensation for writing them. =D) But you'll get all the meaning. I'll still be posting longer pieces from time to time, but from now on there'll be a lot of shorter ones.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Teaching English in Switzerland/Geneva [Update]

My previous post on this topic seems to be still one of the most popular ones on the blog, so I thought I'd go and write the update. Not much has changed to be honest, but I still have a couple of things to add. I have a slightly more optimistic view of the situation that I did a year ago, but that's rather due to my efforts having paid off than to anything else. Also, I'm planning to leave off my usual ramblings and concentrate on the facts.

So what do you need if you're thinking about setting up camp in Switzerland and giving teaching English a go? Keep reading to find out. ;)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Assimilation -- My Foot!

I'm back. ;)

Unfortunately my holidays in Budapest were the best ever! Last week sort of wrecked all my efforts of integrating into this stupid, cheese gobbling, society. Aaaaargh! but I was so close to becoming totally subdued and miserable! Why do these things always happen to me? Just when I was drawing up detailed plans about the destruction of my cultural heritage and practicing 'emigrant Hungarian'...

But there's no piont in crying over my spilled self-destruction. I've been saved, against my will, by smiling-chatting-complaining Hungarians. For the first time in my life, I love my country.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fashion Follie -- Marni at H&M

[Let me know what you think of the collection, or help me decide what to keep. See all my doubts and questions at the end of the post. Thx for all your ideas!]

I don't know if I'm particularly fond of fashion, as understood today. I am definitely crazy about choosing what I wear and how I style it and I do enjoy successful shopping -- you know the kind where everything fits and matches. Unfortunately most of the time this is not the case and I've spent many a miserable day shopping for items that haven't been designed yet or have gone out of fashion decades ago. Many define fashion by trends and seasons and look to celebrities and catwalks for inspiration. I think I have a different take on style. I like to dream up ensembles and looks and I dread the 'mannequin mishap', to find myself looking at a shop window and realizing I'm wearing exactly what the doll is dressed in.

So what got me queueing up at 5.40 this morning? You couldn't really say that it was momentary madness -- I have planned it to the last bit, in fact I've been planning it for weeks. Have I really (finally =P) gone mad? Well, I haven't decided yet. I hope if I have I'll never know. =D

Jokes aside, I was on a fahion mission. And I took it pretty seriously. I normally don't care much about designers and collections, having my own, pretty stubborn, taste in clothes. Nevertheless, I was 4th in line and second to enter the designated area this morning at our local H&M. I would explain the phenomenon as a fortunate coincidence, a constellation you can only observe once in a century. It was Marni's limited edition line that got me so crazed and made me make a number of sacrifices. However, I don't think I really became a fashion victim. What really happened was that Consuelo Castiglioni and my humble self have happened to have the same dream. And I'm of the school that insists on making your dreams come true.

Let's see then...

The Loot

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Back to 'Normal'

'Your wit's too hot; it speedes too fast'
(Shakespeare, Love's Labors Lost)

That's the note I got when one of my fav teachers prepared us all a little Shakespearean gift. (I've always been a fan of personalized material!) And I might say it's been fluttering on my mind ever since. You might have noticed how my stories build up -- much like chaotic dream sequences, and most of the time I feel such pity sympathy for my poor readers. I am a huge story teller, and I do try to be more sort of linear, but I'm more of a Beckett than a Shakespeare.

And the fact that I've just started this post with that little anecdote shows you exactly what I mean. Because this post was supposed to be about something totally different. It was supposed to be about how my life has changed from crazy to boooring and back -- and how I actually feel good about it.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

'I Ain't No Immigrant!'

As a language professional, I came across the notion of integration very early on in my studies. Labov's studies on immigrants in the US were definitely among my favorite reads and I've always been amazed at the psychology of the phenomenon, even if I've come to master its whys and wherefores.

But I never thought I'd be one of the guinea pigs one day. Actually, I never thought I would be part of any of the processes, that I'd ever be faced with the same dilemmas. Let me explain.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Last Christmas

I think it's the cheesiest song I've ever heard and the video reminds me lot of Hugh Grant's mock video in Music and Lyrics. =) But I do watch it at least once every year, around Christmas, for various reasons. First off, I find the amusement totally worth the pain. =) Second, it's somehow part of my Christmas rituals and I just love this part of the year. But this year it was the third aspect that I found the most prevalent. I like the song and the video partly out of a strange nostalgia. It's not that I think fondly of the 1980s, but rather that once the music fades I can sigh with relief that I don't have to live in that world (again). And, around Christmas, one of my most preferred activities is to look back and say goodbye to all the things I want to and prepare to start anew.

It's not really about resolutions. But I do feel that the festivities, the wealth and comfort of the period allow me to go retrospective, and introspective, and change whatever I want to change. We usually do a lot of traveling visiting all the relatives, and that gives me ample time to think and reflect on the past year and the new one to come. I also find that it's easier to change my ways when I'm surrounded by beautiful things and happy faces and I can keep up these changes because they always smell a bit of Christmas afterward. =)

And yet, while I usually cherish these holidays and always feel that time seems to halt and that renewing magic is but a touch away, this Christmas was even more special. This was the first Christmas I spent in Hungary as a sort of prodigal daughter and the atmosphere, full of hope and bliss, seriously amazed me. I felt being reborn.

Somehow I felt that as all the fights and difficulties of the past two years have made me different and happier, similar changes have affected my friends and family. We all seem to have survived the earthquake and found gems in the cracked stones. Now we're ready to build a new future, from happiness and hope and love. This is what I saw around me, in people beaten down by the government's stupid decisions -- in people dreaming new dreams and making choices they would have never had the courage to make. This is what I saw in friends working furiously for their dreams and accepting responsibilities that are heavier than mountains and speak of futures brighter than any star. And this is what I felt when I saw that everyone was ready to set aside all their work and dreams and listen to my story and hug me and say how happy they were I was finally on the right track.

I didn't feel like listening to Wham!'s song this year. I didn't feel I needed it. All the rubble around us reminded us of the things we were leaving behind. And the gems in our hands (and hearts) of the future we'll have to build. We're all finally on the right track.

Thank you for reading.
May you all find such jewels
whenever staring at the rubble of your life!

Happy hugs!


Season's Greatings! ;)

I bet you're thinking this will be a belated post on the holidays -- and I don't blame you. It's been a while since I last had the chance to post here, and in fact I always have some cool stories to share around Christmas. But more on those later.

What this post really is about is a totally different season. Christmas is really nice and who'd say no to a huge NYE party? Sure, the Swiss treasure these holidays just like the rest of us. But what they are even more thrilled about is THE SKI SEASON! And yes, boys and girls, seems that this year Santa brought all the snow over from the North Pole. =)