Swiss-German Lessons

Originally Published 30 November 2010.

Well hello again! I’m back from my Swift Swiss adventure, but if you’d like to come along, I’d like to take you on the rest of the trip with me (partly because I know a few people who will be very upset if I don’t!).

Tuesday morning, Francie and I enjoyed another authentic Swiss breakfast–their bread is just different over here. Ist wunderbar! (It’s wonderful!) I’ve hear it said that European bread is a good description of their people. Hard on the outside, but not crusty; soft and inviting once you break through to the inside. =) I like it! And put some homemade quitten (quince in English) jelly with it, or honey, mmm!

Francie and I cleaned up from breakfast and I got all my stuff together, and we headed over to the church building to do some work. On the way to the car, Francie gave me one of the greatest compliments she could have given. She said I’m already part of this family in Basel–it’s like I never left this summer. 🙂 It’s a wonderful feeling to have true acceptance and love from anyone, but especially from these people who have such strong faith and convictions. Being a Christian is rewarding in so many ways, but especially in the fact that you have family everywhere you go as long as you have people there with the same faith.

And we were off! Holger was already there at the church (he can take the tram–I love public transportation!), so we gave our greetings and started cleaning. It only took us about half the time since Francie and I were working together. 🙂 When we finished, she took me over to the Nagalis’ apartment–Markus and Marianne, and they have to adopted little girls, Rahel (9) and Chayanne (7). The girls got home from school and Markus came home from work (again with the family meal time thing), and Vera, another woman from church, came over as well. It was so nice to get to know them all better. It amazes me how much they all wanted to have me in their homes and get to know me. They helped me with my Swiss-German and tried their best to talk to me in English–the language “barrier” was more of a language “bridge” the whole time I was in Switzerland. =)

After lunch, Marianne, Vera, and I had a Bible study. Apparently Vera and Marianne do this regularly, and it encouraged me to be part of it! We studied James 5 and prayed together in English and German, and I got just as much out of a bilingual study as I could have gotten out of a single-language study. I love it!

And then I found out the girls had the rest of the afternoon all planned out! The girls had the rest of the day off from school and wanted to play games with their mom, Vera, and me. We played a couple of different things, but the most educational one for me was Uno–I got to lear my Swiss-German numbers! =) Kind of. I tried! Vera had to leave after that to get back home by train, and so the rest of us went for a walk to get some fresh air and exercise. These people know the importance of fresh air! I don’t think there was one day when we didn’t deliberately take a walk!

And then it was time for my next trip–to the Minder family’s home! Markus and Barbara Minder have three kids: Joel and Tobias (19 and 17) who came to visit me with Chris and Ben Steinhauer in DC in August, and Judith, who’s 13. Barbara and Judith came to pick me up and take me home with them.Judith was gracious enough to share her room with me–her mom said she was so excited to have another girl in the house… that made me feel pretty good! Simona came over, which made girltime even better because she could translate for Judith and me. =) Supper that night was really good–pumpkin soup, lasagna, salad, and cookies for dessert–but it was SO much! If the amount of food served is any indication of how welcome someone wants you to feel, I can safely say I don’t know if they ever wanted me to leave!

Joel had to leave after supper, and Barbara had to go to a violin lesson (which I think is so cool!), but the rest of us stayed and talked for a while. I’m SO glad their English is better than my German–and I’m even more thankful that they’re all willing to help me learn! Tobias and Judith were interested to see some pictures from the shuttle launch I got to see in May, and by the time we got done talking about all that, it was time to shower and hit the hay!

Judith got up and left at 6:45 Wednesday morning, but I didn’t even hear her! I totally thought it was still the middle of the night when I finally got up to go to the bathroom because the room was so dark. I was afraid I’d wake up Judith, but much to my surprise, she was already gone and it was nearly 9:00! They said I could sleep in… and it sure felt good to do so! After breakfast and coffee (of course!), Barbara and I talked for a while. These people are so wonderful! She had to run some errands later that morning, so I got to read and write a little before lunch, and then you know what Barbara suggested? Naptime! Haha. She said it must be exhausting to be moving so much, and today needed to be a day to rest. What a relief! =) I’m all up for going and doing and seeing, but she was right–it was exhausting, especially being on the lagging side of jetlag!

Judith had gone back to school for the afternoon, so Barbara and I got to bake! We made lemon-raisin sugar cookies (apparently a traditional Swiss winter cookie) and–are you ready for this?–Zweitschewaie! haha. I’m sure I misspelled that, but it’s pronounced “Shwatch-ka-vi-ya”. It’s a plum tart! I took pictures of the process while we made it, so I’ll be posting those soon!

Judith got home while the cookies were baking, so while she studied and made sure the cookies didn’t burn, Barbara and I took a walk. Again with the value in fresh air! =) And she paid me one of the best compliments… she said she was amazed at how much I can walk as an American! hahaha.

Cookies baked, tart in the oven, Barbara getting things done around the house… it was time to help Judith study for her English test! And you know what? It was fun! I could make her laugh, and I think it gave her some confidence when she was able to help me pronounce things correctly in German.

And you know what we had for supper that night? The plum tart with whipped cream and chocolate milk! It was like having dessert for supper. =) And I got to help make it! We left for church right after supper, and again, I am endlessly encouraged by their commitment to the Lord. Some people take the train an hour or more (one way!) just to make it to church on Wednesday nights, and they do it happily–with absolute joy in their hearts. Going to church for them seems to be like going to a safe place where you know the people love you and want to know your spiritual walk is going well; and if it’s not, they want to encourage and help each other!

And for my next resting place–on to the Steinhauers’ place! The house that never rests! =)

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