Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Blogging from Switzerland

Just a reminder - while we are living in Switzerland, we have switched our blogging address:


Keep up with us!

Monday, June 5, 2017

Moving to Switzerland

Well - if you are here because you read my post on facebook, then you are about to learn more than you ever needed to know about our decision.

When did this decision come about?

Over 2 months ago, Mat got invited for an interview at Roche in Switzerland.  At the time, I thought he was crazy to even go, but then viewed it as a chance for him to make some new connections and also see Switzerland for a few days.  When he returned, he was excited about the job, and wanted to discuss the possibility of moving to Switzerland to take the job.

How did the kids react?

At first, they were a full out "no way".  They wouldn't even discuss it without crying.  They had a million reasons why they didn't want to leave, and they were all valid.  Arlington was the first to come around.  She thought that "Studying abroad" could be interesting.  Over the course of the last few months, the kids have gotten used to the idea, and once the decision was made, they were fine with it.  They still wish we weren't going, but also are excited for the possibilities.

Where is the job located in Switzerland?

The job is at Roche in Basel.  Basel is located in the corner of Switzerland near France and Germany.  (we are less than half an hour from both borders).  It is the 3rd largest city in Switzerland.  Their native language is Swiss German, but they also speak High German.

What will Mat being doing at Roche?

Mat's job title with be Head of Rare Disease Research and Development.  He is excited to be getting back into rare disease. 

What are you doing about your house in Massachusetts?

We are not selling our house.  We promised the kids we would keep it in hopes of returning to Boston in a few years.  We love the town we live in and the kids and we have many friends here.  So we are going to rent it out.  We are busy getting it ready to do so - so if you have free time and like to paint.....you know where to find us.

Will you rent or buy in Switzerland?

We will rent.  Housing in Switzerland is very expensive.  There are a lot of hoops to buying a house, so that isn't even in the cards.  Our place there will be quite a bit smaller than our house in Massachusetts, so we won't be taking much with us.

Where will the kids go to school?

The kids will be going to international schools.  The public schools in Switzerland are amazing, but German is the first language.  Part of Mat's package at Roche is that they are helping cover the cost of the private international schools.  The kids have been learning all about them.  They have each chosen the ones that they feel will fit them best (they will still be learning German because these are Swiss international schools).  We are going over in a few weeks so they can visit the schools, meet their future classmates, and get to know the area.  Arlington and Finley have both chosen smaller schools that are more like Swiss public schools, and Cainan has chosen the more "American" International school.

Are they going to be able to meet Finley's needs?

Yes they are.  Basel has a school for the blind, and they have already found a braille teacher that will be with her full time at least for the first year.  She will work at Finley's assistant and braille teacher.  Also she will be getting mobility once a week to help her learn to navigate her new area.  We had talked extensively with Finley's teacher for the vision impaired here in the states, and she encouraged us to do this with her.  She felt that it would be good for her.  Her TVI has also shared everything with the education people in Basel, and that helped them get the things she needed.

When will we go?

The schools start August 14th in Basel.  We would like to be in the country around the 1st of August.  It takes about 2 months for Mat to get a work permit and it will probably take at least that long for us to get the house in order.  We have to have most of our stuff packed up before the end of June that we are taking because it takes several weeks for it to get to Switzerland.  So things will start to move quickly.

How long will you be gone?

We are taking it one year at a time.  We plan on staying between 3-4 years, but anything can happen.  We cannot put a time limit on this like we couldn't put a time limit on anything in life.  But that is the general plan.

So I think that covers most of the basic information.  I will leave you with two fun facts that we have discovered:

Kids ride public transportation to school.  The public transportation is excellent in Basel, and so it is easy to get anywhere without a car.  Finley will not be taking this, though.  Her school does offer a bus for a cost, and we decided that this would be best at least for the first year.  But the other two will hop on public transportation each day for school.

The schools have quite a few breaks.  They have 8 weeks off during the year (in groups of 2 weeks here and there) and then 6 weeks off in the summer.  Plus about 19 public holidays.  Their school days will vary each day - we have been learning more.  Most days they will start between 8-9 (even high school) and will be over around 3-4.  Some days will be half days.

Stay tuned for more!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Hall of Fame

This year, my dad and Mat were both inducted into the Falcon Foundation Hall of Fame in our home town in Pennsylvania.  We went in to Connellsville for the ceremony which was very nice.  They gave Mat a plaque and its replicate will hang at the high school.  The foundation honors people from Connellsville who have made a difference in the town, or who have come from the town and have been very successful.

We were very proud of them both.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A brand new school year

I figured I would start with pictures of the kid's start to the 2016-2017 school year.  Finley and Cainan started 4th grade this year.  Arlington started 8th grade - her last year of middle school.  I cannot believe that next year we will have a high schooler.  It is just too much.  I can still her mad little squished up face on the night she was born.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

New Year - Time to Blog Again

I made a decision that I want to restart this blog.  It is a record for my children, and of our family, and I have neglected it for too long.

So - I am vowing to try to post at least a few times a month, if not more often, so that I can keep that record going.

The last time I updated this blog it was July 2016.  We had just returned from Idaho.  A lot has happened since that time.  My grandfather, and last living grandparent, died in August at the age of 96.  He was an amazing man and he lived an amazing life.  I will miss him, but I know that my Grammy was there to meet him in Heaven.  Now they will be up there pestering God together.

In September, Arlington started 8th grade and her last year of middle school.  Where has the time gone?  Finley and Cainan started 4th grade.  The school year has been off to an amazing start.

We increased the amount of rental properties Mat and I hold from 1 to 7 this year.  Because we have lost our minds.  It hasn't been that bad, actually.  We have an amazing contractor/property manager.  We have a great realtor, real estate attorney and CPA helping us.  And we like the changes we are making to my parent's neighborhood.  Time will tell how many more we will acquire.

In November Cainan had a major mouth surgery related to his cleft lip and palate.  He had a bone removed from his hip and it was grafted into his jaw where he was missing bone from the cleft.  It was a 3 hour surgery, but it went very, very well.  He only spent one night in the hospital, but has spent the last 6 weeks drinking nothing but liquids.  In a few days he gets to go to a soft diet for 2 weeks and then he is FREE.  His mouth looks amazing, and I am looking forward to seeing the changes it will make to his bone structure of his face.  We are all glad to have that surgery behind him.

Arlington was a lead in her school musical this year.  She did a great job, and we enjoyed seeing the cute little middle school show.

We went to Pennsylvania for Christmas this year instead of Hawaii, but it was just as fun.  It was great to spend the holidays with our family.

So, now that you are caught up - I will spend the next few days gathering pictures to portray all of those events, and then we can go from there!!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Vacation Day 10

Last full day of vacation.  Today we had to take the long drive back across Idaho to Boise where we would be catching our plane the next day.  But we didn't just drive.  We had planned stops to make the day fun and break up the 8 hour driving day.

We spent the entire day stopping at fun places along the way.  We stopped and saw a Lava national park which was called "Craters of the Moon" which was really neat.  The folks that made it a park called it Craters of the Moon because they felt that is what it resembled.  A long time ago, astronauts used to come to the area to practice.  In reality - they found that it isn't like the moon's surface at all, but the name stuck.

Then we stopped at Balanced Rock.  This is exactly what it sounds like - a rock that looks like it is balancing on another rock.  IT was really cool.   It was a bit of a hike up to the rock, but well worth it.

We drove by Thousand Springs State park - not enough time to stop, but we could see many of the water falls from the road.  Then before we knew it we were back in Boise and settling in for our last night before heading home.

We had a great vacation.  I cannot believe how beautiful Idaho is.  If I would have known what we were missing, I would have gone a long time ago.

At Craters of the Moon an Artist made a rendition of a Lava Tube

 We walked to the top of this lava hill.  It was super windy, but great views!

 there was snow down inside one of the deep caves in the lava

 Balanced Rock area

 Thousand Springs State Park

 Last dinner in Idaho.  

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Idaho Vacation Day 9

Second day in the Yellowstone area.  Today we did see Old Faithful, and went to the southern part of Yellowstone.  We continued OUT of Yellowstone and down to the Grand Tetons.  Because they were there.

We had a very long, but very fun day.  We saw a ton in a 12 hour period, and since it was our last day in Yellowstone, we made it worth it.

Waiting for Old Faithful.  These days it goes off around every 88 minutes - give or take 10 minutes.  It was freezing, so we took turns going inside the visitor center to get warm.

 That blue water.  So inviting.....so hot....

 We found this interesting - an old geyser - a tree growing in it

 a Geyser errupted while we were walking around

 Grand Tetons in the distance....always snow covered

 Riding a boat across Jenny Lake

 Doing some Hiking around Jenny Lake

 Having dinner near the Tetons.  One last Bison burger

 We had a fun time watching these Elk.  The little ones were running all over the place, chasing each other