So Swiss: Eat Fondue & Raclette

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La fondue crée la bonne humeur.
Fondue isch guet und git e gueti Luune (figugegl).
‘fondue creates a good mood’
– a promotional slogan created for Swiss cheese fondue

Cheese fondue is more popular as a national dish of Switzerland. I’ve been here for more than a year so I would commit a crime only if I haven’t had a taste of it.  Yet fortunately enough, it’s also at this month last year when I enjoyed not only cheese fondue but also raclette, for the first time.

Fondue and raclette are both Swiss and French dishes. Nonetheless cheese fondue in particular, is claimed to be as a Swiss national food during the 1930s by the league of Swiss cheesemakers as a way to increase cheese consumption in the country. Read more

So Swiss: Genève et Moi, in Retrospect

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Wow. I didn’t imagine I would ever reach a year. I can still vividly remember the time I first came here. With me were thoughts of a global city. For one, Geneva is dubbed as an important financial district in Europe, next to London and Zurich. Also, Geneva hosts many international organizations; that includes headquarters of the agencies of the United Nations and the Red Cross. Geneva as one of the most expensive cities with the highest quality of life to boot, would I be blamed for expecting too much?

Unlike the more sophisticated airports of Hong Kong and of Heathrow in London, the arrival area in Geneva airport is an unwelcoming sight. It’s like a plain, boring waiting hall for visitors like me to see, c’est tout. I arrived on a Sunday and Geneva appeared to be a ghost town that day. I came across the train station (gare Cornavin) and met rather peculiar strangers along the way. It was an eerie, to the extent, disheartening experience for a first day. Read more

So Swiss: 10 Things I’m Loving About Switzerland Now

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How ironic it is for me that I haven’t written anything much in detail about my stay in Switzerland for the past 11 months since I arrived. Yes, few more days to go and it’s going to be my first year. There are supposed to be so many stories to tell, as a matter of fact, but then again, the daily run of my life couldn’t seem to accommodate this another new idea in mind.

Until one day, someone asked me this question, “Do you feel your Swissness growing in you?” I couldn’t say the magic word that I ended up replying, “Maybe I’m getting there.”

It could be nice to look back, reflect and write about the events and experiences so I can better appreciate the life I have here and assimilate well into the Swiss culture (before it’s too late?). Read more

10 Things I’m Loving Now – say summer

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What is one to say about June, the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade. -Gertrude Jekyll

From life’s simple stuff to grandiose pleasures, bring it on!

1. Summer

It’s the best season ever, no matter how hot it is gonna be.

2. Thank God It’s Friday

Thank God there’s Friday’s in Madrid!

As an expression or as the restaurant, I like them both.

I was able to visit TGI Friday’s restaurant in Madrid as my travel buddy suddenly craved for the grilled ribs they are famously known for. I guess we hadn’t have enough, so we visited it again, and lucky me, it was happy hour!

3. Espadrilles

Espadrilles are normally casual flat, but sometimes high heeled shoes originating from the Pyrenees. They usually have a canvas or cotton fabric upper and a flexible sole made of rope or rubber material moulded to look like rope. The jute rope sole is the defining characteristic of an espadrille; the uppers vary widely in style. In French Canada, however, espadrille is the usual term for running shoes or sneakers. Read more

10 Things I’m Loving Now – spring galore

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It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.

-Charles Dickens

From life’s simple stuff to grandiose pleasures, bring it on!

1. Spring

Next to summer, spring is now my other favorite time of the year.

2. Summer hats
3. Spanish wines

Source: The New York Times

One of the more compelling wine stories of recent decades has been Spain’s almost miraculous evolution from a producer of oceans of mediocre commercial wine into a source of some of the most exciting, original and sought-after wines in the world.

Change was a long time coming. Grapes first appeared in Spain around 1100 B.C., probably grown by Phoenicians near what is now Cádiz. The arrival of the non-drinking Moors in the eighth century A.D. put a damper on the wine trade that lasted 700 years. Not until the 1490s, with the expulsion of the Moors, did business begin to pick up again. Spanish explorers planted Spanish vines throughout the New World, but only in the 19th century did Spanish wines begin to move, hesitantly, into modern times. Read more. Read more

10 Things I’m Loving Now – chocolates in my bag

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Two boys used to go to school together. One of them had a bad habit of stealing the chocolates from his friend’s bag. One day he felt guilty about what he was doing… So he wrote a letter as he didn’t have the courage to confess directly. “I have been stealing your chocolates… I’m sorry for that…’ The other friend smiled reading it, and sent a letter back: “Don’t worry. I know about it… That’s why I keep chocolates in the same place in my bag…’.   – from Paolo Coehlo’s blog

From life’s simple stuff to grandiose pleasures, bring it on!

1. Learning French

JUST CAME ACROSS. FrancoPhil, the 2011 French cultural season in the Philippines, is a play on the word “Francophile,” meaning a lover of French culture, and is a celebration of the ties that bind French and Filipino culture. Click on the image to learn more about this event. Read more