Swiss Family Stender – The Opportunity

My friend Dave made a great suggestion recently regarding this blog. It can be hard to take a step back and think on it, but the past year has been an eventful one for our family. We moved from America with 3 kids under the age of 5 to Switzerland. A lot of words come to mind as I think about the last 12 months – fun, insane, exciting, exhausting but mostly awesome. Dave’s point was that our situation is relatively unusual and there might be other folks out there contemplating something similar. So why not share how it’s gone thus far, how we did it and all the other things that come with it? I love it, so I’ll kick it off with The Opportunity.

Open Door

There’s a book titled The Secret by Rhonda Byrne that at first glance seems a little hokey – ok, a LOT hokey – but once you get past that it’s solid. The content is serious and deep. My brother Tyler and I listened to the audiobook version on a cross country road trip. In and of itself this is a regular coup d’état for us given the time not listening to it was spent blasting BPM house music on XM Radio, leaning out the window and screaming or discussing the finer points of how much your head spins from an 11% barrel aged imperial stout. We weren’t exactly reciting Shakespeare.

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Day 4: Rochester to Cleveland

Anchor Bar

Anchor Bar


Don’t worry, we’re engineers.

Our plan was to go straight to Chicago but Mike offered a ride in his sail boat in the morning which we couldn’t say no to.  It was a great break in the drive and cool to do a quick loop on Lake Ontario.  After the boat ride, we made our way to Niagara Falls.    Since Tyler told me not to bring my passport because the American side of the falls is so much better, I didn’t bring it and we had to go the American side even though EVERYONE says the Canadian side is better

I like water!

I like water!


Ponchos = Worthless

To compensate for being stupid (Tyler’s words), we did the Maid of the Mist boat ride per Sarah and Mike’s recommendation.  It was  AWESOME.  The weather since we’ve left Rochester has been amazing and on that day it was in the mid-seventies and sunny.  Which was a positive as we got f’ing soaked.  Tyler got some sick shots from the boat which is god because it’s hard to describe seeing that much water exploding  30 feet from the boat. SO sick.  Oh and yes, it really is better from the Canadian side.

So much agua

So much agua

From Niagara Falls we were off to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo – the folks that invented the buffalo wing, OH YEAH.   This was Mike’s recommendation and it was spot on. I had a bowl of Buffalo Wing soup which was bleu cheese, buffalo sauce and chicken, yum.  Then we had medium and BBQ wings which were quite tasty.  And the whole meal passed our test for quality food –neither of us felt the need to visit the bathroom over and over post face stuffing.  From Buffalo we headed towards Cleveland to crash for the night.  On the way out of town, an intelligent local rolled down his window at a stop light to inform us that the nearest ocean was at least 1000 miles away (while pointing at our surfboards).  Though my internal monologue went something like “No shit detective”, we smiled and thanked him for those words of wisdom.

I should also fill you in on our in car routine at this point.  We’re alternating between BPM on Sirius and The Secret on CD.  BPM is bass thumping house music and The Secret is a book on tape about um, the secret.  When BPM is on, we’re generally pumping our fists awkwardly and screaming obscenities at the corn fields with all the windows down. When The Secret is on, we’re actually listening and having intellectual conversations about the idea this author is proposing.  Basically, if you think it, the universe will drop it in front of you.  It’s a good book but better to read it than listen.  The narrator talks in sultry, ethereal tones and they have this Aladdin gypsy music that plays throughout.   It makes you want to sleep/laugh at the absurdity of it.  Best part of the book thus far is when she tells you that if you tell the universe what you DON’T want, he/she/it just hears what you’re asking for and makes no distinction.  For example (this is how they narrated it):

  • You: I DON’T want the flu
  • Universe Interpretation: I WANT the flu and I want MORRRRE of it!!! 
  • You: I DON’T want to be fat
  • Universe Interpretation: I WANT be fat and I want to be FATTERRRR!!!

It’s pretty spectacular.