Thursday, April 30, 2009


We have the best friends. Thank you Walkers, Chamberlins, Whitneys, and Galeckes:) for throwing us a Bon Voyage shindig. We had so much fun seeing everyone ONE last time before we leave. I love Humble Pie and the weather was beautiful! The Swiss Flag made of cupcakes was priceless! THANK YOU!
Mandy and Nate

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Yes – I AM going on a Girl’s Trip

What? Do you think it is a bad idea that I am leaving for a 6 day Girl’s Trip 1 week before I move to another country? Fortunately/Unfotunately the trip was planned 8 months ago. Fortunately b/c I get to see all of my girls before I move to Switzerland. Unfortunately b/c I only have 11 days left before we move and 6 of those days will be spent in Ft. Lauderdale drunk! I was a little stressed yesterday with all the stuff that needs to get done before I leave. The short list is:
1. Hire New Employee for Swagger
2. Order all new items for May
3. Teach Heather everything there is to know about Swagger
4. Plan all the details for the LLS fundraiser on May 2 (the day before we leave!)
Written down this doesn’t really seem that big of a deal – but all my wonderful customers keep coming into the store to talk to me so I haven’t really gotten that much done at work! So actually the girls trip is a nice break – once I landed in FL I had an overwhelming since of calm. I could actually hear myself think! It has been wonderful being “away from it all” today- I have gotten some work done that I have been putting off and am ready to unwind with my friends! See you all when I get back to Raleigh!

Monday, April 20, 2009


NO– not my current weight from eating from all the stress of moving over seas – the weight of how much we can ship over to Switzerland! To which I said – WHAT? I thought we could take 2 cubic meters (1 cubic meter each) and I thought we had done a pretty good job of narrowing down to those parameters. BUT I found out about the weight THIS morning as the movers were arriving! I knew this would be a problem – I mean – HELLO – my bag when I traveled to Australia for 3 weeks was 52 lbs AND I had a carry on! How can I only take 250 lbs for 1 YEAR!!! NOT. HAPPENING.
Of course I was right – the movers came to me before they even got to our closet and told me we had already reached our limit. I think Nathan made some bad choicesJ However, in his defense, he only knew about the 2 cubic meters not the 500lbs – his choices were small but heavyJ! Either way, I talked to the movers and they estimated an additional 200 lbs of clothes so I called the relocation company and they estimated an additional cost of $1500 – which Nathan had already okayed up to $2000 so we got to bring our clothes- YIPPEE!:)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Kirsh is not your friend

Last night we went over to a couple’s house that just moved to Cary, NC from Zurich – where they had spent 8 years. I was so excited about meeting them and for them to tell us a little more about the culture in Switzerland! They were so nice to have us over for a Swiss Fondue dinner! Katrina, the wife, was awesome! She met us at the door with the traditional Swiss greeting of Gruetzi (not sure how to spell it – Swiss German for Greetings) and 3 kisses starting on the right. She noted to make sure to remember it is 3 kisses – not 2 – or there will be awkward meeting somewhere in the middle!:) She also gave me her “Zurich Bible” – a book given to her from the American Women’s Society in Zurich. She said it had the answer to every question I would have when I got over there!

She also told us that the neighborhood we will be leaving in, Oerlikon, in Zurich is not the best. She said there are a lot of beggars there and some other stuff. We worked with a relocation company to get the furnished apartment and didn’t really have a lot of choices. Most of the places she said to live weren’t even options for us! Also, Nathan wanted to be close enough to work to be able to come home and have lunch with me (how sweet)!:) And the apartment we have will be within a 10 minute walking distance of ABB. Oh well- I mean we will be living in Zurich – how bad can it be – right? And they told us that there is literally no crime in Zurich. You never have to be afraid of walking alone – even at 3 am in the middle of downtown! That will be nice for sure! So I am fine with our living situation – at least the 2 bedroom thing got straightened out!
The fondue was great but another Swiss tradition got the best of me. Apparently, everyone puts a shot glass of Kirsh (the cherry liquor that you make the cheese fondue with) in front of them and whenever someone drops their bread in the cheese everyone takes a shot! During our dinner this happened THREE times – WTF! We weren’t drinking heavily – it was supposed to be a nice couple’s dinner for goodness sake – but the shots were trouble! I didn’t really understand the magnitude of the trouble until the next day when I was still getting “sick” at 5 pm!!!! Damn you Kirsh!:) The other thing that made it worse was that Nathan and Hans smoked cigars until 2:30 am – so I didn’t get a lot of sleep b/c I had to be at Swagger at 10 am! However, by Sunday I was fine so I guess it was worth all the Swiss knowledge we gained!:) Thanks Katrina and Hans – you guys are awesome!

Friday, April 17, 2009

We picked an apartment!

Nathan fixed the “apartment situation” – as I knew he would! We now have a 60 m2 or 645.9 square feet apartment in Oerlikon for all our visitors! Yeah! (Actually - I can't believe I am excited about these numbers, but anyway...) Here are a couple pics from our new place:
All we have to do now is buy a desk for my new home office, add some picture frames, and a few sassy Swagger items and we should be good to go! I’ll post more pics once we move in!
ps - Does this bed look comfortable to anyone? I'll let ya'll know about that too!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

2 Bedrooms not 2 rooms people!

A bit of a “glitch” today. I got the email from the relocation company and I almost had a heart attack! I’m guessing Nathan did NOT look at our choices before he forwarded me the email. I had been on the City Apartment website yesterday looking at all the 2 bedroom apartments near Oerlikon (Nathan wants to live in this area b/c it is close to ABB), so I was excited to see which ones were available for us, but when I opened the email and saw 40 m2 apartments I thought – something is NOT right here! Apparently, when Nathan was saying 2 bedroom it translated to 2 rooms- TWO ROOMS – as in a Kitchen and a Bedroom! Yikes! This can’t be right? RIGHT? Stay tuned………

Friday, April 10, 2009

We are headed to Switzerland!

So let me catch you guys up -talk about a whirlwind! We found out on March 12 that we would be moving to Zurich for 1 year on May 4th. Yeah - that's 53 days! Talk about an OMG moment! I will admit this wasn't the first rumbling about moving to Switzerland or I would have been much more freaked out!

Lot's of general moving stuff had to be taken care of in such a short time and on top of it, I own my own business, Swagger Gifts in Cary, NC, that posed it's own set of issues. Our first list of "To-dos" included:
1. Telling our Family (This was a VERY hard one for me as I work with my mom everyday and I am going to miss her very much!)
2. Finding a Store Manager for Swagger (So my mom won't be so stressed that I am leaving her with my entire store and so she can go visit her grandkids whenever she wants!)
3. Selling my car (yeah!)
4. Packing our stuff
5. Renting our Townhome

Doesn't sound like too much - right? Exactly. Oh yeah, and
1. Find a place to live in Zurich
2. Get all doctor's appointments in that you haven't done in a while
3. Forward all mail to a PO Box
4. Get someone to check our Mail (thank Mom and Dad!)
5. Get all keys duplicated so if anything goes wrong my Mom and Dad can fix it:) (Again - thanks Mom and Dad!)
6. Tell all our Friends
7. Buy all the technology I will need to be able to run my small business from Zurich
8. Add people to all our bank accounts incase "anything happens"
9. Visit our families!
10. Rent our Beach House
11. Rent our Rental House
12. Set up Direct Deposits for employees
13. Fix little stuff around our house like paint the deck, etc
13. Etc, Etc, Etc

Seriously - a lot of stuff! We have complicated lives:) But Nathan is a "do-er" thank goodness so it has pretty much been easy sailing. Honestly, not as stressful as I thought it would be. I think the stress comes in when the emotions of leaving my entire network of family and friends kicks in - but I can't think about that now or I will start crying:)

Major things that have happened:
1. We hired a store manager for Swagger Gifts- Heather Lilly! I am so excited that it worked out that Heather accepted the position! Heather has worked at Swagger for over 4 years and recently graduated from Peace College so it was the perfect fit! With her knowledge of all the intricacies of the store and her marketing degree I couldn't have found a more perfect fit! MAJOR stress reliever as I don't have to teach someone from scratch how to run Swagger!
2. We sold my car on Craig's List! It was awesome - 3 different families were fighting over my maxima! MY MAXIMA! Hard to believe for sure - but it was a good price and since Brian Walker has taken very good care of it over the years it is in great condition:)! Thanks Brian! The family who purchased it paid in cash - in TWENTIES! So funny that I thought I should include a photo:) We felt like we had just one bunch of money in Vegas!
3. We found out we can only take 1 cubic meter. Since us Americans aren't very good at the metric system - I couldn't quite visualize how big this would be, so I googled it. Not sure if I wanted to know the answer- but here is a picture.

We had a good laugh about this at Swagger - I have that much in clothes:) However, I later found out that both Nathan and I get a cubic meter so that is a little better. (Sorry Nathan that you will have to leave most of your stuff behind so I can use the second cubic meter to pack "momentos" to remind me of home - love you - mean it baby!)

So that is where we are. I promise to post shorter posts in the future - but you guys know I'm long winded:) I am looking at this "move" as an extended vacation so I hope to share lots of European adventures with you all!
xoxo, Mandy
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