The Snow Is Here…And So Am I

Yesterday as I was walking on one of those moving carpet thingys I noticed it was snowing. And is just kept right on snowing all day and all night. We got our winter wonderland! By the sounds of it though it will start leaving tomorrow so I took lots of pictures as proof. Unfortunately we were going all day and I’m exhausted. I think I’m finally getting sick too. You know, I have that achy feeling and all and my head is killing me. I planned on writing my post for yesterday and posting some pictures, but I literally got home, opened my diploma, changed into my pjs, and waiting for my computer to load this page.

I feel like crap. I really hope it’s just because I’m tired, but I don’t remember feeling this bad when I went. I guess it’s -11°c out…I took some pictures outside before coming in and my teeth were chattering like crazy. Not used to it ;). So this means that I’m going to bed before I pass out…and I’ll write about Tuesday hopefully tomorrow. Good night!

                                                                                                                        

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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

I know yesterday that I said I was beginning to think the weather was always great in these mountains. Today we went up the mountain for the last time. We got some pictures taken with a Saint Bernard puppy. An 8 month old, who I think is actually bigger than Sara, our Golden Retriever who is around 13 years or so. The day started out all sun-shiny and warm, but after being up there for about an hour or so it started snowing. Lightly at first and then it really started coming down. It stopped after a while and then would snow very lightly on an off again. Of course, down in the town it was nice. I guess, by the time I got back down it was nice, I don’t know what it was like when it was snowing up top. Anyway…I was very excited because I love the snow and I love when it snows.

That is the 8 month old Saint Bernard....

Because it was my last chance to go up, after lunch I stayed up for a while, while the others went down to put the kids down for their nap. I had a map and I could have gone for a walk again where Adeline and I went the other day, but instead I just stayed where I was and took in the view. Because I was by myself I could take as much time as I wanted there. I used that time to get more pictures….that pretty much look the same as all my other ones. Except that today there was less sun so the lighting was different and the clouds cast more shadows. I also took a lot of pictures of Freddy and I. It was fun, although a few times I thought I might have put him (and myself) too close to the edge. At one point I was sitting close to an edge and the entire time I was a little freaked out because I was scared I’d slip and fall!

Freddy likes looking for shapes in the clouds...

So, other than that the day was uneventful. Although I feel bad for Adeline because she has an earache :(. She has a doctor’s appointment again tomorrow at 10:15, so we’ll be leaving later than planned. And I’ll be driving down the mountain! It won’t be that bad, it’s easier than going up. I just need to take my time, especially around the tight curves.

Careful! It's a long way down.

So I’m not sure exactly when tomorrow my post will be up, but it will get up eventually! One other thing I thought of; you know how it’s a stereotype that all Canadians are really nice/polite? I’m not saying we aren’t, but one thing that is interesting to note here is how much you greet people. If you’re walking down the street and you pass someone, you say ‘bonjour’. If you’re riding in the same cable car up a mountain with someone you don’t know, you say ‘bonjour’. If you’re hiking on said mountain and you pass someone, you say ‘bonjour’! I think you get the point. It’s common courtesy to greet people as you pass them which is something we don’t do in Canada…at least I don’t. I guess it’s different if you’re in a big city, lots of people it would be hard. I don’t know. I don’t know why I haven’t mentioned it before. I guess sometimes I would nod as I passed by someone, but I never said hello. And this isn’t just here in Verbier, I first noticed it back ‘home’ in Wasseiges I just never wrote about it.

I just love this picture! This was taken before it started snowing.

Freddy and I taking a catnap.

Here we go!

Our last trip down.

I know it's random, but...a car elevator? It would be interesting to take!

Tee hee hee. All the chalet's have names...this one is on the same road as Sybille's.

It's actually really hard to take a good picture of yourself and the scenery...

All I can say is wow.

There he is!

Just wow. For those of you who have never been in any mountains and who might not ever get to any, I hope my pictures do them justice and give you a little taste of just how awe-inspiring they really are. Today Adeline, Aurore and I went up higher into the mountains! We went where all the skiers and snowboarders go and where they also have walking trails. Again, today was so beautiful. Looking back at some of my pictures I’m surprised. Pretty much I never knew what I was going to get because the sun was so bright. At one point I was trying to take pictures of this person, ummm….air gliding? I’m not sure exactly what they call it, but they were floating and gliding through the sky. There was only one picture where all I got was sky, but the rest I got what I wanted! Woohoo!

We met Sybille and Jeff (who were skiing) for lunch. It was so expensive, but when you think about it, it takes a lot to get food and drinks up a mountain!! I will admit that on the cabin rides up (and down) I was a little freaked out, but I didn’t let it get to me and got some pretty good pictures out of it.

One thing I forgot to mention from yesterday; as we were riding one of the buses we met this older gentleman who said he was from Waterloo (Belgium, of course). He talked with Aurore and Adeline and made a comment that I didn’t say much. They explained that I was an Au Pair from Canada, close to Waterloo actually. We had a good laugh at that. I thought it was neat.

Also, Adeline gave me some really great photo taking tips. She has faith that I’ll be a lot better at taking really interesting pictures by the end of the year! Since I don’t really have the words at this time to describe today to you, I’m going to show you with pictures:

Yes. It looks just like every other hoodie you've ever seen.

At least is more interesting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know this is random, but this is the new hoodie I got! It took a lot of searching – because I’m picky – but we finally found one that had what I wanted; which was Verbier and Switzerland.

Most of these are self-explanatory….

It was actually really warm. The hood was just up because I was making a snow angel and didn’t want my hair to get all wet.

Below are pictures from the walking trail we took. We had to go down a pretty steep hill from where Adeline is standing (we had gone to look at the snow jump they had…otherwise no steep hill) and the easiest way down was to slide. So we did. I braced my self with my boots quite a bit and part of me wished I hadn’t, but if I hadn’t I might have kept going right off the trail! Adeline took a video of me going down. Who needs toboggans when the snow is that slippery!

Freddy and I enjoying the view.

From Belgium to Switzerland (ATTENTION: EXTREMELY LONG POST AHEAD)

Have I ever mentioned that I love hills? Big rolling hills swathed in emerald cloaks reminiscent of a sea of Green Riders racing across the land with messages of the utmost importance. Ha ha ha. Ok. I try to be all poetic and it just comes out pathetic. The green riders is a reference to a book with the same name by Kristen Britain. Her 4th book of the series comes out this summer I believe…this was all for VG – she introduced the books to me. ^_^ In France we saw a lot of hills like this, dotted with farms and trees, but mostly just a sea of green. It was overcast and grey for the entire day, with a little bit of rain, but that was ok. When we finally did get to Verbier, the trip up the mountain was a bit difficult because it was getting dark and very foggy. Let me back up a bit…

I’ve included a link with our route. We drove through Belgium and into Luxembourg – through France and finally Switzerland. After we stopped for an early lunch in Luxembourg I got behind the wheel. I wasn’t driving more than 10 minutes (maybe closer to 5) when we reached the Luxembourg/France border. I drove for about 2.5 hours, through Strasbourg when we stopped again and Adeline took over. (I just thought that lion in front of us looked funny so I took a picture of it. That’s all, nothing special.)

We would have switched again, but that would’ve meant me driving the last leg of our journey and seeing as how I’ve never driven in mountains before that would have been tricky. After doing it last night I can safely say you would not want to get stuck behind me if I had to drive up on my own. Lots of very sharp turns. We did get passed by someone gunning it pretty fast. You can tell who lives here and who doesn’t! The closest thing I’ve come to the trip up was when my family went out East a few years back. We drove the Cabot Trail and that’s a pretty big hill and can get a little steep. Just looking over the edge from the car freaked me out. Maybe it was my Dad’s driving ;P.

While in France we drove through the Alsace region. My ancestors are from the Alsace-Lorraine area (some from both sides of my family I believe) and when Lisa and my parents come this summer there’s a homestead we want to go to. One thing I noticed about all the little villages in France that we passed was that most of the roofs were orange…. For the most part the driving was easy, with little traffic. There were a few areas the got a little hectic, but I made it through with no problems. There was one time when I pressed on the break a little hard *sorry*. There was also a time when we were sort of close to getting side swiped because this little white car cut in front of me to get around a truck…without using their turn signal!!! It only surprised me a little, I was actually kind of expecting it to do something like that based on the way it came off the on ramp. One thing that bugged me was that every time I would want to go in the left lane to make room for people coming onto the highway there was always someone in that lane slowly making their way past me…they just never did it fast enough for me to move over (or I just didn’t get over soon enough). And I couldn’t cut in front of them without making them angry because I wouldn’t have been able to speed up fast enough to get out of their way! I tried to be observant and considerate, but some people just made it difficult for me. 😛 So now I’ve driven in 3 European countries. I don’t know if I’ll drive a bit in Switzerland or not…Maybe until the border…than Adeline can take over to get us across, :P.

The boys did well. Although poor Sylvain was sick of his seat by the end. He didn’t eat well during the day either. Every time we would stop and try to feed him he wouldn’t eat very much. Once we were here though he guzzled his bottle right down! Bastien didn’t even scream that much in the car. There were a couple of times, but it wasn’t that bad. We stopped at this car park area with picnic tables (in France) for Adeline and I to switch and to stretch and stuff and Bastien was able to run around. At this point it was colder and windy, so the boys had their jackets on (and Sylvain was also wrapped in his blanket). I chased Bastien around for a while, and he chased me. He has this great screech/laugh going on when he’s really excited. It’s nice when we’re outside and he can be as loud as he wants.

It’s the France/Switzerland border!  Freddie and me parked just               across the border in Switzerland.

As we got closer to Verbier we passed a lot of places on the mountain side that grow grapes for wine. It looks really interesting when an entire hillside is dotted with these orchards (right now it just looks like big sticks in the ground). I tried to get some pictures, but I’m not sure how they turned out. We drove passed a really big lake as well and the sun came out for a bit over it. I got a couple of pictures of that, and one turned out really nice.

These are just some random landscape pictures.

It was raining off and on in Switzerland and I remember thinking ‘wouldn’t it be neat if it was snowing when we got up there?’. Well, it was. Just a little, but as we drove higher we saw a few flakes. The view on the way up of the town at the bottom was magnificent, I don’t think I was able to do it justice. It was getting dark so there were all these lights on and except for the fact that there was no snow down there it sort of looked like a Christmas card. I wasn’t able to use the flash because of the car window, so a bunch of the picture are blurry. Everyone was walking around in their snow suits with skis and bags. It was crazy because it was so foggy and there were so many people walking around, I couldn’t really tell where we were going. I was especially glad then that I wasn’t driving.

This is not our chalet.

The chalet/condo conveniently has a garage so we didn’t even have to put our jackets on to transfer everything from the car to inside. Nice. I went to take a picture of the fireplace when we got inside and wouldn’t you know it, my camera was dead. Convenient timing.

I did take a bunch of pictures today, inside, and on the walk we took down to the town center. We got boots for Bastien, sunglass and a snow suit for Clémence and a winter jacket for Adeline. Keeping up with those two (the children) inside sports stores is quite the job. In the first store they ended up going up all the stairs; I’m pretty sure the top floor was just storage and we weren’t supposed to be up there – there was a rope to block it off, but it was down. I quickly did what I could to make them descend. In the next store they hid under coat racks. At one point Clémence accidentally knocked some snow pants off their hanger and then they were going to other parts of the store where the potential for damage was high, but I managed to get them back to their mothers without incident.

It says ‘Canada Goose™ Arctic Program’ I thought that was neat.

I had on my winter jacket, scarf, and mitts and I was so warm! The sun is so bright today, completely different from yesterday. A perfect day for a walk. Of course being inside the stores didn’t help and on the way back there were no mitts, and my jacket and scarf were open. I wanted to buy a hoodie in the first store (it says Verbier on it), but it was 119 francs (I think…it was up there anyway). I’m not sure I want to spend that much on a hoodie. 1 Euro=1.2 Francs, so either way it was expensive! That was in a sports store so maybe somewhere else it won’t be so bad.

*********A few hours later*********

After lunch Sybille and I put the kids down for their nap. Aurore, Jeff, and Adeline went to a concert. I would have went with them, but their friend only gave them 3 passes. That was totally fine because I knew this post would take a while. By the way; the past couple days Verbier has been host to the Freeride World Tour 2011. This is extreme free-style skiing and snowboarding and this is not the first time the finale has been held here. Something about a 500 foot jagged edged rock drop or something. I might have that wrong. I read it in the pamphlet upstairs, but now I’m not sure! Anyway, yesterday was the last day of competition and there are some evening events going on until Wednesday…movie nights and such. So, I came down to where I’m staying (in the Chalet, Sybille owns 2 apartments – one is being rented out this week – and her brother has one right below hers. I’m staying in her brother’s with Aurore, Jeff, and Maëline) and started on this post. She came down to get me after a bit because all the kids were up and the babies were both crying….very loudly! So, we got them settled down eventually. That was around 2:30 when she called me up; it’s 12:15am Monday now.

After supper we sang through some choral music. Well, they all sang and I listened. I chimed in if I knew it, but they were singing from memory and I didn’t know most of the music! It was really cool, with harmony and everything. I came down here around, hmmmm, 9:30/9:45? I took a bath and it was so nice I stayed in there for a while! Was that too much information? Sorry :P. So now I’m finishing up with this post which is so long it might as well be a short story!!!!

Hope you enjoyed all the pictures! I know some of them are too small and far away to really see, but I hope you like them anyway.

This is the chalet.

SNOW!

Ok, ok, so there isn’t any snow still on the ground (that I can see), but it snowed today. Not much and not for very long, but it was really pretty all the same. I know they told me that they usually get snow in February, but seeing as how the month is almost over and we hadn’t had any snow yet, I thought we were in the clear for spring.

Let’s see…this morning I went to the Commune to pay for my Identity Card. I thought it was 17 euros, but it ended up being 12! It’s always great when that happens. Also, Adeline had bought a dress (or a very long shirt) that she thought was really nice, but it’s too big for her so she gave it to me. It’s purple, and I like it. I might wear it Saturday night, so I’ll try to get a picture of me in it.

We went and did some grocery shopping today. I’m making chicken stir fry tomorrow so we picked up some fresh veggies (among other things). Also, I have to come up with a costume for Friday night at Bastien’s school.

One thing to note about Wednesday’s (I’m not sure if this has been previously mentioned or not) is that all schools (except University level) are done at noon. When Adeline first told me, I thought it was just the little kids, but no, it’s everyone. Just thought that was an interesting tidbit to throw out there for you.

Desperados!

Tonight I was transported to Mexico, a land flowing with tequila and burritos…Just kidding. Obviously. *insert ‘thank you Captain Obvious’ here* We had burritos tonight, but without cheese! They were really good. And Adeline bought this beer from Mexico that is flavoured with tequila…I’ve never had tequila before.

In other news, the baths went very well tonight. Bastien was quite well behaved all in all, and was very gentle with Sylvain (sometimes we have to remind him a lot, but tonight he was good). Also, after the bath he actually asked me to play with him. I don’t think he’s done that before…He’s said I could when I’ve asked, but I don’t think he’s actually asked me himself. It was nice.

Also, it snowed today! Not much, but eventually there was enough that some stayed on the ground. I took Sylvain for a walk today (the same walk I did on Monday) and it was quite cold and windy. I was kind of bundled up…maybe I’m getting soft with all this warm weather. I don’t know what the actually temperature was, but it was colder than it’s been in a while. And a bit of snow is nicer to walk in than rain. Although when we were walking it was very spotty. It didn’t stay at that point, it was just enough that you could tell that it was snow. It wasn’t until later in the afternoon when it actually started being noticeable on the ground.

Adeline and I brought down the couch from the attic and rearranged my room. I really like it. 

I’m standing in the doorway and what you can’t see is the wardrobe (that’s what I’m calling it) with my clothes in it. It looks a little smaller now, but I like how it’s sort of separated into two different rooms with the couch and the bed. Now I won’t get that afternoon sun shining on my computer screen making it hard to see and I can use natural light to read on the couch. Win win situation!

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