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Friday, May 5th 2006

9:04 PM

Switzerland 101

  • Weather: Raining ...

One of the interesting things an American ex-pat learns about Switzerland is the high value placed on tradition and custom.

 For this reason, most of Switzerland, those who have planned to move this year do so in the month of March as the National Moving day, or Apartment hand-over day is the 1st of April. This is not always only tradition though. When you move into an apartment, you have three options, the seldom used Move out whenever you like with a months notice (similar to America) , the 2 Months in the year with a months notice (for example you are allowed to move out in November and Mai each year with a months notice (October or April)), or the as stated above ever popular, You may move out once in a year with a months notice on April 1st.


This may at first seem to be a trivial matter… however when you look at the logistics of it all you would be truly amazed. Moving companies can be booked out for the month of March for 11 months in advance. The entire country goes into packing tape, and box shortages, as well as rashes of Newspaper recycling bin raids. In addition finding a moving van or company after January is absolutely hopeless.


Well we moved hopefully for the last time last year. Yes, we too moved the majority of March so that we could give up our old apartment on the 1st of April… which allowed me to work on a different project this year… I completed the what is pictured below…. How do you say… je ne sais pas… garten gerüst… for our balcony…


In related news… Labor Day… or as it is known in German “Tag der Arbeit” was on the first of may. However, this day is celebrated somewhat differently in Switzerland. Yes the Labour associated with this weekend in September, as most Americans remember, is Actually Labor Day in Switzerland. Swiss women who have become pregnant in the preceding year all go into Labor on the 1st of May. Although this may seem to cause chaos, it is only impractical in one respect… or two … Although there are many hospitals in Switzerland one can imagine that with an entire nation of pregnant women giving birth on the same day… there will also be complications related with the housing and finding appropriate accommodations for them all, with the necessary facilities. Therefore, this problem has been solved by outsourcing to the ethnically diverse eating establishments. Foreigners from Turkey give birth in Kebab stands, from Germany in Sausage Houses, from Italy in Pizzerias and Americans of course in McDonalds. What makes these restaurants or snack stands the ideal place for foreigners to give birth…. Well as one manager succinctly put it… “Our Waiters offer the most qualified assistance in the birthing process… How many other professionals have absolutely no Idea what kind of insane circumstances they will have to deal with on a daily basis… and yet return to their job day after day, week after week, year after year as if though they could never get enough… my experience says… Not Many”


The second inconvenience is that women who decide late in the year put a relatively high stress on their offspring to develop in a gestation period that has been shortened by lack of planning on the part of its mother. This leads to the variations in the size of the Swiss. Those who come from the Bern # the countries Capitol are nationally  known as those who take their time, plan ahead and are relatively slow about life… they are therefore much taller… as they had a full 12 months gestation period… allowing fully developed legs and minds. At the other extreme are the people from Appenzell #, they are from a small corner in the upper right hand or eastern corner of Switzerland if you were looking at it from Africa. The Appenzellers are well known for their short legs and short fuse… they are also very hard working but relatively poor planners without any insight. Therefore, a much shorter gestation period, and associated complications.


Anyhow… the positive side to all of this… No one ever forgets their date of birth nor the date that others were born… it is never even asked… you simply know… May 1st. In addition no one can be a half a year older than anyone else and this eases tensions between people… because you are either younger 29 or older 30… there is no in-between…. Simple… no reason for one to think more of himself than the other… in addition for all those under 26 the 2nd of May is national Hang-over day… because everyone knows… how it was. So that said…


The first of May… Labor day was booming this year… and I got to stay at home and work on my balcony project.*


*Disclaimer: In the event you are pregnant… and do not find the humor in this… you should perhaps ask yourself “Am I one who takes things seriously… that were poked at me in fun?”


# Apendix: My family comes from both Bern and Appenzell.

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Monday, September 5th 2005

8:55 PM

Charlie and the Glass Elevator...

  • Weather: Waterfalls of Chocolate with plenty of other debris
Well, after more than a year... I have a few minutes. My job is in the toilet. I am still working with the company that lays hardwood floors but only part time. I am newly hired in a mexican eating establishment that is located in a cinema. I serve lunch. It is a good job... but then again today is only my third day. Today I learned that we are welcome to watch movies in the cinema for free... even though our company is a free standing chain that consists of 5 locale throughout Switzerland... not all of them in cinemas. It is called "Desperado" in a very romantic and charming sort of way... if you find mexican eating establishments romantic or charming.

Today at 3:30 I saw "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" in English.

I took the chocolate factory... the first time it was offered.

Too bad we let the adults make the decisions sometimes.

for other realizations I have had today...

eating establishment is not a word I use because I like the way it sounds.
I use it because I dont remember how to spell restaraunt,restoreaunt,restaurant, reesdourand.

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Friday, August 13th 2004

11:09 AM

Things old Things new Things yellow Things blew...

  • Weather: Sunny with a chance of Tornado...

Greetings to all of you out there in LALAland...

Well, Our computer lives... but not without a drastic overhaul... We got hit by sasser... someof you have had similar fun I imagine trying to pry your machine free from the devestating effects of this wonderful worm virus whatever... Well, following infection... I finally decided it was time to install my Norton Internet Security package... that I had purchased about a year beforehand... but never really got around to installing... because... well because...  (I am trying to think of a good reason here) uh... because I really hate Virus-Security Programs... yeah... thats the ticket. However, Norton did not want to install... because the computer already had problems. So... I shipped it to work with Isa... imagining that she... working with the real techies for the state would have access to someone who knew how to fix my problem without wipeing the entire system... a week later I recieved the computer back in "working condition". Yeah... Well... needless to say... everything worked... that I didnt really care about... and the things I needed were still funktioning at a 1 glitch per hour... that crashed the computer... just as soon as I had finished what I had spent the previous hour working on. Needless to say... I had to do a complete system wipe... and start over from scratch... and now... since about 1,5 months we have a computer again... but I have yet to reinstall all of the programs... these things take time.

So... other than that ... I now have a much better understanding of the old saying... "Make hay while the sun shines..." chances are if you dont... you will simply have to sustain yourself with dirt.

We have had an unusually wet and stormy summer... dont get me wrong... I am  unbelievably happy that things stay green and forestfires are simply stories from the land of "far far away"... but this summer has had approximately 2 weeks of sunny summer days (14 to be exact)... and they were by no means consequtive. We have had time however to plant a garden... and I will have pictures of it available soon. Lots and lots of tomatos... and some flowers... Cucumbers ... strawberries... johannes berries... mint...and up to date 1 Bell Pepper... It was a beautiful garden in our beautiful back yard... until yesterday... yesterday was beautiful Steel blue sky... no clouds to be seen... At lunch Isa came home... and decideing that It would be a warm day... warm evening decided to extend the awnings at both her parents house (which we are watching while they are out of town) and at our house... (awnings are roll out doodads... like many people have on the side of their motorhomes... to give shade when they are parked) . Well... at approximately 3:30 clouds appeared. at 3:45 it started to rain and hail... at 3:50 Meterlong branches were being blown around town... trees were up rooted and snapped in half and at 4:00 the skys began to clear. Now... in a half hour one would imagine that a weather system does not do too teribly much right? WRONG!  At 5:00 I had a trial of my new 3 tooth bridge at the dentist about 15 minutes from my house... (bridge = not large enough for a Land Rover... but almost).. at 5:25 my cell phone starts ringing... and I push the hangup button... because with a mouth full of dental tools... I am really in no position to talk... The phone rings again 5 minutes later... I hang up again... the phone rings again... I hang up again... The dentist looks quite sternly at me... (by the way here Dentists are a strict cross between Hitler and Don Corlione with the fashinon sense of Elton John) and I decide to turn off my phone... he is relieved...

 "Herr Clark... We are needing to be cutting some of your gums fleisch away for asthetical purposes, would you like to be euthanized?"

Ok... So... as my trial run... comes to an end... I leave the dentist slightly swollen wondering about my ability to give the presentation of the broschures tonight without drooling on myself... and I decide to call Isa back... and find out what was so important (thinking ... she must have known I was at the dentist... we discussed it this morning). Isa calmly informs me... that I will need to come by her parents house... to help her clean up... It seems that the awning (these are retractable with mechanical arms with a fabrich cloth over them) has blown down and destroyed a good portion of her mothers pot garden (things growing in pots) and she needs help to finish taking the awning down before it gets blown into the window. Then she has a second thought... uh... the Awnings were let out at our house too... perhaps you should go check on them before coming up here...  Great I think... I am going through the wing like shape of our backyard in my mind and wondering about our garden and the 2 Meter high plastic  wall that our landlord installed to seperate our yard from our neighbors... As I pull into town... I notice much debris on the streets... is that... no... is that... yep... the 100ft high trees by the church are splintered and broken... this does not bode well... I live at the far end of a long straight street... and I start counting the trees down or snapped in half as I drive down the street... pulling up on the farside of the house I see the cover that I had built to protect my beautiful tomato garden... I find this kind of odd... because it is a good 72 centimeters 2.5 feet shorter than the wall... my garden backs up against. As I park the car... and walk into the garden... the chaos is un believable... the 2 meter high (6ft) wall... is gone... my plant shhield all 1.5 meters x 4meters long is down crushing my flowers... the pots have been blown over... and there is a weber bbq imbedded into the hedge around the yard... where that camefrome I have no Idea... The tomatoes which had been 40-50% supported on the covering are all laying ontop of one another... and there is no chance... that I will be able to recoverthem without the wall that was standing there this morning. I find the wall... the centimeter thick bolts and support rods that ran up through each post have been bent and snapped like matchsticks... the frame is broken and bent... there is something not quite definable laying under the middle section... and at this point I hope it was not something alive... but most reasonably it is quite possibly the stand that goes to the weber.And last but not least both awnings have been torn down and are laying completely on our porch... their cast alluminum brackets have been snapped like chicken bones. Malo had been outside... and was not to be found at first... but came home about an hour after Isas arrivial... terrified... but glad to be inside again...

Up at Isas parents... things are not much better... all of the walls and fences are standing... but as previously stated... the awning is down. In coming down it has destroyed a wide variety of pots and plants... Cactuses etc... the archway that is covered in climbing rosevines is twisted and bent... leaning against the fence seperating from the neighbors yard. Ester is a potter by hobby... and she had made a number of really cool things .. some of which were also destroyed in this. So we remove the rest of the awning and clean as good as we can... then go home and start again... Some of the tomatoes will survive... but there was much damage to be cleared away... cut and sorted... which we did in the rain until 9pm... hoping that we may still harvest something.... from what was thismorning a beautiful bountiful garden.

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Thursday, May 6th 2004

12:52 PM

Technical Difficulties...

  • Weather: Rainy Dayz

Mayday¦Mayday We have been hit.... and are taking on water¦

So ends last week... well I am proud to say I have recieved my (our) very first computer virus... and are coping. Currently writing from work... because although i have been able to figure out all of the other negative aspects of what the virus did and repair... I still cant get the internet connection to work... who knows... maybe its a blessing... well... if you dont hear from us for a while... now you know why. Other than that we are enjoying a beautiful rainy spring here in the land of Green and Yellow... and red and pink and purple and blue... but mostly... Green and Yellow...

Till we find a cure for this sickness...(not likely)

Much love...

Crispen und Isabelle

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Friday, April 30th 2004

9:46 PM

There is no place like home...

  • Weather: Warm and Springy... the way any good bunt cake should be!

Well... here we are... we apologize for the delay... but after vacation we have needed this week for catchup. We are just this side of needing a vacation from our vacation. A mistake we are sure not to make again! We are home and well... and  missing many of you... and want you all to know when you are ready to come... WE ARE READY TO HAVE YOU VISIT.

We finished up our month of special activity... and with Isas upcoming reduction of workhours (Yay Isa shouts) she is looking into the opportunity to at least Aux. Pioneer on an ongoing basis. I... I will still continue to miss service in the States... but so is life... it is the work that is important and it will soon be over with anyways.

After leaving California we were able to spend 4 days in the Greater New York State area. We got to see somewonderful things and tour both Patterson and Parts of Brooklyn Bethel... as we have heard... and so have many of you... the 360 Furman St. building (former home of Shipping and other assorted tasks Cassettes, Carpentry, Upholstery) has been sold. The society has just completed a beautiful (from the outside at least) new addition to the Wallkill farm facility, and almost all or at least all of the MAJOR PRINTING has been moved to Wallkill, thus leaving other buildings available to the remaining departments in 360 Furman... some of which will be moved into the relatively empty factory buildings... and the rest of which will be distributed to the Wallkill and Patterson Facilities. Administrative offices are moving mostly into Brooklyn... from the country to the big city will be a big change for many I imagine... but everything seems to be working out very smoothly... or at least that was our impression in the short time we were there. I was also very greatful to be able to acquire the new 2003 WT LIBRARY CD in English while on location... because although I have ordered it, it will probably not arrive until the end of the year... yoohooi.

In addition.. I got to see an old time... childhood friend... that I had not seen for more than 13 years, Matt Hemmingson... he is a member of the Patterson family for 9 years now and works in Branch Services... I cant quite explain it in words... but it is really a wonderful feeling to know someone, who works at a branch... and really enjoys it. I am greatful that Jehovah has provided for us all in such a loving way as to have the orginisation that is manifest on earth today, and especially grateful that so many brothers and sisters have made sacrifices in there lives to serve the rest of us. Trust me, when you see the brothers and sisters working in the Laundry departments... especially in the areas that are designated for pressing or dry cleaning (where they only work in short shifts) you really realize what a sacrifice some have made.

Other than that... the big apple is still there... and the people are everybit as crazy... but much more friendly than most of us on the West Coast have been led to believe they are...

Photographs are developed and just arrived tonight.... I will scan some of the good ones... and have them up for y'all to look at in the near future....

Many love and greetings... especially to those of you we wished we could have taken with us...

Crispen and Isabelle

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Wednesday, March 31st 2004

7:12 PM

Big Apple...

Well, Here we are in the big city... after an endless flight we have made it!!! Currently in internet cafe right outside of Times Square... Good nights sleep... but definately need more... but there is just so much to see!!! This morning after breakfast took a quick walk in Central Park and then down 5th Ave to Times Sq. Isa's first time! Tonight we fly to San Diego... and now we go get some food... On our way to CA Watch out... the KGB is coming to town

Nicoliewski & Tatiana

jetzt gahts aber los......mir lueget scho, dass alli gnueg plaget werdet....hehhehe

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Wednesday, March 24th 2004

10:06 PM

Unterwegs...(On our way)

  • Weather: Snow


Well... we are approaching the final stages of prepareing to go... we have the last few details on the itinerary ironed out and all of the (Tenetive) details are now definative. Itinerary We are coming with a good deal of happiness and anxiety... but so is this life... We hope to see as many of you as possible in this short trip by the way... we are Auxilary Pioneering for the month of April... and look forward to working in service with as many as possible... This by the way is something that I really miss about the states... FIELD SERVICE... Oh well... I will be at it soon!

In other news... not much going on... In freetime I have been working with a brother on his new house, he is excavating and rebuilding it in almost entirety (built in the mid 1800's)... without removing the outershell. I will be bringing picutres! Other than that... this will be our last post... we hope to see all of you soon.

Greetings and Love,

Crispen and Isa

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Friday, March 12th 2004

10:13 PM

A new start...

  • Weather: Snowy Cold with Sunspots... sounds like icecream huh?


     This is the opening page of the new and maybe not so much improved Clamark Website ! After a number of months of writing block... (nothing interesting has happened lately... trust me) we have been searching for a solution so that we could still keep in touch with people... but just a little at a time. This page what you see before you is known as a Weblog... or simply Blog. It is somewhere we can write our thoughts and greetings our well... just day to day basic experiences... and happenings... they are dated and recorded and archived... When you desire they will be available to read, when and wherever (and IF) you want to... without feeling compelled to read a book everytime I finally get around to writing.


     Weblog's grow... from entry to entry a record is kept of everything written before. This Weblog has a few features that are not so readily available with e-mail. At the bottom of each dated text you will find two links one says "Say Somethng" and this is where you can automatically write a few words... or a small book about what is going on with you and yours in your life... or just thoughts in general. The other link says "Things Spoken" and this is where we can read what you wrote after you clicked "Say Something" . There are also links on the left side of the page... where we will have photos...and other whatnot in the future. Currently you can check out our Tour Dates... ahem.. Itinerary for our upcoming trip to the U.S.A.!

We are glad for your visit and even happier for your participation...

Many Love and Greetings....

Isabelle and Crispen

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