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Showing posts from 2012

Vaccination, Swimming and Sledging in one day

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I have to make a confession.I'm not a very brave person.
  I like my peace and quiet, I can live without challenges.Unfortunately for me today's life is full of challenges. We sometimes create them ourselves.
  I remember vividly one of my first Science Lessons back in UK just when I started Secondary School. (Dear Miss D, I loved your science lessons and I miss them terribly. I keep asking my parents to bring me back to UK so I can attend your science lessons again)Anyway. Miss D brought a real heart and some real lungs (from a sheep, or goat) and we were going to do dissection.
  I only watched this for a minute or so before everything went black and I fainted.
  This is not a very cool thing to do in a new school, I can tell you that.The eye witnesses, like the whole class, were still teasing me about this nine months later. They only stopped because I moved away from the UK.Today was the day of my vaccination, and I suddenly thought of this first science lesson.
  I was getting…

An armed truce

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I have a few questions:Why do people fight?Why do countries fight?Why do we compete?Where does this need come from?What is it good for?There must be a reason!Maybe you don't have this problem.
  But I sometimes do.Alex is a Spanish guy. Once, at a German lesson he said:Ich heiβe España.So I call him España since then.
  He calls me names, he would bash we with a book.
  I would accidentally hit him with my backpack.
  I drew a picture of him on the blackboard. Not very flattering.
  He makes it even worse, and puts my name on it.
  He sits at our table at lunch, we exchange verbal abuse.Yesterday Alex lost his nerves and kicked me with all his strength to my shin.I saw stars in my vision. I reacted.
  The teacher came and pulled us apart before we had a chance to see who wins (Teacher wins at school).We were punished. We had to copy a paragraph from Bible in French.I hated sitting next to Alex while copying the paragraph, having unfinished business with him.I came home upset and hoped to…

There is a particle accelerator under my house!

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Thats right!Or very close to being under my house.Damn it!A few kilometres away 100 metres underground there is a massive Particle Accelerator 24 kilometres in circumference (24km long)

Science is amazing.That's what I think.
  Some people think otherwise, and I respect that.
  But for me, and any scientists reading this blog, science is fantastic.I am starting a 3-part series on CERN Laboratories.Why should you know about CERN?
Not many people know this, but CERN was one of the prime founders of the World Wide Web.
  Yep. CERN created the Internet.I'm sure you have all heard of a Particle Accelerator.
  Before I learnt about CERN, I thought a particle accelerator is just used so you can make things go really fast.
It's not.
 It's absolutely fascinating. They accelerate protons in a big loop, in opposite directions, and then smash them into each other! Millions of times a second! And those tiny very colourful explosions can tell them about dark matter, the Higgs Boson, they mi…

Not knowing your prepositions gets you two of everything

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Mondays are not bad.I have a lunch break that starts at 11:15am . This is too early for the school canteen, so we have this routine with my mum.
  There is a lovely place in Nyon where you can shop or get food. My favourite shop sells snacks, pizza, sandwiches and baguettes.I know what you are thinking, and it is very logical.
  He is hungry; he has a break; he knows the place; he gets the food.Ehm. This is the French speaking part of the world. The little problem is the language.
  The language can be a bridge to your lunch, or an obstacle on your way to get lunch.Judge for yourself.September: We were walking past the place, smelling all the lovely smells of food, coffees, and hot chocolates, but were too scared to ask for what we wanted. We just walked by, silently envying people eating the lunch of their choice.October: This is the month of our adventure. We approach the sales man. Our new vocabulary contained words Pizza with Ham and Mozzarella, Ice Tea with Peach, and Coffee with Mi…

How to make a dentist useful

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I have been having six monthly dental check ups for years.There is something complicated about registration with your dentist in the UK.You need to have your check ups in order to be in the system. If you will have a problem, no problem, you are registered with your friendly dentist who knows you.
  More precisely he knows your teeth.
  My dentist is a friendly chap. I really like him. I had some troublesome start, but in the last few years my checkups were pretty boring.Usually my dentist would look at my teeth, talk some latin to the nurse and occasionally pull a tooth out (it thankfully has always been a baby tooth).
  My dentist (His name is Paul) checked my teeth last week, and there was nothing to do. He asked me if there was anything else I would like to mention.You know me by now. I have always plenty of things I would like to mention.This time I had thought of this little annoying splinter in my index finger.
  It has been there since morning.
  I just touched this flower at the s…

What is worse than school, in school?

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Answer: Compulsory vaccination in school!The school nurse came to our class. She explained the benefits of vaccination.Insured, we are all going to be vaccinated at school, and that is that. I must admit I didn't understand every word she said, despite trying very hard.When she left there were many questions buzzing in my head.
  My mum said "come on, it's not the end of life on earth".
  That made me think.
  Are there not vaccinations that could end your life?
  Legally?
  Isn't Switzerland one of the countries where they do this?
  How is the nurse going to tell these two vaccinations apart? It is quite important.
  Are they different colours?
  Are humans not known for making mistakes?
  Don't we (I) always say 'Well, I made a mistake. I'm only human'The leaflet that she gave us was not very encouraging either. See for yourself!I would like to finish this blog with something optimistic to say, but I can't think of anything right now. My head is ful…

The Blog of Survival Part 4: Shopping

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There are three kinds of shopping trips.1. Your parents need clothes. Avoid this at all costs.2. Your household needs new kettle, iron, heater, etc. Try to avoid first. If not possible, and you find yourself in some electrical store, collect boxes with appliances as quickly as you can, and gently push your parents to the till. Use your body language, tell them the time every five minutes, say you are hungry, or there is loads of homework to be done (Gentle persuasive tactics)3. You need clothes. This is the worst case. Difficult to avoid. This usually happens in autumn when you stop wearing shorts. You just put on your good old trousers and you notice they are two inches above ground level. Your mum will notice. Tell her this is IN this season, but you know the shopping trip is inevitable.Brace yourself.Try to agree with your parents the exact time you will be back. The actual time will be 2 hours later, but this is the best you can get.
  Try also  to get a figure on how many shops yo…

Going to school in the dark

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Why going to school in the dark is not a good idea.It's just not.I woke up at 6, it was dark, cold, and raining. Cat Lolo who usually cheers me up was nowhere to be seen.Discovery: Cat's don't like dark, cold, rain and grumpy school boys.Breakfast: Will be good when I work out how to eat when I am asleep.First subject was Maths. When my mum tried to cheer me up this morning, she said the maths teacher has exactly the same problems as the rest of us, students. He probably doesn't like to go to school in the dark either.She was right.The math teacher, who is usually 100% on the ball, was 72.5% asleep, with the hope the scores will improve as the day will progress. You could say his logical part of the brain was either left to sleep at home, or was having a nap in the classroom. We tried to be respectful, and not to be too much better than him, which I presume would annoy him.
  After all, we are all on the same team, we go to school in the dark.After the first hour he gav…

Things to do (and not to do) on holidays

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To do:> Whatever your parents promise you, get hold of your fluffy fleece and favourite socks, and don't let go until you see with your own eyes that it's not raining and the temperature is about 40.> Enjoy yourself> Eat tons of ice cream, if you get unwell, deny you have eaten ice cream. Blame fruit and veg> Eat your favourite meal for lunch, over and over and over. Holiday is not for trying new things> Tease your friends and annoy your parents. You will be forgiven beau case it's the holidays> Stay out until dark. Stay out late
> Swim in dark> Sail a boat. If they tell you that you are too small to be a captain, sail it anyway> Take millions of pictures. The least flattering ones can be sold back to your family and friends for a high price.> Play on computer as much as you want. It's holidays and nobody can tell you not to> Make your age flexible. If it suits you to sit around with adults, do so. If it's more of a advantage to you …

The French Language

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If you would have asked me what is a language half a year ago, I would think a language is not a big deal. We are talking English here. It's just a few words you put together to argue, to explain yourself, to get out of troubles and to get into troubles.A language is simply something you keep going with until you achieve a desired effect. It's a bit like walking really. You do it automatically.I have been learning French since I was four, but it was just a subject. One hour a week.
  When I started to go to a French speaking school, I thought a language could also be a torture, a nightmare, something that doesn't quite make sense but is important to some people.French language on the radio or on TV that I didn't understand, I would ignore. I would switch off.I started a new school year. I decided to take it seriously this time around, for a change.
  I do my homework, I learn my dialogs, I learn my verbs, I listen and I talk.
  I very often understand.I just thought today…

Sound experiment

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Healthy nutritious food snacks are a must in my family.I just finished a tube of Pringles®, and I made a discovery!Have you ever noticed that if you tap an empty tube from Pringles® with your finger, the tube transforms into an exotic wooden African sounding instrument.Anyway, the experiment is this. If you hum into the empty container of Pringles® with different frequencies, you will discover one frequency that will resonate the bottom of the container. Other frequencies will not resonate in the container. You can feel this very clearly if you hold the base of the container with your finger. This is a great mystery to me. Why do other frequencies not resonate?
  Does it have anything to do with the shape of the container? Has anybody got any thoughts on this subject?Anyway. This is a very exciting time. We are going on a month long holiday with a lot of sun, tons of sea water, hundreds of friends, good food, and good fun. I hope that you're looking forward to weeks of sunshine as …

Better a bad day on the water than a good day at school!

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How to get to Geneva on a school day.It was a special map orientation day on Tuesday.I understood it started at 7:45am, as I am quite a wiz at French Numbers now. I also noticed that if we come to school in time, it stops teachers from shouting. So here we are at 7:45am Tuesday in my army outfit, ready for action!The school is empty.Nobody nowhere.I could see a little problem.Suddenly my memory came back, and I remembered the UEFA Stadium was mentioned, so we drove there.The good news was my class was there. The bad news was my group was walking from the station. We went to the station. Nobody was there.I was hoping my mum will issue 20 CHF and leave me there with the option to go to McDonald when I get hungry, but it was not going to happen. We decided to go to Geneva instead.My granddad bought us all an ice-cream. While my grandparents and my mum were talking, I read my book and enjoyed the peacefulness of Geneva Lake. If I had a t-shirt for today, the slogan would say... Better a B…

How to get a lifeguard out of his office

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Today is the first official day of my holidays.I don't know whether you have noticed this, but parents get rather funny at the beginning of school holidays.
  I don't understand this. It's the time that we wait for all our life. We've got plans, we have ideas, we have expectations, we are excited.I woke up this morning and my parents were no where to be seen. I waited until lunch time. Somebody knocked on the door, and I didn't know what to do.
  I phoned my mum, my dad, and talked to the neighbours cat. I decided that I am grown up enough, and being the only male in the house (as the cat ran away again) to make my own decisions. I was lucky that it was just our neighbours at the door. They wanted something. That was OK.They asked me how I am, and I told them I haven't eaten yet today, and my parents have disappeared.Our neighbours are nice people of Italian origin, and I started to hope they could make me nice pasta with tomato sauce for lunch, since I am a temp…

How to boil an egg

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Yes, I am getting into cooking.Did I mention that I love hotels? Breakfast in a hotel is an interesting thing. They have all kind of machines producing coffee, juice, toast, etc. I quite like the egg boilers. They are simple. Cooking an egg should be simple. This machine is a container full of boiling water with egg dippers made from wire. The idea is the put an egg into a wire dipper, and lower it into the boiling water.I am sure you have guessed that first I dropped the dipper into the boiling water before I even managed to get an egg in it.
  It was quite a challenge to fish it out as you very rarely fish in boiling water.The holiday makers started to watch me, they probably wanted to get on with their own boiled eggs, or maybe they were fascinated with my resourcefulness. I used knifes, forks, coffee cups, and then another egg dipper. My efforts were rewarded with success. When I managed to put everything back to where it was I still wanted to boil an egg.Being thorough as I am, an…

The Blog of Survival Part 3

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I already mentioned how a good intention can go horribly wrong, and suggested some useful tips and strategies.This is a similar scenario. Good intention is present, but at the end, the purses, credit cards, passports, and mobiles are missing, while you are in an unknown town, in a strange car, driving only the GPS knows where.The strategy in this case will be different. Let me explain.I love hotels. Todays hotels are just a work of art with the most fascinated bits of IT thrown in to entertain guests.
I love to stalk in to our new room and check everything out.The keys are not keys any more, they are cards with chips, they are in charge of your electricity, they lock your room, and they can be programmed to lock you out of your room if its after checkout time. I am also fascinated by hotel room safes. I just can't help myself. I need to try and find out how they operate. Some use fingerprints, and they are the most fascinated ones.As you have probably guessed, I put a lot of things…

The worst day so far

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The worst day so far.I am not superstitious. However, it was a strange date yesterday (12/6/12), my mobile went funny. If my great grandfather was alive he would be confused from a date like that.
  Today I can say that yesterday was only giving me warnings that today is going to be the 13th.I thought the bad luck thing worked only on Friday the 13th, but today I can confirm that the bad luck for me happens on Wednesday the 13th.It all started in the very early hours of the morning, 6 o'clock to be precise, when I was trying not to fall asleep and eat my breakfast.
There I am, minding my own business, milk, cereals, and making an effort to keep my eyes open, when my mum today out of the blue and out of character opened my homework diary. It appeared that I was supposed to have done 6 pages of multiplication and division.Thankfully not much French was involved in this, but we were working with decimal numbers and brain teasers like 0.24 : 0.006. (In Europe, the colon (:) means divide…

School: Good news and bad news

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I've been thinking for a long time what to write about school. There are good things and bad things to write, I could boast, or I could make a total twit of myself.I've decided to take the most unbiased approach I can. I will state some facts, then I will boast a little bit, and at the end I will entertain you with some practical insights into my every day school life, and how you can make a fool of yourself a few times a day. Unintentionally.In my previous post I mentioned that I have 16 hours of French a week, and that I start at 7 in the morning, and finish at 3 or 4 in the afternoon.True: I do have 16 hours of French a week. Tuesdays are devoted entirely to French lessons.
False: School is not that harsh. Some days start at 7 and end at 1, and others start at 9 and end at 4. On average school is probably 6 or 7 hours long a day.The annoying thing is that one day I wake up at 6, and the next I wake up at 8. School isn't regular like in England. For example on Tuesday I s…

The Blog of Survival Part 2

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If you want something really badly, and you know your parents will say no, give it time, and they will come to you and ask you for a favour. The favour will be your deepest wish.For example, it can happen like this:I knew that my new French school will be a bother, and the early mornings and late finishing of this school will give me nightmares for life.
 I noticed that from our village goes a train to Nyon. This is the supper duper top-of-the-world-and-universe train running from Geneva to Lausanne, and further to Zürich.It became my ultimate dream and ambition to obtain permission from my parents to travel to school by train.
  The twice a day journey would in my mind compensate for the suffering in between.
  My parents said NO both at the same time (my parents often say the same thing at the same time, and it's usually NO)What to do?It's important at this point not to start begging, winging, or pressing the matter. At this point you keep your cool.
  Think. Your parents will …

School

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Mobilization again today. I was brutally woken up at 7AM (6 GMT) in the middle of my beauty sleep because we were all going for a final battle for school.I got used to this actually, and I don't panic any more.
  This time was different though. We had a meeting.Building A, Room 311, Madam Gramm, Nyon. I remember being half asleep in the car, and every traffic jam we met on the way while getting on the Geneva| Lausanne Motorway gave me hope we may be late, and if luck was feeling generous, we could miss the meeting.I am sure you have guessed, we made it on time, confidently parked in-front of the swimming pool, as you do, found the building, the room, with still half an hour to go!
  That's half an hour taken off my beauty sleep. Brutally and unnecessarily.What I will never understand even if I live to 100, how is it possible that at this very tender hours of the morning, when the sun, the birds, and mother nature are still asleep, the Swiss schools are full of fresh faced chil…

Geneva

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On Saturday, I visited the worlds 2nd most expensive city, found out how to park your car at underneath the bottom of a lake, and saw the the worlds most powerful water jet attraction.On Saturday Morning I decided to have a long relaxing bath, and started to gather my stuff together.
  My dad burst into the room washing his teeth with one hand, straightening his hair with the other, telling me he got an emergency call from work, and we are giving him a lift to Geneva. 10 minutes later we were on the motorway."It will be a short half an hour job", my dad said.
  In the following five hours we had to explore Geneva, we saw some pretty awesome things.Once we dropped off dad at work, me and my mum spent the next hour listening to the GPS saying 'Recalculating' and finding a decent car park.I've never seen a car park with such a dramatic entrance. One minute the lake was in front of us, and the and the next thing we were heading down a steep road under it.
  Your first i…

Midnight Adventure

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My parents woke me up at midnight today.The clock said 6:45 (this is 5:45 Greenwich Mean Time)I got worried that we may be immigrating again, so I got hold of my favourite socks and cuddly fleece.
  As it turned out, my parents planned a trip to school during admin hours.The problem being here is that I am educationless. I created this word using the same rule as we do for brainless, powerless, clueless. Educationless child is not in Wikipedia yet, but basicly it is a happy, balanced child, enjoying his bike and pc during the day.It appeared we obtained the missing half a kilogram of certificates, and we were going to have another go to try and get me to school.I thought that everybody was going to be in their pyjamas there, but to my horror, all the ladies in admin were fully awake, and behind their pc's.My parents had a nice friendly, respectful and assertive chat with them, something about legal requirement to accept me.The lady said: "Do you speak French?"
  I said yes…

The Blog of Survival Part 1

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This will be short and sweet.It's just a question, actually, are these things happening to you to?Equipment:Satellite Navigation (GPS)Glove BoxAnd a good intention(Good intention is a key ingredient, it ALWAYS just HAPPENS when you have a good intention)It's this simple, the satellite navigation lying around the car. I don't want anyone to sit on it, or get it stolen (good intention), you lean from the back seat to the front seat, punch the button on the glove department, throw the GPS in, and smash the compartment shut.You don't know at this point, that nobody will ever ever ever open the glove box without using sharp tools again.
  Ok, next day, just before the drive, just before anybody else gets in the car, and because you are doing things properly, you lean from the backseat to the front, you try to open the glove box, in a great speed as you do, quick quick quick! They are locking the house, and I want to install the Satellite Navigation before they come, quick qu…

A Pea Soup

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What's wrong with a man liking his old plates? I know! It's an old man thing, but I do like my old stuff,My Old socksMy cuddly old fleeceAnd I also liked my nice white plates which we used in England. You could see what you were eating, the only exception would be if you would eat Fresh Snow which would be very unlikely to happen.Simple, eh? White plates, colourful food. A man gets used to this.Then they take you somewhere else, new place, and new fancy plates (just as well I hanged on to my old socks and fleece)Today my mum said "Your dinner is on your table", but when I went to the kitchen, all I found on the table was a pale green blob. You could honestly not tell where the bowl stops, and where the soup starts, and there was also the strong possibility the cat ate it.I was aware of the negotiations that my mum conducted with the cat yesterday, but I didn't know who won.If there was any soup in the Green Bowl, it must have been Chameleon Soup, and it changed c…

Annecy - Our saturday treat

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Saturday was a beautiful sunny day, and we went to explore an old town called Annecy. (click here)I don't particularly like towns with a history, but some towns feel like they still have the Ancient Forces in them. Annecy was one of them.
  Annecy is probably one of the oldest inhabited sites in the Northern Alps. In fact, recent digs suggests the history of the town goes as far back as 3,100 years before Christ.The town is situated next to a Lake Annecy (Lac d'Annecy). This lake was once used for transport, fresh water, bathing, and to take away waste. Today it's used for fun purposes. You can rent small paddle boats and small motor boats. (Click here for an image)Another nice area is a large grassy park. On sunny days you find this park full with people having a picnic, or playing around.More to the centre of the city it becomes more old. There is quite a major canal, surrounded by old stone buildings. Most of these buildings are restaurants.
  Not very far from the lake, …

Greetings from Switzerland

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I've been thinking for a week on how to start this blog. It's quite a big thing for me you know, but it happened today.

I was on a bike ride with my mum enjoying the views of Mount Blanc, when my handlebars caught a hedge, panicked, and jumped, the bike and all, in the opposite direction.

Unfortunately the bike can't jump, so I fell in a very embarrasing way on to the road with the bike on top of me.
I decided there and then, that if i survived not getting hit by a car and not getting killed by my mum for "not wearing a helmet, AGAIN" then I would start the blog.

So let's start at the beginning.
Why am I here? The answer to this is ver... ... ...

Sorry I got distracted. My mum got really annoyed at a fly that kept landing on her and her tea.
It started nice and peaceful with my mum shouting some abuse at the French fly, but seeing as it did not understand any of our laungages, it ended with my mum dancing on the table trying to hit it with a wet towel.
I could ju…