the best thing about being surrounded by farms is getting fruits and veggies straight from the tree/ground/vine etc. after many weeks of watching the apples grow and redden on the trees, its finally time to eat them! we went over to a farm close by and picked a ton of them with our very own hands. to call them delicious is doing them a disservice. they are the best apples i have ever tasted. we took home about 10kgs (22lbs) three days ago and we’ve eaten them all!





and some random cuteness:



and lots has happened, but as usual i find myself overwhelmed at the prospect of writing about it all. so here’s a quick rundown: somewhere in between posts i turned 32, hana came down for a surprise birthday visit, and i got a job in sydney! you know, just a usual week around here 😉

obviously the biggest news is our impending move to australia. we’ve been on the road for 14 months and the time is right to settle down for a little while. the company i am going to is called dr. d and they do special effects for movies, much like weta does. i’m going there to lead the team that will build the pipeline for the next mad max movie. this is the studio’s first live action film and they don’t have much of a pipeline in place so i am both excited and scared. it feels like a lot of responsibility! we’re leaving some time next week – i think thursday – and spending three days with aya in los angeles before going down under. its weird to think that i’m going to be back at work within two weeks, but it feels right and i’m ready to do my programming thing again.

with all of the hurly burly we haven’t had much time to take photos, so i’m afraid there isn’t much to share. but somethin’ is better than nothin’ so here’s what we got.




and here is nayou showing what happens to young children when they are exposed to too much european radio:

if you have no idea what nayou’s talking about, click here.

oh, and today i was extremely manly and chopped wood for a few hours. i even did it shirtless, for extra manliness!


i’ve got lots to write about but not enough time, so here is something to distract you all. hana and i spent the afternoon digitising some old family photos. some of them date way back to what we estimate are the late 1800s! i’d love to get all of them in digital form if possible, but there just isn’t enough time… which is a shame, because they are so cool!

first up is this awesome ninja guy whom we’re related to in some uncertain way.


and this is my great-great-great-grandfather. apparently he used to go to school with a sword. now that is old school. this is the photo that we’re estimating was taking sometime between 1880-1900. which isn’t really *that* long ago when you think about it.


check outthese photos of my dad when he was young. he had (and still has) an impressive set of ears!



some more photos of my dad when he was a young pup:







hana and my favourite set of photos are from dad in his heyday. he was a young diplomat living the high life in various parts of asia. the shots imply equal measures of business and mischief, which is just the way it should be. the photos have faded beautifully and i think they would be gorgeous even if they weren’t part of our family history.












we sort of wish that he had kept his clothes from this era. i mean, how can you tell me that his pants are not the boldest, most courageous fashion statement ever made? fierce!


its not just my dad whose earlier life is being put on public display either. check out my mum!




this is a photo of my dad with me, around the same ages that nayou and i are now. ah, the cycle of life…


and here is my mum again with aya and myself.


it was another one of those busy weekends as we took advantage of the spectacular weather. the summer season is already on the wane here! on saturday brenda and i left our little boy with the grandparents and headed off to chamonix. chamonix is the town right at the base of mont blanc, the highest mountain in the alps. although chamonix is a huge tourist spot, it still feels like an old swiss town. the views of the alps are breathtaking, and we could have easily spent the day gawking from here.


but its not like we have the chance to do “real” hiking very often, what with being parents and everything, so we took a quick trip to the tourism office to see what the best route would be. we settled on a four hour loop up the mountain directly opposite from mont blanc, which promised some lakes and spectacular views. and we were not disappointed! its hard to describe the overwhelming majesty of seeing the peaks so close, so i’ll let the photos do the talking. we were ooh-ing and aah-ing every five minutes!





it was the perfect day for a hike – clear skies, gentle breezes, and optimal temperature. i even got to dry out my sweaty shirt at the summit of our loop!



one of the craziest things about the hikers around here is that they take their little kids with them! we saw so many parents with 2-4 year olds on their backs going up very steep inclines. i got tired just looking at them. once they are a bit older then the kids have to hoof it by themselves, which is also nuts. but they all seem to enjoy it so its all good!

we made it back to the gondola, all sweaty and happy, with half an hour to spare before the last ride back.


nayou, as usual, had an awesome time with his grandma and jiji. he even had a chance to sit and watch the tractor plough the field in front of their house while the sun slowly set behind the hills. in the words of grandma, “who said geneva was boring?”.


sunday was mellower but no less boring. we spent the morning at the antique market in nyon. the markets here are top notch, and it makes me seriously consider doing some sort of import/export business in the next place we settle. you can find all sorts of quality clothes, art, furniture and bric-a-bracs (swiss army blankets, old watches, coffee grinders, copper pots and pans, vintage telephones, etc). more importantly though, when we go to nyon, it means we stop at what might just be the world’s best gelateria. you should see the single minded focus that nayou has when he has a cup of pistachio ice cream in his hand!


the town of nyon also happens to have a pirates club. its a motley crew of old sailors who get together to drink, sail, drink, and drink. somewhere in there they also take handicapped children out on the lake and other cool charity events. these pirates were offering cruises on their boat to raise funds, so of course we hopped on and had a ride.




brenda and i are slowly narrowing down our next move. currently our choices are sydney or wellington. i’ve got a job back at weta should i want to take it, but first we are exploring the possibility of a move to sydney. i have a phone interview with dr. d studios in sydney tomorrow so we’ll see what happens based on that conversation. i think we would be happy in either location… i trust the universe will place us where we are meant to be!

its been a very chilled out couple of days over here. mid-august is supposed to be the hottest part of the year, but instead there are clouds, cold and more than a bit of rain. we’ve been staying close to home and taking it easy. for some reason almost all of the photos we’ve taken during this time involve eating.





nayou’s favourite thing to do when its wet outside is to go and look for snails. he likes to keep them in boxes, but we are teaching him about the concept of catch and release. everyone understands that when its night time everyone wants to go back to their mama and papa! it was cool observing the snails with him. i don’t think i’ve paid a mollusk that much attention since i was his age.



yep, its that time again where i’ve left it too long and have lots of photos to post, so i’m just going to whip through them and let the pictures do the talking.

first up some photos from august 1st, swiss national day. nayou has been really into each peach pear plum, but couldn’t quite relate to plum pie since he had never seen or tasted one. so grandma made one!





that evening we went to the village get-together, but went home before the fireworks because of poor weather. on our way there i noticed that my parents and i were all wearing these earthy tones, as if we had coordinated or something. it reminded me of the outfits that the vampires wear in the twilight movies, so we did a little photo shoot to commemorate this amazing coincidence.




we also had the privilege of having a look into my mum’s two beehives. because of errant weather her honey harvest this year was dismal, but apparently its a lucky thing that the bees are even alive and healthy. we still managed to get 2+kgs out of one hive, although it wouldn’t last long if nayou got his hands on it!





last week we did an overnight trip to grindelwald, a town three hours drive from geneva. its classic swiss setting has made it a huge tourist attraction, especially for the japanese, but it still looks more or less like the village it has been for centuries. its located deep in a glacial valley which affords spectacular views, but unfortunately we were greeted with clouds and rain on our first day and more greyness on the second. still, it was fun to check out the town and its environs. this place is truly stunning, even when you can’t see much!


here we are in the gondola on our way up the mountain. we were planning to hike along a trails famous for its marmots, but had to cut it short 15 minutes in because of torrential rain.


our clothes got absolutely soaked, and since we didn’t have any spares, my mum and i hit the town in our sexy wear, reserved for only the most special occasions.


at least nayou had some proper rain gear, courtesy of our neighbours.


thankfully the beds in our hotel were warm and cosy!


the next day we voluntarily got (a little bit) wet when we hiked along this rather precarious path bolted into the stone. it was cool though – it was a reminder of how powerful the force of water is!


this weekend brenda and i went up to montbovon, another town up in the mountains where my friend layth lives. layth and i know each other from high school and there were a couple of other friends from that era there. it was very awesome to see them again! the only bummer was that i forgot to take a photo to commemorate the occasion. got some nice ones of our hike though.




the view of mont blanc on the way home was gorgeous too:


grandma found these fairy wings and she has been playing fairies with nayou for a couple of days now. we also found a matching tunic to go with it (at h&m no less!). soooo cute!





nayou and jiji discover the joys of the ipod touch:


and that’s about it for now. time for bed!