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Religious holidays

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Switzerland, a land known for its picturesque landscapes and precision watches, reveals an unexpected facet: an abundance of religious holidays. With more observances than its Catholic counterpart, the Philippines, Switzerland provides ample opportunities for reflection and celebration. Notable holidays, such as Easter Monday, Ascension Day, Pentecost Monday, and Mary’s Ascension, are recognized in specific Swiss cantons but absent in the list of Philippine legal holidays.

May has proven to be an exceptional month, with Ascension Day and Pentecost Monday giving the residents two long weekends. We capitalized on the long weekend over Ascension Day by embarking on a short visit to my in-laws. Becca enjoyed a reprieve from her school routine, as Friday served as a bridge holiday.

Becca and Sarah experienced the joys of outdoor activities. They honed their roller skating skills on the quiet streets adjacent to their Oma and Opa’s residence. Accompanied by their cousin, Paul, who brought along his own pair of rollerblades, and Emily, the friendly neighbor’s daughter, the quartet delighted in gliding up and down the gently sloping road. Paul, known for his daring spirit, embraced the thrill of accelerating downhill, assuming the most aerodynamic posture in a quest for unmatched speed. His audacious antics provided amusement for onlookers, who relished the sight of his intrepid descents. Meanwhile, Becca’s focus centered on mastering the art of controlling her downhill momentum, a triumph she achieved when she successfully reached the midway point.

Becca and Sarah on their bikes; right, Sarah on her scooter*
Sarah, Paul and Becca on their skates; right, French toast*

As the weekend came to a close, we bid farewell to Oma, Opa and Paul and made the 5-hour drive back to Biel. Alas, tears welled up in the eyes of Becca and Sarah, who had relished every moment of their time together. To alleviate their sadness, their parents offered reassurance of an imminent return in the summer, a promise that ignited an eager countdown as the girls excitedly anticipated the prospect of plunging into the cool waters of the pool.

Back in Biel, the girls continued their exploration of outdoor activities, embracing an assortment of wheeled modes of transport. Transitioning seamlessly from roller skates to scooters and bicycles, the girls reveled in the freedom afforded by these versatile conveyances. Inspired by her surroundings, Sarah made a momentous decision—to venture forth on her bicycle without the assistance of training wheels. Drawing upon the experience gained from her earlier ventures on a balance bike when she was smaller, Sarah seamlessly synchronized the art of pedaling with maintaining her balance, thereby unlocking newfound independence. Presently, she skillfully keeps pace with her older sister, Becca, as they navigate the surrounding streets. Struggling to match their speed, I have resorted to utilizing Becca’s sturdy scooter, designed to accommodate weights up to 90 kilograms, in an earnest endeavor to stay within close proximity. At least, this attempt at keeping up with the girls offered me a chance for some much-needed exercise.

These long weekends have us embracing leisurely mornings and have seen us sleeping in. Naturally, my thoughts turn to brunch. Aside from pancakes and scones, I love having French Toast. The sound of sizzling butter and the tantalizing smell of the French toast cooking in the pan brings back nostalgic memories as my mom used to make this for us growing up.


This is good for 3 slices of bread, double or triple as needed.

1 large egg

1/3 cup milk (fresh or evaporated) or all-purpose cream

Pinch of salt

½ tsp vanilla extract (optional)

½ tbsp cornstarch dissolved in ½ tbsp cold water

3 thick slices of white bread

Butter for frying

Maple syrup for serving

1.      In a wide, shallow bowl, crack an egg and beat it.

2.      Add the milk (or cream), salt, vanilla extract, and dissolved cornstarch to the bowl. Mix well until all the ingredients are combined.

3.      Heat a pan over medium-low heat and melt some butter.

4.      Take a slice of bread and soak it in the egg mixture, ensuring that it fully absorbs the mixture.

5.      Transfer the soaked bread slice to the hot pan and cook until both sides turn golden brown, approximately 3 to 4 minutes per side.

6.      Once cooked, you can serve the French Toast immediately or keep it warm in an oven preheated to 100°C. 7.      Serve with maple syrup or…*


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October 2023

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