Michaela Merz

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I can’t keep up

On Sunday my youngest and I were out and about in the city with our scooters. We both enjoy that. We scoot aimlessly right through the city and discover something new. Two stone snakes high up on the facade, the exhibition «The Wolf in Switzerland” in the Zoological Museum, an amusing poster full of artificial teeth in the Weinbergstrasse. Continue reading

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Downsizing – and the trap of the trailers

With my youngest we wanted to escape from the dull weather in the Mittelland. The cloud cover weighs on one’s spirits despite sport and exercise in the fresh air. So we sat down with the internet and looked at the extracts of current films. Downsizing looked really funny and the two trailers we watched were without exception amusing. That’s the right one for us, we thought, and got ready for the evening performance. Continue reading

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Welcome to Miami – Bienvenidos a Miami


I have the good luck of attracting unique events and exceptions. Like during the Christmas holidays, when I was travelling in Florida. After 29 years, snow and cold in Florida. If I’m honest, I couldn’t care less about the snow, that’s not the reason I have travelled such a distance. An hour from home I could enjoy the powder snow. But fortunately, Florida is big and snow in the North of Florida still means 16 degrees and sunshine in Miami. Continue reading

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Florida in winter

What one immediately notices, is the exuberant kindness, which you meet wherever you go. Everyone seems to be very optimistic and almost enthusiastic. That feels good. I wonder whether depressions can be prevented by this collective optimism or whether it’s vice versa because those who suffer from a depression are drawn into the depths, because all around them are only people, who are in really good spirits.

Everything is more relaxed, aggression nowhere in sight, crowds (despite the queues) non-existent. The level of daily aggression is in Europe, and even in Switzerland, much higher than in Florida. This is very noticeable for example in traffic. In Zürich one is hooted at if one doesn’t move as soon as it’s green. In Florida on a four-lane road with heavy traffic without a sign of a pedestrian crossing, the traffic stops for pedestrians. Scarcely conceivable in Zürich.

In the lift there are polite discussions about who leaves last and people hold the door open for one another. No-one pushes and shoves anywhere. The queues at Cape Canaveral to visit the Kennedy Space Center were numerous and long, but nonetheless everything was very friendly and relaxed.

When I went swimming with my youngest in the sea, hardly more than 150m from the shore, a police boat turned up. I was rather anxious and expected an admonition or a warning that somewhere we had done something wrong. At least that is may experience with the maritime police in Europe. Jack the policeman was extremely nice, asked us if everything was OK and gave my son a little alarm light, in case he should get into an emergency.

When I rented a stand-up paddle I was recommended to wear a life vest (but of course willingly), but there was no obligation. That impressed me, because I believe that responsibility for me and my life is mine, not the state‘s. And of course without a life vest I would never have gone out. One NEVER knows!! But if I once were to do so, in Switzerland I would be fined, as soon as I was more than 300m from the shore. And I don’t think that’s right.

In the sea on the paddle I travelled with and through fishes. I have never seen so many fishes in open water as there. And then came a school of dolphins, who swam by only a few metres away from me. Medium-sized silvery fishes sprang vertically out of the water. The first surprised me and by all the rest I enjoyed their skills. And there were hundreds of birds, which were anything but shy and a few alligators, which I could see, but were fortunately very shy.

One is very prudish. During my whole stay I didn’t see a naked child on the beach or a topless female. Even in the Aircraft Museum, which we visited with my youngest, there were old planes decorated with big-bosomed beauties. One of these ladies displayed on a clock you could buy at the shop had her breasts covered with a sticker.

Here the toilets are called rest rooms, although for a rest they are totally unsuited.

New Year in Florida was great. Warm, many friendly people, who were all ready for a chat. Lights, attractions, music, many booths with food, drink and small gifts. There were fireworks and at midnight, instead of an apple as in New York, a pineapple was split open. Wonderful and very entertaining.

I can recommend Florida. Everyone can find something here. Entertainment and nature, peace and ramba-zamba, sport and culture, food, drink, sightseeing and beach, shopping.  The weather and the people are right. The prices are at the higher end. But even with a small budget there’s a lot to discover.

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As a child I looked forward to Christmas for weeks on end. It was mysterious, auspicious and magical.

As the mother of small children, I was happy. To see one’s own children’s happiness was indescribably wonderful. The presents, the decorated tree, the perfect scenario. All that was important.

Now my children are older and although Christmas is wonderful, they have lost the magic of belief. Continue reading

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Anyone can be a carpenter

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The Gewerbemuseum in Winterthur has a new exhibition of cupboards. Last Sunday one could learn to be a carpenter at speed and construct a small cupboard oneself. We all went there with my youngest. It snowed the whole day and the temperature was low. We were happy to arrive in the warmth of the museum. A small group of curious people gathered on the second Sunday in Advent for a carpentry afternoon. Continue reading

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A sunday in November

When I was a child, at the weekend I could sleep until midday. But from a certain age that no longer worked. However late I go to bed, I always get up at about the same time. By half past seven in the morning I’m already wide awake. For night-birds that must sound terrible; but I’m an early bird and enjoy the absolutes peace in the morning. No telephone calls, no traffic, no stress. I wake up between five and six in the morning, every day, without an alarm. On Sunday morning everyone is still asleep. Then I go swimming, because the indoor pool in Zürich opens at six. I love swimming a few lengths when the first light and sunbeams break through the water and conjure up wonderful pictures. It is a wonderful, meditative feeling, that feels like an inner cleansing. Only, unfortunately, on this Sunday I was far too enthusiastic or had too much energy. At any rate, when pushing off the wall, I had knocked my big toe. Au, that hurt! Now it is black and blue and I can only hope that a bone is not broken. On Saturday morning also, another swimmer had hit me on the hand so hard with his hard swimming aids he was wearing on his hands that today I can still feel it and also have a blue patch from it. And swimming is supposed to a non-dangerous, injury free sport. Thank God I don’t play rugby.
After the swim, despite the painful toe, I felt light and free. I hurried home, but that was hardly necessary. Shortly before eight my youngest was still asleep. I had to wake him up, but with a delicious smelling breakfast that worked easily. Because at nine we wanted to be at the ice-rink. Right on opening time we were there. My toe was protesting, because to force my left foot into my narrow ice-skates, which I had received on my 18th birthday, is even in normal circumstances a demanding exercise. With a painful toe it was a real challenge! But I didn’t want to spoil my youngest’s pleasure. One more try and it’s in! The ice-rink fills up quickly at this time of day but it is definitely not so over-crowded as on Sunday afternoon. Those who come in the morning are the hard core – little girls practice pirouettes, boys who were trying to hit the goal just for fun, old men, who glide elegantly over the ice. My youngest and I are not elegant. I taught myself how to ice-skate and have played with colleagues for hours on the frozen stream. I have no technique, but I’m fast. I watched the little girl, as she received her training and I felt the urge also to learn something. Skating backwards. I watched her and tried to copy it. It didn’t really work. No matter, the important thing is to enjoy oneself. And suddenly he was standing next to me. A gentleman, perhaps a little younger than my father. He was very elegant, I had already noticed him earlier. He said something to me, but it was in French. His well- intentioned advice failed for my lacking language skills. And so my youngest and I received a one-hour free lesson from Eric. Eric is retired and comes from Lausanne. He has time and so he travels by train with his general season ticket and visits artificial ice-rinks throughout Switzerland. He has more than 65 years’ experience of ice-skating. We noticed that and he was also remarkably patient enough to demonstrate it again and again and for the hundredth time. It was great fun with Eric. Simply great and that in the sunshine. We got red cheeks, laughed a lot and now and again landed on our bottoms. Reluctantly we parted from Eric.

We had tickets for the Tonhalle for Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens. That was one of a series of family concerts, at which small children make their first contact with classical music. My youngest is no longer a small child but we still enjoy going. That children cannot sit still and now and again a small child yells, is a fact of life and doesn’t really disturb me. But today in front of us sat two mothers and their daughters, about 10 years old. It was terrible. Both mothers chatted quietly with one another incessantly and regardless of what was happening on stage. Even if one couldn’t hear the content of the conversation, it was simply disturbing. And their daughters were even worse. They couldn’t sit still and listen for a single minute. They behaved like four-year olds, but that is an unfair insult, because next to us sat a very small boy, who was about four years old and watched with great concentration throughout the performance. What does one do in such a situation? I saw how the mother of the young boy next to us had admonished the girl in front of her. But that didn’t help much and her mother didn’t even react. How could she, when she was chattering herself? But why go to a classical music concert at all, when she was clearly not interested at all and she was also not prepared to listen to the music even for five minutes? I solved the problem, probably like a coward. We simply changed places quietly. I‘m not going to have the experience spoiled.

We spent the afternoon in a glass atelier. Looked at beautiful things, listened and watched how they come into being. A festival for the eyes.

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