Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘apprenticeships’

Our Trip to Switzerland – Part Three


Family Time

The best part of being in Switzerland is the Family Time. Yes, it’s a wonderful place to “have to visit!” We have gone every other year since 1991 when our daughter, DeAna, and her Swiss-born husband, Andre’, moved back to his hometown of Sierre. They were pregnant at the time with our first grandchild. Of course, we had to go as soon as Mikey emerged! You will find a picture of Mike with his girlfriend, Sophie, in Part One of Our Trip to Switzerland. Mike and his girlfriend, Sophie, are so suited for one another! Keep him in prayer, though, he applied for an apprenticeship that he did not get. So now, his future employment is in limbo. Pray the perfect job opportunity emerges for our #1 Grandson.

Going back to 1993, two years after Mike’s birth, pregnant with our second grandchild, De prepared for a little girl. I traveled alone to be there to spend a week with “Melanie,” taking a suitcase full of pink things with me. Humph! “She” didn’t come as planned! Finally, the day before I was scheduled to leave to return to California, the doctors went in and pulled out by Caesarian section,  a squalling, red-faced boy. Nicolas Marin Solioz was a screamer! Oh my, what a set of lungs! In the nineteen years since then, he hasn’t stopped making noise! Some of it is in the form of music on his steel guitar. Oh, yes, he’s a musician, an entertainer, a clown, a brilliant life of the party! Of the three, he looks the most like De & me. He has drive, determination, and charisma coming out of every pour!

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Here is Nick with his girlfriend, Sandrine (Sorry about catching you with your eyes partly closed, Sandrine… you are a beautiful, bright, and thoughtful young lady with a bright future. Good luck as you pursue a career in the medical field!).

Two bright stars!

Two bright stars!

But, wait! Did I say three? Yes, two years later, determined to have that little girl we anticipated, Bob and I traveled back to Switzerland in time to greet Solioz child number three: Christian Robert (middle name after his Grampy Beekman). No, not a “Melanie” or “Janet,”  but we would not trade this sweet, compassionate, thoughtful young man for a gillion bucks! No way!!

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There’s he is, his 17-year-old face smiling on the left with his brothers,
having “the plate of the day” at their parents’ restaurant,
Le Rothorn, in Sierre- the Swiss state of Valais.

Chrissy sometimes has a break mid-day and comes home to eat his main meal of the day in the restaurant. He works at the Nursing Home about a half a mile from their apartment, which is above the restaurant on the main street of Sierre. At 16, disgusted with school, he quit the misery (for him) of public school and went to live for about seven weeks with a family in Germany so he could learn a little more conversational German. In their French part of Switzerland, so close to the German-Swiss section, it is imperative that people are at least bilingual. Most know at least two languages, French and German, and the younger generation almost all know English as well. Being a trilingual male interested in a job in the service profession, it didn’t take Chris long to land an apprenticeship at the local nursing home. The transition from being a sixteen year-old, care-free youth to becoming a vocational nurse has not been an easy one. But, with the help of observant supervisors and compassionate colleagues, Chris is succeeding. He works three days a week and attends relevant classes two days a week. His goal is to become a head nurse someday like his Auntie Marge in Fresno, CA. Isn’t it wonderful that Switzerland has the kind of apprenticeship programs that give young high school “drop-outs” viable alternatives? The United States could learn from the Swiss mentality!

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Stay tuned for Part Four – “Extended Family and Friends” in Switzerland

Our Trip to Switzerland – Part Two


Our Grandsons

My husband, Bob, and I went to Switzerland June 27 through July 16 this year. It was our best Swiss vacation ever! One of the reasons it was so great is that our three grandsons, Mike, Nick, and Chris were such a joy to be around. Nick joined us for lunch our first day there. Tante (Aunt) Irene did, too. We ate at Le Rothorn, the restaurant (bar and grill) that our daughter and son-in-law own there in Sierre, the Sun City of Valais, Switzerland. Andre’, a master chef, prepared chicken in curry sauce over rice with veggies. His meat sauces are the best! The restaurant is a place people go for a cup of coffee and a place to read the newspaper in the morning. The plate of the day is a popular lunch time fare. Lunch is the main meal of the day. The menu includes typical Swiss dishes of cheese, chicken, pork, beef, cheval (horse), and pastas. The bar is the most popular part of Le Rothorn, in spite of Andre’s wonderful cooking skills. I wish more people came to enjoy his talents!

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Our youngest grandson, Chrissy, joined us up in the apartment after he finished work. De & Andre’ and the boys live in a three bedroom, one bath, no kitchen apartment above the restaurant. They allowed us to stay with them during the first four days of our visit. The boys all bunched up in Mike’s room on two beds and the floor so we could have Nick & Chris’s beds. We really appreciated it because staying with them gave us a chance to really have quality time with our grandsons who have grown from “boys” to young men since we saw them two and a half years ago.

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At age 17, Chris has quit regular school, lived for 7 weeks in Germany with a family (to try and learn to speak that language), and then returned to enter a nursing apprentice program. He works three days a week at the Nursing Home in Sierre and attends classes two days each week to get his vocational nursing certificate. Chris has a tender heart. He is a compassionate, thoughtful young man with a bright future ahead of him.  Bob and I enjoyed several long, insightful discussions with him during our three weeks together.

Nick, likewise, entered an apprentice program – but he finished his regular schooling near the top of his class and chose to go to work as an apprentice at SwissCom, the state owned telephone company, rather than going on to college at age 17. Now, as a 19 year old with two years of experience in the work world under his belt, he has his resume’ out and is looking for a job before going for a year to serve in the army. Army is mandatory for young men in Switzerland. After that year, Nick plans to go back to school to become a “mediamatician.” He plays a mean steel guitar, has a magnetic personality, and is the life of every party.

To complete the grandson picture, Mike (21) also is an apprentice. He worked last year as an assistant to a disabled 12 year old who was in a wheel chair and needed one-on-one help at school. Now, with the school year completed Mike is considering a computer programming apprenticeship. He has had an interview and is awaiting results. Meantime, he worked a week at a summer camp for handicapped teens. Isn’t it wonderful that our young grandsons have such a giving heart for service to others? I am so proud of them!

In the evening on our second day there, we took the three boys to dinner in Sierre. De and Andre’ had to work at their restaurant that night. We went back to Le Rothorn after dinner, had a “nightcap,”  and visited with friends before tucking in for a good night’s sleep.

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Stay tuned for Part Three – more “Family Time” and some scenes of Sierre, Switzerland 🙂

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