Thursday, July 9, 2009

Summer in Switzerland

I am a firm believer that summer is the best time to visit Switzerland. I mean I don’t snow board or ski and I prefer having feelings in my fingers than not in frigid -14ºC weather. The point is summer in Switzerland is awesome.

Take the past two weekends for example, both of which were awesome enjoying outdoor parties, an outdoor movie, and strolling around and swimming in the beautiful lakes. This past Saturday was simply perfect. My friend Giovanni came over and we reunited after not seeing

each other for four years. Giovanni and I were exchange students together and we went to the Migros Klubschule to learn German along with nine other exchange students. We, eleven students, had our crash-course-in-German-before-being-thrown-into-a- Swiss- High-School during our first month of our exchange year and as a result we became an international family. Giovanni just graduated from the hotel management school in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland and was visiting his family in Sirnach, which is close to where I live, when I suggested we meet up. So Saturday, Giovanni arrived by bicycle for lunch and then we decided to bike down to the lake for a swim. The bike ride was about 8 kilometers which is the furthest I have ever been with a bicycle since I learned to ride in Switzerland when I was 17 years old. So for me this was a moment of triumph! Thank goodness Switzerland has bike lanes or I would have been killed since I have a tendency of steering towards cars. Anyway, we got to the lake which was the perfect temperature and was a nice swim. Later in the day we attended the OpenAir Kino on the lake which was really awesome. We saw Slumdog Millionaire with the lake behind the screen and a full moon above, which concluded my awesome Saturday.

I love openair events especially movies. On Friday, I am going to go to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. A couple of weeks ago there was Openair St.Gallen which is a huge concert where you camp out for a few days while several acts perform all weekend long. However it’s really expensive so I didn’t go and am happy that I can use the money instead for the Zurich Tango week which will be at the end of the month. I have gone weekly to the Argentine tango Milongas (tango dance event) in St. Gallen and am really excited for Tango week which will include several Milongas (some openair ones too!), two balls (I new those formal dresses would come in handy!), and several classes and workshops taught by some amazing tango teachers from Argentina.

In the past two weekends, I have attended two cook-out equivalent parties. The one from the past weekend was a birthday party for my friend Jasmin who lives in Glarus surrounded by beautiful pristine Swiss Alps. Her cook-out thankfully consisted of a lot of salad which I was thankful for since I have been keeping to a vegetarian diet (with the exception of the occasional seafood making me a pescatarian, which I am not so sure how to spell). Not so fortunate for my diet, however was sitting in front of the four cakes that were delicious. I mean you have to try them all right? It’s a good thing I offseted (hmmm my offset research is taking over my thought process) that cake by bike riding and swimming the day before.

The one from the weekend before was to say Bon Voyage to my dear friend Nora who is journeying back to New Zealand to be reunited with her boyfriend there who she met while backpacking around NZ five months ago. She is not sure when she is coming back; her only certainty is that her visa lasts three months which can be renewed twice so she thinks nine months in NZ is probable. Interestingly enough a lot of people here go to New Zealand here, for example my neighbor Carmen will be leaving soon, and my Swiss father spent many of his holidays in NZ when he was a young man. Actually, most Swiss, from what I have observed,

really travel far distances for their holidays. The secretary at the Uni is going to northern Africa for her holiday and many people have already left the office bound for a summer in America. Going back on subject, the party was lovely especially surrounded by a magnificent garden (Nora works as a landscaper and her father owns a successful landscaping company so basically the whole family is highly talented in the garden). I got to practice a lot of German which at a party consists of the same questions: Where are you from? Are you here on holiday? What are you studying? How long are you staying? Do you understand Swiss German? Where did you learn to speak/understand German/ Swiss German?

Before the party I picked some of the now perfect cherries from our tree in the garden which is the other reason summer equals awesome. Fresh cherries means my Swiss mother spends the day removing the stones from the cherries so she can make homemade jam (9 jars so far), making cherry soufflé, cherry pies, cherry sorbet, and then she freezes the kilos of cherries in the deep freezer so she can do all of this culinary magic throughout the year. All these cherries are from one tree, surprisingly, and even though we have been picking and munching and inviting relatives over to do the same, that tree is still full of cherries. For me, my favorite is the

raspberries which I spent the remainder of the day picking after I got home and mowed the grass (with a highly sustainable old school push mower…hmmm Katie-Peige-power is my favorite renewable energy :D ). Since we just got a new ice cream maker, I am excited for the raspberry ice cream prospect. YUM. Oh and then there are the black and red currants which I wasn’t sure what they were really but soon found out that I really liked their sourness in the cookies and pies I have sampled so far. Mmmmmm summertime in Switzerland is delicious.

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