Thursday, July 2, 2009

Week 3

Hey there,

I've been telling myself I would post my first entry here once I had some nice pictures to go with my writing, but I can't seem to remember to carry my camera with me. I have been in Zürich for over two weeks already, time seems to be flying by already. I got here three Mondays ago and came straight to the apartment I'm sharing, close to Berninaplatz. I met my first roommate, a guy from Catalonia no less. I'm staying at a students' residence, which has been pretty convenient since a lot of the people here are international students themselves, so they helped me figure things out when I had just arrived.

The next day I went to ETH Hönggerberg for the first time, and I was quite impressed with the department I am working in. The group of people working on LCA's here also seems much larger than the one in Rutgers, but they keep a nice "team" feel. I was also lucky that one of the people there loaned me a bicycle, since the city is perfect for riding and I get to save a lot on transport, too! Starting my work has been kind of slow, though, as I am working simultaneously with the people here and back in the U.S., and there was some discrepancy in the data both groups were expecting to provide. We did all reach a convenient agreement, and things should get going faster soon. Meanwhile, I've been getting to know the city a lot (and forgetting to take my camera with me). I knew Zürich was the biggest city in Switzerland, so I was quite surprised to find that it's not that big at all. I can bike to the city center in 10 minutes, but if I bike around 10' the opposite way I'm pretty much on the outskirts. It is a beautiful city though, I was surprised to see how the Limmat river and the Zürichsee are so clean given they go right through the middle of the city. There are even swans right in the middle of the city! I was also very surprised to see just how much of a multicultural city this is. My professor at ETH told me a third of the people here are foreign, and I can certainly believe that: I've met so many Argentines and other Spanish speakers that I am speaking about as much Spanish as English here. Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but not knowing German it is really helpful how most people here speak at least two or three languages.

On my first weekend here, like Rob mentioned, we had a failed attempt to meet up with Rob and Brett. Well, failed for me, since they got to meet up anyway. Hopefully we can all meet up some time soon. That Sunday I went to Schaffhausen with some of the people from my building. It's a beautiful town, I'm regretting not seeing more of it. Instead, we went over to the Rhine Falls (Europe's largest plain waterfalls, whatever that means, according to Wikipedia), which was nice although pretty crowded. Of course I forgot to take my camera, so I'll have to ask some of the other people to send me their pictures. I also went to the Rietberg Museum to see an exhibition on Luo Ping that is going on right now. I know it's not the most Swiss thing to go see, but having studied Chinese art history I really wanted to go (and I really recommend the museum to anyone interested). And yesterday I also appreciated the free admission to the Kunsthaus on Wednesdays.

And that's all for now, I'm trying to get to travel around some more if my wallet allows me to, so hopefully I'll have something more exciting to tell next time! And some pictures to go with it!


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