Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tschou zäme

It’s been a long time since I posted, time just goes by so fast in Switzerland. I have enjoyed many Swiss adventures and spent loads of quality time with my Swiss family and friends. I stopped working at the University about two weeks ago and have been enjoying free time ever since. I always seem to be busiest when I am not working. I have enjoyed the Brienzer Rothorn, Tango Week in Zurich, Bern, having a GA to travel with, Pany, Ballenberg, Thurnersee, Meiringen (Sherlock Holmes sends his regards), and Basel where I enjoyed the fabulous artwork of Vincent Van Gough. I also had some rough experiences including a painful (for mouth and wallet) trip to the dentist but despite some bumps in the road this summer has been amazing and I can not be more thankful to the ThinkSwiss program.

I spent several hours writing out several postcards that I have been collecting throughout my journeys here. Writing the cards helped me remember the highlights of my summer. I enjoyed seeing snow in July on top of the Rothorn when I went with another family I know to their holiday apartment in Sörenberg. I loved swimming and taking in the views of the Bodensee (Lake Constance) which I can see from my bedroom window. I also took two days to visit Graubünden where my host grandmother lives in what can best be described as a fairy tale (complete with the slew of knitted fairies that can be found all over her house and a heavy use of gem stones which she uses for healing). There I took a six hour hike with my Swiss dad Christian, and knitted a lot on the day it was raining. The following day I took a three day journey with my Swiss mom Doris, through central Switzerland which included Thun, Ballenberg, Meiringen, Luzern, and Hergiswil. Thanks to our GA, we traveled all by boat taking in the breath-taking lakes, waterfalls, and mountains. On our second day, we went to Ballenberg, which is an open air museum featuring period houses from all the cantons of Switzerland. In the early evening, we caught a train over to Meiringen which is famous for its invention of meringues and a tiny Sherlock Holmes museum. Sir Arthur Canon Doyle often frequented that area of Switzerland and so he incorporated some of Holmes’ adventures in Meiringen including the final battle with Holmes’ arch enemy. The museum is really cool with several artifacts from Holmes’ tim, complete with a remake of Holmes’ house on Baker Street. The journey ended with a train trip to Hergiswil on the third day where I purchased some of the famous glasswork to bring home for souvenirs. My other Swiss journey was also with Doris the following week when we went to see the Van Gogh exhibit at the Kunstmuseum in Basel. The artwork was spectacular and sad considering Van Gogh was severally ill and ended his life way too early. Basel was beautiful as always but also very hot and humid.

When I was not on a train taking in the sites, I was busy spending time in my village, enjoying the Swiss life. I visited all my friends and neighbors, some of which I hadn’t seen in four years. I knitted a sweater for the first time thanks to the knitting Queen Doris, who always knew how to help after dropping a stitch or some other knitting failure. I took advantage of the fresh raspberries by adding them into several Birchermueslis, cakes, sorbet, and a raspberry cheesecake that I was rather proud of. I also took several bike rides around the village with my Swiss parents, experiences that I keep close to my heart despite my inexperienced biking skills that allowed me to crash twice (I now have a nasty blue bruise above my knee). Unfortunately, I am leaving before I can help harvest the Zwetschge(plumes), Mirabellen, grapes, kiwis, and pears but I got to taste one or two this week as well as fresh pear sorbet…..yum.

Since posting last, I have learned a lot as well from some hard experiences. The worst of all was discovering that USB sticks can completely die on you the day before, within-hours-of turning in the final version of your paper. I lost several hours of work and did not have a backup due to the several times I had been moved from computer to computer while people were on holidays. So I learned not to give full faith to USB sticks and to have a backup no matter what. Amongst other things I have learned how to properly structure 30 page plus research paper and how to manage my time better. I have learned an incredible amount on climate change policy and shocked myself when I started explaining to people how cap and trade systems work, the CDM, and the proceedings at the UNFCCC.

I am both devastated and excited to go back to the States. It is now time to share with others what I have learned and to apply these lessons there. This summer has been extremely successful and productive, it is just a pity that it has come to an end so fast. Switzerland will always be a huge part of my life. I can not believe how lucky I was to come back and continue this special relationship. Christian always says I am half Swiss because I half a set of American and Swiss parents. After spending 15 months (in total) in Switzerland with my Swiss family, I consider myself to be a very Swiss Miss.

1 comment:

Gregory Williams said...

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