Hello everyone! Switzerland is so much fun, and I am having the time of my life. Sorry I have taken so long to update, but as you can immagine, I hardly have time, and our internet goes out really easily. Actaully, I'm typing this at my school! Lots of stuff has happened since I last wrote, so this is going to be a lengthy post: you have been warned.
So many people have been asking me, "So, how is it?", and honestly, there is no way I can explain. Life is beginning to feel normal over here, and things dont feel as foreign as they used to. Immagine having to explain to someone exactly what life on Vashon is like; sure, you can give some funny annecdotes, but they will never truly know. It is so weird to think that my life over here is completly unknown to my friends and family at home. They have never had Margrit's cooking, talked to Elle or Sienna or gone to Migros to buy lunch. hope these pictures and my stories will help you to understand whats happening here as best as I can!
Last week, Rotary took the exchange students and I took underground caves formed at the bast of a river. They were made by rain water dripping down rocks for hundreds of years! We had to hike through a forest to get to them, (one of the few forests I have seen so far) and it really reminded me of home. Being by the river looked just like it would if you were hiking near the Columbia back in the States. The caves were very intricate, and exciting to look through. It was really damp and cold too, and it reminded me of something you would see in Scooby-Doo.
This is a close up of the weird rock formations--they're kind of gross, aren't they?
Then after that, I met my host mom Margrit to go on a boat to celebrate the 125th anniversay of their family's company. I took the bus and walked there, and snapped some prettz pictures of Zug on the way to the marina.
Only down side was that everyone was smoking on the deck. I mean, EVERYONE smokes here...even teenagers at school, because it is legal when you are 16. Sorry to go on a mini-rant there, but that has been one of the biggest things that has been bugging me, it is really hard for me to watch kids my age smoke, when the probably don't know the after effects of it.
It was still a beautiful night, and we went swimming in the lake and watched the sun set, and ate a LOT of food. I tried my first cherry kirsch, which Zug is famous for. I had no idea that it was alcoholic, so when I took a bite, it surprised me and I spit it out on the plate. All the adults were laughing, but I was reallz embaressed. Well, at least I know now that even cakes can be spiked!
That weekend, I also went with my host mom to a farmtown in Bern, her hometown, to see her family. It was VERY rural out there! We took a hike (have you noticed a trend in my weekends? Hiking basically every one? So Swiss.) and at a great brunch on top of a mountain; cheese, bread, yogurt and hash browns. That is a typical Swiss breakfast, lots of lights appetizers like cheese and bread, because lunch is there most important meal of the day. There were even yodelers there! And we went to here sister's house to celebrate her birthday.
The next week, Rotary took us to hike the Wildspitz. Very very hard hike for us Americans! Well, except Laura who was booking it up with the Swiss people...haha. It wasn't that hard I guess, but our guides were going really quickly, so it was hard to keep up with them. It wasn't that bad at the end, and the view was great! We had a 4 course meal afterwards (consuming twice the calories we burned I'd assume) and met a lot of Rotarians, who were all so kind and nice. Fun night!
Me and my friend Sienna have an ongoing rivalry about whether Hilo or Seattle is better, so I was very happy when one of the Rotarians said they knew what the space needle was! First one! My exchange friends always jokingly say that all we have is vampires. Pshh. Sienna just though it was funny that I had only met one person who had heard of it, when everyone here drinks Starbucks.
This weekend, I went to Einsedeln with my host family. It is a beautiful BEAUTIFUL monistary (how do you spell that? Spell check wont work in English grrrr) in Schwyz. I couldn't take pictures, but found some on Google!
It is probably the most beautiful thing I have seen in my whole life. No joke. The building itself if gorgeous, but inside is even more spectacular. Just for reference, those benches in the picture below are about up to my shoulder in height. This picture doesnt even do the buidling justice.
The ceilings are huge, and covered with a painting worthy of Michaelangelo (again, how do you spell that?!?) of angels and clouds, and Jesus and humans and EVERYTHING. It looked like something from Anastazia or the Davinci Code. There was even a secret morgue underneath for monks who have died! Definitely Davinci Code worthy.
I could have stared at the ceiling for days. I kept hearing Viva la Vida in my head, because the giant picture of people and angles jumping to the sky seemed like a mural of all human existance, sorry if that sounds to corny. It in all seriousness was...for no better word...EPIC.
Some other things I have been up to but havent gotten pictures of are going to Lucerne and eating on the lake, going to an art museum in Zurich with my class and going to musical theater rehearsals for Aida. Life is so much fun over here, and so relaxed. When I was late to class yesterday, my teacher just told me it was fine, and to go outside and read! I love being an exchange student. Every night I go somewhere else, and every day is a new adventure of trying new foods, taking trains, and visiting some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
Its not all fun and games, however. It is hard never being in your old home, where you could not worry about dressing up for dinner or where everything goes, or even being able to fight with your parents when you have a bad day (is that weird I miss that mom? It was a good stress releiever!) and to top that all off, you are in a constant state of confusion, because you never know whats happening, and it is hard never knowing what people are talking about. I used to be good at speaking, and now I have the skill level of a 4 year old.
I havent gotten to homesick (yet). I will get pangs of it when I see something and think "Oh! Anna Rose would love this!" or something only someone from Vashon would understnad.And as I said before, it is so hard for me feeling stupid all the time, especially in school. Its ironic how Switzerland is the land of mountains, because here I have had some of my highest highs, and some dropping lows.
I still love it though, and do not regret coming one bit. Until next time!