Friday, February 17, 2012

Winter break

Grüezi Mitenand!

I can't believe mid-winter break is fast fertig! These have definitely been the quickest two weeks of my exchange. Where do I even start? 

I went to Zurich a couple of days with the Zug girls, and my host family took me to Luzern. I also made a trek out to Basel (which is basically the most out of my way I can go) to meet my friends Madi and Caroline. We ended up getting lost in the ghettos of Basel (I'm not even kidding--definitely the sketchiest area I have been in yet) and ended up going to an IKEA. Is it bad that the IKEA was one of the highlights of my week? 

We got lost looking around and eating $1 hot dogs, and had a surprisingly great time. Then I had to ride the train back to Zug alone, and I ended up sitting next to the most interesting character. He kept trying to talk to me for the entire 2 hour ride, which I first thought was weird, but then his silliness just started making me laugh. He watched Gossip Girl on his IPad! And he was a 50 year old man! I still had a fun ride to Basel and back though, because it was my first time riding a French train. If I would have stayed on, and not gotten off in Basel, look where it would have taken me. I was so tempted to pretend I just fell asleep.

 I also went to a party with Elle in Cham, and somehow she ended up on the top of the bustop on the way home. Don't worry Mom, not me on top of the bus stop, I was safe on the ground taking this awesome picture. I just really like it, since it is such a classic exchange student moment.

My friend Kelsey from Portland also came to Zug during break. I showed her around, and took her to 
 the American food store. I think we both had mini-heart attacks when we walked into that heavenly place. The store had everything we missed from home! There were pop tarts, brown sugar (they dont have it here, which sucks for baking), root beer, cheeseburgers, bagels and cream cheese! We both ordered some Root Beer, and I took some home to make Root Beer Floats for my family. I think my host parents were being polite while drinking theres, because Micca and Andrina seemed to hate it. And they all thought Root Beer had alcohol in it! I think you have to be an American to taste the true beauty of a Root Beer. Whenever I drink it, it just tastes like summer, walking down to Sandy's with my Dad and him buying us all ice cream.
When I was sick on Wednesday though, my host mom surprised me by waking me up to my first root beer in months. At the time, I didn't even know where she found it, since they aren't available here. She is the one who told me about the American store, and I realized once I got there how much food she had been buying there for me to make me not feel homesick. How awesome is my host family?

SECOND WEEK- On one of the days of break, Caroline organized another trip to IKEA to play hide-and-seek with some other exchange students. I think that is the perfect example of the exchange student mindset--10 teenagers show up to IKEA to play hide-and-seek, and are not embarrassed at all. I showed Zug's "newbie" Phoebe around, since she arrived in Switzerland just a month ago. I also bought her her first Luxerberglies, which are beautiful macaroon sandwiches, only available in Zurich. Once you eat them, you know you are slowly becoming Swiss!

I also went skiing for the second time in my life this week. My Rotary counselor Rolf took me to a mountain in Einsedlen, which is about 30 minutes away. The only other time I have been skiing was last year with my friends Hannah and Megan. Somehow, I though my skiing abilities would magically be at the same point they were last time, but boy, was I wrong. I could barely stand! After a lot of patient helping from Rolf, I was able to ski down a small slope and make a turn. It was pretty pathetic. And I threw up! But he was really nice for helping me, which I can only immagine must have been exhausting. He also took me to a frozen lake in Zurich to walk on.

Then, my host mom took me skiing again today. It was very difficult at first, since she took me right away on a big slope. I fell about every 15 seconds, but she was also so amazing, and helped me every time. After a lot of falling and practicing, I was able to go down the slope without falling! It was so frustrating at first, never being able to go without tripping and embarrassing myself, but it was all worth it for those few seconds where I would could go and feel like I would never stop. It felt like I was flying! I'm sure with some more practice, I will be able to do harder routes too. Skiing is so different here than the USA! For one thing, the ski lift was just a bar that would go behind your thigh and push you as you basically skiied up the hill. And skiing only costed $10 for my ticket! Everyone already owns ski clothes, so all they have to pay is just $10 for the lift. And my sister was complaining about how expensive that is!

FASSNACHT- Oh, lordy. How do I even begin to explain Fassnacht? I am going to devote an entire post to it, which I will put up once it finishes on Tuesday. 

Fassnacht goes by many names--Carnival or Mardis Gras--but it is basically just a celebration before Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. In Switzerland, that means parades and feasts and costumes and tons of loud music. People go crazy here for Fassnacht! And it just so happens that one of the most famous Fassnacht's in the country is in Luzern, only 20 minutes away! So of course, me and the other Zug girls had to go.

Laura, Ella and our "newbie" Pheobe all slept over at Elle's house the night before it started.
Fassnacht starts at 4 am on Thursday, which means our alarms went off bright and early at 2 am. We all got dressed up in  our costumes together, and walked to the special Fassnacht early train at 3:50. We then met some friends, and went to Luzern to see all the craziness begin. I am not going to even try explaining Fassnacht, seeing as this post is already pretty long, and so much happened. All I can say is that it was one of the craziest nights of my life, and I came home with a buckets load of confetti in my hair. I made a quick video of some of the moments of Thursday night, to give a look into the craziness that happened. And Fassnacht is not even over until Tuesday! If this is all that happened in just ONE night, I can not even comprehend how many more amazing times are going to happen in the next 4 days. There is a reason why more people go to work on Christmas than they do on Fassnacht!

And PS: I don't know if I have written this yet, but I finally got my ears pierced! These are my first pair of ear rings, and they are from Sienna!

Tschüss Mitenand, and I will talk to you again soon once Fassnacht is over this Tuesday! I am so excited! And to celebrate, my host family made reservations at the "Blind Cow", which is a restaurant where you have to eat in the dark! How cool is that? Can life get any better than this?

1 comment:

  1. What amazing adventures you are having! xoxoxo Mom