Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Yes, I just quoted David Bowie in the title of this post. But, in my defense, CH are the initials of Switzerland, and I have been trying to make that into a pun for months now. Honestly, it is a little pathetic how excited I was for a pun opportunity. Uh, oh. Emma is making puns and thinking about cliched 70's music. It must be summer time!
Nothing in the world like a Lake Zug sunset
I just switched host families on Sunday, moving from the still snowy mountains of Menzingen down to the populated Lake Zug. It was very strange saying goodbye to the Baumanns, who I have been with since mid-November. Christoph was at work, and Andrina and Micha rolled out of bed at an insanely early hour of 9 am to say goodbye, but then stumbled back to bed. There was no crying or hugs as Barbara drove me to my new home, just some handshakes and farewells, partly because it was just my siblings I was saying goodbye too, and partly because I will probably see them again in a week. One of my good friends Sienna is moving there this Tuesday, and I spend the night at her house all the time. Except next time I do, it will be in my old bedroom, and with my old family, but I won't be their daughter.
My new house! Right in downtown Zug
Barbara drove me down to my new family, the Schwerzmans at around 10 am that morning. Unlike my other two host families, I had met the Schwerzmans many times before I moved in with them, because Sienna lived here from August to January.

I have a host mom and a host dad, and a host sister named Laura who is two years older than me. She is friends with a lot of my friends from school, so I see her often already, and she is very friendly. She spent a year in Ontario on exchange, and her English is perfect, which is an added bonus.
Our dining room
Our living room
Terrace on the lake
As much as I already miss the Baumanns, I really enjoy it here. My host family is really sweet, and I absolutely adore the new location! We are right on the lake, and just a few houses from Alt Stadt. I could  walk to my school, or bike to the train station in 5 minutes. When I was sick my first day here, my host mom even brought me a tray of home made chocolate muffins to me bed. Plus, my new bed is like a bed from a hotel or a chick flick where all the girls jump on a bed in slow motion. Hotel pillows and everything.
My hotel bed :)
I love my new room!
Nothing like waking up to this in the morning...
...or going asleep to this
The seasons are definitely beginning to change as summer slowly melts over Zug like butter in a pan. The temperature has been rising over the last few weeks, topping 70 degrees a few days ago. I am not exactly sure how this can be happening since it is STILL MARCH, but the summer is absolutely starting to be breathed into the warm air, as it blows over the shining lake.

Schön Zug old town
All the students migrate to Lake Zug after school ever day in a mass exodus to the lake's grassy shores. All the teenagers form small circles with their friends on the grass, sharing some Swiss bread and enjoying the beautiful sunshine. It has become one of my favorite moments of the day, and one that I already know I will always remember. How can Switzerland be this amazing?

Swiss friends on the lake
To add to my euphoria from this unprecedented amount of sun rays, yesterday my German teacher was sick, and when a teacher is sick in Switzerland the class is just cancelled. Because of this, I didn't have any lessons for the rest of the day. Phoebe, Sienna and I were wandering through Zug looking for somewhere to eat lunch, when Phoebe mentioned how good pizza sounded at the moment. We all agreed and were about to go to Zug's pizzaria when someone mentioned how much better REAL Italian pizza would taste. We simultaneously looked up at each other and had the exact same thought: why not just get some real Italian pizza?

If any Rotarians are reading this, don't worry, we didn't actually leave the country--we did the next thing better. We all took the train to Lugano. Lugano is at the southernmost tip of Switzerland, and is surrounded by Italy on all sides of it's city boundries. It is only a two and half hour train ride from Zug if you catch an inter-regional train, and the train ride goes right through to Alps, which is gorgeous in itself. We arrived to Lugano at around 3 pm, and even though we got lost, were able to luckily find our way to the lake since Phoebe can speak Italian.
The gorgeous streets of Lugano

Lugano was absolutely gorgeous, and felt like we had suddenly been transported to a different country. The buildings were painted with orange and red hues, and had Rome and Juliet-like stone balconies tat cast shadows over the small alleyways. The lake was bright blue and glistening in the sunlight, and perfect for enjoying our Gelato at. And yes, they had really good pizza too.

Why not? Wieso nicht?

It was an amazing and lovely afternoon spent with my two friends, even though most of it was on trains, we were able to have a marvelous day. We had so many adventures in a mere few hours; like being chased by a man yelling Italian at us, trying to order pizza from a waiter who did not understand what we meant, and taking the wrong train and almost ending up in Italy. And the best part was it all happend on a school day, because we wanted Italian pizza for lunch--so we went to Italy.

Zug Altstadt and Pizzaria
Although today was pretty boring to Monday in comparison, my exchange year is still going wonderfully. Last week I went to a music camp with my class for a few days up in a cabin in the mountains, to practice for our Abbey Road concert. It was surprisingly really fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed singing Beatles songs all day. The Zug Big Band also came with our class, and accompanied us on every song. They were fantastic. It was really interesting hearing Beatles songs arranged to swing music, and they all legitimately sound really good. Our concert is in two weeks, and expected to sell out.

I love my city!
I also have been able to start understanding a little Swiss German lately! My sudden knowledge of Schweizer Deutsch happened so abruptly. As an exchange student in Switzerland, you learn to tune out what people are saying when the speak Swiss German. I automatically stop trying to understand what is being said when Swiss German is being spoken around me, but when High German is spoken my brain starts to listen again, because I can't help but listen since I understand High German. It is kind of weird now that I think about it.

Anyways, I was eating pizza at a restaurant with some exchange students and Swiss people. We were all speaking English, (yeah, dont get me started. We always TRY to speak German with them, but Swiss people 90% of the time would rather speak English with you, because they dislike the German language, and frequently the German people for that matter) and some of my Swiss friends were speaking Swiss German together. My friends Jonas and Yanick were next to me, and were saying "Wow, I feel really powerful. We could be talking about them now, and no one would understand what were saying". I almost immediately said "No way, I understand you", to which they both looked at me with confused expressions. It took me a second to realize they had been speaking Swiss German, and I had understood every word! It was such a great feeling! They both said "You understand Swiss German? What! We better watch what we say now."

I am in no way fluent in Swiss German, but when people speak it around me, I now try to actually listen to them, and frequently, I can understand what they are saying. Does this mean I am slowly becoming Swiss-ier?

My friends from Oregon, Tennessee, California, Kansas,
Colorado, Ohio and Nova Scotia! Exchange students
get around ;)

I can't believe it is almost April; where has the time gone? I am trying to enjoy every last minute I have on exchange here, and to have as many adventures as I possibly can. There are so many things to look forward too--in 3 weeks I have break, Rome and Venice, Paris, Berlin and then Milan! And each of those trips will happen in consecutive weeks, one after the other! When I am finally done with vacations, it will be May 27th! These are going to be some crazy weeks coming up, and I am so excited!

Can I never leave?



  1. Wow, I cannot believe all of the things you are doing! So happy for you! We miss you though!!!