It's about time that I write a complete entry. My father has been begging me to do so, because apparently people read this? THANKS :) So, write now I'm just returning home. Today, I went to brunch with my host mom and some family friends at a chocolate factory in the neighboring village. Brunch happens every Sunday, but normally at home. It's a very rare treat to eat out here, because everything is so expensive. Here's a menu of what we ate: 
Bread (Croissants, mini breads with seeds or not or wheat or whatever) with butter, or jelly. 
Meat (Salami, Panchetta, Bologna-esque meat with jelly inside, Horse meat, Roast beef) 
Fruits (Kiwi, Canteloupe, Johannesbeer which we don't have, but it's like a cranberry, Pinapple, Grapes) 
Cheese (There aren't any words that I know of in englisch to describe how wonderful cheese is here, but there's a billion different kinds and they are all superb) 
Chocolate (The same description as above) 
Coffe, Tea. 

Brunch here starts early, because nobody in Switzerland EVER sleeps in. So we arrived at 9 and left at 1:30. The group mostly consisted of elderly folk. But there was a really nice girl my age who I hope to be good friends with! We played hangman, I did words in english and her in german. It was really funny. 

The past 4 weeks I haven't had regular school. The first week was project week, where each student picks one or two things to do for the week. I went with a group to Geneva to look at organisations there (red cross, doctors without borders, UN) and had a German course. 

The past three weeks have been Holidays. The first week I was in Germany, which was wonderful :) It's crazy how the country is right next door and is still different! It's not as pretty as Switzerland, but it's still nice!

 The last 2 weeks I was in Italy! How wonderful! It feels like a different country for sure. Everything is chaotic and not perfect like Switzerland. AND EVERYTHING IS CHEAP!! We went out to eat and shopped in the market, and I bought a pair of boots for 20 euros! That's unbelievable! Also we went to Rome, which was magnificent. I saw all of the general tourist attractions (pictures on facebook). We also went to the beach twice, and I swam in the Mediterrainian Sea! It was freezing though. The rest of the time we went mountain biking or jogging or read books. It was wonderful!

 I also went to meet a friend in Zürich for a day, which was fun. We walked around the city and then went back to her house for dinner (chile!). Lastly, I went to Luzern with a friend. It was so nice. A truly beautiful city. We went to a traffic museum, which had boats and cars and planes and spaceships and what not. It was really fun though! And we also saw an IMAX movie about Africa. And I understood it, which made it even better. 

I feel the need to discuss the cultural differences between America and Switzerland, now that I understand them from both points of view. Both being westernized civilizations, they are hard to spot from the outside. However, they most defintiely exist. 

When you greet someone, you always shake their hand and say your name & theirs. This is terrible for me because I never remember anybodys name. Even when you meet a young person your age, or say goodbye, always the hand shake. When you're closer to someone (which takes more effort than in america) then you do the kiss on the cheek but you don't actually kiss them on the cheek maybe one time maybe three time thing. NOBODY EVER HUGS ANYBODY HERE. I've been craving a good hug like mexican food, but that just doesn't go down here. 

When you "cheers" before you drink, you always say the persons name after. So, if you wanted to say cheers to me, you would say, "Prost (or Zum Wohl), Mary" Names are important here. 

There is a much bigger stress on health and exercise here. Everything we eat is fresh, which is hard for an american to understand. when we make pizza for example (yes we make it, we don't order it) my mom makes the pizza dough, then cuts up the fresh mozerella cheese, tuna, tomatoes, peppers, and salami which she bought at the latest yesterday. We stick it in the brick oven and it's delicous. There's no such thing as fast food or microwaveable meals here. And also, we always do something to get exercise, everyday. Whether it's PE class at school, or jogging, hiking, handball, volleyball, gymnastics, always. And not only young people, old ones too. 

Manners are totally different if not unexistant. You can blow your nose anywhere, at the dinner table, in class, in bed, wherever. Also, you use the same tissue all day. (but they are more like super-tissues, or cloths). Also at dinner, you eat with both your knife and fork at the same time, and cake you eat with your hand (or a spoon, if it's too messy). If you want to lick your plate clean, go right ahead, or you can clean it with some bread. BUT YOUR PLATE BETTER BE CLEAN. and i mean spotless. 

I know the people in Europe/Switzerland has a reputation for being "cold". I wouldn't use this word, but I understand what they are saying. People are nice, always willing to help you and answer questions. However, it's more difficult to create a personal relationship with someone. It takes a lot of effort, but with time they will be the best friends ever. People aren't going to act like your best friend if they're not. 

And now normal life starts. School, Weekend, Rinse&Repeat. Still not homesick, if you're wondering. But I do miss somethings: 

Mexican food, Chinese food, Chick fil a, Zaxbys. 
My cat, my friends. 
Warm weather. 
Being loud. 
Senses of Humor (don't exist here). 
That's about it. 

Tschüss! :) 

1 comment:

  1. If you miss being "loud" maybe you should get alpenhorn lessons!

    G-ma Mary and Steve