Monday, December 26, 2011

As a Murciana on Christmas day...

...I woke up the latest I've ever gotten out of bed in my life and hit the town!

Everything was closed,  but I managed to attend a mass and a parade. The mas was full and nothing was different from what I remember of church in the States.

Lunch was an upscale Bocadillo with Atun y pimiento (tuna and pepper). All for the grand price of 3.12...and that includes the bottle of water, flamenco music, and meat hanging from the ceiling.

In the evening my host and I met up with a friend, another Antonio, where we stayed and the time just flew. We were there for 2 hours--??? Good times =)

Then my friend and I sat in front of one of the cathedrals where there was a three man band playing some Frank Sinatra.

We ended the night by watching the film "Eat Pray Love".  I am so the Julia Roberts of that movie. If that's my life, then at least I

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Murcia--Noche Buena

Out of Valencia!

Now it's Christmas day and I am in the quaint and beautiful city of Murcia. Few Spaniards even know about it. I guess that's why I decided to come. In a sense it's like the Wyoming of the US. =)

On the bus ride I listened to the radio--politics and flamenco artists. I got into town, off the bus, and asked for directions. Another traveler asked me if I needed help.  My tourist book gave me away. We ended up walking through town looking for this hostel that turned out to be a restaurant...

So being as I am, I dropped my stuff of at his apt, and went with him to his family's house for dinner. I got there and was immediately welcomed by small kids, women with babies, and this florescent green wall. The table was set for at least 30. Everyone kept on telling me how not everyone was even here.

All the food was placed on the table--red pepper salsa, octapus, shrimp (that hadn't be deshelled),  pan, and potatoe puree, celery with roquefort and a walnut, and slices of cheese. Don't forget the bottles of red wine from Murcia, which is very strong. The grapes are picked during the hottest and most humid time of year of the region.

People were snacking on the food before everyone was seated or before the prayer was said. This was socially unacceptable with my family, which made this version of dinner realy just different and fun.

The prayer was said,  of course, in Spanish. But everyone was making toasts and jokes during it so it took longer than normal to get through it. The fathers were doing most of the joking (these are elderly men were talking about).

Then we ate. It was loud. It was involved. It was wonderful!!

It was so delicious and out of the norm of what I'm used to seeing on a holiday table of any kind.

So I thought that once the food on the table was gone, it was all gone. Time for more drinks. Wrong.

They brought out baked eggplants. Each half was filled with vegetables, cheese, and some other tastes I can't put my finer on. Best part of the meal!! Berenjena is already my favorite vegetable. Put some cheese and more vegetables in it and voila--perfection.

Then, came came another dish. It looked like the American "pig in a blanket", you know the mini hot dog. But this had chicken and some kind of cheese.  They put a salsa on it that I thought was made from beans. Wrong again. When I asked Maria, one of my new Spanish friends =), she told me it was uvas (raisens!). This blew my mind. This was fabulous. The salsa was made from green grapes and a few whole, sauteed red grapes were thrown into the mix. Who would've thought chicken, cheese, and grapes would work together?

After all this, I was quite full. One of the brothers, though, made a comment along the lines of "How long was she in the train station for? She's really eating a lot."

Bahahaha, I wasn't eating any more than anyone else.......well, at least I didn't think so.

At this point Antonio's sister, Eva, pulled out her guitar and played traditional flamenco and Christmas songs (wihch sounded like flamenco). Everyone sang and Maria got up and danced to one of them. They used a bottle of vodka and knife for some added percussion.

My spanish has improved tremendously! I could understand everyone and conversation was easy (except for my grammer. Speaking is still my plight, but listening is so much easier since I've gotten here).

Antonio and I left around 1.00.

There were so many people in bars and on the streets. I needed a jacket but the weather was still beautiful. Think northern Switzerland, in the winter, during daylight...

Fireworks were going off and people were so loud; it sounded like the start of a civil war.

This was the best possible way I could have spent my time in Murcia. I am so thankful for all I've been able to do in Europe, Spain, and with this family. I am extremely grateful for welcoming me with open arms. (Seriously, who does that???)

Even though everything is closed today, I think I'm going to go explore

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Just something I noticed.....

I thought they didn't have a microwave. It baffled me a bit! =/ But then I found it tucked away in a cabinet. The power for it was shut off.

Their fridge is half the size as mine in the States, but their sink is twice as deep.

Once my dad moved to Vegas and my abuela moved in, we started going through spoons unnaturally fast. I just remember that the spoons would always be dirty and I didn't know why. We ran into the same dilemma here and from this, I have concluded that this could very well be another central/south american plight. Haha, oh the little things in life...

Spanish speaking stores even smell better. We went shopping last night and all of the stores smelt like every perfume my abuela has ever worn, especially Coco Channel. It was welcoming. Something different. I wonder though, if it's a marketing tool that works in Spain/ spanish speaking countries, but not other places like the US, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, etc...just thinking out loud.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

spaniard television

I can't say it's unique.

Saul was watching cartoons this morning, but it was translated from Japonese...

We watching House right now (with a friend from Colombia who models in Valencia)

The other night, we watched Paul, about a dog. It looked like it was from the US.

Jessenia watched a Disney show (must be a new one).

I think there was one soap opera that was spaniard but we didn't watch it for long. Everything from translated from American english or Japonese.

Either way, I'm difinitely picking up on some of it!! I haven't watched tv since August. It's good to have something mildly educational, though....


And here I sit in Valencia.

In the living room of my friend, Saul and his sister Jessenia, I am not doing your typical tourist vacation. I have been surrounded by their friends for the past four days. I'm more incompetent at conversational Spanish than I remember....

None of them speak english, but we manage. =)

On my birthday Saul invited five of his friends over. We bought a cake and sangria and celebrated. December 19 was also the birthday of another group member, Linder, from Bolivia. He is such a spaz. And I mean that in a good way. He always has so much energy when he's awake, but the three times he has been here, he fell alseep. Saul and Rafa (from Argentina...he and I are both the mestizos) almost put a cake in his face but then he abruply woke up. Que lastima...

Jessenia. Ah, Jessenia. She is still in high school and we totally love eachother. She took me to get my hair cut (which is right under their apt....some translation needed) then went to work on straightening my hair. It was so funny because the whole time I've been here, she has loved messing with my hair. You should see hers, though. It long, thick, and the darkest shade of brown without being black. She's about half my height and her skin is so smooth and beautiful!!

Their mother returned today and all hell broke loose. I had to laugh because the same situation would occur when it was my mom, me, and grandmother living together. As soon as my mom walked through the door my abuela and I would attack. The same thing happened with Saul and Jessenia. The sink was running, dishes were clanking, these wonderful smells started coming from the kitchen. It was magical.

And everyday I've eaten rice. Pan con queso for breakfast, then for dinner, always something with rice. A pleasant reminder of home. I would kill for some black bean soup with the egg right about now.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My VerySwiss Weekend

Thursday (close enough to weekend)--went to Swiss bakery where I got this...circular was about the size of my hand and equizzzitely delicious. There was some lemon filling, too, which made this 5am dessert/breakfast REALLY something special. ;) Thank you Salem, for transportation.

Friday--so I finally went to NYX. It was absolutely nothing compared to Hugo's. Malta just has the upperhand in this one.

Saturday--Zurich. How much more Swiss can I get than by going to Zurich. I saw the Occupy Zurich protesters while there and ate a banana curry dish at this vegetarian restaurant. I shopped around a little (ouch, that pricetag hurt) and actually found two shirts for 9 franchi, needless to say that store was packed. I haven't found a city I love more in Europe than Zurich. The language, their way of life, the architecture, the natural beauty,but most of all the people just amaze me. Everything is so much cleaner and more efficient, it seems, in the northern part of the country. Or maybe it just appears to be that way to me because they generally speak more english than the Ticinese. It's vain, I know. I came here I didn't bother to learn any Italian, French, German, or God knows, Romansch. But Swiss German, I can't really tell the difference between it and High German, but I like it more. I can't tell you why really. Maybe it's that it's closer to home. Switzerland is one of my homes, I feel. I have Wyoming, Vegas, and Switzerland (depending on who I'm talking to). But there's just something about Zurich that makes me tic.

Sunday--Today I went to a Swiss woman's house. My job was to teach her 6 year old daughter piano and read to her in english. Easy enough. So that's what we did. The little girl was very bright! We were playing duets by the end of our first be honest I haven't played piano since before I came to Franklin. I hope the girl doesn't become better than me too quickly. I also got lost on the way home for two hours. I went in two circles with the bus and ended up walking home for part of it. uh.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Spain Is Finalized.

...but first, New Lifestyles November.

for November 5: posted a Swiss article to my fb =)
                         continued writing a research paper on the effect the Swiss franc will have on the national economy....that's a Swiss thing to do, yeah?

So Spain.

I'm departing at 8.40 from Bergamo (BGY) on December 18. flight 5992 arriving in Madrid at 11.00.

I have plans to be in Madrid with a couchsurfing host I found who used to live in Switzerland. She's even going to pick me up from the airport =D

(I know this is a lot of details, but some of it is for me in case I lose my flight info...)

I'll be with her on my birthday, then I'm headed to Valencia to rekindle with my salsa friends from Malta! I'll just take the train on the 20th. I'll be staying with them for two weeks! They're originally from Peru and Ecuador and don't speak very much english so I'm way stoked. We're going to go salsa dancing and bachata dancing and I'm going to become a real latina jeje.
;) ojala

I don't know what I'm doing there yet or who I'm really going to be around. I know I can do anything, go anywhere, but my goal is to learn as much Spanish as I can in the two and a half weeks I'll be there. Who knows when I'll get another opportunity?

Departure is on January 5 at 6.00, flight 5991 from MAD to BGY--no layovers, no extra stops. I arrive at 8.15. Hm, I still have three weeks after that so... I wonder what I'll do next.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New Lifestyles November

My New Lifestyle for November is Swiss Life.

I didn't think my life could get anymore Swiss, then SGA hit me with this opportunity...and a free dinner.

So here's what I've been doing so far:

Nov 1: started reading "Heidi" by Johanna Sypri
Nov 2: crossed at all the crosswalks and ONLY when the light turned green
Nov 3: went to Mamma Mia in Zurich--that's so Swiss
Nov 4: read a newsarticle about the strength of the Swiss franc

My life is Swiss

Mamma Mia!

Some girlfriends and I made our way from sunny Lugano to Zurich in about two hours. Unfortunately no one wrote down directions so we learned our lesson. Not to worry, we still arrived a good 30 minutes early. (And even if we had arrived late, the show tickets were free! Payed for by SGA, thank you).

Wonderful Miss Gloria and I ventured off and found ourselves trying to order what we thought was pumpkin soup. It was SO not what we thought it was, but hey, I still enjoyed it.

I didn't realize how much they would modify the dialogue in Mamma Mia. The songs were all the same, but the performers were English and Scotish and so the language was completey upsidedown.

They put jokes in about Scotsmen you wouldn't have heard in the States and jokes off Oedipus....yeah, ew. That's the British I guess.

We were originally up in the nose bleeds but the acoustics were awesome. Something I've noticed about the Swiss: many of their buildings are "red" oriented. I'm assuming it's going off their flag, but it kind of reminds me of Nebraska (minus corn on the cob).

The Swiss do not cheer outloud as my American counterparts do. But they will clap for a longer period of time, it seems. I guess it makes up.

Most importantly, the tap water is still AWEsOmE in Zurich!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Just the Weekend

So Friday was babysitting. Saturday I woke up around 7.00 and walked up the hill to meet the people in charge of the culinary club.

We went to Schokoland--a chocolate factory on the very southernmost boarder of Switzerland. Wouldn't you know it, we only went into the gift shoppe; it was worth it. The free samples were fabulous (dark chocolate covered hasslenuts, anyone?).  And I bought this HUGE bage of bars of chocolate for 10CHF. There had to be at least 15 bars in there. If I were to go anywhere else, one bar would be 6CHF.

I've been giving some away though, like to my techie friend who helped me work out my computer issues--thank you, Nick!

After Schokoland, I headed toward Ponte Tresa but never made it. There was another stand nearby that I just had to stop at. I ended up buying French figs and some pear-looking, watermellon-tasting fruit, about three pounds total and all for 2.50 Euros. The figs were gone in a few hours. They didn't stand a chance. The other thing is good but no one knows what it is. It looks way too exotic for Switzerland and northern Italy but they sell them around here all the time. Hmm...

Sunday was the Festa d'Autunno in downtown Lugano. And my dream came true.

I saw an Alpine Horn Band! If thunder had a sound, the Alpine Horn would be its call.

The whole time I was eating the free grapes vendors were giving away--they had to be three times the size of my thumb, on average.

I also saw jars of pickled grapes for sale...unusual. I was tempted to buy one if they weren't 25CHF for practically nothing.

There were so many folk bands (one even had a mellophone), it made me just want to pick up an instrument.

Oh well, such is life. If this is what I'm doing on my weekends, then I'm a happy camper.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Babysitting Day 1

No time to write about Munich. If you're really interested, just look at my fb pics...=) they say it all.

I met a lady down at Manor after Music class today at 17.30. And I just got back at 23.30.

It was suppose to be a meeting and interview, I thought. Little did I know I'd be introduced to the whole family and I'd be at their house that night.

The family is from Kazakhstan and primarily speaks Russian. The youngest child didn't speak english at all. This wasn't a problem for us, though. A boy is a boy in every language. After an intense game of "uno, duo, estuo" and some piggy back rides, we were inseperable.

His older sister loved it when I read the one english book they had to her--Barbie and the Three Musketeers. The two of us played Musketeers until she declared she wanted to go to bed at 20.30.

I have to mention this: the mother fed them dinner while I was there. She gave them sliced and peeled cucumbers with this delicious-looking soup with chunks of salmon in rice and carrots and some other green vegetables. The boy wasn't eating his meal and I was tempted to eat it myself. Haha, but I controlled myself.

It was a wonderful evening away from books, Franklinites, and the Franklin Plague that one of my roomies is afflicted with...

Can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I applied for the "odd jobs" list that is sent out into the Ticino community a few weeks ago. I keep on getting all these emails regarding tutoring lessons and babysitting--I must've written something they really liked because a lot of other people who applied speak at least one of the Swiss National languages. So anyway, just my luck. All the times people want me, I'm in class.

Babysitting twice a week for three kids--speak to them in english

Tutoring for three hours on Friday's for me and my two kids--name your price.

Blah. There has to be one out there that won't overlap with my Math, Spanish, or Music class!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sweets Galore Tour!

Well, this was one way to see Lugano.

First Stop: hot chocolate. There were only eight choices but it was all absolutely delicious. It's not the watery liquid they serve in the States. These guys just took a bar of chocolate, melted it down and served it. I had the Cioccolate Pepperoncini (spelling?) Think chocolate with chile pepper.  It tasted like Christmas. In fact, the best Christmas I've had in years! ;)

Second Stop: Gelato. I've only had it a few times while here, but this has to be the best stuff in town. There were so many choices like Godiva, grappa americano (american grape aka concord grape), marzipane, and what appeared to be merengue. I had a mix of Pistacchio e Fico (fig). The fico even had the seeds in it!! Both were phenominal and made right there,daily, in the shoppe.

Stop Three: Chocolate. We were each allotted 100 grami. I got two flavors of I really don't know what. One is pink and a little tart. The other is dark chocole with something in it. Some nut or twig....who knows?

All I have to say is thank you Liz for signing me up for this Tutte le Stradde event!!! You could very well be the best neighbor I've ever had.


Official Residence

In celebration of earning my official Swiss Residence card with the histerical picture, I went to the library and checked out three books:

Switzerland: The Awful Truth
Switzerland: an International Banking and Finance Center
Swiss-Alpine Folk Tales

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The dodgeball tournament was almost a win.

The futbol game was a win for FC, but there was no marching band, halftime entertainment, or heck, cheering.

I went out for the first time last night (friday the 16th). We were suppose to go clubbing but the table didn't get reserved so everyone just stayed at the bar.

I am really not a beer fan. Don't ever give me any.

I'm going to Oktoberfest next weekend. (lol)

At the bar I think I hurt my wrist somehow and now its been hurting all day. I didn't feel it last night because someone bought me a glass of wine...

will update ltr

Pompeii Lecture

There was a lecture about the history of Pompeii on wednesday that I went to. The speaker was from the University of Rome and was one of the best public speakers I've seen. There was so much to learn in that one hour I wish I took notes.

After the speech I got dinner at the reception, which of course is only suppose to be snacks and fingerfoods. I just really didn't feel like walking all the way up to North Campus. Everything was free here anyway.

As I was munching a local lady sat down next to me. We had a great time and pleasant conversation. She was Swiss Italian, originally from Italy, and she was about ten years younger than my oldest grandmother. But no matter--we had fun. Her name is Francesca and she ended up giving me a ride home because we found out we live about a block away from eachother.

I hope she comes back to the next lecture next week!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fresh Produce

Everything is new. In fact, I might be in "college culture" shock from all the unusual things I'm absorbing. There's so many things I could write about, I'll just start with my 30 minute excursion today.

To the grocery store. Ah, yes, the grocery store (Denner, to be exact for those of you Franklinites reading). So there I was, in between the frozen food and fresh produce. In a little basket high up on a shelf was what appeared to be an exotic purple fruit--turkish figs immediately came to mind. I approached the seeminly familiar  treat and was ready to buy a mound of it. These weren't figs. These were...."prugnes".

WHAT?? PRUGNES?? An image of my short, redheaded abuela eating dried California prunes resurfaced in my prefrontal lobe.

Fantastic. Here I was in a grocery store I'd never been in before looking at something with a not-so-pleseant connotation attached to it with a craving for turkish figs.

Long story short, I bought the prugnes, I'm eating them now, and they're scrumptious.

Unfortunately, I still want the figs.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Malta: getting closer

I had my first Academic Travel class today. We meet everyother wednesday for a total of five meetings until the trip, which is October 15-30!! (It's worth 2 credits).

We went over some travel plans, the itenerary, but mostly the syllabus and the coursework. I can't wait! It's related around business and teaching English. I have to line up some interviews for when I get there. So yes, I have to call Malta. I get the calls for free if I use the office phones though. =D

We went over some history and geography of the islands as well. I knew it was in the Mediterannean but I had no idea just how close it was to Tunis and Sicily! He says the biggest danger right now is drunk tourists, which makes sense because one of their main industries is tourism.

I don'tk now too many people in the class but I like who I got paired up with as a roommate! Her name is Alethia and she's a sophomore from the States.

The teacher is actually my favorite right now, even though I've only had one class period with him. He's also from the States and has just been the most enthusiastic so far. It also helps that I REALLY want to be there. I mean, call me a suck up, but I told him that Malta was an influencing factor in choosing to go to Franklin.

Maman (my paternal grandmother) is going to be SO jealous! She will be getting the first and the most postcards. =)

Just a couple FYI's

First, I'm in love with the lunchman. He speaks to me in Italian; I speak to him in Spanish. I love it when he makes melanzane (eggplant), which could be why I'm in love with him. I have yet to learn his name.

Second, last night Liese and I slept over Tavia's at Airone, next to the Office of Student Life where all the sign ups for activities are. Liese and I got up at six (even though they don't open till 8:30), took our sleeping bags down and slept there for awhile. We were the first ones to sign up for that Ponte Tresa trip. I now have free train tickets for this saturday yet again. (There were only 20 spots.) We're doing it again tonight for the trip to Gandria. (Only 12 spots!)

Third, Swiss windows are the best invention for mandkind. So efficient. So...Swiss.

Fourth, 12oz container of whey power in Cheyenne is roughly 15USD. In downtown Lugano, it's half the size and 26.33CHF (over 32USD).

Fifth, don't fear I haven't sent any post cards yet...too expensive,I don't have stamps, and the post office is a bit of a walk for me.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bellanzona Wine Festival: Yes, I Am Legal

I woke up early and ran up that hill to Airone on wednesday morning to secure my spot on this trip. And because of my excruciating efforts, was number 13th on a list of a possible 50. My train ticket to the Bellanzona Wine Festival was free!

Yesterday, I took the 30 minute train ride with Liz (pronounced Lies) Grier and Tavia Wagner. From my facebook pictures I'm sure you can tell we. had. fun.

We walked through town; they had their markets set up with locally grown food and a multitude of swiss scarves I should've bought. We ate lunch at a Kabob House then spent the next two humid hours at one of three castles this city has!

Our mission was to find the dungeon; we failed. But we did managed to get into the moat. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Back in town, we purchased the wrong wine glasses. We were suppose the 10CHF-ers that allowed us unlimited refills. Between my Spanish and Liz's French, we straightened things out. 

And then we went to work! Our goal was to get free wine from every stand, but we're pretty light so that didn't work too well...I mean, after the second taste (which didn't even fill half a small wine glass) I could feel it. But we pushed on. Most Swiss wines are particularly dry despite color. But I found one that was out of this world. I forget what it's called, but it's white. Not clear like the traditional white wine, though. It was thicker, almost like a margharita although more liquidy. It took me maybe 15 minutes to drink it the thing was so strong. But it was sweet and I liked it!

This could very well have been the best "buffet" of my life.

It was raining when we got back to Lugano. A little depressing but I went back to my dorm and my neighbors, Michelle and Natalya, were there so that was fun. But because of the rain, the trip to Mt.Boglia this morning was canceled. It's supposed to rain 35mm in two hours today...

I fell asleep when my head hit the pillow at 21.30.

Oh, and Italian wine has preservatives that jumble some things up in your brain. So if anyone ever tells you they have a hangover after drinking Italian wine, they're lying. 

I have to go back to Bellanzona on monday with Tavia to see the Swiss Consolate. Maybe we'll have time to do another castle!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Trash Night

I need to tell you of something magnificent. Better than any circus you've seen or escargot you've eaten. It's an occasional even that happens nationally in Switzerland, in every canton. It's called Trash Night.

I picked up two functional pans that night, which were surprisingly clean for trash. You should've seen it. There I was walking down the hill and to my dorm with a pan in each hand, cars flying by, smile on my face. I let them soak for two nights in the sink with some soap and voila! good as new.

Later that night, Su (one of my roommates) and I went to the Irish Pub but decided it was too smokey and left. On our way back down, we took a detour, and who'd have known? We found a wood shelf and an ironing board. We fumbled around for awhile trying to figure out how to carry it down the hill; a group of Italian men even asked us if we needed help; we declined. I held the ironing board from the back and it was so funny to see the faces of people driving by. Now these were locals that passed us, but I would've been questioning my vision if I saw two girls obviously dressed up and probably American partaking in this very-Swiss event.

How did this make me feel? Well, akward, yes. But also a tad mischievous. I come from a country that tells you that only thieves and robbers go through trash to steal credit card information.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Trash Night

I need to tell you of something magnificent. Better than any circus you've seen or escargot you've eaten. It's an occasional even that happens nationally in Switzerland, in every canton. It's called Trash Night.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Valle Versazca (Last Day of Orientation)

As the title says, today was the last day of orientation here at Franklin College; back to the real world, as my father would say.
 The whole freshman class took four charter buses up these narrow, at times one lane, road through two hours of beautiful southern Switzerland. A bit frightening but part of the experience, as I told myself.
 The first stop we just swam in this area below a turquois waterfall. Talk about cold. And I didn't even get my hair wet. Some students, especially our meager male population just dived right in, head first. Show offs.
 The next stop was most memorable! The sun was shinning in this area where sunbathers lounged and locals jumped off the 50ft bridge. They didn't let us jump the bridge but there was a rock landing about 20 ft below that eager students lined up on to take a dive into the yet again, frigid glacier water. I simply observed with my friend Natalya, from Seattle. We just sat around chatting in some of the last rays of summer.
 All of a sudden, I felt terribly impulsive. I really wanted an excuse to NOT jump that cliff. I felt really lame just sitting there not participating in this rare outing. So I went to my Swiss friend Alex who hadn't gotten in the water at all yet that day. Honestly, I didn't think he would want to jump at all, but I asked anyway. Mistake! He casually said yes and led the way. I spazed out.
 "So you want to jump together?", he asked. Uh, yeah. Well, he dove right in anyway, leaving me in his dust.
 I. was. not. happy.
 But I did get a round of cheer and applause when people just saw me standing there looking down at my fate. This made me laugh, and jump.
 What a rush! The moment I stepped off until I got out of the water were the most invigorating of my week. It was so chilling; and Alex was just waiting for me at the bottom like this was no big deal. Hm, icy cold shock and a 30 foot jump? I'm not in Kansas anymore.
  I'm really glad I did it and I can't wait to do it again! But I'm still mad at Alex. Hmmpf.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


So Majda and I walk into this store that's advirtising 70% off in the window. I walk in to see a cramped room filled with shoes and Burberry brand apparel. The man greated me in Italian, cordially. I'm just browsing, looking at prices. And by the first D&G price tag I see, I know this is out of my range even with the sale. I look around anyway.
 Well, the guy ends up pulling out these awesome shorts that I had to try on so I did. I get them on and decided they did fit right on the waiste and as I was pulling them down, they guy opens the curtain and asks how they fit. Hm. I just told them they didn't fit, so he pulled out a second article of clothing for me, a really nice green top to wear with leggings. Great fit, bad price. I take it off, he opens the door. Good thing I had my swimsuit on. I go to look at the shoes and he tells me to call him if I really wanted the top. He'd be leaving for Sweden soon for five months. He also told me to call him if I wanted to get together and have him show me around Lugano...well, that explains that.

Day on the Lake

Today couldn't have been any more perfect...and it's only 1500! Although I didnt wake up til 9, I did manage to run out the door and snag a couple apricots and muelsi. My morning was spent with an intimate group of Franklin students in this field. We chatted, ate lunch, played Apples to Apples, and took a plethora of pictures. Majda (friend from Jordan) and I played at the park and went on the swings. She's informally teaching me Arabic, by the way. And we found this...thing. It was a spikey green ball that grew on a nearby tree. When I say spikey, I men sharp. I ended up pulling out the old hand sanitizer and neosporin for a friend from Bahrain whose lovely name I can't spell. She actually started bleeding from this thing! The whole time we tried to get this thing open and decided that whatever this thing is holds the secrets of the universe.
  On the walk through downtown Lugano we went by a farmers market. Lo and behold, there was our source of entertainment. Aparently, it's the outer shell to a chestnut...
  The group went paddleboating afterwards. This was the absolute reason I chose this excursion! We rented the boats with the slides on them. I'm so glad I wore my swimsuit because that was the freshest body of water I've been in. The water was so blue, it gave off an aura of simple happiness. There wasn't anything that would bite; there wasn't any trash, and it was so clear I could see my feet, clearly.
  We topped off the group journey with a scoop of gelato (paid for by the school, score); I got the Nutella flavor.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blues to Bop

Night 1: I had a mini cappacino at nine or so for 3.80CHF. I was alive, awake, alert, and enthusiastic until I forced myself to just put my aqua sleeping mask on at 1:15. The mistake I made was not drinking Italian coffee so late at night, it was asking for Italian coffee to go. They don't do that here. I realized my blunder after it was too late and the secret was out...even though I was speaking Spanish they figured out I was American. The coffee wasn't any better than in the States so it wasn't even worth it. Shucks.

school year schedule

So I made my schedule for the year this morning. This is exciting!

COM 199/Seminar T/FRI Global Social Movement
SPA 300/Lecture M/TH Advanced Spanish
TVL 320/Lecture W Field Study in Malta (everyother week until the trip to Malta on 15OCT11)
MAT 109/Lecture M/TH College Algebra
ENG 100/Lecture T/FRI Freshman English
MUS???/Lecture FRI Mozart to Mahlar (18th to 19th century)

Excluding the TVL Malta, each course is only a semester long and worth 3 credits each. I'm not sure if this is different from other school in the US or not. Either way, I can't wait to hit the books!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


They say you learn something new everyday. Well, that blew right past me until I moved here. There are so many Swiss laws that I find quirky coming from a US background. Example: no going out in public without shoes. Okay I guess that's just common sense but who made that a law? It is a law to recycle. It's standard among bathroom stalls to have a sink in it. Oh--story!!!
  So I went to the bathroom at the airport in Zurich when we landed. I had never seen this before and wasn't paying as close attention as I should've been. There was what appeared to be hand sanitizer in each stall, along with a personal sink. So I took some. I told a friend I had made on the flight over. While we were both still in the stalls, she yelled out to me that what I thought I took was hand sanitizer, was in fact toilet seat sanitizer. While no one else spoke english in the ladies room, I can garuntee they understood by the silence that followed. Go figure...haha
   There are also national quiet hours. Most businesses and grocery stores close no later than 1900. While you're allowed to be a bit roudy in pubs in the wee hours, most of the country is in bed. Once you leave that pub you are expected to whisper while walking, as many people sleep with their windows open.
Tip: the Swiss invest a lot in their dogs (think of them as the 100,000 horses you see at CFD), especially on training. You do not pet someones dog unless you ask first (and you better ask in Italian around these parts). You might mess with the training by showing affection. Fair enough, I'm not a big animal person anyway.
   What a spectacle Blues to Bop was! Tonight was its premier night. It was a fairly quick walk because of my superawesome dorm location. I didn't stay more than two hours but there were crepe stands, vegetarian eateries, and tons on beer stations. I'm not a beer person and the red wine in this area is through the roof so I decided to just hold off.
   First purchase in Europe was a bag de Noisettes (dried hazelnuts) for 4.50CHF (Swiss Francs) at the bp across the street. I find that I can speak Spanish whereever I go and be a sucessful communicator. Thanks mom for getting me up to speed with that!!
   This place looks so Italian it's easy to forget I'm in Switzerland.
There aren't too many challenges so far since I can communicate well with locals. I know what is and isn't a rip off when dealing with CHF. Ah, the hill I hike to class is my biggest obstacle so far. jeje
  But I'm just excited to be here! This is just the change of pace I need and I can't wait to register for classes and actually start college on monday!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

1 Year in 2 Duffle Bags and a Carry On

15 pairs of shoes. Six toothbrushes. Two containers of Airborne. One Hp lap top. I leave in seven days and I am bouncing off the walls. I'm so geared up for this but at the same time, this is ludicrious. I'm not going to Switzerland this year. I'm suppose to be going to VMI or Mary Baldwin.
I have to start thinking about converting money: something I've never had to think about before. Better now than never though. I mean, I am going to have a major in International Economics. Haha. I'm still undecided on my Minor but I can give that one some time.
Now that I only have a week left, I'm trying to see everyone I can and get out of the house as much as possible...I guess that explains the Jackson trip, which was superfantastic! I' m going to retire there by the way. I've met up with more people in the past two weeks than I have in four years of high school. Call me a hermit.
I can not wait to get the ball rolling! After two months of summer break I am dead ready for school to start again. I need to hit the books (despite my lengthy summer reading list that I got mosly through).
If you can't tell from my prose I'm pretty well drained. But in Denver once I get on that plane I know I'll be ready to grab the bull by the horns.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


The sun shone through my window; my phone buzzed. I pushed the blankets off me and headed upstairs for breakfast, groggily. That was the earliest 7:10am I've ever experienced. I go through this every summer, as do all high school-oriented kids, but it shouldn't be happening the first week of June. (Especially since I went to bed at a mere 9:30 last night...)
I passed copies of the visa packet my mom and I labored through on my way out my bedroom. The luggage we bought at Kohl's yesterday still waits on the landing. (You know, if I go over the 50 lb. limit on each piece I'm charged $150 by Swiss Airlines.) I had all paperwork, interviews, and fees paid by the early deadline in order to get free roundtrip airfare, which I am extremely proud of. So I guess you could say steps one, two, and three: check, check and check.
The realities of flying over the Atlantic in nine hours and five minutes to Zurich haven't hit me yet, I'm still waking up to that.