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.