Monday, December 30, 2013

days > 140 -- missing

 piece of advice for future exchange students #18:
most august exchange students say that 
the time between christmas and new year is the 
hardest time of the year after arrival.
work overtime to make sure that that's not true for you.
trust me.

so during the first few days of winter vacation... to be honest, i missed home. i still miss it, because at this time of year i'm so used to being with friends and family. i'm used to traditions and songs and parties and everything. and this time it is not there. and that was hard.
but then i ended up filling my days with stuff. it didn't have to be good or even deeply meaningful stuff as long as it was fun, non-dangerous, and made memories... and kept me from feeling homesick.
and guess what?
somewhere in the middle of all of that, i got my priorities straight.
YES, i am missing major holiday time.
YES, i am missing family and friends.
YES, i am missing traditions and events and parties.
but you know what? I am in SWITZERLAND. and it is amazing.
and i have been blessed beyond all reason, to have so much from home that i can miss. and furthermore, all these things i am missing will still exist when i come back.
so i should enjoy the moment now.

things i've done in the past 20ish days --

  • Christmas! Obviously...
  • multiple christmas dinners and parties and celebrations and gatherings. there was a dinner with my mom's side of the family and then with my dad's side of the family and then with multiple friends and then just a quiet celebration for
    us only.
  • Christmas market in Biel with my friend Faith! it was very cold.
  • Zurich with Sarah, who's currently on exchange there... we had tons of fun. it was also extremely cold. everywhere is cold.
  • Elsass (Alsace) Marche de Noel (which I didn't write correctly because I don't have French on my computer, but oh well). in other words, my host family took me to France!!!
  • I also learned that French people don't eat dinner until 7 or later. This means that for all the punctual Swiss people who wish to eat their dinner at 6 or 6:30, eating in a restaurant is practically impossible because the restaurants are not yet open at 6. The chefs are still at home.
  • I went sledding in the alps!!*
  • I spent time with my new counselor, who also happens to be a nice counselor with a family that reminds me of my own, haha. In a good way.
  • I went sledding in the alps AGAIN!!!
  • We have Christmas Ferien (vacation) which means no school. Consequently, I've had the opportunity to train hop to my little heart's content. Hooray for European rail passes!
  • watched a movie called "Schwarzen Brüder" in which the story is set in Tessin, Switzerland. all the movies I've seen in cinemas so far are always in German, which makes me proud of myself... :P
  • I wrote a record amount of blog posts in my twelve days of Christmas. even if, you know, they didn't exactly coincide with the  twelve days of Christmas.
  • I received mail! Yay!
  • And when I tried to reply to it, I realized to my chagrin that the post office is closed on weekends (well, on Sunday, and then only open in the mornings in Magden on Saturday) and also closed on all the days that I could actually get there because of Christmas and New Year's. lovely.
  • I skyped my family on Christmas!!! and I miss them.
  • in fact, I miss everyone.
  • but I will see them all again. And I am enjoying life here.
*this actually isn't as silly to celebrate as you might think it is. sledding here is hardcore... adults do it too!!
you go up with the gondolas and ride down the mountain on a course, rather like a ski course but on a smaller level. there are hills and jumps and hairpin turns and everything. it's very exciting. :))

bis später,

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