Monday, September 24, 2007

Conform, Confirm, Connect

Well, I finally feel like I am with it... well, know what I am doing in a sense that I have a reutine developed.

This day in history... last year on this day, it was Sunday and Chris and Lexi held a gathering slash party and we pretty much had an epic time and I talked to the crazy druggie guy who asked me for Rittalin. And I called the waitress Marsha and so forth. Quite epic I thinks.

I think I look the same...

[i was cold... looks like I am posing]

Another shout out session to Hannah Russel (epic present!), Sarah Wyler (more presents!!), and Kristen (perfect`!)... goodness I feel loved. And just a random shout out to Whit cause he sent me a really encouraging note with exactly what I needed at the moment.

Anyways, right now in school we are doing project week, but my host brother wants to play some random war game on the computer and I wish to stay on his good side. Anyways, for project week I have my group... and then I have my group that is not my group but is a group which I am in which is not one of which I am a member.. crane fly!

That`s pretty much life.

This weekend went hiiking with Rotary in the mountains, it was beautiful.

Friday night had youth group which was really good for me.


Yep... that`s life.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Happy Birthday To me.. Swiss Style

Happy Birthday to me?

God really is faithful.

Emily recently reminded me to let God, let Jesus be my expectations, and then I won`t be disappointed.

He never fails does he?

Last night I decided that for my birthday, I wanted a sunny day.. not hot, just sunny. To day was absolutely perfect. I sang, “God is So Good” on my bike as I rode to school after lunch.

Anyways, in the morning, I had a lovely card from my sister on my plate! Already, my day was turning out good.

Even though my host brother refused to acknowledge my birthday after the blatant prodding of my host parents. It just made me laugh. They were like, “It`s Maggie`s birthday…” and he would just read the paper. And then they would say, “Aren`t you going to wish her a happy birthday?” and he gave me a blank stare. It didn`t phase me a bit. Honestly.

Anyways, it was time to head to school.

It was cold.

I walked into school and my entire class was there as we had a later start today. And pretty soon, they were all giving me hugs. Yep. I got sooo many hugs and happy birthdays. One at a time, they each gave me a hug. I was on a natural high. And I was no longer cold.

And then Romy pulled out a bagfor me!

My class is amazing, really they are.

So anyways, the bag was a huge epic Migros Budget bag with Migros Budget written all over it.. I was happy already… excessively happy.

And I look inside.. and there was so much stuff! And almost everything had a connection to me or what they knew about me.

First was Swiss chocolate… a bajillion chocolate frogs and a candy bar that would put the King Sized Hershey Bars to shame.

And then, the first day I met my class, one of the girls, Conie, had these Dancers. They are a chip cracker puff thingy and amazing. And I loved them. And was awe when I tasted them. And so there was a bag of that.

They also know that everyday, I eat a Knopper. It is like a hazelnut wafer cookie thing. I love them. And so they had two of those.

And then the nonfood items…

In Switzerland, the kids in elementary have to write with fountain pens. And it carries on later. So they all have these amazing pens.

I looked into buying one once, but didn`t have the money. They aren`t cheap.

And I love to use theirs. They are fun to use.. jep. And the best part is the MagicStick.. it literally erases the pen. It is amazing and like nothing I have ever seen. It leaves no trace. And so quite often, I use their MagicSticks and pens and make things disappear.

In my bag was my very own pen.

It was red with clouds and an angel and perfect.

And there was my very own MagicStick with the “Super Pirat” on it.

By the time I got to that, I was all smiles and practically speechless.. all I could say was “Danke!”

And On top of that, there was a cell phone case with “Migros Budget” all over it.. and it is perfect for my phone.

And there was a card, and each of the students had signed it.

I was soo touched, cause each of them, literally each of them, even the guys, had chipped in to help buy this for me. Each of them were amazing. I felt soo happy. Just yesterday I saw them collecting money, everyone was giving one girl money. I asked what it was for. I was told some random answer and naturally believed them. I could see that they needed money from everyone as there was a list, and pretty much they all had paid. I had no idea it would be for me today! They went to all that work… for me!?

A card, for me!?

My very own pen!

I was just sort of in a daze, a bit too happy.

I was kinda sad about my birthday, a couple weeks ago, honestly, that it wouldn’t be like at home. But God has my life in his hand and never fails to amaze me.

I went home for lunch and there was a place set all pretty for me with a green napkin.

We had wonderful Magronen.. or something like that, and freshly made apple sauce (apfel musse).

Then I got my present, or parcel, from my host family.

Once again, I was practically speechless.

They had gotten me my first Swiss Watch… and it was perfect for me!

It was a Swatch, I love their watches, with plaid and red on it.

And it is super cool.

And I adore it!

It matches my pencil case.

Natural High

And then I got to open my presents and packages from the mail.

My friends and family are amazing.

The cards made me laugh, the presents made ms laugh, I was just so happy.

You guys mean the world to me.

And from my real family, I even got a DVD they made.. it made me cry and laugh. Just when they make eye contact with the camera and talk to me, I cry. And then I laugh, cause my family is the greatest ever. And it was hilarious. And great. And I love it. And it is the bestest thing ever.

And my brother wrote me a song!!!! And Ashley did too! And life is epic!


And Jenny painted me pictures and made me a scarf and such!

And my parents sent me soap and my Dad`s CD (I love it!) and a pin (already on my jacket!) and chapstick (it has a weird name but tastest good)!

And Sarah sent me a CD of amazingness and iTunes gift card and two hilarous cards!

And my grandparents sent me cards and such!

And I had a card from Rachel and Emily!

Shout outs to my family, Jenny, Sarah, Emily L, Rachel, my grandparents, and the youth group for everything.


I think my hostmom made me a birthday cake, not quite sure.

All I know is she baked a cake this morning.

But I guess it was not for me, as it was half eaten when I saw it next.

And I never got a piece.

And that made me sad.

No cake for my birthday… why is it on the counter, she doesn`t make cakes just because, if not for my birthday? Or am I just self absorbed to think that a cake could be for me if it is baked on my birthday.

But they ate it without me.

So I admit I am confused.

But I am absoltuey thrilled and happy.

And I got a super happy call from Kristen! She is a snazzy person I tell you and I was just dancing with bliss of the day.

That is pretty much my birthday life. More about what happened in the afternoon later, but this is the birthday blog with only birthday things

And thank you EVERYONE for your birthday wishes by email, MySpace, Facebook, and wherever.

I read each of them and they all mean so much to me and I love you guys!

That`s my life!

That`s my birthday!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Relax... Gemeindewochenende

I had my first church weekend... I loved it.

Simple and full of fellowship with other Christians.

The Buchers, my neighbors, were kind enough to drive me.

They are like the equivilant of the Lynches... well, not even close, but they are the closest we have here.

I woke up late and little time to get ready.

And when I got in their car, they promised me an English morning.

And I loved it.

They went to England for 5 years, and are hence near fluent in the language, and went their for Christian purposes and agree with the CCB teachings.

God is so good.

Anyways, I will have to keep this brief, as I feel like sleeping.

We drove up and arrived early.

And there was this random wildish pig, tiny black thing, just hanging around in the parking lot. Defnitly a cool thing. I petted it a couple times.

The weekend, we went hiking a bit and we ate.

And where we ate, there was a fire.

I roatsted to big sausages.. they were so good.

And I had good bread.

And we made snake bread... which is where you wrap the dough around a stick and roast it till it is perfect. And yes, it does indeed get perfect.

And we hiked to an amazing waterfall and walked around.

And walked through a field where there were cows and one of hte guys from the church stood in the middle of the field playing the accordian.

And we used a outhouse.. and it was quite clean... but stinken.

We went to the hotel after that and I loved my room. It was simple, but the view was amazing.


I love my life.

Anyways... the food at the hotel was fantastic. Something with pasta balls.. I have no idea. The desert was rather disgusting though and I had to stomach my way through it. There was egg in the soup.

That night we had worship and games.

The games varied from eating a giant choclate ball loaded with marshmallow cremem in it and wrapped with no hands (I wasn`t half bad at that) to singing.

My favourite was where they had a woman from each team teach the man to knit one row. It was hilaroius seeing the men there with their needles and concentrating so hard.

And most of the kids slep in a bomb sheleter.

We hung out in the hotel for a while.

The elevator is amazing. It is like just a normal door, and it isn`t all that safe, yet it is. And it is the tiniest elevator I have ever been in... and the quickest too.

The next day we went to the Salvation Army church.. that was soo cool!

They have uniforms and a full brass band like no other. I really enjoyed mysefl.

But had to work so hard to stay awake, literally, if my eyes were open, I could not focus them, no matter how hard I tried.. and trust me, I tried.

And then most of the church went hiking, but some of us youth stayed home.

We went to a park and played volley ball and went on a crazy carrosell swing and just hung out.. relaxing, fellowship.. it really was a blast.

And then we went home.

We went on a super long bridge, by foot, cause it was soo cool. Dad, you would have loved it.

And that was my weekend.

Friday in Luzern with the Girls

[pic by amarette]

Friday was quite refreshing.

It was me, Amarette, Beccca, and Kristen.

A lot of the day involved helping out English speaking tourists.

We heard some English, I was urged to go approach them. So I said... rawther loudly, "Does anyone here speak English?" to which they turned their heads.

And naturally, all doors were then open wide for a conversation.

Funny thing about being in a foreign country. Just having language as a common thing automatically connects you in multipul ways.

They came from Australia and were on vacataion. Just arrived today. We told them, as we tell everyone, who we are and yes, we really are here for a year and will miss our family.

And the topic got to Tim Tams somehow...

And I have eaten them. But one of the ladies asked if I had really eaten one.. the right way. Which just so happend to be quite complex with holes and hot drinks.

And she was amazingly epic and mentioned causally how she would/could send me some as I hadn`t had it proper.. I dunno if she was serious.. but I naturally jumped onto that. I do love those Tim Tams. And she now has my address and blog address.

And when they come, I shall share them with some folks for a Tim Tam Time of Tissues!

That wonderful lady could be reading this.. hopefully so!

I am horrible at names.

But they were quite a loverly bunch of folks, I enjoyed speaking to them.

It was Amarettes first time in Luzern so we tried to get her to some of the important sights.

The Old City.
The Lion.
The Churches.
The Water Tower.
The Chappel Bridge.
The Water Front.
The. The.

And naturally, we got a wee bit sidetracked along the way.

We were heading to the Lion Monument when some latino looking boys, around the age of 10 or so, called out to us. Trying to get some girls? Um. No.

But there was a park.. and I do love a good park. And so did everyone else.

We ended up hanging out there for some.. um.. I dunno. Quite the while.

We just swang. bounced. and played soccer.

The boys from earlier were there and had a old, deflated, grey soccer balll.. it was perfekt.

I wouldn`t have wanted it any other way.

[my best attempt at being a ganster... sigh]

[I just wasn`t cut out for looking cool.. hehe]

We listened to music... lots of it.

Hillsong, Chris Rice, Chris Tomlin, Brittany Spears, Backstreet Boys, Christmas Music, Michael Bublè.

And eventually it was time to move on...

And we went to the Lion Monument.

And were approached by some tourists.. and they spoke English. We ended up talking with tme for a good while. They were on a, um, Sabatical? With the Baptist church. They were really pleasent to talk to and I found it quite refreshing. We walked around a bit with them, showed them how to get the the water tower. I felt so bad, as they had just lost their camera.. with all 600 pictures of their trip, just a few days before. The man even ended up being a Rotarian. And they may be reading this blog as well. Ooh, and they were from South Carolina.. which made me think of the Wilkersons.

And we had Kebabs after that, they were amazingly good... as usual. I do love a good Kebab.


And then we walked along the water front, and there was a band playing some traditional music.

So we danced our way around the waterfront... and I was laughing and smiling and it just felt good. No guilt. No thoughts of anything else. Just pure bliss.

This is what exchange is about.

This is how you can make a Maggie happy.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Swing of Things

I feel like I have been at this school for so much longer than I really have...

I won`t say I really am apart of the group yet.. but it is good.

Today, my class did something that made me smile so much... I wish they knew how much it meant to me.

What they did was....

Well, on our wall, we have a small poster listing birthdays. And they wrote mine in! And I was with some other folks, and they called me over.. which alone made me happy.

And they were all standing there, smiling.
And pointed.
And I saw it.

And, wow, if only you knew how good it felt... the fact that they even knew the day!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

What Does a Swiss School Look Like?

This will be a couple part series as I come to collect pics of various areas of my school.

Overall, the school has three differnt types of building.

There is the old school... it is, well, old. It has columns and pillars and soooo many steps! I am on the fourth floor for my English and Italian language classes.

It is like something from a movie.

And within it is also my art classroom... it is amazing.

Like a ballroom... and the door is wooden and big. I dunno... I like it.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

And there are all these tables.

OOHHH.. and the chairs are swivil chairs! with wheels! So you can scoot around and spin and go up and down!

Next we have the room where I do Italian and English.

It is right across the hallway. And yes, there are more swivil chairs.. without wheels.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I got those pics when I had to go back to the classroom to get my dictionary. And there are vids at the end of this so you can really see what it is like.

Anyways.. that is the old building.

We also have the new buildings. Which are two story tall boxes that are black and reddish.

So there are four of those.

And on top of that... we have the other school building.

It was flooded a while back, and so we only use the top story for classrooms. The bottom has the sort of commons hang out room.

I go there during breaks and free period.

There is a kiosk there where you can buy food.

And there is a brand new cafeteria! They never had a cafeteria until a week ago. Never ever! Everyone always had to go home or to Migros to eat. And it looks kind of like a restaurant, I think.

And the best part is the colours.

The whole building and interior is filled with crazy shades of loud orange, yellow, and blue.



More pics will come soon...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

My First Day of REAL School

My school is amazing (?)

Anyways... today I rode my bike to school at, um, 7:00. Not bad eh? I left early to meet Jorge at the train station and we walked to school together.

Mr. Maileh (however you spell his name) met us at the office and handed us our "timetables"... er, schedules.

Our school is crazy cool, I explain it another blog.

But we went into the flooded school, well, it had been flooded, to look for my class. It was alll orange! The school, I mean. And we couldn`t find them cause they were testing. When you do a test, you go into another room. And so I got a free period.

But first we walked Jorge to his class acrosst the street in this amazing (!!!!) building that looks like it is from the movies with pillars and columns and such and it was a lonnnng way up to the third or fourth floor by foot. The classrooms inside are modern, but the outside, it looks old. They call it the old school or something like that.

And so I had free time.

And Jessica found me.

And we talked.

And I read a English book I got at the library.

And I went to my next class, Geography.

Geography lasted for some two periods.. and it was really really boring. And it makes me wonder how I will get through this school year? It`s crazy not knowing what they are saying all the time.

Italian was a bit bettter.

Yes, I am learning Italian.. or trying to.

Italian is very simliar to Spanish (luck Jorge can actually understand it).... but it is hard to make the connections because I have to translate things a lot.

English --> German --> Italian

Italian --> German --> English

All the time.. cept when there are pictures or I understand the Italian.

But I now am so confused.

What is German? Italian? English? Spanish?

Talk about a brain overload.

And so we went to Italian and we did a computer program.. but I was so confused. But the people are kind and helpful to me.

I could never tell what was German and Italian.. but we conversed a bit in Italianisch asking people if they had items (Hai la Vespa? Ce`llo) or something like that. Anyways, the teacher talked to me realllly fast, and I just kept saying "si" "si" "si" and we all laughed at that... I had no idea what I was agreeing to. But he would say, "Gut!" or "No." Gotta love life.

And then I biked home for lunch.. where I am right now.

Yep... that is prettty much it. I will try and get some pics up soon!

Next I have Chemistry (grrr) and then art (grrr).

This will not be an easy year... haha, I will definitly start to drink coffee.

Monday, September 10, 2007

First Day of "School" School

My first day of schoool had no school at all.

We went hiking!

Which is perfeckt, cause I got to meet everyone.

Ok, High Cap kids and Pace kids, only you will be able to understand this. Maybe some Christian School Kids.

Anyways, this class has been together since Kindergarten, give or take a few people. And hence, everyone is freinds. Everyone is included. Its cool. I`m told that it isn`t always.. sometimes there are groups within the class. But in my class, they are all friends... and I can`t sense any friction: they know each other so well.

I have 13 girls.

And 2 guys.

Alright, I admit I am a bit disapointed about thast one little factor.

We took the train up to Brunnig pass and hiked back down to Giswil. A 2 hour hike we made last 4 hours as we stopped at churches and ate by the lake.

It was beautiful just walking through the hills and mountains and by the lake.

And there are random fountains everywhere.. and you can drink from them! Not drinking fountains, just sort of fountains.

And the public bathroom was as clean as my host familie`s bathroom!

And I tried to say, "Those are huge fish" but they started to laugh.. I guess I said I wanted to kiss the fish.. oops!

So, yeah, they were pretty inclusive.

My ankle didn`t do so good.

The teacher drove me almost all the way home :P

It was pretty grand. Can`t wait for tomarrow.

No idea what it will be like.

But I am so greatful I got to know my classmates ahead of time in this kind of enviroment.