Friday, May 23, 2008

May 23rd and 36 Exchangers

So… I finally got home from EuroTour on May 23rd. I woke up at 8:00 the next day realizing I had to get Miss Nelly a dress she had lent me and needed that night.

9:06 on the train.
10:00 on the train to Bern.

I met her at 11:03 in Bern, returned the dress, and learned that Taylor and his mother and sister, real family, were coming bald. With an empty day ahead of me, I decided to join them on their excursion to see the bears and other sights of Bern.

I bought a binder for my EuroTour memeories book.

At around 11:18 they arrived along with Alice.

We headed out and spent the next 2 or 3 hours checking out Bern. Conversations included hot cocoa, solar panels, EuroTour, organs, baby socks, and other things of important nature.

It was raining. I was lacking a jacket.

We headed to a café and were treated to something of something sort by Miss. Taylors Mom… Michelle? Thank you Taylor’s Mom.

In this café, there just so happened to be around 4 other exchange students.

Exchange Student Tally: 7

We drank, some smoked, discussed enlightening things. Another exchangie came.

Then we headed to the station to pick up more students… I believe after that we had 14 students total, but 2 had left. So that day I had seen 16 students so far…

We went to the top of the station. Drank beverages such as ice tea. Watched a dude do magic tricks which were trickily amazing.

I was quite amused when the police came to talk to me. Sitting on the steps, just 2 steps away from me and two others were other kids drinking vodka and smoking. Yet we were on the platform, and it was with us the police wanted to speak with. We were not in the play area, but apparently it was just for kids, and we were breaking some rules. We were just sitting under a tree… two steps away it was ok to drink and smoke, but a couple feet away and you were in trouble. So we moved. Checked out pics. Took pics.

Pee break on Gleis 5.

More tea.

They were going to head to some place, I honestly was not interested and the day seemed to be going slowly so I jumped on a train to Olten, which would then take me to Luzern. While on this train to Olten, I began to speak with Jorge, figured out he was on a train to Olten too and was going one stop further to Aargau. Well, why not? So I stayed on the train to Aargau and ended up meeting with some 10 other exchange students, the majority were latinos.

The latinos rock.

Students rode bikes around. I printed pictures. We went and got kebabs. Came back. Waited for people. Headed to Mr. Pickwicks and got coke and ice tea with lemons in. Just hung out.

I really enjoyed that evening. Just chillin, I guess you could say. Hanging out. Basking in the glow of a group of exchange students. I believe there were 18 of us there? I learned quite a bit of Spanish from the Ramiro and enjoyed bashing my head trying to remember certain words.

We took pictures.

I wore Miguel’s host dad’s jacket from Bolivia and fell in love with it.

On the train ride had us Patrick, Paz, and Jaxon. So we all had a good hour ride home together which I guess was enjoyable.

30 minutes in the Luzern Bahnhof.

Ride home part way with Jaxon.

We met a friend of his and discussed Nidwalden, which I just so happen to loath.

He got off.

I arrived in Giswil around 1:15.

In bed by 2:00.

So yeah, that was one lovely day.

In total I was with three different groups of exchange students, around 36 total in one day… not bad eh?

Monday, May 19, 2008


Well... I feel like blogging, and I can.

We just finished our meal.. it was, er, interesting. Half of us actually finished it. But the cream covered cream puff completely made it complete.

Yes, the exchangers invaded the lovely city of Venice once again... taking it by storm and doing the unordinary.

We started in the tourist ary of this Marks platz... not sure the name. Anyways, there are a bajillion pijiogns.

Then someone asked me if I wanted to go check out those places that aren't touristy.... that was already my intentions and hopes of the day, so of course I said yes.

And that is essentially who my day was spent with.

Chloe, Chrystie, Taylor, and Travis.

We mounted walls, climbed fences, window grates.. anything. The majority of the time was in tiny alley ways... some so small your shoulders practically touched the walls.

We wanted to go where we were not to go... and did go to great lengths to achieve that.

I enjoyed the lingustic university... we ended up some 4 stories up and were able to overlook the entire city....

And then we made it to a lithograph shop, or somethying like that.. and bought somie snazzy postcards that really captured the Venice we had came to know... the real Venice. Not the tourist venice... Venice. Venice....

Finaly we split up into two groups... me with the ladies, naturally. And we got on a gondolla.

That was soemthing I will never regret spending my money on, that gondala ride.

The man sang to us. Just going down the canals.. like in the movies.

Nothing could beat that feeling of bliss....

Anyways, so Venice rocked my socks. I loved it. Really did. And it is defintily something that I was not dissapointed in...

We are about to go for a walk on the beach...

Sunday, May 18, 2008

EuroTour Update

OK, so I only have a bit of time to update you guys.

But currently I would be located in Italy.. specifically a town in the near from Venice.

We have been at this for 7 days now... not bad eh.

51 of us, traveling around a on a bus.

We have invaced Vienna and Klaggenfuhrt in Austria and the rest of the week, till the 23rd will be in Italy.

Really, it is quite brilliant and like nothing i have ever done before. With so much time together, we are getting, well, really close. The conversations are moving from the future to our past. Yeah. Gelling. Sure we have our cliques, but life goes on.

Currently, we are right by the ocean, ready to swim... but there is a thunder and ilghtning making that not so probable.

I bet a lot of people want to shoot me ror writing this... but I feel a bit selfish at the moment.

Yeah... morgen we go to Venice... apparently a cafe can cost 12 Euros for one cup...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Random Little Tid Bizt

Tagged by Andrea DeBrino!
(Thanks Andrea, you make me smile... cause you do. And my mom sent me the newspaper clipping, and you were in it... Fun Raisers or something like that :P)

Ook..... I have not much so time to do this, I have no computer at the moment.


Here's how you play.

Once you've been tagged, you have to write a blog/note with 10 weird, random things, facts, habits, goals, or anything about yourself. At the end, you choose 10 people to be tagged, listing their names and why you chose them to be tagged. Don't forget to leave them a comment ("You're It!") and to read your blog/note. You can't tag the person who tagged you. Since you can't tag me back, let me know when you've posted your blog so I can see your answers.

1. I go on walks wearing bright clothes in the afternoon to see old people and try and make them smile by saying hello in Switzerland. Cause the old people are always walking... and they are not smiling. And I think old people that smile are SO CUTE! So I put on a huge grin and send my loving greetings to them.

2. In the last year I have learned to like tomatoes, nuts, potatoes, and ahem, beer. Not that I drink beer :P But in America, I loathed the above, and now I find them acceptable.

3. I find one of the most amazing things in life is when a little child sleeps in my arms. Wow. An entire life at rest, peaceful, trusting... and it keeps me warm.

4. I LOVE peeling sunburns... it doens't even have to be mine. I just peel it.. better than oranges!

5. A habit of mine... eh. Have I one? My habit would be... well, I get in song ruts. And can listen to a song over and over... once I listened to "My Shiny Teeth and Me" 31 times in one day...

6. Carrot Salat rocks!

7. I think it would rock if my future was not just a photographer.. but a book binder in England! I would really enjoy binding books for a living.. I think.

8. Mr. French guy at the comix festival... I will never forget you. But you willl DIE some day. You made me laugh... ahahhaaha.. you had a French accent.

9. A wish... I really want to go on a rubber boat on Sarner See, er, Lake before I go home.. better yet, sleep on the rubber boat.. mwmahah.

10. I don't really want to go back to IHS because of the so boxiness of it. It stinks. I mean, there are all these groups, and I feel like I am forced to stay in one. Heck. In Switzerland I could speak with anyone. The popular folks, the geeeks, the theater nerds (whom I love :P), jocks, it doesn't matter! I can just talk to whoever. But in America, wow, it is so different. I want to get to know more people, but they are so freakin judgemental! So, i guess it is the same here in Switzerland, and it is just the fact that I am a exchange student that allows me to do such things, but I want life to keep going on like that. I want to go and talk to whoever and whenever just because I want to get to know them.

10 people to tag eh? I ought to tell you why I tagged you, but due to limited time on the computer, make up a reason. Such as Jesse and Nate and Emily, its cause you wear converse.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Paragliding in the House and Barefoot in the Snow

After a late night of yodeling yesterday, I let myself sleep in till 9:00, and stay in bed till 10:00 or so. My I felt lazy, but it felt good. And the rest of the family was still in bed as well.

I looked out the window, and BANG, there was snow. It was snowing! Snowing! Right now… in April. I thought for sure my snowy days in Switzerland were over. And they were big, huge, heavy flakes.

I figured that they had already eaten and was ready to prepare myself breakfast when I saw a full, but clean dishwasher. So I unloaded it. Then the hostmom came in and started to make breakfast, guess I wasn’t late after all.

She made up a fantastic omlette for us all. And we also had Zopf, as usual, with raspberry jam! I love raspberry jam!

After breakfast, the host dad asked who wanted to go in the snow. I would have, but I left all my snow gear at the last house. But was surprised when all the kids and the dad started to roll up their pants and grab their jackets… but no shoes. I don’t know if it is normal for them or something, but soon I found myself doing laps outside in a snowy field barefoot… all of us were. The little Felix lasted a good 30 seconds before Peter had to carry him back in the house. After running in a circle, we would run back in and warm our feet up on a towel. The two oldest kids did the run again. They said it is good for your feet to go from warm to cold to warm to cold… hmmm. I find this family quite awesome.

Then we had a football, well, füssball match. Not in the snow. No. Table football. Me and the two oldest against the dad and Felix. Sadly, we lost the first round but by the second we had warmed up and won. So that was some more family time. That is one thing I like, Sundays are for families.

It wasn’t long before the kids made it up to my room again and asked if I wanted to play. Well sure, I am game for anything. But it ended up being a shooting game. Normally I would go for it but I believe the mom is trying to discourage that. So I died… and stayed dead till we played Uno. The little 3 year old Felix won his share. Then we played shoots and ladders and a sort of snake game. I dunno. But it was cool. Just me and my three host siblings playing together on the floor for the morning.

I gave the kids reign over my camera and we climbed a bit on the wall until the host dad came up and joined us. Then things really got fun. He would instruct them where and how to climb and they worked out pathways.

My host dad used to do paragliding, or still does, not really any more. Anyways, the paraglide you have sort of a hammock swing backpack thing. So we hooked that up to the ceiling with climbing ropes and made a snazzy swing in our hallway. For the next hour or so we swung, twisted, climbed, and just had a blast. So that was cool… and unordinary and like nothing I have ever done with a host family.

This family is not like the other host families. Totally different environment. And it takes just a minute to get used to eating breakfast as a little guy runs around the house with a huge drum banging it, and the other one a cow bell clanging it as loud as it goes.

And here I am now. Looking out the window. Typing my days away to remember forever. My hair is wet. I have a green towel around my shoulders. It is 7:59 at night, the kids should be in bed for now. Tomorrow school begins again after a two week break. Jorge changes host families tomorrow. The lower third of my view is grassy fields, all the snow has melted. Every once in a while a person walks by. In the middle, the mountains and hills tower over our small village. Everything up there is dusted with snow. Fog obscures some parts, but the peak is still visible. There are a few patches of lightness in the sky. And then, the top third is just sky. Grey, but beautiful. And I hear outside my bedroom door the little Felix babbling away, and outside the river carrying on.

9:05 --> Off to go pack my bag for school tomorrow and the sleep for 9 hours.

And that’s life.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

The First Day With the New Famlilie

I woke up at 7:30 to little feet on hard wooden floors and the shrieks of my little host brother, Felix. Pain? Joy? Didn’t matter, I was awake. I stayed in bed a good 30 minutes more before getting ready for a day of who knows what.

Breakfast here is different, but good. I had a granola, nut, and banana mix with milk and, as usual, chocolate milk. I have to have the chocolate milk, yes, every morning.

After breakfast, I played with the kids a bit. The host mom isn’t into toy guns, but one somehow made it into the house, so that provided a good 30 minutes of entertainment as I died over and over again, shouting, “NEIN!” the entire time. We made it up to my room a couple times where we settled down when they found my iPod. This family has no electronic things for the boys to play with, except the stereo, so they were quite interested. I gave them free reign to explore that little thing of wonderfulness. WE ended up listening to Relient K, closing my blinds, and creating a disco setting with different kids manning different spot lights and one “dancing” in the middle.

Discovering the iPod.

Dance Party

Then I got on the floor and we started taking jumping pics. They would jump off m y blue couch onto my comforter, and I tried to capture them at the peak. The hardest was Felix, as he didn’t really jump, he fell. So that gave a good 1 second to capture him and try and make it look like he was flying.

I then asked Lisa for a mini concert. Lisa plays the violin quite nicely with great intonation. However, a concert was not physically impossible with two brothers doing all they could to stop it. It was insane! They would grab the violin, or turn the page of the music, or play the recorder, or jump on the bed, or whatever they could. That lasted a good 20 minutes. Finally I got to hear one song and it was worth the effort of getting the concert in the first place.

The hostrent kindly asked us to go to the grocery store to pick up the fixings for one of my favorite Swiss meals, Älpler Magronen… so fine! Ah! So good! We all hopped on our bikes and rode the 2 minute trip (with the Felix it was more so 4 or 5) to our local grocers. There, we proceeded to maneuver in the shop trying to decode the hostmom’s bidding. We couldn’t figure out the cheese and ended up with Parmesan. So the Älper Magronen was more Italian than normal. Then the apples and bananas. A kilo each? So we proceeded to weigh out different apples, bananas, and lemons for the hey of it.

Shopping with 4 kids (including me) in Luzern? Definitely.
Berchtolds in Luzern

So, well, we all went shopping in Luzern. Vrenni needed a picture book about water, anything with water, and a music book too. So we all bundled up, hopped on the fast train, and made our way towards that lovely old town. On the train ride, the ticket man came. He asked Felix if he had a ticket. Naturally he was joking as at the age of Felix, no ticket is necessary. And Felix giggled, laughed, shook his head, and said, “Nein.” Then the old man reached into his pocket and pulled out a “play ticket” for Felix and the rest of the kids.

I was just starting to see how the Swiss really can be. Normally I am just a teenager to them, or with exchange students, so service isn’t top notch. They don’t really go out of their way to help us. But with a host mom and little kids, things change.

In the pharmacy, each kid was treated to a little plastic toy when the host mom bought some “wellness tea.”

In the Lackerli Haus, we each got a sample of that amazing stuff. It is like gingerbread, but quite different. It originates, I believe, from the Basel region in Switzerland.

Then we went to “Lollipop,” a bit quaint, but well stocked candy shop in the heart of the old city. There, Vrenni let us each pick out two gummy candies! I felt honored, cause gummy candies are amazing, I am beginning to find. I ended up with a gummy frog and this stick filled with raspberry crème stuff… no idea what, but it tasted good. I also learned to eat a gummy like the Swiss, suck on it. I normally chew and bite through, but when I saw that my host sister had barely made a dent in hers, yet was tasting it, I was stoked to try this new method.

Then we went to Bachman’s, the big bakery in Switzerland that can be found almost anywhere. There we were once again allowed to pick something out. I got what the siblings got, this big bread roll filled with chunks of chocolate. And it was amazing! And I loved it! And it made my tastebuds happy!

Schoggibrot... it has some Swiss name, I forget it though.

So yeah, going out with the host family was quite the enjoyable experience.

We had quite the simple, but lovely dinner. Typical Swiss dinner… bread, meat, cheese. But to my surprise there was cream cheese, Philadelphia cream cheese, on the table. Just like in America. You would think with so many cheeses, cream cheese would be normal here, but they only have Philadelphia. And that lead to a long discussion between me and my hostmom about bagels. She was in America for a while and really enjoyed the bagels.

Then she went away to a orchestra practice and I was left in charge, the Chief. It is quite the honor to be chief… except for the responsiblities that come with it. I was to put the kid’s down to bed. After listening to some jolly children’s music, including “Lollypop” in German, the mighty fight began!

No, not fight. Struggle! Go to bed! Nah, not so easy. So yeah, that was an interesting experience I think that I will have many times in this family. Am I their sister or their babysitter. Luckily we have family in town, a walks away, so I will not be always obligated to watch themm when I already have plans in store.

After they were in bed, I showered, unpacked a bit, and pretty much had a relaxing evening without computer or tv.

The new host family, naturally I have small fears about being a babysitter all the time, but I have a feeling that will work out. They seem like a great host family full of snazzy people.

I always think that at the beginning, but so far, every family has gone, overall, well.