3 Seasons, 8 months

When you live as a foreigner in a very international city like Zurich, you meet a lot of people who are also foreigners or who have also lived abroad at some point in their lives.  Someone recently told us that from his experience of living in several countries besides Switzerland, it is hard to really feel “at home” in a new place until you have experienced all of the seasons the new places has.  In the case of Switzerland, that means four seasons, though many people seem to agree that this year we got gipped out of a Spring… In any case, this makes some sense, I think, and gives some rationale behind the more general advice I hear, which is that it can take a year to feel settled in.  For instance, when on a regular basis I feel like I am losing patience with Coquetta’s erratic and extreme behavior, someone reminds me gently that I should expect it to take her a year to be really settled… but, really, why a year?   The season thing has something to it.

Well, we have now been on our big Swiss adventure for 8 months, and everyone is predicting that this week we are getting the turn of the season. It is sad to imagine that Summer is really ending so soon as it started so late… but supposedly the Fall is really beautiful.  I am trying to find positive things about Winter that inevitably follows.  It is very beautiful to see the Alps covered with snow just across the lake when there are clear days, but they are also breathtaking in the Summer, and you can even take a little train up to the top and play in the snow all year long.

A walk in the snow, Jungfraujoch, Aug. 2013

A walk in the snow, Jungfraujoch, Aug. 2013

Instead, I am planning to do some Fall and Winter shoe shopping during an upcoming trip to Belgium (where they always seem to have great shoes). After all, in German class, our teacher has been shocked thatI haven’t bought any shoes since moving, so it is sort of like homework!  (more on that funny story here)

First Summer in Switzerland

The lake and river that runs through downtown Zurich is really special and I am a little disappointed that we didn’t get to swim in it more frequently. Problem was, the water didn’t warm up enough for me till late July, and then we were traveling for a lot of August, and well, now it is already September…

zurichlake

the incredibly clean Zurich lake

riverfun

diving and floating in the Limmat

Which brings me to our trip to the Bernese Oberland  and Jungfrau Region.  Walter and Mian visited in August and this motivated us to spend a few night in Wengen, a postcard perfect, no-car village in the middle of the Alps.  This is the stuff that foreigners imagine when we think of Switzerland.

We did some easy hikes around the area, jumping from gondola to mountain trains – on all of which Abbey got free rides.  Here is a funny panorama view that I got from my pictures – this is Mönch and Jungfrau.    This one has Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.   If you want pictures, they are here.

Abbey was especially fond of this funny pond, which was equipped with a button that you could push to turn on bubbles next to the bench, where humans are allowed to rest their feet after their hike.

Abbey in pond

Bubble pond to cool off after hiking

joalps

Jo liked the view, but not the bubble pond

Meanwhile, as we start the last quarter of 2013, it is hard to believe how fast the time has gone by. Jo is back on his frequent travel schedule and has no fewer than 6 international trips planned between now and the end of the year.  If I can arrange a few things, maybe I will get to join in on the trip to California in December.   Until then, we are supposed to find an apartment, which is probably not very much fun.  We are told over and over that it can take 6 months, easily, to find a place, with dozens (if not more) of applications to compete with for nice apartments.  Since Jo’s students have all been able to find apartments in a much shorter time frame, I am optimistic about our chances. But just in case, it seems we are allowed to extend our lease in the ETH apartment.  I realized I don’t really want to though, because living with most of the things we brought with us still in storage is kind of sad. I am getting tired of white walls with nothing hanging.

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