Monday, August 4, 2008

Update: Holy Swiss Cows... it's Week 20

We have been in Switzerland for 20 weeks now; that's right - 5 months. Holy Swiss Cows. Time sure does fly. (Ps. I've started a new 'updates' label/category so if you don't read the blog regularly - and that's ok, I won't hold it against you - you can get up to date quickly with what we have been doing by reading the updates!)

I feel a lot more integrated into Swiss life now. Working in a German speaking environment helps a lot. . . wait, what am I talking about?! Working. Full stop... helps a lot. I can't imagine still being at home, applying for jobs, waiting for the phone to ring, sleeping in until 10 am, making videos of cows, picking strawberries until my fingers turn crimson, and shopping at IKEA every second day. Then again, that sounds pretty awesome... what was I thinking?!

Nevertheless, work is going well and I really am reaping the benefits of speaking and listening to German all day in and day out. For example, the other day at lunch I mentioned to my boss and the HR manager that I took my online German competency test, which will be used to place me in an intensive German course provided by work. I was boasting that I scored into the 'upper intermediate' range, hoping that everyone would magically know what that means, namely that I am the Queen o' German. But they didn't care about the test. They were too busy telling each other and me about how pleased they were that I had already surpassed their German expectations and that my vocabulary had improved leaps and bounds in the first few weeks alone... one colleague even said she overhead me on the phone and had to remind herself that I was a native English speaker. I mean, and geez, my birthday had already come once this month! It just goes to show how powerful immersion is. It all comes flooding back. I told them in a year's time I want to write better and speak fluent Swiss German and that's when they just stared at me like I had just jumped off the Salsa boat. But I will try! Now if I could only get the hang of the German keyboards and the 42.5 hour work week.

I think it is fair to say that besides July being the month of the job, it was also the month of visitors and travel. At the close of June, my Mom and brother visited and we had an awesome time chilling on the shores of Lake Lugano and walking our bums off in the touristy, but ever beautiful and timeliness canal lined streets of Venice and Burano. It was great to have a vacation right before starting the job and great to see the family again.

Then I turned around on the first day of the job and went to Germany for training, followed by Wien to meet my Austrian coworkers, and then Becca and Emily visited and we chilled in Lucern with Ingo before we almost died on a mountain in Grachen and walked amongst the history and fishes of Memmingen. I may just have beaten my brother in terms of travel days during July -he was away for 28 days on a Busabout tour... I was away for 12 for work plus a few weekend excursions. Darn, not even close, lucky boy.

My brother came back last week from the big trip and we are enjoying the time before he goes back to school and finishes his degree. After so much time on the road, we are enjoying just chilling out, eating tiramisu and watching DVDs. Tomorrow we are off to Lucerne, yes again, but hoping for clear skies so that we can climb the city walls and perhaps go to the top of Mount Pilatus ... but don't worry, we aren't hiking this time and even if we were I know better now... I will wear proper shoes.

Thanks for following the Swisstory blog and making July a banner month... thank you to all my visitors, both in the flesh and old and new on the blog! I hope you'll all join me for August and the weeks to come.


Zurich Mama Geek said...

Hey, if you go up to Mt. Pilatus and you stumble across a stuffed green and purple two-headed dragon toy, could you bring it back to Zürich with you?

If you take the gondolas/cable car up from Kriens, Switzerland's longest summer toboggan run and the Pilatus Seilpark (ziplines) are at Fräkmüntegg.

Bluefish said...

I am so joining you in this month. I love your collage. How did you do it?

Jessica said...

Excellent, thanks Bluefish.

The collage is made with Picasa.... it is a free photo management and editing tool from Google. I recommend it.

Kathryn said...

Hi Jessica!

I love reading your blog and hearing about your life there. I really got a kick out of your hiking up the mountain're a better woman than me! Ha ha! I shall call you Super Trooper-ess for that big feat!

If you make it North to Berlin let me know! :O)

Jessica said...

Thanks, Kathryn! We have friends in Berlin already so.. no thanks.

Just kidding. I will let you know when we are heading up there. I will be checking up on you through your blog... :)

As for calling me Super-Trooperess... that is a-ok by me. :)


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