It might just be Switzerland, but…
- Europe is amazing. I cannot believe the history of everything I have seen already—I was in a CASTLE yesterday! It is unreal, and I want to learn the background of every little thing I see.
- Not everyone understands you. I know this should be obvious, but this definitely made the list. We as Americans have the luxury of speaking English, which many people around the world understand, but of course not all. Plenty of times today I would greet or bump into people and say ‘Hello!’ or ‘Sorry!’ respectively, assuming they knew what I meant. Of course this is my knee-jerk reaction; however, it may come off as rude.
- Kids who speak another language are even more adorable. I witnessed this twice today, with both Lea’s younger cousin and another little boy on the trolley up the hillside of Locarno. This 4 year-old demonstrated this by blowing us a playful kiss after he left the train. He seemed very mature and intelligent for such a young age.
- Parents and adults are often called by their first names. No more Mr. + Mrs. Winkler, but Lukas and Coney (short for Cornelia). This made me feel a little strange at first, but I like the concept. I let “Mrs. Winkler” slip before bed last night and was teased for a bit 🙂
- Treats are for any time of day. Around 12:00 yesterday, after going to the photo store to get a memory card for my new camera (this is a great example of the specialization of each store, I wish it was still like this in the U.S.), Coney and I went to the pastacceria. We bought 2 beautiful apple strudels, and four little chestnut custard desserts that I had my eye on. We ate them in Lea’s aunt Karin’s vacation apartment in the middle of the day – my type of meal! Today we finished the apple strudel after our hike, paired with a nice pot of lemongrass ginger tea.
- Walking is a way of life. I knew this already, too, but it was interesting to experience it. I had my new pair of Superga shoes on for the first full day today, and they were great!
- Since walking is the way of life for humans, dogs come too. I had never seen so many dogs just going for walks, or in the local trains or trolleys, than I had ever seen. They seem to go everywhere with their owners!
- Mealtime is respected. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and teatime all have placemats and porcelain dishes. Nothing seems to be eaten on the go; they take their time to sit down and eat together (though I have noticed I am a pretty slow eater!). One thing that I noticed Lea did in the U.S. and here as well is to have naked salads – it is just lettuce and olive oil & vinegar. Simple and delicious.
- Tea, tea, tea! Tea for breakfast, tea during lunchtime, and tea after dinner. It is nice to have such a relaxing and calming drink to center around. Also, chocolate, cheese, bread! A few other things the Swiss definitely have mastered.
- There are so many new foods to try. I had kaki (a nectarine-melon combination fruit), vermicelli (chestnut dessert pastry), biber (a gingerbread/marzipan type food that is typical for hiking) lychee (a type of spikey fruit – I had seen it before but never tried it – absolutely delicious). I am definitely a little adventurous when it comes to food, and it has been paying off bigtime!
Bises, or should I say Chüssli! (Swiss-German!) xx