Friday, July 3, 2009

The French Lady Has White Bread!

My arrival in Switzerland, albeit nerve wracking, was not painful or tough. I guess I should give some background information on my employers. (No personal information dad don't worry). They have lived in Switzerland for 7 years now, the father is Canadian and speaks English and a little German & French, the mother is French and speaks French, English, and a little German (isn't it amazing that you can live in a part of the country where you don't know the language and still get by?) the children a boy who is 8 and a girl who is 5 go to an International School, and they speak French, German and English.

 I met Will, the father, (I'm using other names for the family members of my employers) at the airport who had flowers (check) and to
ld me that I didn't even have that much luggage (check plus!). We then drove to the house which is in a town right outside of Zürich. The house in pretty incredible, my room is in the basement (just where I like them!)  but it is definitely big enough and
 fits all my stuff, and is next to the laundry room so maybe now I'll do my laundry with more frequency! The next floor is the backyard, living and dining rooms, kitchen and a bathroom, along with a back porch. The next floor are the bedrooms of the parents and the children, along with two bathrooms, and the next floor is a bedroom/office area with a bathroom and a balcony where you can see Lake Zürich and, when its clear, the mountains. Not a bad living arrangement.

Since I arrived at 8 am I decided it would be best for me to stay up as long as I could in order to change my internal clock. Since Will had to go back to work, to which he said, "Since I'm late to the office, I'll be making up for it by leaving early!" The mother, Anne, and I had lunch and to my surprise she pulled out white bread! Granted th
ey do have two small children but I could hardly believe that Anne, a Frenchwoman, had white bread. We then ran some errands and afterwards I went for a run (or tried to run but my tiredness made it more of a walk) in the forest right by their house. Of course I took a wrong turn and ended up where else but the 3M Building. I guess there are some states you can't escape! Afterwards we went into the town where we live and she showed me around a bit. Came home, had dinner (Will asked me if I drank champagne and I was hesitant in my answer, and they said, "It's okay! We want you to!"--I think I'm going to like it here), I tried to unpack a bit and then finally went to bed around 11:30.

I woke up around 9:30 this morning--Anne was at work and Will was on his way to pick up the children who are vacationing with their grandmother right now--and headed down to my town. Got lost, went down a private road and then got scolded in German and then told where I could go in English, and eventually found my way to the train station. I hopped on a train to Zürich and what do I hear coming from the seats behind me? English. This mother was talking about clothes etc. when I overhear her say, "We just love living in Minnesota, it has such a great midwestern feel..." of course I can't help myself so I strike up a conversation. Turns out they are from the Twin Cities area and have been living here for a year so far. Truly Minnesotans are everywhere. Once off the train I promptly went the wrong way into Zürich--I'm starting to think that the "great sense of direction" I have must be purely luck--and wandered around for a while. I finally resolved to get onto a tram (I love public transportation) to help figure out where I was, when I finally figured out where I was and wanted to be it was no problem making my way, via tram of course, there. 

Where I wanted to be is Bahnhofstrasse, which apparently has the only ATM where the maximum withdraw is 5,000 Francs, but once you see the street I guess it makes sense. Between the churches (yes I did some "death marching," my family's term for unending tourist-y walks--coined by my brother on our first European vacation and probably said on every subsequent family vacation since) was Cartier, Longchamp, Hérmes, Ferragamo--really educational places to go into. At the end of the street was the train, tram and bus station but I decided to take the final form of public transit in Zürich--the boat. They have boats! For free! With great views of the mountains and city I didn't want to get off at my stop. Especially once at my stop it was all uphill back home. So instead I got lost in my town, finally catching a bus back to the house. 

There is a women's lacrosse team in Zürich and I asked if I could be a part of it, the coach told me to come on down to practices on Wednesdays and Fridays so this evening I attempted to go to one. I got the bus, train, tram to the stop and once off the tram it promptly started raining, thundering and lightening. I wanted to at least find the school where they practice so I continued on when it started pouring, I figured if I was already wet why not keep going? When I found the school a woman, who did not look like she "spreichen sie Englisch" (nor was I going to ask) kept telling me there was keine training (no practice) so I made my way back down in the rain, once at the tram stop again the sun came back out and the rain stopped (naturally). But at least I know where the practice is!

Well that's all for now--perhaps off to a 4th of July party tomorrow, but maybe this 4th of July is my Independence from America.

1 comment:

  1. Hey! I just had to comment on your host parents offering you champagne. It must be a European thing. In my 15 years of babysitting I only had one American employer offer me red wine occasionally after a long day with her 4 boys. Earlier this year I worked as an au pair in Schaffhausen and I woke up with a hangover my second day on the job. My host mom, when she was around, would often offer me prosecco... :)