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Two Weeks in Switzyland

It has been some time since I last posted updates from my adventures here in the land of cheese, pastries and bank accounts. There's so many ways for me to write about my latest happenings, but I've decided to share just a couple of the funny moments that I have experienced thus far as a foreigner.

Let's start with an Update on the Hills:

...yeahh Still giving me problems.

I understand that the Swiss are used to this type of incline, and hopefully I'll get to that point too, but I'm starting to honestly question the capability of my lung capacity. I've been here for two weeks now, yet I'm still at a point where five minutes of my day are fully dedicated to a mental preparation for the hills. The weather was beautiful when I first arrived in Switzerland, and everyone was wearing flip flops and summer clothes.

So it was no big deal that I always showed up to my destination in a full sweat.

But now it's starting to get pretty cold, so you see women in big coats, scarves and boots, and men in sweaters, pants and leather shoes...Yet I'm still dressed like I'm about to run 26 miles in 100 degree weather...but I'm not.

I'm making a quick ten minute walk, to the grocery store. #beanathletedowd

As I was walking to practice yesterday, I noticed that something had suddenly appeared to the left of me. I looked over and it was an elderly woman. She very well could've already been walking next to me and I just hadn't noticed, but instantly I thought to myself...did she just pass me??? Are you kidding Linds? All of a sudden, this weird feeling came over me; you know, the type of feeling you get when someone challenges you to a dance off or a 1 vs 1 basketball game. I made it a goal to hit the end of the road before she had. I picked up the pace; my arms started pumping with each step becoming more explosive than the one before. (I think I even started singing an Evanescence song as I was nearing the finish line.) It was impeccable hiking form I must say. So I pulled away and held my lead until I hit the end of the road before she had. Yesss, the feeling of sweet sweet victory...quickly followed by the largest inkling of embarrassment and stupidity as I thought to myself, "oookay, I just put myself through a pretend race against a pretend opponent who in actuality is an elderly pedestrian. Yeah, that happened. So that's where I'm at with these hills. They're not bringing out the best of me so far.

The Shower Head:

My apartment is awesome. It was newly renovated only a couple years ago, so everything inside is quite nice. I have two roommates; neither of which are on the team, but instead attend the University down the street. My bedroom is a really good size that fits a bed large enough to sleep like a starfish each night. It is also fully equipped with a desk, a coffee table and futon/couch with some storage areas. Not to mention hardwood floors that make it ten times easier to moonwalk in the morning when MJ plays on my iTunes.

We have a beautiful common room with a TV, couch and table, a kitchen where I hope to be expanding my cooking skills, and a full bathroom. Now the only difference is the placement of our shower- head. In America -and every other country I had thought- the shower head is installed high and overhead. You just stand in the shower and the water falls down on you. Pretty simple and normal right? Well our shower head is currently placed on the wall facing the shower curtain and at your shoulder level. Something I had never seen before.


Usually I let the shower run for a couple minutes before getting in to let the water heat up. (I know we're in a drought right now so my bad on that one) I hadn't truly examined the layout of the shower when I first moved in, so I kept with my same shower routine.It was a calm time; Mariah Carey was the musical choice of the night and everyone knows how soothing those high notes can be. So right as she reaches the chorus of Always Be my Baby, I do a little one- two step to open the curtain and reach for the faucet and turn on the water. With that came the most violent shock that you could ever imagine. Equivalent to a cold slushy hurled at your face during a nice, calm massage. Let me tell you, the water pressure here in Switzerland is incredible! For a millisecond I thought, wow this is what it feels like to be tazed. It only went for a couple seconds as I frantically reached to turn off the faucet. But in those quick seconds, my face and clothes ended dripping with water. I turned around to see the entire sink, mirror, even opposite wall behind me drenched in water. I couldn't help but take a minute to just evaluate what had happened and laugh. Needles to say, I've changed my shower routine since then.

The Language Barrier:

The town that I live in is located on the east side towards the French border. I was told that nearly everyone in Switzerland speaks english and that I had nothing to worry about. What they had all failed to mention is that it's the big cities of Switzerland that speak english. The smaller cities, such as Fribourg- where I live- do not. I have received more panicked facial expressions from asking "Par le vou anglais?" than you could possibly imagine. It's tough because the most effective way of living as a foreigner is to ask a ton of questions. What's on the menu? What time do you close? How much for five scoops of ice cream? All of the necessary questions that you would ask on a daily basis without thought, has newly become the most difficult task.

It's in my contract to receive one free meal a day from our sponsor restaurant! I've been so busy lately that I hadn't been able to try out the restaurant until only two days ago, but when I walked in, I quickly realized that not a single employee spoke English. I can only imagine what we looked like to the other customers sitting at their tables, because for a good twenty minutes, four employees and I were playing the guessing game trying to understand what each other were saying. It reached the point where I was in a full volleyball squat passing imaginary balls and setting fictitious players in the middle of the restaurant to explain that I was their sponsored player! So after multiple hand signals, eye brow raises and pondering moments, the ladies looked as if they finally hit their "ah- ha" moment and realized what I was saying. We felt so accomplished knowing that we had hit the same wave of communication. So after some high fives and big smiles to celebrate our breakthrough, they handed me a set of keys with this assuring look on their faces like, "Yep, this is what you came here for right!?" I quickly realized that we were back to square one. Luckily a kind customer spoke "un peu" amount of English and was nice enough to act as our translator. Though I later realized that this kind gentleman could've chimed in at any point in time to help with our struggle. I guess the senseless game of charades was worth the show.

I'm very thankful that we were able to reach an understanding because this ended up being my comped lunch meal! In no way was I expecting anything to this caliber. I was so surprised with such a beautiful meal and couldn't say anything but "Merci Beaucoup Merci Beaucoup Merci Beaucoup!" They seemed rather impressed and borderline shocked that I had finished the entire meal though. What can I say, your girl's got an appetite.

I love Google Translate:

I am also nannying for a family in a town about ten minutes outside of Fribourg. Every American who has played for this team before me has helped with this family, so the kids are used to having english speakers as their nannies. They are a very kind family and instantly brought me in with open arms. The two girls that I watch over are 4 and 8 years old and are without doubt some of the funniest kids I've ever met. Anouck, the little 4 year old, is filled with spunky personality. She's constantly singing and letting out the biggest belly laughs. Julie, the 8 year old is incredibly responsible and quite intelligent. She always has a book in her hand whether she's playing at the park, sitting on the couch, or even walking down the stairs. A couple days ago she was slowly making her way down the steps while reading one of her favorite books. Thankfully she had one hand on the railing because she kept fumbling on the steps. I swear she almost took a tumble three times. So I was just standing at the bottom of the staircase with my arms out "on help" to catch a sudden spill at any point. But she was fine; she was so drawn into the book that she didn't even notice me trying to act as her personal safety net!

Neither of the girls really speak English, but they can understand bits and pieces of it. Yesterday I had to take Julie over to her athletics class in the afternoon since her mom was stuck at work. Julie wasn't aware that I already knew how to get to the gym. She kept asking questions in French while I was trying to comprehend and answer in english. I remembered that I had the google translate app on my phone where you can speak into the phone in one language, and Siri will translate to other languages. (Shoutout to Siri! heyyy) So for a good ten minutes we were asking the phone questions and reading the answers. One of the most unconventional conversations I've ever had. Since Anouck is so young, she doesn't really speak any English. One day we were sitting in her room and she was playing on my phone. She loves playing with my snapchat app and drawing on her pictures. (So if you ever receive a snapchat from me that includes drawings of rainbow squiggles, it was the 4 year old) At one point, she turned the phone around and pressed the button to take a picture. "SELFIE!" she yelled. I stopped what I was doing and looked up at her. My reaction was kind of like one that you get when your child has their first word. I was so excited to hear her speak english! But then I thought to myself, aww man her first english word was "selfie." Good to know America is making an impact on future generations around the world.

Volleyball's going well and it feels great to be back out on the court again. We have our first preseason tournament tomorrow in Cossonay. Unfortunately I couldn't get my number 4 because it was previously taken by a player who's onto her eighth year playing for this team! Respect. So I've decided to keep with the low number theme and now rep the number 3! I'm happy with it. New chapter, new country, new me! Well, same me, different number on the court just trying to make a creative phrase for the sake of this blog, me :)

Speaking of Selfies...

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