Friday, May 18, 2012

Livin like Heidi

Somewhere in Lauterbrunnen...
Seriously. Why are the Swiss so obsessed in Gnomes??
In Switzerland ascension is a Sunday. The holiday is auskunft, I think, but it's the holiday that Jesus Christ ascended back into heaven. It is so interesting how steeped Catholicism is in the European culture even though many Europeans don't attend church. Anyway, SO! What to do with my day off? Woke up this morning, looked out my window, and what did I see? SUN SHINE! Definitely not a day to bub around the house so within an hour my Friend Nadine and I were off to Lauterbrunnen. This is an area with all of these little alpine villages, waterfalls, and spectacular views of the alps.

Yet again, Lauterbrunnen
noch ein mal! (Lauterbrunnen, again.)
We first went and saw the Trümmelbachfälle. These waterfalls have carved incredible and cork screwy paths all the way through this mountain and you can walk along side of them and view this for yourself!

If Gollums really existed, this is where I imagined one would be.
Rainbow :)
From there we walked to another village and then took a Gondola Ride up to this village called Gimmelwald. One can only reach this village by this Gondola! There are no roads that lead up to it! It was very peaceful and probably one of my most favorite places in all of Switzerland so far. There was just such a calm and sirene feeling. Whilst walking Nadine and I came across Chickens (that frolicked to us.. not going to lie I was a little scared) a couple of actual Billy Goats, and lambs. Then we came across a sign that read Alpkäse! Or cheese from the alps. Thank gosh Nadine speaks Swiss German (well she is Swiss) because I was much to shy to ring the doorbell (if I were to be by myself.) So this cute little lady pops her head out of the window and then says no problem that of course we can come and buy some cheese! So we go into her Käserei, sample some, find out that it's amazing, and buy some! She even gave us a discount and gave it to us for only 4 Francs. She said that Käserei's like hers are becoming more and more difficult to find. Well yeah... it's not everyday that you stumble across one when you just happen to be trekking through the Swiss Alps.

After this we headed up to Mürren which was even higher and saw the back side of three of the most famous mountains in all of the Swiss Alps and THEE most famous actually in all of Europe. The grand Jungfraujoch! The highest peak in all of Europe. We got some hot cocoa here and I was quite shocked when the waiter couldn't understand Nadine when she ordered in Swiss German... he was only English! This was a very touristy village.
Couldn't help not to Frolic.
Friday (today for me) Nadine, her brother, and I went and hiked the Guggershörnli. There is a true (at least that is what they say) story that goes along with it and was even turned into a song called the "Guggisbergerlied." Here is a link to the song:

What happened was in the 1600's there lived... ok I am going to let google explain it haha... "This chant is probably one of the oldest folk song from Switzerland. It tells the possibly true story of two lovers that did not come together because of a fight between the poor Hans-Joggeli and a rich man who also was interested in the girl (Vreneli). Hans-Joggeli thought he killed his adversary in a fight, and fled the land to join a foreign army, like it was usual in that time. When he heard that the adversary was not dead, he returned, just to find Vreneli has died from sorrow." 
Was für eine tragische Geschichte! So we climbed this hill that is supposed to be the very same hill that separated where these two lovers lived. THEN. Nadine's mom asked me if I would like to try on her Trocht (Traditional Swiss dress.) Well ok, why not!
Parents, I hope you're enjoying this.
Hallo!! Mein name ist Heiidi.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Today at lunch I was quizing the boys on English words.. They were doing pretty good! When I asked them "Wie heisst Baum auf Englisch," they knew it was a tree, and then Jeremias said "tree hugger!" random things these kids know... However, I knew I would stump them when I asked them to repeat the lovely word, "vegetable." For some reason, Swiss people have the hardest time saying it! They say it as if they had a speech impediment like I did in my younger years! So I can't help but fall off my chair laughing seeing them try over and over to pronounce the "v" sound. Quite the entertaining Mittagessen.

Highlight if the week so far: seeing a fox run into a fence. Haha poor guy looked so confused.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hop Hop Hop!!

I'm alive!!! Tore up those 10 miles in the pouring rain and cold in 1:34... Not too bad considering the crazy uphill parts. Ouch! My legs are going to be feeling this for a couple of days. The Grand Prix is the most popular race in Switzerland and that was made evident by the 29,000 runners.

I was most worried about getting trampled but they split us up into blocks and we started at different times... So I was fine seeing as I was in the 22nd block. It was a gorgeous run throughout Bern passing all of the famous landmarks, going down the small European alley ways, and trudging through a nature preserve park (despite the fact that it was filled with mud; actually made me feel like I was in 'Nam or something!) It was cool seeing all of the runners from africa finishing it in like a half an hour though. Seriously someone should give them a couple of cheese burgers, they were so skinny. Along the course there were bands playing all different types of music.

After. Notice the darker shade of my pullover...
Before the race started Ana (who came to cheer me on; "hop hop hop!" That's what they say over here...) and I just walked around Bern all day and then freaked out when we didn't know where to go for me to start..but then like a beacon of shining light I heard an english familiar to my hears amidst the crowd! So I basically pounced on this boy and found out he's from oregon. He's also an au pair and was very nice and toom me to all the places I needed to know.

Funny moment of the day: Ana and I were walking when all if a sudden my umbrella popped open onto this random stranger! Entschuldigung..

Highlight of the day: Being so stunned by this man's beauty that I ran into him... His actions went like so: "sorry"-smile-"guten lauf"-another beautiful smile. Ran for him that day.

Today, Sunday just strolled through Bern with Ana and had a picnic whilst overlooking the Aare.

Nice place to have a picnic wouldn't you say?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sometimes English is Best

Highlights of the week are so far knowing that there is a jaguar running around somewhere (escaped from the zoo), taking a walk round the rosengarten with my friend natasha (i figured out that i can't stay in mittelhausern all day), and telling this crazy drunk man that i couldn't understand what he was saying to me. His answer? "das ist besser" (that is better (that i don't understand him)) Also, benni actually wanted to eat lunch first instead of me having to bug him 5 times. I asked him if he was ready for lunch and his answer, "I actually am ready." I was so happy.

Then last night after Deutschkurs I went to the park behind the Münster and people watched with my british friend. Our game was to pick out the 'swiss.' it's easy to do because they're the ones always wearing socks... Despite the sandals they have on.

Two more mistakes I've made... My host mother was telling me that it was going to be a hot day! What I wanted to say? "I'm so excited!" What I actually said: "I'm so nervous!" ..... Then I was walking through Bern headed to the Library when I was ambushed by one of those organizations who ask you to donate money etc. She began speaking to me in Swiss German and I replied "sorry I can't understand Swiss German, at all." So she switched to High German! Yeah.. Still had a really difficult time.. I knew that she was explaining this organization to me but then all of a sudden she stoppd talking! It was my turn to talk! What she had asked (didn't know at the time) was how would I feel if i had special needs or a disabilty? My reply... "also.. Was machst du hier?" --- "so.. what are you doing here??" So nice, right? Her reply, "Shall I speak in English?" Haha yes please and sorry for acting like a complete jerk! You know, I will never EVER think someone is weird again if English is a Foreign language for them and they say something weird or I think that they don't understand me.

So thus far this is how my week has gone. Tomorrow I'm running in the Grand Prix, "the prettiest 10 miles of the world!" i'll be the judge of that.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Frühling (Springtime)

Heidi had it about right.

This last week has been very spring like. I swear that everything just decided to turn green overnight. Before I went to bed.. Same old brown green ish mountain. Next morning.. Green and lime green mountain.. WHOA?! Says my head as I unintentionally double take. Not only that but there are animals EVERYWHERE! All different kinds of goats, lambs, donkeys, cows, horses, you name it. And they all have babies! My favorite animal encounters so far are seeing two little baby lambs going at it (like head butting one another), seeing the crazed look in the baby horse's eyes as I run by, being stared at by more or less 50 cows all at the same time (kind of intimidating actually), and my favorite is running alongside a herd of lambs and hearing the tingle of the bells around their necks. It sounds so beautiful (like music!) that I usually run past them a couple of times. Something that I don't understand though is why cats think you can't see them if they crouch down... Every time I see this I yell boo with scary hands just to prove them wrong and to see them flee. Heh heh.

Beautiful rose bush. Notice random gnomes in the background that I just BARELY did.
So other than the Frühling in the air, things have been going nicely. I'm FINALLY starting to get a grip on the German and have so far had 3 conversations in German! Well ish. On friday my friend Nadine invited me over for a barbecue with her family. When I first met her parents back in March I felt so awkward because literally had no idea what was going on. For example Nadine's mom would ask me something (what would I like anything to drink?) and I would answer.. "yaaa!" But over dinner Friday (even if they did have to kind of dumb it down for me) we spoke in German for basically the whole time!

Then today at church the cuuutest little old lady smiled at me! So during break I decided that I had to try and say something so I went up to her and said, "Hallo! Ich möchte mit dir sprechen. Aber Achtung! Ich spreche noch nicht sehr gut Deutsch..." translation-- "hello I would like to talk to you! But beware! I don't speak German very well yet.". I think this is what I'm going to say to everyone from now on. "Beware!" So we had a lovely conversation and I learned that she had been a chocolatier! I don't remember for how many years she said because I was already well into exclaiming how much I love Swiss chocolate... She then told me to come over sometime and get some and gave me her address! Don't mind if I do.. I answered that when my German was better in two weeks (hopefully) that I would come. Such a cute lady! Her name is Hedwig and she is about 90 years old.
Nadine + Barbecuing = YUM!
Then the other conversation was with the missionary from Germany. We just talked about simple things and I've found that his High German is a lot easier to understand. But can I just say how proud I am of myself?! Give myself two pats on the back I will.

Other than that Saturday I walked all around Bern with my fellow American friend Kaytlyn and was forced to buy a shirt. When I say forced, I mean forced! Stupid Celsius. It's a little too late to change when I notice on the train that i'm always either dressed too heavily or not enough compared to everyone else. So alas, I had dressed for a 20 or 30 degree fahrenheit day heavy black coat and all when it was indeed a 65 degree fahrenheit day.

Altstadt of Bern
Beautiful Kaytlyn and I enjoying the view over the Aare! Right behind us there is a full blown market in swing.
Potential Christmas Present for my Dad?

Haven't gained that much weight ok Mom...

Das Munster lurking behind the greenery of the trees
 Last, is my new obsession. MAGEN BROT! You can usually find these little turd looking like pieces at any market. What they are is like these tiny little cake/bread pieces with spices like anise, cinnamon, etc... dipped/soaked in chocolate frosting. So basically black licorice chocolate frosting coated spice cake... I love it so much that I coheresed Nadine to make it with me.