My Year Abroad

October 1, 2008
Have you ever been kept awake all night by the sounds of very annoying noises? Well if you have, I’ll bet one of those noises has never been a cowbell. Think about it. That constant ringing in your ears is more than enough to keep you awake for a night or two. Now think about hearing that constant ringing in your ears for a whole year! Getting a headache yet? This is something that we would hear every single day and every single night in Switzerland. Annoying as that is, you get pretty used to it.

I lived in Switzerland last year. I got to do so many amazing things, and learn new things about a different place in the world.

Starting at a different school after so many years at Catlin was a little nerve racking. As it turns out, school in Switzerland isn’t that much different than school here in Portland. We learn the same things and do the same work. Just in a completely different country.

I went to an international school called the John F. Kennedy International School, in Saanen. In my grade, there were only 9 students, including me. It was a very small school with people from all over. In my class there was two people from Russia, two people from Kazakhstan, one person from Italy, one person from England, two people from France, three people actually from Switzerland, and three people from the U.S.A, (including me).

All the houses in Switzerland are called Chalet’s. Our house was called Chalet La Tour. The houses are called Chalet’s because they are made completely out of wood. (You get a lot of splinters). You can’t hang up many decorations in your houses because they don’t stay up on the walls.

Every day in the winter, as a part of school, we would go skiing in the afternoon, from 2:30 to 4:30. On the very first day of the winter term, they told us our ski groups, and that afternoon, we all packed up our skis and poles, put on our boots, gloves, and helmets, got in the buses and headed for the mountain. The mountains that we skied were the Eggli, the Horn Eggli, the Wassengrat, the Weispile, and the Rellerlei.

One of my favorite parts of Switzerland was definitely skiing all the time, but another thing that I loved about it was the food. Delicious cheese fondue, raclette and homemade meringues with Doupple Raum. What more could you want? In case you didn’t know, raclette is when you put a big block of cheese, (or little individual slices of cheese), underneath a heating coil. You then let it melt for a while and while the cheese is still hot and bubbly, you scoop the melted part off and spread it on potatoes. The perfect meal!

When my dads told my brother and I that we were going to be moving to Switzerland for a year, I couldn’t be more stoked. I knew from that point that I had to hang out with my friends 24/7 until the day that I would leave. But of course, like all great plans, things don’t work out the way you thought they would. We left for Switzerland at the end of August so that we would have tons of time to get used to the time difference and the way of life in another country before school started in September 4th.

Usually when people think of Switzerland, they think of cold snowy mountains and hot chocolate, but it’s much, much more than that. It is actually really warm in the spring, summer, and the beginning of fall. Skiing I have to say was one of the best parts of the trip. Not only did we ski every day as part of school, but every Saturday our school would have a ski race against other schools. Every Saturday morning we would get up, get in our John F. Kennedy School ski uniform and head off to school were we would then meet the others at the buses. From there, we would travel to one of the mountains that we ski on, on a daily basis, or we would drive quite far to a neighboring mountain to meet schools at the mountains that they usually ski at.

For me, Saturday ski races were one of the best parts of the trip. There so much fun because you get to go on the chairlift, pama lift, or T-bar with your friends, talk while you ski around the mountain by yourself warming up for the race, then you get to race down this extremely awesome course trying to beat the other schools for the best time in your category.

A Pama lift is a circle attached to a big cord that goes through the air and when it’s your turn to get on one, the rope lowers at the stations and you pull down the circle with the bar on it and put it between your legs. Your feet are still on the ground but your being dragged up the mountain. The T-bar acts the same way. Your feet are still on the ground, but this time, there’s a pole attached to a big cord with a long bar connected together but sticking out on both sides. The T-bar can hold multiple people, were as the pama lift can only carry up one.

My favorite skiing memory was at a ski race at a far away mountain. It was a big competition. Every race has either medals or ribbons saying first, second, or third place. This was one of the two races a year that our school goes to that gives out giant golden cups to the winners of the races. It was almost my turn to go and I was getting all pumped up. I tightened up my boots, strapped on my poles, snapped on my helmet, then 3…2…1… GO! I skied that course so fast and didn’t miss a gate. I looked up at my time and saw that I had done the course in only 35 seconds! I couldn’t be prouder of myself. All the girls from my school in my category had gotten somewhere between 38-42 seconds. When I saw the score list at the end of the day, I was so happy! I had gotten 6th place out of 35 girls in my category. That was probably the biggest accomplishment in skiing that I completed during the entire year.

Between skiing all the time, eating the most amazing food, and meeting people from all over the world, having the chance to go to Switzerland for an entire year was the most amazing thing that I have ever done. There is a lot of great thing about Switzerland that I love, but these are the things that make me want to go back.

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Puppylove911 said...
Oct. 12, 2008 at 5:58 pm
Wow...thats really cool emmarose...
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