Friday, September 10, 2010

Willkommen in Switzerland

Yes, these are real alphorn players giving a performance on the street at a market in my Grandma's town (Chur)!! Seriously. You guys asked for alphorns, you get alphorns!

So I have made it to Switzerland! Very exciting! I am working on getting all my ducks in a row for grad school to start in a couple weeks, and it has been somewhat exhausting. Having talked to some foreign exchange students in America, I realize that the process of moving to another country is always a bit difficult, but I never really expected the paper-war that I walked into. Naively thinking that as a person with Swiss citizenship, I shouldn't have a problem with all the visas and foreign paperwork, I guess I imagined I could just bound back into my country and plop myself down somewhere. Not the case! But I think things are finally in order - two temporary homes, one semi-permanent apartment, school identification, transportation, scholarship, accounts, registering my new location, getting birth certificates, etc. Craziness! But, who am I to complain? Life is wonderful! I am now living in lovely Switzerland, soon in Zurich, and very close to my extended family (whom I can't wait to get to know better). The bratwursts, cheese, chocolate, meats and beer are everything I've ever dreamed of.

Beware: I may be twice this size when I get back to the US if I can't find more time for mountain hikes!

I have made a lot of difficult decisions in the last year to change my life for the better, and I really feel like this is where I am supposed to be. The past year has been a sort of metamorphosis, and now I think I have emerged as a happy person, with lots of life, and lots of hope for the future. Thanks to all of you who have been a part of this transformation!

I am secretly a huge fan of flowcharts and I especially love this flowchart for happiness. It pretty much describes my recent decision making process. I find it to be quite straight forward and totally reliable.

And at this point, the flowchart has led me here, to Switzerland, to grad school, and closer to all of this:

Family. This is my grandma and Aunt Monika.

A different habitat. This is a very poisonous and totally perfect fly amanita that I found up in the mountains (Flims). All it needs is a little gnome next to it.

Amazing food and drink. Coffee (real espresso!) at a cafe near Bahnhofstrasse, the most expensive street in Zurich, Switzerland.

Beautiful views. Me next to the Zurisee in Zurich! What a beautiful day!

And great festivals and markets. Mom at the Wednesday Market in the Zurich Hauptbahnhof (main train station). Yummy!

And, just to let you know, I am still going to be posting about the Treehugger Tour. I am currently finishing an article about the trip which will be published in the next edition of American Forests Magazine! This is very exciting! Keep an eye out for it. You can subscribe to the magazine or download it from the website when the next edition comes out. I'll let you know too. I'll get back to blogging some more after the article is complete. Thanks for your patience!

Ciao from Switzerland!


Andrew Sawyer said...

Hola Kristina, Thanks for the update, keep it up and I may take you up on the offer of a vacation, it looks incredible. The mushroom shot is awesome, I am pretty sure it is the same species that we have here, I have found it in the deep pine woods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The scientific name is Amanita muscaria var. muscaria, but we call it Fly Agaric. It is so named because it is very poisonous and historically it was mixed with milk and set out as a fly trap. Apparently the flies get stoned in the stuff and then drown. If I ever run across another one I might be tempted to try it just to watch stoned flies drown (you know you need to get a social life when . . ). Our literature mentions a Siberian relative that, when ingested induces visions in addition to the delerium, raving and profuse sweating caused by our variety. I guess one should stick with the Psilocybe mushrooms, or perhaps a good toad. Thanks for indulging me in this nerd moment. Andy

Jimbo said...

Terrific to see you're doing so well-! I'm still forging knifeblades and truckdriving. Your mushroom looks alot like Amanita Muscaria, watch out for hippies eating them-! At least stay out of their way if they're driving-! Have fun-! ~Jimbo,