Sunday, 22 December 2013

Frohe Weihnachten aus der Schweiz! Joyeux Noël and Merry Christmas from Switzerland!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

These past few weeks have been very special. Christmas is coming to Switzerland and it is so incredible to see. The cities are all decorated in many different lights, candels and Christmas trees! I have been traveling lots in Switzerland and have seen so many new things. In late november I had a fantastic weekend in Zermatt (the village on the feet of the Matterhorn) with 150 other Rotary Youth Exchanges Students. Here are some pictures from that great weekend:

Zermatt Weekend was really really fun. I met so many new people! I spent most of the weekend with my Aussie friends Matilda, Oskar, Hannah (1) and Hannah (2). Also we were with Rhiannon my best non Swiss friend. She is from Idaho!

In December I also went to Montreux in the Swiss Rivera! It was an absolutly beautiful day! Here is all of us who went:

I'll update soon! I love you all, my family, friends, Rotarians and loved ones!
Liebe Grüße und frohe Weihnachten.


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

99 Days in Switzerland

Hello Everyone!

Wow I realize I have not written in my blog for about 2 months now! The time sure does fly by. I am having an unbelievable time in Switzerland. Every day is an adventure and I am learning so much! My German is now very very good! I feel very confident with it and I love talking, writing and reading in German! I do find it difficult sometimes when people speak Swiss German with me as I do not speak Swiss German but that is all part of the exchange experience!

There is no way I could ever sum up the past 2 months as they have been unbelievable. So here are some of the highlights!

- Traveling in the mountains in Valais
- Being invited to have Raclette with the neighbors
-Eating unbelievable amounts of chocolate!
-I have visited 12 Cantons (Provinces) out of 26
-Going to Liechtenstein, and St. Gallen and Zurich!
-Visiting Madita and Dirk and the Venhaus Family
-Fall Break was awesome, two weeks without school and lots of traveling!
-Yodeling concert in October
-Going to a Fantastic Piano Concert with my friend Drew
-Having a Canadian Thanksgiving with my host family
-Spending time with Rotex People and Exchangies!
-Seeing a laser light show on the Bundeshaus in Bern.  
-Going to the Basel Fall Fair
-Rotary Country Fair was crazy!
-Spending time with my host family
-Getting an actually good mark on a Math test in German!!!
-Playing a drunk person in my theatre group
-The Rotary Fall Weekend was insane! Zermatt weekend is next week!
-Using my free travel card in Switzerland every single day of course!!

I am having a great time and all is well. Life is good.
Bis bald,


Thursday, 12 September 2013

School, Basel, Luzern and Schwingen + some blowing noses :)

Guten Abend! Hello Everyone,

Wow have these past 2 weeks been very eventful!! First of off I have finished with my intensive language course in Bern which was so much fun! I really enjoyed the three weeks with my fantastic class. On the weekend before the start of school (real school that is) my friends Faith, and Hannah and I went to Basel a city in Northern (ish) Switzerland. I knocked off another 2 cantons (provinces) on my list of 26 Swiss Cantons! I'm now up to 8 (not bad for only a month)! It is right on the boarder of France and Germany! We had bunches of fun, exploring the city and walking around. Although I would like to come back not on a Sunday when most of the shops and touristy things are closed. Here are some pictures:
Now the day before I was in Basel my host mom and I went to Burgdorf in Bern to go see the Schwingfest (the Swiss National Sport Championship). If I were to give a short description of what Schwingen is I would say: "That it is very very Swiss... very" :) It is a kind of hybrid between wrestling and playing in saw dust... I know that sounds quite strange but it was fantastic! My host mom and I had so much fun. We walked around the Schwingen village and cheered as some Schwingers moved up in the ranks. I really had no idea who was winning but I just cheered with everyone else all the same! The best part about Schwingen is that the winner on the national event doesn't win only money... they also win a cow!
This cow to be precise! All I can say is that Schwingenfest was very fun!

The day before that (I know I am kind of working backwards but bear with me) my host family took me to a musical on the Schiffenensee (a lake) and it was all in Swiss German. I understood very little of what was going on but I had loads of fun, the music was excellent!

Now two Mondays ago I started my first day of school at College Ste. Croix. I was a little nervous at first but my first day went really well. The other people in my class are hilarious! Two weeks of school in and things are going great! Today I felt so proud I actually understood almost everything that was going on in Math class! And Philosophy is by far my favourite subject! Even though Deutsch is also really fun!! My friends are great and I am having a lot of fun at school, even though Wednesdays are a bit heart deteriorating because we have a 10 hour school day... oh well! I'm still just amazed that I am still here in Switzerland! One thing that I notice all the time now which is a small (but to me big) cultural difference is: people blow their noses all the time... in class!!! What is that??! I don't think I have ever heard people actually blow their nose in class! We always go to the washroom and do that. But people here do it all the time in public. At first I was taken off guard but now I am a little bit used to it... a little :P

Last weekend I went with two friends to Luzern an incredible city in the middle of Switzerland on a lake. It looks as if it comes out of a fairy tale!! Tomorrow we don't have school because our class is going on a field trip to the capital to have some fun together (isn't that cool??) Should be great!

Well I should maybe get some sleep,

Gute Nacht!


Monday, 26 August 2013

Swiss Adventures :)

Guten Abend!

So I am starting my third week in Switzerland tomorrow! I have only been here a short time but I already feel at home (something I have not forgotten to tell my host family :) ) The past few weeks have been fantastic! During the week I go to my German class in Bern and then on the weekends we have all kinds of fun! Last week our teacher Deborah ( who is awesome) threw a birthday party for a girl in our class who turned 17! She organized the 11 of us into groups and then we had to navigate throughout Bern. Our group got a little lost but it was all good fun, in the end we just went and got some pasties and coffee because we thought we shouldn't get any more lost.

Last week was really fun in school! On one of the days my friends and I were just eating lunch and then suddenly we hear a massive thunder storm and it started pouring rain!!

Not this weekend but last my host parents and I went to the Murton Classics in  the city of Murton. It was absolutely incredible! It is a chamber orchestra that played two Mozart pieces and one Schulman in a CASTLE! The evening was spectacular and the musicians played admirably! Afterwards we went to an after party that Rotary hosted on the castles' balcony. I now have a new favourite dessert :) Gâteau de Vully :) I had about 5 slices! 

The day before my host parents also took me boating on the Schiffenensee in Fribourg: absolutly beautiful!

This weekend my friends and I (on Saturday) went to Geneva for the day! It was so fun! We did a tour of the UN building which was so cool (I can write that off my bucket list)!!! The tour was great! Did you guys know that the UN building in Geneva is the 2nd largest building in Europe! Right after Versailles. After the tour we were starving so we ran around the city looking for somewhere (cheap) to eat. After lunch we went to the Jet D'eau in Geneva and some other really cool places!! 

Today school was good but on Wednesday we are doing a Swiss Cooking Class!! I can't wait, we are going into Bern with our teacher tomorrow to buy some ingredients! I can't wait. Next Monday I start my regular school in Fribourg, I got my welcome letter from the school and it turns out I will be in third year (Grade 12) for my exchange year! Kind of exciting!

Guten Nacht!!


Thursday, 15 August 2013

First Week!

Hello Everyone!

I have had an incredible first week here! It is insane! I have not had one day where I was not smiling and laughing (along with eating chocolate) for the majority of the time!

So I moved to my first host family, the Haymoz's yesterday and we are having a great time! The past week I was staying with Thekla and Adrian my councilors throughout the year. We went hiking in the Alps which was absolutely incredible! We also had a dinner party nearly every night where I had my first tastes at real Swiss cuisine! Which I am now a great fan of!!

I started my language school on Monday morning in Bern (the Capital) and it has been going very well.  I am in the upper level German class (woot) and I can feel my German is improving when I talk to my host family. I can actually hold a conversation (sometimes :) ) Bern is a beautiful city, it is quite similar to Fribourg except it is on the river Aare, which is the most BLUE river I have ever seen!! Its colour is amazing! And its quite refreshing to put your feet in after a long day at school! The other exchange students in my class are awesome we are having a very good time! Today our teacher Deborah gave us the best chocolate I have ever had in my life! It was so good I can't even describe it! I wanted to buy some but when I went to the store to look at the chocolates my heart kind of skipped a beat! It is so expensive like 50 Francs for just a little bit of chocolate. So I might have to save that for a special occasion. For now I'll stick to chocolate from Migros or Coop.

I am having a fantastic time and the weather could not be better! Sun all day long for days!

Guten Nacht,


Pictures from our trip to the Schwarzsee in the Alps:

Wednesday, 7 August 2013


Hello Everyone!!

I have safely made it to Switzerland! All three of my flights went very well, all of them were calm except for the last one to Zürich which had quite a lot of turbulence. But I landed safely. Once I had retrieved my luggage I went to the arrival gate and there was Thekla!! Smiling and walking towards me! It was a great first meeting. For those of you who do not know Thekla is my councillor during my exchange year and her husband Adrian is the youth exchange officer for my Rotary Club! After our greeting we made it straight to the train station in Zürich. We had a bit of trouble navigating as my Ski Bag was very bulky and heavy. After we boarded the train we found our seats. My first ever ride on the very famous Swiss trains. And do you want to know something... it was half an hour late! I was laughing so much when I heard that we couldn't leave for 30 minutes. It was just funny that Swiss trains are "always supposed to be on time" when the first one I am on is late!

The train ride was very beautiful oh my!! The country side in Switzerland is unbelievable. Green hills, mountains, lakes, trees, rivers the whole deal!! Once we arrived in Fribourg we dropped of my luggage in Tentlingen where Thekla lives. I will be staying with her and Adrian for about a week and a half. We then made our way into Fribourg. Thekla showed me all around the beautiful city! And it really is beautiful!! The old city which was created in the middle ages is a gem of Switzerland. After our tour we went back to Thekla's to prepare for a little party we would be having in the evening. Thekla and Adrians friends from American came and we had a lovely evening! Michael, Nicole, Bradley and Zach were fantastic! We roasted Wurst over an open fire in the back yard then we at them along with the rest of the great dinner! It was funny I did not even feel tired at all even though I had been awake for about 40 hours by then. After dinner I brought out the Canadian chocolates for "Hot Chocolates" in Courtenay. I was so nervous they would not get the Swiss approval, but as Thekla tasted the first bite of Raspberry Quartet she smiled and nodded!!!! Wooo go Canada for chocolate making! We are still far far behind but we are getting there! The rest of the evening was very lovely. Many laughs, many smile and good conversation.

Today was also a fantastic day. I woke up at 6:30 am and tried to go back to bed but was unsuccessful. So I decided to take a quick morning swim in Thekla and Adrians pool and then get ready for the day. I left the house at about 9:30 and went to the nearest bus stop that would take me into downtown Fribourg. The bus came and I showed my GA card (which gives me free transport on trains, buses, boats etc.) then sat down. I must say I have never, never in my life seen such a clean bus! Honestly its like someone cleans the entire bus every hour!! I got off the bus in Fribourg and decided to explore the city, I had a lunch date with Thekla at noon so I had a few hours to look around. I had such a great time I went through all of the cobbled streets looking into all the shops. I also went to the Old City (Vielle Ville) and looked around. Fribourg is an incredibly pretty city, and that is an understatement! I added some pictures below. I took the bus back to the University that Thekla works at and we went for lunch at the Mensa which is just across the street. Theklas friends Anna and Terrance joined us! We had a fantastic lunch. The Mensa is like a cafeteria for the University but it is quite fancy. The food was really good at the Mensa we all had a great lunch! Afterwards Thekla and I went into the city to look for a watch for her eldest son for his birthday. The watch she chose was very nice I kind of wish I had it!

In the evening we had a lovely dinner all 3 of us! We had grilled Gnocci, a great sautéd vegetable dish and some kind of meat that I couldn't really figure out what it was. In fact after dinner Thekla looked at me and said "So did you enjoy dinner?" and I replied "Yes it was fantastic! I enjoyed it quite a lot especially the meat!" She then said "Well good! Because that is your first time eating horse meat." My face dropped  for about 2 seconds and then I burst into fits of laughter! She was howling with laughter as was I! The night before I had told her that the only thing that I probably would not eat is horse meat. And her she is less than 24 hours later tricking me into eating it! I could not stop laughing it was hilarious!! And you know the best part? It was really good! I would definitely eat it again! I still can't believe she is that sneaky! The dinner ended with all three of us red in the face from laughing.

Monday, 29 July 2013

One Week Left in Canada!

Hello Everyone!

So in exactly one week I will be be boarding the plane for my adventure in Switzerland. August 5th is coming up very fast!! This past month we have been blessed with incredible weather. Sunshine every day in July (I'm pretty sure that is a record in BC)!

School ended at the end of June and I have been enjoying a wonderful time with family and friends these past few weeks. Tubing up by Comox lake, going down the Puntledge River, and hiking Mt. Becher are just a few favourites! It is going to be difficult leaving this weather, but as my host sister Olive tells me that the weather in Switzerland is also very fantastic! The other day it got up to 32 degrees! I skyped with the Haymoz's (my host family) on Thursday! It was great they are so lovely I cannot wait to meet them. Olive will be going on an RYE exchange to Ecuador a few weeks after I arrive! I think she is just as excited as I am, well who wouldn't be!? Ecuador sounds incredible! 

I received my Swiss Visa in the mail 2 weeks ago and all my plane tickets have been booked for months so I am all set! All I have to do now is pack... a task I have not been looking forward to so much.

Brendon (my oldest brother) came home from the Caribbean a week ago! He was sailing from Antigua down to Grenada for three weeks (sweet life eh?). It's great to have him back at home! Alex is going back to Kewlona on Thursday for a big music festival called Centre of Gravity. I think he is going to have a blast! My friends came over a few days ago and we all hung out in the sun, baked cupcakes (more like just Gabby baked) and went to the beach.

Well I'm going to go start packing my summer clothing...
Talk to you all soon.


Here are the pictures my friends took when them came over :P