I went to Les Diablerets on Wednesday. The snow on the slopes was worse than when I went to Leysin on Monday, very icy in some places (like Leysin) but after lunch I took a gondola up to another place we went with the University and that was better. The snow was still crap but it was better.
I'm becoming a lot more confident with my skillz. I can do all of the blue runs that I've tried. I was going to try a red run and have it be my last for the day but it was 4:00 and the teleskis end at 4:30 and I figured it would be best to call it a day. Especially after the "accident"... I broke my ass(J'ai caissé le cul)!!
There was a section of a blue run that I remember my instructor told us was more like a red and I was feeling confident just after lunch and decided to try turn going down it instead of just easing my way down, but I tried in an icy patch and fell hard on my butt for the first time. I told myself I wasn't going to fall hard on the same spot again or I would be screwed. I went through the rest of the day becoming more and more confident with my abilities and rarely falling. Just when I started down the last run of the day (blue) I hit a big mound of snow that shouldn't have been there and WHAM! Fell straight on my ass!! I just stood on my knees for a bit with my head resting on the snow because I didn't want to move. I wanted a helicopter. But I made it down to the bottom OK after taking a rest a little ways down the piste. So that's the story of how I broke my ass!
I think I'm readying to conquer my first red now! I have a lot better control of what I'm doing now and feel like I'm making a lot of good progress. I fell off the teleskis only once that day and it was because I wasn't focused. This will be my last trip before my week of snowboarding next week. I'm pumped!! As for my butt, it hurts to sit, walk, go up and down the stairs, and sleep on my right side. I think it really is broke...
Friday, November 12, 2010
This week has been a good one. It started out with me not passing my test for my class where we read newspapers and learn about the Swiss government. I can do something to make up the points I missed so I can pass but it wouldn’t have been the worst thing in the world if I failed the test. We are required to pass the test to receive a final grade but I really could care less about that class so I didn’t ruin my week at all by not passing.
I DID pass my test for my grammar course, which I’m happy about because I have been struggling a bit in that class. I got a 4. The grading system is out of 6 here so a 4 is like getting a D in the US. I was only a half point away from a 4.5, or a C in the US, so I’m happy about that. I don’t think my actual grades will transfer back to the US, just the credit for the class, which is great!
And then came Wednesday, the normal day of the week for the pub nights except this week the pub night was organized at MAD! club. The locals here say that MAD! is the best club in the city so I was happy to be able to go there. Someone even told me I needed to go there before I leave. It was different this time because it was open to everyone at the university and not just exchange students, like most pub nights. The theme for the night was Bad at MAD! the idea was to dress in stuff that doesn’t go together, basically creating bad associations. I didn’t have much of an idea of what to do so I just decided to go all out. I thought it might be dangerous if other people didn’t do the same but I thought it would be better if I stayed to the theme. Starting with the top, I wore a button up blue stripped shirt with a scarf, for bottoms, I decided to wear a swim suit, for shoes, I wore wool socks pulled all the way up and my Teva sandals.
Some of my flat mates saw me before leaving and one reminded me Halloween was last week so I had to explain the get-up to him. When I met my friends before leaving one told me I looked German with the socks and sandals (she’s German). They were all dressed pretty ridiculously too. I actually sort of matched since my swimsuit is blue as well as my shirt. I was happy to have only paid 10 CHF for a ticket to the club because I guess on most nights it costs 25 CHF to enter the club.
The club was pretty cool. It had si-fi looking décor everywhere and was 3 or 4 floors, although they only had the first floor opened to us, which was all we needed. They had a bar in each corner of the place! They also had some DJ there who I guess is somewhat famous and he did indeed play some good music unlike some places. Oh and I forgot to mention everyone else dressed according to the theme so it was perfect! I thought I looked pretty ridiculous but I definitely was not the craziest. There were two guys who wore Borat type thongs with the shoulder straps and gold skin-tight stretch pants and no shirt. I definitely wasn’t dressed the craziest.
I was the only guy in the group of about 8 people that went together so I definitely felt like a stud. It was a bit funny to see all of these dudes coming over and trying to hit on the girls. After a bit a strange guy came over and would not leave! He would not stop trying to touch and dance with the girls and in general be creepy. They didn’t want to leave where we were because there wasn’t really anywhere else to go so that’s when I decided something needed to be done. I started off by just getting between the girls and the creeper as a sort of creeper-barrier. It however wasn’t enough and creeper found ways around the barrier. Finally after trying a few different things to keep him away I decided it was time to dance… with the creeper. But not to worry, it was nothing serious, just to distract the guy and to give everyone around me a good laugh. I knew at that point he wouldn’t understand anyway. It worked for a bit and then he went back to creepin’ so I decided to dance with creeper again. This time he touched my back and continued to move his hand down to my ass. I immediately stopped and kept him at bay with my arm and told him No a few times and that it wasn’t cool. The girls finally decided to move and the creeper couldn’t find us for a while. At one point I remember someone even told him to “piss off” but he didn’t get it. Someone said they thought he was on drugs but I think he had some mental problems. Whenever he’d come around I’d employ one of my tactics to keep him at bay. We finally got back at 4:00. I had fun. It was an epic night. I remembered I had some work that was due for my first class at 10:00 so I worked until 6:30 on the assignment only to find out that we weren’t handing it in! Great! But that’s ok. It builds character right?
Today I tried to get a membership with the sports center here but no one was at the reception desk. I’ve been meaning to get one for a while because they have some free dance classes and ski weekends so I need to take advantage of that! I went to a bookstore for the first time and bought a French Bible and “The Sun Also Rises” translated in French. Tomorrow I’m planning on exploring the city and taking lots of pictures! It’s going to be a nice relaxing weekend! I'm glad I went to Zurich last weekend, it's changed me to not be so lame anymore and to get out and enjoy myself!
Sunday, November 7, 2010
I definitely need to be updating this more, as here from my parents each week so I will make an effort to do this. Yesterday, I finally broke out of my shell of being cooped up in the city and being lame and not traveling and made an excursion to Zurich! I didn’t spend much time there because I was there for one purpose… to buy a snowboard! Which I did. I went to the Swiss National Museum in Zurich and spent 2 hours there, although I should have spent longer. I was super tired and just wanted to go check out the snowboard so I didn’t care all that much that I didn’t spend too much time at the museum or see much of the city. I tried to go on a self-guided walking tour in my Rick Steves’ Switzerland book but I somehow managed to get lost even with a map in the book. That’s what I get for taking a short cut. I’m sure I’ll go back so I’m not too worried.
My first legit train experience was quite pleasant, although it cost 75 CHF just go travel to Zurich and back!! That was even WITH my half fare ticket so the lesson to be learned again, if you didn’t already know: Switzerland is expensive. It would have cost 150 CHF without the card. It’s weird because the trains are nice since you don’t have to worry about driving or anything, only getting off at the right stop, but I think I would have preferred to drive. I got a little tired of being on the train after about 1.5 hours. Maybe it’s because because you can’t accelerate in a train the same way as you can in a car to pass the old people.
I need to start planning what I will do over winter break because I have no less than 2 months to do whatever I wish! Which will probably include a lot of snowboarding.
I caught a wild hedgehog the other day! I kept her in a box for about 10 minutes while I made sure they are native to Switzerland and she wasn’t someone’s pet before releasing her. I wanted to take some pictures with her but after I picked her up all the bugs that we’re hang out on her decided they want to hang out with me!
No Shave November is now in full swing, as is my beard! I’m starting to wonder if this was a good idea…
No Shave November is now in full swing, as is my beard! I’m starting to wonder if this was a good idea…
Friday, October 1, 2010
It’s already been 3 weeks since I arrived! I can’t believe it. I feel like I just got here! It’s been an incredible experience so far. I feel like I’ve already met more people my first 3 weeks here than I did my first 3 weeks at K-State. Things are a bit different here; mostly in a good way. The worst part is the price of everything. Everything is much more expensive here than in the US and from what I understand, the rest of Europe too. I’m very fortunate to have a stipend to live off each month. I’m still wondering how far it will actually go. I think I have spent around 100 francs (basically $100) a week on food alone. I haven’t had anything extravagant either. Just pasta, rice and sandwiches. Oh and these hotdog sausage like things. They’re pretty tasty too. They look like hotdogs but that taste different. Maybe even better. Oh, but they cost 3.75 CHF for a pack of 4. I was hoping that maybe the stipend I am receiving would be more than I need each month and I could try to save it up and buy a nice Swiss watch at the end of the stay but I think I’ll actually be using most of it each month.
Classes finally started this week! Over a month later than they start in the US. They will definitely be challenging and maybe the hardest part will be keeping focused. All of my classes are 2 hours long and one is 2.5 hours! Since they are in French too I have to keep focused 100% of the time to understand what they are saying, which usually doesn’t happen. I’m thinking about the weather, or how I suddenly feel really hot because of the amount of people in the class, or hot because the sun has shifted since it’s a 2 hour class and the sun is now coming through the window that I decided to sit by. Or deciding that I’m hungry now, what will I eat for lunch. Is there really 45 minutes left!? Wait, what is the teacher talking about again?? Shoot I better stay focused!
Lausanne is different than I thought it would be, but none the less, is still amazing. I thought it would be completely surrounded by mountains, which it pretty much is, except the mountains are far away, but still within sight. The high mountains, from what I can see, are actually in France, on the other side of the lake, in the Savoie region, where I could have also studied but thought Switzerland would be better. But STILL I couldn’t be happier to be here! I’ve already made a lot of friends from all over the world. That’s another amazing thing about this city, people are from everywhere! Not just Switzerland but from countries that are actually part of the European Union, Africa, Asia, South America, Mexico and Canada.
Something I am really surprised by is that everyone driving ALWAYS stops for pedestrians. I will see a car come blazing off the highway while I’m waiting to cross the street and they will slam on the breaks just to stop for me! I’m perfectly content with waiting for them to pass and to cross after but they actually stop! 99% of the time I could just run out into the street like a dog off a lease and not get hit, but 1% is enough of a risk for me.
Sunday I will be heading off to hike some mountain with some people from a sort of campus ministry thing so hopefully that will be good. I plan on taking more pictures so I promise I will post some here once I get it figured out!