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Saturday, January 28, 2017





My program went to Gruyères today, and of course I went with! Gruyères is one of my favourite places in Switzerland because it tiny and charming. It was absolutely beautiful covered in snow. Gruyères  also has the best dairy products on the planet (I think), so I had no issue going back to stuff my face full of cheese and cream. There was a hot-air balloon festival going on, so we got to watch balloons take off from all over the area. Apparently people come from around the world to fly over the Alps.



Before we went to the old part of Gruyères, we went to the Cailer chocolate factory which is right next door. They had an interesting little chocolate tour that was highly dramatic but substantially less annoying than the Hershey's one (there were no singing cows, for instance). The Swiss are really good at creating dramatic displays with light and sound. They are also good at doing it with chocolate.





My evidence for the Swiss being good at chocolate displays is first the chocolate wall, and second this woman made out of chocolate that was on display in the shop. I am definitely getting spoiled with all of this good Swiss chocolate! I think I have eaten some every day. 


Then we went to Gruyères. There is a playground near this church that we all went on. We may be university students, but we are clearly still children in many respects. Frankly, being shuttled around on a bus with chaperones drives this point home further. 



This is the famous Gruyères meringue et crème double. Basically, it's a caramel-tasting meringue with this amazing double creme stuff. It's not dissimilar to crème fraîche, except that it is even richer. This sort of creme is very hard to get outside of Switzerland (actually, I'm not sure if you can), but it's absolutely delicious and completely worth trying if you are ever there. 


There were some people dressed up and singing in the center of Gruyères near the main fountain when we were getting ready to leave. They started walking towards the car park, but I still managed to snap a picture. It was a really neat experience to be able to hear people sing, and they seemed really happy to share their culture with us silly tourists. 



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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

 I'm finally back in Geneva!

 It feels really weird to be back in Geneva because in some ways it feels like I never left. That being said, it's colder now and the broccoli trees no longer have their signature fluff. There are differences though. I had to get a Swiss SIM card which turned into a royal adventure when it refused to work. It's been interesting getting to know people here. It's a massive group! In the summer there were only 30-ish students and 13 in my program. This time there are nearly 60 in three different programs.






The flight here was pretty good. I had a layover and Heathrow and discovered that this exists. While I did not buy anything, I could not resist taking a picture.





I also snapped a quick picture flying over France. It looks so beautiful and snowy! Apparently the snow came late this year and there wasn't any at Christmas. The Swiss economy got hurt pretty badly as a result. However, nearly a metre of snow fell the week before we got here so I guess all will be well for the Swiss. I'm more of a snowboarder than a skier, but I definitely need to take lessons before attempting anything on the Alps. It's a lot steeper and more dangerous here than it is in America.


So, just a quick update for now. I'll try to post somewhat regularly while I'm here and certainly after trips!


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Tuesday, January 3, 2017





I had the most amazing holiday in Texas and Florida! 

My boyfriend's family lives in San Antonio, so I went down the day after Christmas to visit. I visited the Alamo (which is really quite small) and the River Walk, which is quite pretty! It reminded me of Clarke Quay in Singapore with all the shops and bars along the river. I was surprised that there was no railing along most of it-- luckily, it's quite shallow so people are easy to rescue when they fall in. 

It was really fun chilling out with my boyfriend's family and getting to know them all better. They really are the nicest people. We went bowling and I successfully avoided falling down, throwing the ball behind me, or spraining my wrist. 



After San Antonio, Erik and I flew down to Orlando to visit some of his friends from college. One of them works at Disney World, so we were able to visit. This is the beautiful tree outside Animal Kingdom... it's incredibly tall. Disney World is a cool place because everything is incredibly controlled and perfect. Everyone working there is called a "cast member" and they are very friendly at all times. I honestly think the "Disney Magic" comes from excellent service and people's willingness to suspend their disbelief and enjoy themselves. 




I re-learned that I'm terrified of roller coasters on the Expedition Everest ride during our second day at Disney. I had no idea that my scream-of-terror was so high... I probably could have broken glass. I broke down into tears at some point and sobbed through most of the ride, which was pretty embarrassing. The day got a lot better though when we went on safari and saw animals. I didn't get any particularly good photos of them though. 


 Here's a crappy photo of a giraffe. When I was a kid I had a stuffed giraffe creatively named "Giraffee", so I'm quite fond of these weird-looking animals.



We rang in 2017 by watching fireworks at Disney World, which was absolutely amazing. Disney shoots two sets of fireworks into the air at the same time so everyone in the open parks can see them, then shoot off the count-down numbers before lighting up the sky at midnight. I swear you could hear people shouting at midnight from Magic Kingdom... which was full to capacity so we couldn't go during our visit. 

My New Year's resolution is to live in the moment more. I feel like I'm always worrying about the future, but the only thing I can really control is right now.  So, in this upcoming year that is bound to be full of changes starting with flying off to Geneva in two weeks... I'm going to try and enjoy everything!


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