Monday, September 30, 2013

How do you measure a year?

I've officially been a resident of Switzerland for one year. I arrived here September 16, 2012. Believing in the math that the lyricist for "Rent" calculated, that would be five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes. (525,600) However, I didn't spend all of that time here in Switzerland. I won't bother with how many minutes, but I was out of Switzerland 100 days or 27% of the year!! That's more than I expected when I started counting. Most trips were short with the days in the US well outnumbering the days in other countries. There were multiple trips to Germany, France and the UK and also trips to Malaysia, Spain, Italy, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. Tom's count would be different as we do not always travel together. My time in the US is a higher number and he has some countries on his list that aren't on mine. The number of currencies used is higher than you might guess because not all of the European countries listed use the Euro. Even England and Scotland have different "pounds"! 

In daylights, in sunsets....
I don't know how many sunrises and sunsets I've seen from our balcony, but they can be pretty spectacular.

In cups of coffee...

 Many, many more than what is normal for my decaffeinated self.  I brew decaf at home because I like the taste and caffeine does nasty things to my body. I never drink caffeine first thing in the morning. However, when going to a cafe with friends (Zurich and the rest of Switzerland have many to try), I drink regular. Decaf is not easy to come by and besides, they serve cappuccino with cocoa powder sprinkled on top! I just have to counter it with some wine in the evening which isn't so bad!

Here are some other ways I can measure (or count) my year:

Number of Swiss Festivals I've witnessed:  six

Fall is harvest time; therefore, also time for the onion and turnip festivals.

onions, lots of onions

ticket, but also photo of a turnip-lit float

February brought Fasnacht, or what is also known as Karneval or Mardi Gras.

In April, a snowman is burned in order to chase away winter at Sechseläuten.

 In July, we went to Zuri-Fest (Zuri-Fäscht ) which happens only once every three years.

On Swiss National Day, August 1, we witnessed Swiss wresting at a schwingen competition. 

I think that's pretty good for on year, but there are still more for next year.

More ways to measure a year:
Number of wines available to taste at the wine ships harbored in Zurich - too many to count. Number we tried - also too many to count, but know that we didn't come close to tasting them all.  


Number of permanent transformers in our apartment: two. One lives on the kitchen counter to convert the power for the kitchen appliances we chose to bring with us. The other is for the Bose sound system. Number of plug adapters we have for ourselves and for visitors to use =  many.

Number of trains that run between Zurich and Horgen Bahnhof (train station):  two.  The S2 is an express and the S8 is the local, but either will work. There is a second train station in Horgen (Oberdorf or upper town). We learned quickly that we do not want to go there. Our bus line does not connect there. Oberdorf is also not convenient to the Horgen shopping area or our apartment. It would be a long walk home or require extra transfers on the bus line.

The most famous Swiss citizen is Roger Federer. How many ads have I seen with his face? I can't count that high. Last Spring one Credit Suisse building had a different picture of him in every one of their eight or so front windows! Really!

How many CHF have I spent on meat? This is another number I can't say, but is very high. Meat is very expensive here. The cows are dairy cows and the topography does not lend itself to large cattle ranches. Veal is cheaper than beef. They sell chicken from other European countries such as Austria at 2/3 the price of the Swiss chicken. If I have an option, I choose the Austrian. I have also bought meat in France or Germany to bring home.

Number of hours spent in German class: 255 1/2 hours! Wow! That's a big number. That is from 4 months of daily lessons. It has proved very useful, but I still have much to learn. Finding time to get back to study is challenging. It probably won't work until January. I hope I can force myself to study after my visitors leave so I don't have to repeat the same level I was in last year.

Number of kinds of Swiss cheese: lots! You may recognize Swiss town names: Gruyere, Emmental, Luzern, and Appenzell, for example.  They all have their own cheeses and they do taste different. I haven't tried them all, but I'm working on it. You can't say "Swiss cheese" here since the vast majority are Swiss.

Number of official languages in Switzerland: four. We live in the German region , have visited Lugano in the Italian region and St. Moritz in the Romansch region. In our second year, we expect to get to the French region.  

Number of homes where I may find what I'm looking for (or not): three. We have our apartment here in Horgen, the cottage in Westport Point, MA and the house in Westfield, NJ. Although there is a tenant in our NJ house, we also have some "stuff" stored there. Sometimes it's hard to know exactly where something was left.  There have only been a few things I've had to replace because I don't know where the original landed.

It's been a fun and enriching year. We'll keep exploring - there are plenty more new experiences waiting for us.