Ok, I’m going to try to make this my last catch-up post, which might be difficult. Friday was the last day of S’s exams, which we were all happy about. So he headed to Geneva again in the morning (we dropped him off at the Fribourg train station) and we headed out for a little more sightseeing and then some shopping to prepare for the party in the evening. As I mentioned before, we had a raclette get-together party with some friends and family who hadn’t seen S since he moved to the US.
First stop was a monastery. It was so beautiful, quiet and peaceful. And freezing. It was still quite early in the morning and was completely silent with the exception of the cowbells on the monastery cows.
After the monastery, we went up to Mount Vully . From the mountain, you could look out and see in all directions. It is in between the three lakes of Murten, Neuchâtel and Bie, and the entire side of the mountain is made up of vineyards. It was really gorgeous.
And this was my favorite picture from the top of Mount Vully. Actually, S’s dad took this picture, I just thought it was so serene.
I feel like I just want to grow old sitting on that bench under that big tree, looking out at the beautiful view under the sun. Ahhhh….
Then we got home to set up and… it was party time. S was very relieved, because his exams were finally done. And I was excited to officially start our vacation – of course I had already pretty much been on vacation for a week, but he hadn’t been. There were about 25 people at the party, mostly older friends and family. There were four surprise guests, though, that I knew about in advance (S’s dad spilled the beans to me) but I didn’t tell. It was S’s two best friends, who he didn’t think he was going to see for another week or so, and their girlfriends. They were the first four to show up, and he was really surprised and happy.
One thing that I am having a hard time getting used to here is how long everything takes… it is like everything is in slow motion. Each evening, starting from the time somebody initiates the dinner process by stating that they are hungry to the time that we actually takes to sit down and eat… it is at least 3 hours. And at a party/get together with lots of other people… forget it! Everybody started arriving at 6, and I didn’t put a morsel into my mouth until at least 9. But when I did… oh man, it was worth the wait. Here is some of the spread:
And those were just the appetizers. Even later, we broke out the raclette for the real dinner. Then for dessert there was tiramisu, meringues with creme, and black forest cake. Cookies, cake. A feast fit for the gods. Or at least a bunch of Swiss relatives. Sorry for the lack of pictures, but I was trying to actually meet people and socialize. Which was much more difficult and exhausting than I expected. And by the end, I was pretty upset. When I came here, I thought that most people were going to be able to speak at least passable English. S said that I would have no problem, that most people spoke English. But since I have arrived, we have both realized that this is not the case. Very few people here speak any English at all, let alone enough to actually be able to have any sort of conversation with them. There were a few people at the party (including two friends who I had just met when they were visiting in the US a couple of weeks ago and we had them over for dinner) who spoke English, and I was very grateful they were there and that they made an effort to speak to me. But the bottom line was that overall, I could barely talk to anybody and I spent a good part of the evening following S around and looking off into space while everybody talked and laughed and had a good time. I had absolutely no idea what was going on.
Every once in a while S would try to include me by translating something to me, but that was embarrassing too because 1. He would have to stop everybody else talking to turn and explain to me, and then 2. Everybody would be watching him tell me and then watching my reaction to whatever it was that he said, so I felt like I had to have the “right” reaction… you know? By the end of the evening I was really tired, frustrated, and upset. I actually went to bed crying because it was so frustrating.
It’s a shame that the night ended on that note, but I guess it is what it is. I talked to S about it and I feel bad for him because he is in a tough position too. He has to explain everything to me and wants to include me, but at the same time there is really nothing he can do except for act as translator. He can’t teach everybody English, or teach me French, German, and Swiss German in the three short weeks that we are here. I’m working on it, but it will take a while longer There will be much more of this on the trip, so I just have to be patient and understanding and enjoy being in this wonderful country even if I can’t understand what anybody is saying. I’m really thankful that S’s family speaks such good English. And I’m thankful every day to have him, and to be here!