Friday, November 27, 2009

[thanksgiving adventures]

Flying was smooth.

I got up at 6:00 AM to leave the house by 6:30 for Geneva.

Left Geneva for Frankfurt.

Then Frankfurt to Vancouver - that flight was 10 hours long. My poor energetic body wanted to move.

Anyways, it was Vancouver that gave me grief.

Dear Canada,
I do not wish to get my checked baggage, drage it around the airport, and then check it in a second time.

No love for Canada from me,


Anyways, I had to wait some 30 minutes for my checked baggage to arrive so I could transfer flights. After getting it, I was ready to get on my final flight home. I knew I would be home in less than two hours.

That's when the lady informed me that it was too late for that flight.

I was frustrated, I had gone as fast as possible.

You also need to see that I was quite sleep deprived at that moment. I had been traveling for 15 hours or so by then and was ready for my turkey dinner. I was ready to see my family. It was Thanksgiving.

Well, here I am right now, when I should be eating that meal, or at least pumpkin pie. I should be. But, alas, I am in Vancouver on a laptop.

I just drank my Thanksgiving meal - Odwalla. That delicious, thick green goo. How I love it.
After the lady told me I would have to wait 3-4 hours, I felt very emotional. I was so ready to be home at that moment and not ready to just chill in an airport again when it wasn't my fault.

I took a lot of deep breaths, controlled breathing is my friend! I got it together and told her I was sorry I wasn't smiling. I thanked her for getting me a new boarding pass. I moved on through security.

The next step was checking in my baggage with the three guys who stood their ground. They were amusing and asked me where my parents were.

In fact, I got that question a lot. Where are my parents? My parents? Ummm.... not here.

They asked how old I was.
I said 19.
They said they had thought I was 15.]
I chuckled.

In security, they had to wipe down my laptop with a cloth on a stick. They then put the cloth in a machine. The only word I could read on the little screen was "explosive." I explained to the man that my laptop was very friendly and not my mothers. He then tightened the screws on one part that has been loose for the past month.

I am glad my laptop is not a bomb.

While waiting, I got to talk to my dad for around 52 minutes and I applied for three jobs - including one as the wait staff in the galley of a boat for 60 days. That would be cool if that one worked out.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I think I'm getting good at this.

Good byes. I hate them, I really do. But I've had a lot of practice.

Just like I couldn't ride my bike well the first time I got on, I couldn't say good bye well my first time either.

These aren't the, "I'll see you later" good byes that I'm talking about. These are the "I don't know when exactly I'll see you again" good byes.

The ones that make you ache all over.
The ones that fill you with longing for just 24 more hours.
The ones that never really hit you till it's over.
Where you just can't believe that it's the end.

Anyways, I've had experience with them now. I think I'm getting a bit better, but I bet I just look like an unemotional, cold au pair.

Oleann. Alex. I honestly do love you guys. Maybe not like your parents, but I absolutely adore you both. I'm going to miss you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

[natation synchronisée]

I was swimming on my back when heard this strange voice speaking to me from under the water. It was calm and relaxing, like one of those voices on the therapeutic tapes.
"Raise your leg, and twirl, and under."
It was creepy and soothing.
Then the music started. I couldn't help but dance along with as I floated along on my back.
Last night, I discovered one of the most amazing experiences. Swimming at the same time as the synchronized swimmers. They are pretty fantastic kids, all spinning upside-down under the water together.
Me? I just learned to swim this summer with Monica and Caitie. I am glad that as an 18 year old, I can now sort of kind of swim. I like being in the water.
I couldn't help but laugh and singing along when the song Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head started playing. That has been one of my favourite songs, if not the favourite of songs, since I was 11 or so, I think. I was floating along. Laughing. Dancing. Swimming.
The music was so much clearer and better under the water. It felt surreal.
I like swimming at the same time as the synchro people... I just have to be sure I get in the showers before they do.

Monday, November 23, 2009


So the last post was a review on emtions on leaving Switzerland.

Now, how about coming home?

This will be my first time in Kenmore in which I will not be attending public school. Last time I came back, I came back to the exact same life as I had had before. I went back to high school and tried to learn to slip back into the rhythms that had been laid out before me.

Anyways. Another question I get a lot is, "Margaret, what are you going to do when you get back?" I do get that question, although no one here calls me Margaret. No one in this entire tiny country calls me by my real name.

What am I going to do? I don't really know. I have a list of plans. A list of potentials.
And now it's a new day, I never finished this blog and might not ever. Probably not. I'm jumping on that airplane in just 8 hours or so. Pretty crazy, that's what I think it is.
Can't wait to see everyone, if anyone is left. December shall be my experimenting month, see what I like in life. Do I want to work, study, study, or work, or volunteer?
See you soon Seattle.
I hear a turkey calling my name.


People have been asking me about how I feel about leaving and how I feel about leaving Switzerland a second time.

For those of you who didn't know me around July 2008, when I had come back from Switzerland, I was quite the messed up child. Coming back from Switzerland the first time was very difficult for me. I started having panic attacks and it would get so bad that sometimes I would have to go to the nurse during school. Anyways, that was then.

This time in coming home I am a lot more emotionally prepared than last time. Last time when I came back, I didn't do much to equip myself for coming back. I also was a lot more rooted into that Swiss life. My entire life, every aspect of it, had been rooted into the Swiss soil, every area. Leaving was like being uprooted.

In this blog I want to address leaving Switzerland, entering America will come in another blog.

First, I want to emphasize how much I loved it here. The family I lived with, the Coddron family, was fantastic. They were welcoming and accomidating. They treated me with respect and I have no complains. They gave me privacy, space, and told me exactly what they expected from me.

Working, or playing, with Oleann brought me so much joy. She is such a loving and giving child. She would always be giving me surprises or floweres she picked on the way home. We would skip down the street together, hand in hand, singing whatever song we could, even if it was Jingle Bells. We developed a lot of jokes together that I knew could make her smile from, "Bing bang," to our secret handshake, to porcupines, to Maggie's Boulangerie, to Puissance 4, to hot chocolate. She knew what I expected of her and in turn, I tried to make our times together enjoyable.

Alex was also awesome, although I did not spend as much time with him. He was always up for playing, always. I hope that part of him never leaves him. He also had one keen sense of humour and I wish I could have understood more.

Sometimes, I wish I had just two more months in Switzerland. I spend my weekends traveling the country and my weekdays taking care of Oleann, going to French course, playing badminton, going to youth group, and wandering when life calls for it.

I am going to miss the peace I have here. I have no worries in my life when I'm over here. I know what to expect each day and life is very routine. I have mornings to myself where I can wake up slowly and try and accomplish things.... or watch a movie.

I have to do just a hour or two of college work each day which keeps my brain moving and firm and toned.

A lovely hike is just outside my door. Nature is just a hop, skip, and a jump away.

Life here is simplicity. I don't even have to worry about finances. Room and board is taken care of and almost everything I invest in is optional. I have a job, but it is so doable and enjoyable.

So yes, I am sad to leave. I am going to miss it here.

But I am glad I came here. See, coming here gave me the closure I didn't get last time. In coming back, I am able to see what my old life was, live it a bit, and finally move on. You hear that? I can move on. I hope that this will release me more in America and give me more peace. Before my mind was stuck in Switzerland and I couldn't really get past the fact that I had left it.

Anyways, I can now leave Switzerland in peace.
The only thing I have to brace myself for is a stress filled, corrupted, money tight, overcrowded country.

Welcome to America!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

[avant et en arrière]

Things I Will Miss
  • My fantastic host family
  • Daily walks with Oleann to and from school
  • French class
  • Chillin' in the German part
  • Lovely au pairs
  • My huge bedroom
  • Beautiful train rides
  • Shopping in France
  • Rhubarb yogurt and beets
  • Living above the clouds
  • Badminton and swimming
  • Legal alcohol consumption
  • Abundance of cheese
  • Those exchange student people
  • Wandering and hiking

Things to Look Forward To
  • Seeing my family again
  • Seeing friends again
  • Making music
  • Going back to church
  • Square dancing
  • The 522
  • Clogging
  • The Burke Gillman and Gas Works
  • Curling, if it is possible
  • Baking and cooking for the Christmas season
  • Lovely walks
  • Seattle
  • Ethnic foods
  • King County Library System
  • Volunteering
  • Cheap prices on many a things
  • All sorts of new opportunities and adventures

Thursday, November 19, 2009

[tu peux]

What determines a good au pair?
Is it better to keep the kid happy at you all the time, or more so be firm and work on creating a independent, capable child.
Lately, a phrase I find myself saying often is, "tu peux" or "tu peux faire."
It literally means: You can.
The kiddo has been asking me to help her with many tasks lately. It's not that I'm not willing to help her, I enjoy helping out. It's not to make my life easier. In fact, it would often be so much easier and quicker if I did do it for her. But, I want her to do it herself. So she'll ask me to do something for her and I'll say, "No, you can do it," if she glares at me I'll tell her, "you're 7."
Here are a few instances in which my help has been requested. This is not speaking of her character or capabilities, she's a great kid and very capable, she just asks for help a lot and glares at me when I say no.
  • Can I tie her shoe?
  • Can I zip up her jacket? (I tend to help with this one)
  • Can I buckle her helmet? (again, it can be difficult)
  • Can I spread the soft cheese on her bread?

Today we went to English with the bikes. As we went to park them she handed me the lock to the bike so I could lock it. I looked at her and told her I knew she could do it. She said that, no, she couldn't do it. I said she could and I would help her through it. Sure enough, she was able to do it. She wasn't very happy with me, though. I could see it was a bit frustrating at times, for her, as she tried to figure the lock out, but she got it. A lot of things aren't easy without practice, it all comes in time. But if I don't have her start the practice now, she'll never reach the point where it's an easy task that comes naturally.

If anyone knows a better way to say, "You can do it," in French, I'd love to learn.

I think this may have partially come from my upbringing. My parents raised me pretty independently, I think. I wasn't all that old before they started telling me that if I wanted something I could walk, bike, or bus to get it. I wanted eggs to bake with that moment? Well, the store was just 20 minutes away. That's what they would tell me. At the age of 16 they allowed me to go off and explore Switzerland for a year on my own. They used to give me a budget so that, while I still had their financial support, I could learn to manage my money. So now, as I help to raise and take care of a kid, I find myself wanting to encourage them to do things themselves.

Am I simply being cruel?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

[coming home]

"Maggie, I heard you're heading back to America early..."
What? You did? Sigh, get's it's time for me to tell the world.
It is true, the end of my second Swiss adventure is coming to a sorrowful end after a short three months here.
When am I coming home? I will be arriving on Thanksgiving day at around 3:00 PM. Just in time for the pumpkin pie, or maybe even turkey if my family is gracious enough. I maybe exhausted, though, after 18 hours of traveling.
That's just about a week till I come home.
That's just about a week till I have to leave home.
Why am I coming home?
It all comes down to small legalities... and the fact I would be an illegal alien if I stayed more than three months here.
The host family knew this, but I was naive or unaware that I would not be able to get a visa to work here. They are wonderful and gracious, but also encouraged me to stay without a visa. I, however, am not comfortable with this. The Swiss government has been getting more active with their border patrol and I don't want to mess with it. Getting caught could me affecting me coming back to Europe and at such a young age, I don't want to close ay doors.
After a lot of research, prayer, and conversations, I decided I would rather go home early, to be legal, than stay. I told the family about a month ago. I feel so blessed as they have been so gracious and accomidating to me. They don't treat me any differently, even though I am leaving them, which is a new stress in their life.
I will write on my feelings about returning to America tomorrow.
So yes, I am coming home after 3 months, not a year. Yes, it is just because of legal issues.
Guess I'll see you in just a bit, then...


I find it interesting, odd, and refreshing how people just walk in and out of our lives.

Take the people in this picture, for example. I have spent 4 hours a week since September with them on the ever so wearisome journey of learning French.

We laughed together, developed something of a friendship.

And now, for me at least, it's over.

I know I won't see the majority, if any of them, again.

You go to a bar at night and you can find someone, become acquaintances for the evening, but after then, nothing. You could chat for an hour and that is their existance in your life. Nothing more is needed or meant to be. Simply people walking in and out of each others lives.

I like that.

One of the things I find frustrating is that Facebook defies this. People are supposed to leave your life. After high school, sometimes, loosing contact with someone is ok and healthy, yet through Facebook we maintain contact and shallow forms of relationships. It is ok to say good bye after meeting for one afternoon, you don't need to forever know what the other is doing.

Anyways, just found that a good thought to think about.
People stroll in and our of our lives.
They give us a memory to go by, and that is more than enough.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


"Elle est presque morte."
Those were the words I heard from Alex today as we walked to pick up Oleann.
It is polite to greet people and during our stroll, we came upon an elderly woman checking her mail. Alex and I exchanged multiple greetings with her from "salut" to "bonjour" to "hallo".
We had only walked a few steps away from her when he told me, "Maggie, elle est presque morte," which literally means, "She's almost dead."
Oh goodness...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


"But I wanna pass!"

These were words I never heard in America, well, the word "shoot" directed towards me.

Last night I perhaps had one of my favourite nights in Switzerland.

I've grown accustomed to joining groups in which I know no one. In this case, I knew one member of the badminton club, but I couldn't count on him to show up. I was off playing for 2 months due to my ankle but after it was healed, I jumped back in. All I have to do is show up and ask to play, I don't care who with.

I ended up playing with three guys for most of the time. There weren't any girls this evening, which I found odd. Just 7 guys and I. No no no, that's not why I enjoyed the evening so much. I do admit it was really refreshing to finally be in the company of people my own age. As an au pair, it's harder to get mixed in with the Swiss. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights are my chance to do that.

Anyways, this is something I wish we had in America. A place in the evening where you can just go and play a sport, nothing official. It's just pure fun.


Ok, ok, I'm going.

I'm glad I'm not horrible at badminton. Am I good? Not the best. But can I hit it back and sometimes make the other guy miss? Yep.

After a while they asked if I wanted to play "basket."
Basketball? Sure... even if I haven't played it for some 3 months.
It's ok if I'm horrible, let's play.

And so, the game of 2 on 2 began. I was on Tobia's team and surprised the first time he passed to me. Dang. I must have looked so surprised, or horribly unathletic... I think it was a mixture of both.

Here's the thing. In America, I never got the ball. There were so many kids in PE class. It is horrible but at an early age in life, I was taught by my bigger, more athletic peers that if I ever, ever got the ball, I should pass it to one of them immediately.

So, here I am in Switzerland and I am being passed the ball.
Goodness, that is something new.
And my instinct is to simply pass it back.

A bit later, two more guys joined us.
Three on three.

A favourite phrase of the night was, "Shoot!"
It was some sort of cruel humour, but when we started out, Tobias would pass me the ball immediately, since I was open, and tell me to just shoot.

So I would shoot. Sometimes I would miss it but sometimes I made it! And that made me quite the happy girl. For once, I was given the chance to play. I was incorporated into the team.

They would sometimes give me a hard time for missing, but not in a cruel way. Just a way that made me feel like I wasn't just being treated like a guest. I know I'm the out one here. I'm American. I'm a girl. But I got to play and that made my day.

We simply played basketball, and I liked that.

Monday nights are good nights.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Two questions I get often:
  1. Kommst du aus Holland?
  2. Do you like boys?

I am going to be focusing on question number one today.

Komme ich aus Holland?
"Do you come from Holland?"

I get asked that whenever I speak German with someone who doesn't know me.

Last night on the train, once again, surrounded by the military. After a while, Mossdorf asks me, in German, "Where do you come from?" I responded, asking, "Where do you think?"

"Why," he said, "you come from Holland, right?"

No. No I don't.

I am actually quite pleased everyone thinks that. See, I do have an accent when I speak my German, it's almost inevitable. But, my accent is not from America. I rarely have people guess that I come from the USA. I have a Dutch accent when I speak German.

I have a Dutch accent when I speak German.

Since I originally, back in 2006, only wanted to go the the Netherlands, this suits me even more.

I guess I would rather they thought I was from there than the United States. I am glad they can't pin down where I'm from because I speak the language with a strong accent.

Here are some other encounters I remember when people asked if I was from Holland:

  • the guy who helped set me up for the shooting contest in Obwalden
  • the man who served me pizza
  • the random drunken kids at the Sarnen train station
  • my friend's friend at that one meeting I was at
  • multiple military encounters
  • my friend's host parents

And the list goes on.

I am Margaret and I am from the United States of America.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


In Switzerland there is a major city called Zürich.
20 minutes from the main station is a small station called Schörlistrasse.
3 minutes from Schörlistrasse is a small appartment complex.
On the second floor of the complex is a near empty appartment.
In that appartment is a well lit kitchen with onions on the wall.
In that kitchen is a delightful, joyful, dancing girl.
In the hands of that delightful, joyful, dancing girl is a brand new Jamie Cullum album.
I've been waiting for quite some time for Jamie to put out something new and finally it is here.
I rarely purchase actual CD's, but in this case, I felt the desire to (plus, it wasn't on iTunes yet). It came out today in Switzerland, or perhaps yesterday. It comes out March 2, 2010 in the United States.
I went to Ex Libris and immediately found the new album.
No dissapointment in this purchase.
54 minutes.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

[rien à faire]

Not having to do anything is such a blessing. I think it is something we take for granted.

I think many people would be so happy if they could actually afford to be "bored." There lives are go-go-go from the time they wake up till late in the night. There is not time for them to simply relax and do nothing.

I like my lifestyle right now. I do work, I do move, I do have things I need to do, but in the middle of it all I find quiet times and times for rest.

Between watching 13 toddlers scream, doing a college course, making lunch, learning French, vacuuming the house, keeping my room tidy, and playing with the kids, I still have time where I can curl up in my bed with a book and read it.

I think, however, that being bored is lame in itself. Not just the fact that you are bored is lame. You are lame for being bored. Being bored means you have time that you should be using to do something awesome. You have time to use how you wish, and having time to use as you wish means time to explore or pursue some sort of project or skill. Bored is something of a dangerous mind set.

I love that I can find peace in the midst of the checklists and to-do lists that fill my life.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

[malades préparations]

Sick preparations, what a sad thing to do. I like to think of it more as creating a cosy atmosphere to be miserable in.

Oh, how I hope I don't get sick. The young Oleann has been ever so sick lately. I feel quite bad for her as she looks like she's in such discomfort.

I've been trying to avoid getting sick. I'm such a cruel au pair, the number of times I have her wash her hands after she coughs into them. But, often it would happen in my room and I really didn't want to get sick. I've been washing my hands for the past week in addition to cleaning the doorknobs and light switches. I've been drinking water so often that I feel like I spend most of my time in my dear, yellow bathroom.

Did it do any good?

We'll see.

I've been having something of an acheing throat, sore if you will. I'm hoping it won't grow into what she had, that would be awful. Since I got that feeling, I've dranken even more (7 cups of tea + 3 glasses of mineral water + 1 hot chocolate) and napped and rested three times throughout the day.

In anticipation of getting sick, I did a thorough cleaning of my room. I made my bed all cozy. Cleared off the desk. Made it very nice. Being sick in a messy room is no fun, but cleanliness encourages rest and peace. So, if I do get sick, I shall be quite content in my large, comfy bed with a book, some tea, and toast with butter and jam.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I hope people speak French and can understand the title of this post. I think it is a wonderful word. With knowing. Beautiful language, French is.

Here is a language update from your ever so favourite not-French-speaking-Seattlite residing in Arzier:

Everyone: Parles tu Francais?
*doh - of course I understand that question and can answer it, regardless of if I speak French or not*
Me: Oui! Oui! Un petit peu.
Everyone: *a bunch of crazy fluent French*
Me: Oui! Oui! Je veux boire de chocolat chaud.

Dear world, can I be honest with you?
I don't speak French. It's just a huge joke. I can talk about hot chocoalte, tell kids to set the table and stop and brush their teeth, and declare to the world that I do not shave. Er. What?

I think my French capabilities will never compare to my dear German. When I learned German, I was oh so surrounded by that lovely language. School. Host family. Friends.

Now, my second time in Switzerland? Why am I not learning as much? During the day, I'm alone at home, not at school speaking the language. With the host family, well, they speak English with me. I could put up a fuss and say French, but the thing is, most of what they tell me is crucial that I understand for my job. Hence, there is no room for misunderstandings. Friends? Au pairs and exchange students speak English with each other. As for Swiss friends, my youth group is the best place for me to learn. There, I feel my self improve in just the two hours of being surrounded by the language. That's a good thing.

My comprehension is improving and I can express much of my thoughts. It's mainly the pronunciation that is absolutely murdering me. I can't even study well alone because I haven't the faintest idea how to pronounce words such as "affûtage." Ok, that word, I think I could manage. But they have so many ways to say any letter and sometimes, random letters just like to be *interjection* silent.

I do so like the language and will continue to try and pursue learning it.

So, when I get home, feel free to ask me, in French, if I speak French. I'll tell you yes, but then, you can almost guarantee that I will inform you that I want a hot chocolate as well.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Today was a simple day where simply being outside was enough to make me smile.

I brought Oleann’s English work to her after school and we walked to the skate park together. In the refreshing, autumn air, we sat on a ramp and went over terms such as basket, chair, and eraser.

We meandered to the swings.
Climbed through the grass.
Rocked the see-saw.

Today, I sang. That made me happy. I sang Edelweiss and I Could Have Danced All Night and other classics. It was fun.


The nicest, loveliest thing happened. Perhaps that is the wrong way to introduce what I am going to say. Was it the nicest thing ever? No. Loveliest? No. Surprising? Yes. Especially considering the country I am in.

The Swiss are great people, love them, but when it comes to helping someone with their own business and problems, the Swiss tend to keep to themselves.

I had just met up with Okan and we were going to catch the tram back to his place so I could drop off my belongings. Dragging around a suitcase all day is not much fun.

So it came time to pay but I had no coins, all I had was a 20 Frank note and a 200 Frank note. I also wasn’t sure how to use the machine that I needed to get my ticket. It wasn’t like the normal automats that you use to get a ticket. This machine gave tickets specifically for the city of Geneva and the surrounding region. Okan had a GA, a travel pass, so he had never needed to use the machine.

The tram was coming soon and I wasn’t sure what to do. The machine gave no change. I didn’t know what I needed. Then, an older woman next to it pushed a few buttons, put in her cash card, printed out a ticket and handed it to me. She then proceeded to take my 20 Frank note and counted change back into my hand in Italian.

She was quite the blessing to me right there and then at that moment.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


This morning I woke up in a bomb shelter underneath ground.

For breakfast I had bread with butter and jelly.

This afternoon I wandered around Graubunden near some huge crevice cliffs, surrounded by mountains, trees, and life.

For lunch I had bread with meat, butter, and a pickle.

This evening I found rest in my friend's apartment in the busy city of Zürich.

For dinner I had bread with butter.

I'm glad at least one thing in life can remain constant.
I am thankful for good bread.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


With sick days come sick foods and with this comes my rediscovery of bouillon.

Are you ready to see how my French is coming along? I find the following phrases to be vital to anyone's stay in a French speaking country.

Je bois de bouillon.
Où est le bouillon?
Pourquoi bois tu de bouillon?
Comment de la bouillon?
Combien coute le bouillon?
Je bois beaucoup de bouillon!

I am not sure about grammar, but I think I could make my point clear with those statements.

Anyways, today I had a craving for something I rarely ever drink. Bouillon. Bouillon usually comes in a compact cube of powder that, when mixed with hot water, forms a delicious broth. So yes, it's just broth, nothing else.

It's salty chicken flavoured water and I find it to be delicious.

I just drank .75 liters of it. I'm allowed to, it's my sick day.

There is something in the taste that reminds me of Thanksgiving.
Something in the smell that reminds me of, well, Thanksgiving again.
It's a comforting sensation.

Bouillon is broth, and there is a famous old proverb that goes, "Too many cooks spoil the broth," so I suggest you bustle on over to your kitchen and try out my timeless bouillon recipe... alone. Do it alone or else it will be awful!

Are you ready for my recipe? You might want to go grab a pencil so you can write it down.

Boil half a litre of water. Add bouillon cube. Stir to dissolve. Drink.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I am thankful for... sick days.
Being sick usually just gets me down. I hate the thought of missing out on life, but today's sick day turned into a time for thought and relaxation.
I woke up at 6:00 AM, prepared to head to a Rotex weekend in Chur. The moment I heard my ring-tone blast through the room, I knew today was not going to be a day for adventures. A sore throat and pulsing head sent me to the kitchen for a quick cup of tea and then back into bed.
11:53, my day begins with social networking and spätzli. Instead of taking a four hour train ride, I had stayed in bed and gotten the rest I needed.
I tidyed up my room for a day of relaxation, all to the tune of Jamie Cullum.
I then worked on my agenda, gluing in pictures of lavendar honey and a snippet of an outfit I liked from the newspaper. Red vest. brown jacket. Small bow-tie. I think my brother could pull it off.
By 1:30, it was time to settle into bed again. I grabbed my history books and tried to make a dent in the assigned reading. I have never felt so un-like a student, yet there is no denying my status of a college kid, right now. A college kid who lives in the mountains of Switzerland and fills her days with walks through the village instead of roomates and long lectures.
To the soundtrack of Finding Neverland I made it through a few pages of my assigned reading. I was already curled up in bed and the transition to sleep came easily.
5:30 PM. Good morning world? I'm greatful Christine gave me a call as it kept me from missing out on the rest of this day. I had been dreaming about the history of aircraft in the Italian part of Switzerland, Ticino. It was a scholary dream. I have the vague memory of a house in Kentucky as well. Maybe that is where I will be someday.
I made myself yet another cup of tea, all in the name of hydration and comfort.
I then connected to the world outside my bedroom in the basement through the world wide web.
Unmotivated to stay up in a horizontal position, I crawled back into bed with some books I had selected to read for pleasure. Currently I am working through two simple books.
Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Caroll, 1962.
Daddy-Long-Legs, by Jean Webster, 1912.
Both have timeless canvas covers and were printed in Great Britan.
I lit a candle from the sack and put on some calming Christmas music. Michael Bublé, McFly, and many classics that you know, but you didn't know you knew, sang through my room as I got lost in the worlds of the books I am reading.
Here are some thoughts I have been having today:
Kentucky. I still think about Kentucky all the time, maybe even daily. Will I end up there someday? I've been looking up some Christian colleges located there.
College. I could have had a roomate by this time and been experiencing a new world. Life is full of alternate possibilities. I chose Switzerland.
Anti-social. No, I am not anti-social, being alone on a Saturday night, I am sick and should stay in bed rightly so.
Farewell. Alice flew away from Switzerland today at 7:00 PM. Knowing I don't have a friend to call on at any hour for walks or long conversations leaves me feeling a bit empty. She was such a major part of that which I have come to call my Swiss life.
Bed. I love having a huge bed. I love pulling the covers up to my chin and feeling safe and secure. The sheets are fresh and it feels likes the luxury of a hotel.
Candles. They have the power to change the mood of any room and slow down time.
"People sleep peaceably in their beds...."
George Orwell

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


“It is better to be making the news than taking it...”
- Winston Churchhill -

Switzerland, what have you done to me? I am so naive.

I got my hands on an English newspaper today.
The man sitting across from me on the train had it in his bag.
I decided that our common language was a bond strong enough for me to ask the favour of reading it.

I now want to make a huge statement as I say that I believe I have not been missing anything by getting absorbed in my own life and forgetting about the outside world. Is that selfish of me?

The man warned me before I read it, he did. He said it was full of bad news. He was right. I simply found it a depressing experience. That is what the English newspaper has become to me.

When I go to Switzerland, my world shrinks to my own existence. I feel so self centered and naive living that way, but it takes more motivation than I have to read about natural disasters in a foreign language. Reading the news just feels like a huge burden to me. I can only read about the recession so many times.

(Side note, here's one article that did catch my eye. It's about the Wood Schools in Denmark.)

Monday, October 5, 2009


"...we do not mark our lives by dates and times, but instead by moments in our lives."
-Christian Kang-

It's those little moments that I try and try to hold onto, that I never want to forget.

Moments throughout my day such as...
  • Walking to school with Oleann in the morning, hand in hand. She was cold so I gave her my unusually large shirt. Wrapped up with the sleeves hanging down to her knees, she looked up and said, "I love... Maggie!" and gave me a hug. Walking like that was no easy task.

  • I almost brought my iPod with me as I walked to pick up Oleann, but if I had, I would have missed this moment. I was approaching a little boy and his nanny who were taking a stroll in the crisp, fresh autumn air. He pointed to me and said, "She. What is the name?" to which I said, "My name is Maggie." His face lit up and he gave me a huge grin, I don't think he expected me to speak or understand English.

  • Walking to school after lunch with Oleann. Listening to songs from Glee, we twirled down the lane, skipping - Oh Switzerland, did you think I could keep my joy inside? We then proceeded to sing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious as we waved to the old man trimming his hedge.

  • Smelling Chai tea for the the first time in a while. I had forgotten what it smells like.

  • Watching Oleann dance around to, uh, interestng music as Floriane studies and I just lounge on the bed with my eyes closed.

  • Running home from school with umbrellas as weapons, we hid from ghosts and vampires. The boy following us didn't quite know what to think.

  • Cooking up chicken for dinner, listening to music and having the family come home. Knowing I can help in some way in this family.

  • Eating burritos... in Switzerland. This is a first for me.

I could show my you schedule, my to do list, but in all honesty, this is what my life is what now. This is what it means.... burritos!

Friday, October 2, 2009

[stupide moment]

Somedays, well, I'm just not that bright. I'm slightly amazed that I'm still alive, at times.

Anyways, today, it was 4:00 and I was already anticipating youth group coming up that night at 8:00. I thought of how I could make the time waiting not seem so long. I decided to walk there.

I headed out at 6:22 PM.

For those of you unfamiliar with Switzerland, the entire country is filled with these yellow "Wanderweg" signs that show you how many minutes it is to walk to anywhere. You could get to pretty much any place without having a clue where it is, just by following these signs. I decided to put them to a test.

I left from Arzier and my destination was the Gland trainstation, and then to my church.

First reason why it was stupid for me to do this - I still have a brace and was on crutches. The crutches were real life savers, this evening. I used them to hop and run much of the way. They also were handy because...

I ended up with bloody, blistering heels. Just 25 minutes or so in, I realized my shoes were rubbing my feet wrong. Now these are the hiking boots I wear all the time in America without a problem, so I didn't imagine they could do the damage they did. But see the above picture. Blood isn't extreme.
The pathways I took this time weren't always friendly. The path soon decended down hills into a valley and I watched as the sun went down. I picked up my pace as the path lead me deep into the woods. A few times I would surface up to civilization and breath a huge sigh of relief before the path carried me back into the darkness. A little path that curved with each turn of the creek.
I always hoped that my eyes would adjust to the dark quickly because misteps could twist my ankle, which would slow down my pace by half. The path forced me to go up and down steep slopes and underneath tunnels on tiny pathways that I couldn't see.
After and hour and a half of wandering, I reached a bus stop. It was dark and my ankles were causing me grief. I asked the kid ther if the bus was headed to Gland, he said no, so it was back to the train for me. Another hour, the sign said.

Finally, I felt like I reached Gland. I knew I hadn't completed the path but I was sick of the Wanderweg at night so I just left. Then I was in a city with no sense of orientation. I just started walking based on how I felt. Where I thought I should go. It must have worked (go feelings), because after 20 minutes, I ended up at my destination - Youth Group.
Wandering is one of those things I missed a lot about Switzerland. It's addicting, something I could do every day. In fact, I have done it every day since I did that initial 6 mile trek to Gland. It makes me feel fresh, accomplished, and to some extents - free.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


I'm at it again, I cut sugar out of my diet.

I have cut out sugar before, or to put it better, simply sweets.

There are a few reasons why. Mainly, there is a huge trend I can't deny. My body responds oddly to sugar. It doesn't feel so good. I simply feel awful. I realized my diet in Switzerland had too much sugar in it through various sources, all times of the day.

At breakfast there might be jam or Nutella on my bread or sugar in my tea.
For a snack I might have a waffle, half dipped in chocolate, or a Balisto which is simply a cookie with chocolate - but the Swiss consume it as a meal sort of snack. My host family keeps containers of gummy candies and licorice right at eye level. Then, on top of it all, there is your basic Swiss chocolate consumption.

On my birthday, I realized my sugar "addiction" was getting a bit out of hand. I realized that I was constantly consuming sugar and it was doing me no good. I had done weeks without sugar before, in America, and I realized I needed to do it again. Cut out all sweets.

I'm not one for limits. I've hard it can relate to my ADHD, but I have little control. Once I taste a bit, there's no stopping. I have to go all the way or it simply ain't happenin'. I can't try to limit myself to one sweet a day, because after one comes two and two doesn't seem like that much does it now...

I decided not to consume any more sweets (including jam, Nutella, Balisto, sugar in my tea, hot chocolate, or licorice). I would still eat apples and other fruits for some of my daily, natural sugars. If sugar was in my food, no problem, I just didn't want to eat foods that fall into the sugar and fats section of the food pyramid.

Cutting out sugar has made me feel so much better.

I have this insane amount of energy now, which is hard to believe since I always have my ADHD energy built up. I feel lively and more outgoing and excited about life. I don't feel as physically tired. This is a wonderful feeling.

At first, I thought I was just more happy and I didn't know why. After two days, I realized that perhaps the sugar had something to do with it. I'm no scientist, and I know A does not always cause B, but I don't think this is a coincidence. Wouldn't cutting out bad foods have a positive influence on my mentality?

It also saves me money. When I'm out and about, it's the sweets that tempt me. Cookies. Ice cream. Crepes. Now when I'm out, I go for the fruits or grain.

It also saves me, well, calories. I'm not a weight-loss-crazy person, but I do know that Switzerland causes me to gain weight (15 lbs last time, I believe). I'm not worried about weight as much for asthetic purposes as for health issues. I want to be good to my body and I believe stomache aches are it's way of telling me it didn't like all the sugar.

Anyways, I'll keep this up for a week and see if I want to continue. I think it might be good for me. I can already see my mood changing and I like what I see.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Thoughts and Observations and Bulletpoints of September 21, 2009

10:00 - wake up to furniture being moved around upstairs
11:30 eat breakfast and made lunch for day
Caught the train at 1:40 - went to Lausanne
Met up with Kaci, waited for Christine
Five of us total
Went to Coop for food
I bought nothing
Took the metro to Ouchy
Wow. Cool park
Had a picnic
Saw something covered in sheet and surrounded by officials
Watched covered thing in press
Amusing conversations and inspirations
Waited for uncovering
Guessed what it would be
Was a bust
Train to Geneva was late
Waited 16 minutes for train
Gave money to liar who said he needed it
Went to Geneva
Missed transfer train by 3 minutes because other train was late
Wandered for 30 minutes trying to find another way to destination
Got on bus
Hopped off at first stop after realizing it went the wrong direction
Walked back to train station
Bought some bread
Train to Geneve Secheron
Only one at the station
Walked along sketchy, unlit part of Geneva
Searched for the square dance hall
Pass sketchy building covered in graffiti
End up at the United Nations Geneva
Walk back
Realize sketchy building has matching numbers to the square dance hall
Wander around sketchy property
Enter hallway
Hear music
See one square of dancers
Eat with them and chat in English
Dance a tip
Catch train to Coppet.
See good looking guy on roller skates in Pont Ceard
Arrive in Coppet and transfer to Nyon
Worry that Nadine will miss little train up to village
Train waits for Nadine
Train up the mountain
Arrive in Arzier and get ride home from Nadine
Check out online courses - realize that I need one book
Call parental
Get book taken care of
Final bed time - 2:34 AM
Wake up time the next morning? 7:00 AM

Saturday, September 19, 2009


The day has come.
My Golden Birthday.

On 9/19/09 I turned 19 which, for me, was quite the big deal.

I really do like the number 9. It looks quite lovely to me and now I feel honoured hat I can claim it as mine for the next 12 months.

Joelle had arrived the night before, which was quite the excellent thing. It was great to hang out with her, simply refreshing. That evening, we went over to see Alice and we watched Moulin Rouge. We went upstairs for pizza, which was delicious. At 12:00, Alice had the honours of wishing me, "Happy birthday honey!" which wasn't freaky at all. So I was 19, I guess. That's it.

We never made it through the whole film due to a wee bit of exhaustion on all of our parts.

Joelle and I tottled on home and went to bed.

The next morning - birthday morning - we just chilled for a bit. Lazy day, well, lazy morning, which is such an enjoyable lifestyle. I like waking up, but not having to get up. Even better when you can converse with someone else.

We got up, ate breakfast, went back to bed.
Wrote postcards.
Surfed the net.

We did what Americans do best - hung out. Simply chilling. No purpose to it at all. There is no need to move on or go forward, no time restrictions. One person can just be on the computer while the other reads old magazines.

At around 11:00 it was time to head to France to go shopping for my birthday cake and for the rest of the week in the Coddron residence. Once again, my host mom was extremely accomidating and bought me things I was in dire need of such as lotion. I do so like lotion.

The recipe we were using was from Marina, and my third host mom used to also make it. I absolutely love it. It's a cream, sort of, well, cream. So it's lots of cream with berries and then roasted butter cookies and almonds on top. It is rather delicious. One of those deserts that you can't help but have seconds of.

We headed back to Switzerland, listening to Cake and the Beach Boys.

When we got home, lunch was served, we ate it. That was lovely.

Then Alice, Florian, and Geraldine came over. We all baked up the cake together, well, we didn't bake it. We creamed it up. We tried whipping the cream but it didn't whip but then we read the back and it said you had to chill the cream or bowl or something first. See, in Switzerland they don't keep their milk or cream always in the refrigerator. You can buy it in bulk and keep it in the cupboard for a while without it going bad.

We mixed it all up. Made it all up.

Then it was time to wait for the guests to arrive.

The question is, how many people can I count on to come after I've only been here for around three weeks.

Veronica showed up first, a lovely girl from my language course. She's from Germany. Christine came as well, who is a fellow au pair from South Africa. She makes me happy.

Then Alice and Florian came over and cake was served.

It was a great birthday and I really did enjoy it. I am so grateful for already having such amazing friends in Switzerland. I do feel blessed.

We had some enjoyable conversations, which I liked. We talked about the concept of hanging out, and I found some other folks who are up for nothing evenings at home.

We hung out some more and Oleann and Alex were quite entertaining. I think they turned their cute levels up to the max. They're good at enchanting people.

That evening, we had dinner, and then we were going to watch Moulin Rouge but Joelle and I were just too tired. We went back to bed and read, surfed, did what we wanted to do without doing anything.

I was glad that Joelle had the opportunity to come here for the weekend. I know what it's like to be with a host family in Switzerland. They can be wonderful, but being an exchange student is like a full time responsibility in which you feel an obligation to always act certain ways and conform to certain ideals. It is always a search to find the balance between being with the family, friends, and on your own. That's why I like being an au pair, I'm not expected to do anything but my job.

I checked my facebook and there were 91 birthday greetings. I feel the love people, feel the love.

And that was my birthday. My 19th birthday on the 19th of 2009.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

[le linge]

One of the high points is Thursdays.

Thursdays are wash days for me.

I absolutely love doing my wash in Switzerland. It relaxes me. Makes me feel refreshed.

I love hanging it up, nice and slwoly. Shaking it out in the cool air. Clipping each item on.

I keep my laundry in a pillowcase I got from Ikea. It goes in the very bottom cubby of the second row of my cubboards.

The washing machines in Switzerland take a long time to do their job. It just takes forever. It washes and washes and the machine washes on. I pour the detergent into a small clear sphere with a hole in the top and I put that in the machine. It is one of those machine with a round door on the side so you can see your clothes spin round and round. Back and forth.

Once the cycle is finished I carefully dump them into the laundry basket and carry them up to the patio.

That's when the best part comes, hanging them up on the clothes line. I let them dry in the Swiss Alpine air. So fresh. It blows the clothes crisp and dry.

Pants go on upside down, each pantleg hung up by a clothes pin.
Shirts as well, two pins.
Two socks to a pin.
Underwear, well, I get to decide as I hang it up if it decides one clothes pin or two.

The hope is that it doesn't rain. if it rains, you've got to take all the clothes mighty fast. Luckily, after living in Seattle so long I know the smell and sense of rain. My first time hanging it up, I smelt a bit of rain coming after they clothes had been up for around 55 minutes. I could tell it was coming soon and started to take the clothes down. Sure enough, when I was 25% done it started to sprinkle a bit and so I had to pick up the pace.

I put all the clothes back into the basket and inside to be ironed.

I normally iron while watching a movie or something. I enjoy the ironing as well and like ironing the ribbons on my pyjama pants.

At the end of the whole process I just feel accomplished, clean, and good.
It's laundry thearapy.

"We're just cheering for laudnry!"
-Jerry Seinfeld-

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I want to do a blog of things I am simply grateful for, I do. Here we go.

I am grateful for my American family. My really family. I love their quirks and all those things that make us the Hubert family. I love that Jesus is the foundation of our family.... and music! I love making cookie dough with Dad. Talks with Mom. Walks with Ian. Sometimes I miss living with those folks, in a home where I can blast my music and have jam sessions with my friends at night.

I am grateful for my Belgian host family. They really are good to me. There is a high level of communication between me and the host parents and I know I can talk to them about any little problem to avoid bigger miscommunication. They give me my space and simply expect me to fulfill my duties as an au pair living under their roof. They give me true freedom and allow me to have friends over for visits, even for a couple nights.

I am grateful for my fish.
I am grateful for Alice living across the street and what a good friend she is.
I am grateful for the Hagons who live across the street.
I am grateful for the beautiful walks to school with Oleann and Nadine.
I am grateful that I am allowed to use an awesome bike in Switzerland.
I am grateful for my huge bedroom in the basement.
I am grateful for the orange blanket from Callie and Lorilee before I left.
I am grateful for the shoes and the backpack I got from Monica before I left.
I am grateful for Mr. Chuck and the birthday present I have yet to open.
I am grateful that I have this opportunity to learn French.
I am grateful that I have already found a wonderful youth group.
I am grateful that I was able to visit Obwalden twice already and see my friends.
I am grateful that Lisa was able to lend me her crutches.
I am grateful for the tea last night from Corey instead of having to wait an hour at the station.
I am grateful that my classes start late enough that I can use my Gleis 7 and travel free.
I am grateful that my host family has so many movies that I can watch in French.
I am grateful for the rhubarb yogurt in the refrigerator and the English breakfast in the cubboard.
I am grateful that the last au pair left me some of my favourite Herbal Essence conditioner.
I am grateful my feet don't stink.
I am grateful for all of the pictures people have made for me.
I am grateful that I am living in such a beautiful place, again.
I am grateful that I am able to sleep in till 11:00 each morning, if I choose.
I am grateful that we have wireless internet that I can use.
I am grateful for an iPod full of songs.
I am grateful that I found a way to get a cello for the year.
I am grateful for trains.
I am greatful that when people ask me how I am doing, I can honestly answer with the truth.
I am grateful for Swiss chocolate.
I am grateful for late night walks.
I am grateful for postcards and letters and packages that show up in the mail.
I am grateful that I am in Switzerland.
I am grateful for my friends back home who haven't forgotten me. For the ones that still keep in contact with me likes we we're still together. For the ones I know will still be there for me when I get back. For the ones that give me a reason to come back, someday.
Life here might not always be easy. It is filled with its daily challenges and setbacks. But I know one thing, life is beautiful, and that's one things to be grateful for.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


September 10, 09

Two weeks here. What a nice place.

Woke up, ready to inspect my ankle. It's a lovely swollen fat mess.

I biked to pick up Oleann, which was something she didn't like. I don't think she understood at first why I was riding and I tried to explain to her that it was because of my ankle. I have to walk a total of 60 or so minute a day picking her up and taking her to school.

At school, during lunch, I met up with Nadine, another au pair from the German part of Switzerland. We walked back to our houses together which was nice.

For lunch, we had cordon bleu. I guess for now she can get her wish of cordon bleu Thursdays.

I walked back from school, after dropping Oleann off, with Nadine. It is so much better doing the journey with someone, I was grateful.

I rested my foot during the pauses and watched Mr. and Mrs. Smith. There are a lot of guns in this movie.

That evening I had two events to go to. First I went to my first French course. I'm taking the classes through the Migros School. They had already had one class. It's quite the expensive course to take but I think it's worth it if it gets me ahead on my French. It's held in Nyon. On the train ride there I ran into Secil and got to chat with her for a bit.

I had to pay for part of the class, right then and there. That was a bit difficult. While there I met another American, from Utah, and that was refreshing to hear the American accent. It was also encouraging.

I walked into the class to see that everyone already had the textbooks. I had to buy mine next Tuesday.

The course will be every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:10-9:50 and I have to catch the train at 10:53 so I will always have about an hour to fill in the city.

We learned about foods and what kind of food goes best with red and white wine. I'm still not sure if it's the right class for me. I have to learn my very very French basics and it seems as if everyone has learned French before... yet the course is A1 so I don't know what could come before A1.

Nationalities in my class include New Zeland, Poland, Germany, Canada, Sri Lanka, England, and Columbia. I'm the only American, that I know of.

After the class I went over to the Link Au Pair meeting. I knew it would be already over but I figured some people might still be hanging out. On the walk over, through the streets of Nyon, I returned a call I had gotten from an unknown number during class. It was a guy named Silvan who had gotten my number through someone in my youth group in Sarnen. He offered to take me to a youth group the next night. I guess I have plans now, Friday night. 7:30, some person is picking me up at the train station.

I got to the meeting and had time to meet a few people. Link would be such a great resource, it is, but I'm so busy. I hopped on the train home and met another au pair who lived in my village. Stefanie. But she is only here till the end of September so I don't think our paths will cross much. She offered to give me a ride on the back of her motor scooter, and I would have taken it, but when we got to Arzier there were two other au pairs, one of which I knew, at the train station. It was Nadine with a car! So I got a ride from her, quite handy. The other girl was from Zurich.

I got into my room and within 5 minutes I heard a tap on my window. It was Alice, so we went for a walk, despite my ankle, and then went to her house at around 12:20 to look at plane tickets and she showed me a bit of her family and trip to China. That was great.

Then I went to bed, on exhausted, tired little Maggie.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

[poissons morts]

September 8, 09

Tuesday was entertainable.

September 9, 09

Today could be a special day.


So special. I woke up at a reasonable time, 9:09, and decided to go for a small jog. I got ready, turned on some David Crowder headed out, was doing fine when snurp, my ankle twisted.

I collapsed onto the grass and put my head down.

I just sat there for a bit.

It hurt a bit, but I knew it was like all other ankle twists I had. It would heal in about three days time and I would have to be careful for a while. Careful? Not sure how possible that is. I can be careful, but I have to walk to and from Oleann's school 2-3 times a day. I've got badminton. I've got to walk to my French course in Nyon.

Yes, I signed up for a language course in Nyon. I knew that I needed to have some structured French lessons to build up on. I've learned bits in pieces in America and here, but I want to have an instructor knowing if I'd practiced or not.

Anyways, I hobbled on home, just a 15 minute journey or so, so not too bad.

I sank into the couch and just sort of chilled there, writing postcards. Alice, luckily, came over and she fetched some ice and pizza for me. She is so unbelievably good to me.

Gillone and Alex came home and she gave me a cream to put on twice a day. I played with Alex a bit. Went down the stairs. Tidied up a bit. Went over to the neighbors and played a game with Alice and Floriane. Then Gillone called me over to watch Alex while she went to Nyon. He was sleeping. He woke up. We played with a balloon, it was loads of fun.

I set up a clothes line in my bedroom, well, not a clothes line. A string across the ceiling, like Jordan suggested. I hung up my French verb posters, a few pictures, and a few pics friends had made for me (like Raquel!).

We didn't go to bed that night because it was their mom's birthday. At 10:03, Alice came over and we watched a movie.

Then, the worst thing possible happened, it was horrible. I went to check on Mayo Thai. He hadn't been looking good all day. Sort of drifting, and very visibly breathing. I was worried but at least he was moving around. I turned off the filter to give him a rest.

Anyways, I checked on Mayo Thai and he was face down in the rocks. So odd. Was he sleeping? I turned on the filter and he sickeningly began to spin.I felt absolutely horrible. Sick. Mayo Thai was dead! Alice made sure, and indeed, he was no more. She flushed him for me, thank goodness. I could only hide my head in my pillow.

I felt horrible because my host family had done so much for him and I killed him. But then again, I don't know what went wrong. I honestly think he was a sick fish from the start. He was never very, well, active like a normal fish. Maybe the pet shop will give us a new one, but it's not like I can just replace Mayo Thai. He was sick, but still a great fish.

I was afraid to fall asleep and felt disgusting. I hated walking. For some reason, I felt like I would step on Mayo Thai, who was long gone down the in the toilet.

There was no saying good night to Mayo Thai this night.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Life has ever so quickly fallen back into a routine.
I'm kind of amazed at how quickly we can adapt and accept new lifestyles.

I'll try and keep these daily notes a bit shorter now, as there isn't much to discover - or is there? I think it's up to me, really, to find those things that make each day special. Otherwise, life just blends into one big mush, just like with babyfood, you can't tell one meal from the next.

I had been gone for the weekend and had yet to see my host family.

For lunch, Oleann and I had little pizza's. I feel like a master chef when I cook up frozen food. I also made sure we got some fruits and vegetables into our digestive system.

The day was simply regular.

In the evening it was time for badminton. I got a tap on my window at around 8:25 from Alice. She said she wasn't going to be going that night. She wasn't feeling to great, which isn't a good thing. So Nicholas and I went down to the school to play, but now one else was there that evening to play because the club had some sort of meeting. But we played on and talked about barbarian Swiss people, fighting off bears, and walking to get Alpen cheese.

Walked on back home.
Turning off Mayo Thai's light signals that it is time for the world to sleep.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Two ideas. Notes. Thoughts in my head.

1. Everyone here speaks freakin' British English
2. I am home.

Every little bit of me screams with joy as I ride the train. Ok, that sounds weird. But I've only been on the train for 40 minutes and I can't help but smile. I don't even mind the fact that my yogurt is the plainest flavour ever - not even vanilla.

This is Magi reporting live, 'cause I ain't dead yet, from the train from Nyon to Lausaane, the 2nd train in my 4 train journey back to where I did my exchange last year.

It is such an odd feeling, such a good feeling. I feel sort of numb, excited. It's unbelievable.

It's like my Swiss year was just a dream and this trip will reconfirm that it actually happened.

The train passes through fields of sunflowers, wheat, Swiss houses. I can see France across the water and the mountains that divide Italy from Switzerland and France.

Is it possible to feel such a belonging when alone on a train? It's like a much desired hug. One that reassures me of my reality.

I could stay here forever. Is that horrible of me to say? To think?

I then feel bad. Have I so quickly forgotten the people back home that were so good to me. The friendships that are greater than any spacious landscape. The feeling of love.

Love versus this odd feeling I get by looking at fields and mountains. I do sound like a cold person. Perhaps a loner, but I don't think that is so.

Switzerland is better than I remembered. I wish you could see each minute. Every turn is a new landscape and each one is wonderfully crafted. Even the populated areas are beautiful and have their own quaint charm. I was afraid of being disapointed, that this small country would be unable to compare with how I envisioned it in my mind for the past 13 months.

I don't think I'll be able to leave Switzerland a second time, but little steps. I've only been here for 8 days, just 51 or so weeks to go. Will that be enough to last me a lifetime?

Thursday, September 3, 2009


September 3, 2009

I arrived on a Thusday.
Today is Thursday.
That means I have been here for a week.

Thursdays are pretty regular days, and it feels weird to say that.

I meant to sleep in, honest I did, but I just don't like sleeping that much. I love living in the morning. I got up at around 8:00 and fed Mayo-Thai. I buzzed around the house a bit. I washed my clothes, hung them up to dry.

It started out slightly clear but turned out to be just another rainy Thursday. I do feel like I'm in Seattle again.The weather here is crazy. It downpours one minute. Or just 5 minutes ago I couldn't see across the lake and it was grey. Now it is sunny and I can see to France, but it's so windy I can't use an umbrella.

I spent the afternoon watching Moulon Rouge and crafting postcard.

For lunch, we had Cordon Bleu. Oleann informed me that we should have it every single Thursday from then on. I'm not too sure about that yet.

We made our way back to school with perfect timing.
I walked home with speed.

When I went to pick up her up after school, she was one of the last ones out at around 3:08. I asked her how she was and just looked at me like she was going to cry. I felt horrible. We made our way to the English school, before home. It started to downpour at points and it was too windy for an umbrella. We quickly made our way home, she had a headache and a stomach ache. I put her on the couch and let her rest in the company of Alvin and the Chimpmunks. After which she felt better. I still had her rest a bit more and we ended up reading together.

The day continued on.
Fresh air.
Bonne nuite.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


It's Wednesday.
It's sort of my day off, but not.

I woke up at 7:20 to chill with the Alex kid while Gilone went to a meeting with Oleann's teacher. Alex and I. We played for a bit, but in the end resorted to television. I'm not normally one to do that, but they said it was fine and I was still waking up. The Twinings English Breakfast tea takes a bit of time to work.

After she got back, the three of us headed into Nyon. First we went to the licencing department to switch licence plates.

Then we went to Coop. They are so good to me. They knew I wanted Rivella, my favourite Swiss drink, badly and hadn't had it in a year. I couldn't help but smile every time it was mentioned. First I got my ID photos for my rail passes. Then we got Rivella. As usual, I was asked if I needed anything, I didn't... except Rivella! Alex got a Pokemon ball with candy and a toy. I was given one..

Onwards to the train station.

I've been thinking for a while what I would do for in terms of rail travel, my favourite way to get around. Last time I was in Switzerland I had a GA from Rotary. Now it would cost me around $2,000 to get it. It's for a year and gets you on everywhere in the entire country by boat, train, and bus. Really a great deal.

$2,000 is a lot so I looked into some other options. The best one was a combination of the Half Tax and Rail 7. The Half Tax is only around $140 and gets me all fares for just half the price. That's not such a horrible deal really, specially considering a round trip to my old hometown and back would cost me more than $145 alone. The Rail 7 gets me all train travel after 7 PM for free. Since I would be traveling mostly in the evening, it was a great deal. It will pay for itself after this weekend when I save $154 on ticket prices. Altogether I spent $242 on rail passes, but it was well worth it and they will last me a year.

Then I said I wanted to buy a fish. I did. I had been planning on getting a fish since America when I took care of Sarah's dear fish. We went to the pet shop and looked around. After 5 minutes someone told us the shop was actually closed. By then, I had already learned it would cost me around $55 to get started with a fish, bowl, water cleanser, food, and a plant.

I thought about it for a while and realized I might not be able to afford a fish. I mean, that could be a college textbook or 60 new pairs of socks. My host mom said we would go back that evening but I later told her I would pass.

Oleann came home for lunch.
We ate.
Alex napped.

Gilone had to go back to Nyon for her car licencing and asked if I could watch the kids. Yep. I could do that. Oleann and I worked on English and Alex continued to nap. After English we went upstairs to find Alex cheerfully reading a book about pirates. We played with the Guinea pigs and I thought they would die but they didn't.

Daniel came home.
I went and learned French.

I Skyped with Charlotte in China. Then Alex came and talked with her. Then he left.

Then I heard a tapping on my door. I opened it to find Gilone with a box with bags in it. A fish! They got me a fish! I asked how much and they said it was a gift. I was oh so joyful. I had fish!

So, my fish's name is Mayo-thai. Mayo as in mayonaisse.

I've started to create an enviroment for the little guy. He is so wonderful! I can just watch him swim. And he is a Beta fish. And he is my fish. I have a fish world!

Maggie - Fish Owner

Dinner was little hot dog style sausages wrapped in bacon. Soo good. And we had green beans with ham. Also delicious.

Then, 8:00 came.

I was so excited and looking forward to it. I don't really play badminton and haven't touched a raquet in a long time but I wanted to give it a go.

Swiss schools don't have sport teams so teens have to go elsewhere to stay active. They join sport clubs. This was the badminton club.

At 8:20 there was a tapping on my window. It was Alice and her host brother Nichola. I said good night to my host family and headed out. The club is held at Oleann's school.

I had so much fun playing. We started doubles with a girl whose named sounded like Sicily, Nicolas, Alice, and I. I thought I would be awful but I wasn't half bad. After a while we broke off and just Alice and I played. Then she had to go on so I went over and asked some random kid to play with me for a while - I wanted to play and I didn't care who with. It was a sold hour and forty five minutes of play and I was worn out and exhausted by the end. My right arm still feels odd the next morning.

I'll be able to play twice a week.

I'm really relieved because I've been looking for some sort of physical activity to partake it. I want to do curling but I don't know if I can commit to something because I might have to babysit sometimes. I'm still looking into it, though. I also have to see about square dancing.

I'm stoked for the end of September when I get to participate in an orienteering something.I don't know what it is. It'll be 6 km or so and it's in Zurich. I get to do it with Roswita, Coni, and a few other people. It's a good motivation to get moving.

After the game, we all headed home. Alice met us at the school. Apparently she never made it home because she got lost. Poor Alice, who just might read this. I felt bad. We'll have to walk the route a few more times so she can get it memorized. It's a right out of the parking lot, second left turn (first real left), follow the road till you come to the fork and follow it to the right, stay on it till the T and then turn right, then take the left onto our street. Voila.

A very tired and maybe even sweaty Maggie arrived home around 10:15. I showered, put on my paper airplane pyjamas, and went to bed with a very satisfying feeling.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


September 1, 2009

It's September, finally.

I absolutely adore this month, I really do. It's the month of important dates such as my birthday and life getting colder. I don't like absolute cold but a bit is fine.
I think rain is a hideous French word. I will be honest, it makes me want to shudder. Want to see it? Pluie. Go ahead, try and make it sound beautiful, and somehow the natives do, but I don't like looking at it. I'll take my rain or regen any day.

Tuesdays are my cleaning days, if ever there were one. I vacuum the entire house. I woke up, got dressed, and got to work, which for me is actually fun. I blasted the Lion King, in French of course, through the house so the neighbors would know what I was up to.

I dusted. Cleaned. Danced. They all go hand in hand you know.

Time to pick up Oleann.
Picked up.
At some Knacki (like skinny American hot dogs).
Took her back to school.
Continued cleaning.

Oh! I did some wash, that was fun. I hung out all my clothes to dry. It was a warm, windy day which made the process go quickly. I love hang drying clothes. I like the way they feel after they dry. I went outside to check on them, 10 minutes before it was time to pick up Oleann, when I smelled rain. I felt like it was coming. I figured it might be good to take them inside, and, sure enough, the moment my hand touched the first piece of clothing it started to sprinkle.

I felt like a speedracer as I unclasped off all my clothes.
Ran to pick up Oleann.
We wandered in the rain together.

Got home.
Ate some yogurt.
Learned English.

Then, we played on and we played hard. I did some crafting with boxes, a new hobby of mine.

Gilone and Alex came home and she asked me to play with him for a bit while she helped Oleann with her studies. No problem for me. Alex and I played ball outside fo the entire duration of time.

It rained some more. The clear skied Arzier I had come to love was turning into a mess of grey. Sometimes you could barels see past the train tracks in our backyard. I felt right at home. It felt good. Smelled better.

Gilone was gone for dinner because she was getting a new car. A company car. A car from her company. Daniel cooked up some pasta and sausages.

By the time it was time for my evening walk, it was raining quite a bit - but that doesn't stop someone whose lived in Seattle most of her life. I allowed myself an umbrella, since I'm in Switzerland, and headed out to meet with Alice. We wandered a ways, but after about 8 minutes, the lightening started and it's not a safe thing to walk in such conditions. We strolled on back. Came home. Watched some of Annie.


Monday, August 31, 2009


Aug 31

The last day of August. Tomorrow September starts.

Speak of which, my birthday is next month. You ought to write me a letter.
Here is my address:

Margaret Hubert c/o Familie Coddron

Chemin des Cerisiers, 5

CH-1273 Arzier


That's right, get out a piece of paper and sketch me a quick note. I'll write back with a postcard. I love getting mail and for those in college, this is a great way to insure that empty post box get's filled up.

Today was my first day of doing what I will be doing.

I woke up at 8:45 to try and establish a routine.

Empty the dishwasher.
Eat breakfast.
Clean up my mess.
Tidy up my room.

My breakfast was one piece of bread with butter and jam, Twinings English Breakfast tea with sugar and cream, rhubarb yogurt, a pear, and two tiny plums.

11:40 - time to pick up Oleann from school. I arrived. Sat with the other moms. Out she came! I love our walks together. Even if I can't speak French, we find ways to communicate and laugh together. Always laughter.

At home, most of lunch was set up. We were going to have bread, meat, cheese, and carrots. I got out my curried chicken leftovers and ate that. We cleaned up afterwards and then listened to a book on tape.

Time to go back to school. We rode our bikes this time. I held the little red paper for her as she put in her combination. After a few tries, she gave it to me to open, I succeeded. I rode back. The air was warm. I felt good, free. I was in Switzerland again on a bicycle and it was to early to think about the end.

An hour and a half? What to do in such an awkward amount of time? I began my solo French studies by learning some conjugations of words I knew I needed to know. I must have eaten a few plums.

Before I knew it ,it was time for me to pick up Ollean again. So I got on my bike and made the 3 minute trek to her school. We got her bike free and rode on. I'm glad I can bike up hills. When we approached the last stretch, she was going fast towards the road and I yelled out, "Attent" or, "Slow down!" She didn't and a car was coming, Luckily she fell to the side, knocking the chain off her bike and shoving her onto the gravel. The car had seen her, relief. It waited for a moment to make sure she was ok and we signaled it to move on. I wasn't too pleased. Not mad, just not pleased. So we had a quick English-French talk on stopping at the gate. My intent was understood.

We went home for a Balisto, me carrying her bike with one hand and pushing mine with the other. Balistos are so good, like a cereal bar with a whole lot of chocolate. Time to start English time.

The host rents have requested that I work with Oleann for at least 10 minutes a day on English. 10? We can do more than that. I didn't have the English coursework yet so we played our own games. To get her excited about making accomplishment, we developed a handshake that we did when I thought she had accomplished something worth noting. 30-40 minutes later, we decided we were done.

This is the point when my time with her is optional. I have to be in the house, be with her, but not play all the time. But I'm still in the honeymoon phase and life is new, we played some more. We played Petshop and then she went to play with Floriane. Floriane was loaded with homework but Alice came over instead. We went inside with the intent of seeing the Guinea pigs. We checked them out and then Oleanne got out a few books and had Alice and I each pick one from a series. I picked one out that turned out ot be about girls making a band or something. Without reading the title, Alice picked out one about, well, I'm not sure. Alice was talking with Floriane, who had just arrived. I finally was picking up on some words, "Sexuelle." Which was repeated multiple times. In a kids book? Then I finally I asked for a translation. Turns out Alice's book was about a boy and his penis and vaginas. I'm still not entirely sure but I put the book away.

Floriane and Alice when home. Oleanne and I set the table. Then, I let her play and I tidied up my room a bit.

Someone came home and I was off duty. Dinner was these wonderful sausage roll-ish bundles called "Bird Heads" in Belgium. Delicious.

It was a bit after 8:00 and time to go for a walk. I do so like going for my walks. Floriane asked me if I had taken my medication, which I hadn't. I got to say good night to her and then Alice and I set out on our miny adventure of a walk. I wanted to go down hills, so we could walk up them in the end.

We got home.
Time for bed.
Just another day in Switzerland.