About a year ago, I was packing up my life in DC, preparing myself to say goodbye to a lot of amazing people, and crying a lot. All you had to do was say Switzerland and I would lose it. I knew that what was coming was going to be an amazing experience, but the leaving part is so hard.
It has been a whirlwind year full of new.
New country, new language, new school, new job, new people, new lifestyle. Everything changed. And despite the difficulties of navigating a new culture and missing family and friends, it has been an incredible year. From new friends to hikes in Italy to Alpine Cow Festivals, the list of what I’ve learned and enjoyed is long.
So as year 1 of the Swiss life comes to a close, I present to you my list
(both the serious and the not-so-serious)
of what Switzerland has taught me…
1. You learn a lot about yourself when you are separated from everyone you know. Who you are, what’s important to you, how you handle things, what you’re capable of. Usually you’ll find out that you’re capable of more than you thought you were.
2. Sunshine makes a huge difference. After weeks of cold rain, sunshine brings an immediate mood boost to everyone around you.
3. Switzerland is just as expensive as everyone says.
4. Great friends are great friends no matter where you are. You may not see each other every day anymore, but being far away shows you who the long-termers are in your life. And then when you do see each other, you pick right back up like no time has passed.
5. No coffee=no social skills
6. If you have a pretty good idea of what the outcome of taking a risk will be, it’s not really a risk. If you keep your eyes only on what you expect or hope will happen, you might miss something even better. But if you open yourself up to whatever will come, you never know what you will experience.
7. Sometimes you just need to join in and play.
Kelly is an American teacher living in Switzerland and enjoying everything the country has to offer.