Oh the beauty of the car. Our collegue Al, who has a car, decided to take Paula and I on an adventure across the border. The real beauty is not just in being able to drive over the border for lunch, but in what you see on the way. The sun has decided to come out and play, drying up the floods that were created this past week throughout Switzerland and other European areas. The hills roll one into the next, fields of corn golden with ripeness. Trees brush against each other in the afternoon breeze and the sun flowers frown as thier season to bloom comes to a close.
Usually Sundays can be quite dull and quiet — especially when it is raining — in Schaffhausen. All the shops are closed. A few cafes are open for business. If the weather is nice, the icecream stand pops up. So today we went over and had lunch at a family style resturaunt on the Bodensee, across the lake was the Swiss side and we sat happily on the German side, sipping fizzy waters and paying for our meal in Euros, which tends to be less expensive than the Swiss Franc.
The probability of being able to communicate with someone in the German that I am slowly relearning, is more promising on the German side as well. I swear that Swiss German really is another language entirely, but luckily all literature is in “high” German, so if I try to speak it someone may understand me, that is if I pronounce things correctly. I am still trying to build up my confidence and of course you have those that will respond to you in English even if you use your little German. I have to wait until September 19 to start German classes and although I did take a placement test, I think I will be starting at a lower level than is necessary after my three years of highschool German and one semester — or was it two? — in college. This is the downside if you are a horrible test taker/have test anxiety, like myself.
After lunch on the lake, we drove back to Stein am Reine, which is a small Swiss town on the Rein River. It was buzzing with a Sunday afternoon crowd. Bikes everywhere. Families licking ice cream cones. Musicians playing percission instruments on the cobblestone streets. Outdoor cafes with customers waiting patiently for the next available table. We had coffee and chocolates and then snuck in a small icecream cone after our walk along the river. The river was full of kayackers, sailboats, rowboats, etc. There is even an old tower in this village that used to burn witches during the years when intuitive women were thought to be evil, thus burned at the stake.
I have pictures of these places. Tiny ones on my Nokia camera. I haven’t figured out how to transfer them to my computer yet though, instructions come in three languages, none of them being English. Ali and I will go shopping for a camera for me this week…I’d like to get some pictures before the sun goes into hiding again.
And, here I sit back at home, in my tiny tiny one room apartment, layers of dust collecting on the carpet and shimmering in the late afternoon sun. Everytime I wake up and have forgotten to open the window the night before, I feel like I have a hangover. And I’ve only had one glass of wine with dinner. It’s very stuffy in this tiny tiny one room apartment. And there is no balcony escape like my ole place on Thonglor.
It feels good to take the time, to make the time, to have the time, to write again. I have a collegue that has offered for us to meet at her house to discuss writing and I met another woman last night that said becoming a writer in Switzerland is very possible because of the isolation you sometimes feel. I am going to try to take that and create a positive out of it. We shall see.
At the moment, I am just procratinating. I have my week to plan for school. I have the parent’s night packet to write and put together. And I have to get this tiny tiny place ready for ali’s arrival tomorrow after school. I am so excited I can hardly sit still. Oh the joys of sharing a new place with the one that rocks my world.