Week six update: barbecues and bonfires

The past week has been surprisingly action-packed. This week marked the midpoint of my travels (I have been out of the US for a little over six weeks, and have just about five left). While my journey seemed epically long when I began, I’m starting to realize how quickly it is passing. The first session interns will be leaving this week, as well as the first round of volunteers. Although I’m here for the full summer, the goodbye process always reminds me of my first summer, and how heartbreaking those goodbyes were. Just passing through the Montreux train station reminds me of those tearful hugs and kisses two years ago.

Sunday marked the close of the Caux Forum for Human Security, which meant saying goodbye to all the friends and coworkers from the Forum team. Saturday was the last night of the Montreux Jazz Festival, meaning that almost the entire Forum team, scholars, interns, and communications made the trip down the mountain. It was a beautiful, if slightly drizzly, night, and my friend Joanne and I ended up staying out later than anticipated due to unforeseen reunions. We also ended up losing each other in the madhouse that is the Montreux Jazz Festival, and spent hours circling each other. Thankfully, she ran into some of our intern friends, and I had stuck with the comms team, so we both made it back unscathed, if slightly panicked about the other.

Sunday, the last night of the Forum, was the most celebratory evening of the summer so far. In the name of cultural sensitivity, we do not drink in Mountain House, and so meet at the train station bar hotel (Buffet de la Gare) whenever we gather in large numbers. Wine, beer, peanuts, shisha and frites were passed around, guitars were played, and we had an epic evening of song and merriment. Monday night we finally succeeded in having the barbecue that we had planned for the Fourth of July. We grilled sausages, steak, zucchini and marshmallows over the open fire and celebrated the lovely weather into the small hours of the morning.

happy sausage!

Tuesday night was a much-needed night of rest, and we celebrated the lovely weather on Wednesday night as well, with a few hours of nightswimming and a bottle of wine. Some of the beaches on Lake Geneva come fully equipped with chaise lounges, and we settled into our favorite beach, which has steps into the water and is nicely sheltered from the promenade above. Some of our fellow beachers brought music and cocktails, and we were involuntarily treated to a fashion show and mini-dance performance.

The good weather continued, and we enjoyed another bonfire on Thursday night, as well. While there was no barbecue, we roasted marshmallows, told jokes, and played bongos, anticipating a much-needed day off on Friday.

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