The past few weeks have flown by, and in the rush of activities and work and farewells, I haven’t updated for three weeks. In that time, I’ve been winetasting in Cully, traveled to Basel and Bern with Joanne, had a day out with the Communications Team, celebrated Swiss National Day, started and finished the series The Hunger Games, saw Woody Allen’s new movie in an open-air theatre in Vevey, been midnight swimming, gone hiking, and changed my travel plans, slightly but significantly.
The Communications Team’s Day out was a definite highlight. I’d been up all hours the night before, as many of the interns were leaving that day and we had a late night at the train station. On my way back to my room at the very sensible hour of 1.30 or 2, I’d run into a friend who is in charge of preparing the meals for Ramadan. She was up, as they eat breakfast before 5 am, and we talked for nearly an hour before I realized I was falling asleep standing up. Joanne left early in the morning as well, so I was up at 6 am to see her off. All in all, I wasn’t confident that I was feeling well enough to go on the outing with the team when we met up at 9 am, but I powered through, and was thoroughly recharged with our breakfast of coffee and pain au chocolat at a bistro in Villeneuve, even if the pain au chocolat looked completely foreign.
We continued on to Aigle, where we were strapped into harnesses, and began a ropes course. I’m not entirely certain to call what we did, but we ventured through the trees on ladders, obstacle courses and tight ropes, finishing off with an epic 250-meter zip line.
We spent about four hours climbing about, had a picnic, and departed for the beach, where we slept and read, and attempted to repair our scrapes and sore muscles.
After the beach, we returned to Villenueve for dinner, which we followed with a midnight swim in the lake, and returned home, exhausted but exhilarated.
The next week or so was busy, full of work, conferences, and goodbyes. The new session of interns and volunteers came into the house, as the old ones left. I moved into my own single room, as sleeping in Abby’s and my three-bed double seemed immensely lonely without her. As we began preparing materials for the Annual Report, I realized that my time here is dwindling, and that it was high time to finalize my travel plans. With mounting nostalgia, I realized that I would rather stay in Switzerland longer than go to Paris, which was my original plan. My friend who moved there had suddenly realized she had to return to the states right before I arrived, and so I had little incentive to go so far out of my way to fly through such a horrendous airport.
So, it seems that Paris is off the table this year, but I may get to see Geneva, which is something that I’d planned to do the last two summers but somehow always managed to miss.
We celebrated Swiss National Day with bratwurst, fondue, and lightning on Wednesday, and on Thursday ventured out of Caux to see Woody Allen’s To Rome with love in a stunning open-air theatre in nearby Vevey. While I like Montreux because of the lake and convenience, Vevey is a far more interesting city, full of murals and random pieces of art, such as:
The movie was highly enjoyable, if slightly schizophrenic, and when it was over at midnight, we decided we weren’t ready to return home just yet. We made our way back to Montreux, to our favorite beach. Not having any swimsuits with us, we hoped that no one would happen upon us in the dark. However, as soon as two of the three of us jumped in, we were joined by two overly-friendly Latvian boys, who simply refused to get the point and leave us in peace. They proved themselves to be harmless, however, and we had a lovely evening.
I spent my last two days off hiking during the day, and swimming at night. Saturday marked the close of the village bar, Buffet de la Gare, the only place we can socialize and find alcohol in Caux, and we celebrated the end of the era with a massive fiesta. Generations and cultures mixed on the dance floor, scarves were used to do the limbo, a massive game of flipcup was played, and I met and rapidly made enemies with sambuca.
The final conference ends this week, and the Global Assembly is due to start just as we all depart. I’m still shocked by how quickly these seven weeks in Switzerland have passed, though I am greatly excited about my next adventure: Beirut.