Updated: Jan 9
My Dearest Switzerland,
When we arrived over six years ago, we had no idea what you had in store for us. You were not even on our radar. It was a stroke of luck that we ended up at your side. So much so, that the first time we visited was to find a place to live!
We immersed ourselves in books and blogs written about living with you to understand how our future would look. The more we read, the more nervous we became about offending you with all your rules and regulations. Thankfully, we were also impressed with all of the exciting opportunities you had to offer which helped tame the anxiety and nerves.
Although we gently broke the news that we’d only be staying for a couple of years, you’ve sucked us in with your charismatic personality, plentiful resources, and we can’t imagine leaving you. How could we have known how quickly you would endear yourself to us? Let me count the ways.
#1 Your Landscape
The jagged peaks of your terrain have captivated our senses. Not once have your stunning views been taken for granted. As soon as the clouds part and the Alps show their toothsome grin, we run for the nearest hill to bathe in their beauty. Just a small glimpse can lift our mood and help us push through your endlessly grey winters. Blanketed in snow in the winter months or helplessly exposed in the summer, you display your crown jewels for all to revel in. We still struggle to identify any peaks other than your most famous, but thankfully your proud citizens help keep us informed.
If we need to get away from the grey that overtakes our valley in the winter months, we jump on one of your abundant train lines and within a couple of hours, we are in the sunny scapes of Ticino. Even though we are still within your boundaries, it feels as if we have been transported to another world. Stone houses made of gorgeous grey slate dot the lush landscape and the stunningly blue lakes leave us hypnotized.
#2 Your Sports
Although it seemed a little late to learn, you talked us into learning to ski. We have learned to parade toward the ski lift in clunky boots with skis slung over our shoulders. You’ve shown us the joys and feelings of accomplishment during that perfect early morning ski run that we would have never experienced in Wisconsin or Iowa. When we were scared out of our wits while standing at the top of an impossibly steep piste, you reassured us that the hot chocolate with rum would taste all the sweeter after making it to the bottom. And because of you, we are now proficient in singing at the top of our lungs with wind blushed skin at an apres ski party.
Your brilliantly organized hiking trails have left us wanting for nothing. Wandering takes on a whole new meaning when living with you. There are a multitude of options available to us from our front door as well as hikes a little further afield. Your mountain huts spread throughout the peaks to house and feed passersby are impossible to ignore. Books are written in their honor!
#3 Your Food
Despite the fact that Anthony Bourdain refused to visit you and in spite of our endless discussions about your lack of food culture, we must concede that you have won us over. Every valley, every region, every proud artisan food producer will happily describe to us their unique products. You have taught us that at the crux of your food culture is the enjoyment of the seasons.
Each spring, we impatiently await asparagus perfectly trimmed at a local farmer’s stand and anxiously watch the growth of strawberries planted along small country roads. In the fall, a heavenly bowl of pumpkin soup can be found on every restaurant menu and wild game proudly etched on a restaurant chalkboard. Yes, Switzerland, the simplicity and caliber of your food has won us over. The loaf of Zopf proudly displayed at every Sunday brunch has won us over. The leg of lamb purchased at a mountain farm after a delightful hike has won us over. The nearly 450 unique cheeses that are typically only found at their place of creation have won us over.
Switzerland, you have made us one of your own. We are truly and completely yours. We promise to continue to learn more about your culinary abundance. We will continue to discover more corners of your overwhelming landscape through hiking and skiing. And most of all, Switzerland, we will continue to enjoy your company every day.
With love and gratitude,
April Remfrey is an American special needs consultant living and loving life in Switzerland. Please feel free to share this blog post by giving credit to the author and the website link: www.remfreyeducationalconsulting.com