So, here I am at the airport in Zürich waiting for a plane to take me back to Canada. It’s hard to believe I’ve been away for over 7 months already. And in those 7 short months I really did fall in love with this country.
A lot of people asked me “why Switzerland?” and I never had a great answer. I knew I wanted to go on an exchange, to live somewhere else in the world for some time, to get away from this high school – university – job path that I was on. But the country itself? To be honest it was a bit of a random decision: I looked for a European university with English engineering courses and just chose Switzerland because it sounded like a nice place. Luckily for me it turned out to be pretty much the best decision I’ve ever made. So now 7 months later, I’m sitting in the airport promising myself that I’ll return someday.
This here is my way of saying goodbye, an ode to the things I loved (or learned to love) most about this country.
I’ll miss spending days in the water. Going wakeboarding and wakesurfing will forever be a “Swiss” activity in my mind, having first tried them here in Switzerland. But my favourite was definitely going swimming (or rather, floating) in the Limmat, the river that runs right through the center of the city.
I’ll miss taking the train everywhere, and being able to take public transit literally everywhere in the country. Going bouldering to a tiny town in Graubünden or Ticino? No problem! To someone who comes from an area with less than stellar public transit, this is quite a revelation.
I’ll miss the density of the rock, and of course the rock itself. There are so many developed areas within such a small area, many more than the famous ones known overseas. I was lucky enough to get to climb at quite a few different and amazing crags. I can’t wait to return to some of them (especially Gimmelwald and Brione), and of course check out new areas.
I’ll miss the language, Schwiizerdütsch. It wasn’t always an easy time, and I probably should have considered what living in a country with a different mother tongue would be like. But at the end of it all I’ve grown rather fond of the language, the strange way it’s written, and the proud and slightly defiant way people here feel to speak a dialect of German that German speakers find difficult to understand. And now thanks to my team I have a dictionary so I can keep learning even in Canada!
Finally, and most of all, I’ll miss the people. I heard that Swiss people were not the most open and friendly, but that’s not what I experienced. I think having a sport like climbing in common was a great icebreaker. Thanks to my team, the sweetest and funniest people around, for always motivating me to train hard, practicing your English with me, and sometimes speaking very easy German for me. Thanks to my two awesome coaches for pushing me hard, putting up with me even when I had breakdowns at training, and especially for believing in me. The amount that you believe in me and lengths to which you will go for me help me believe in myself and my dreams. And of course thanks to all of my awesome friends for everything. Days and weekends spent outside on rocks, training hard, going swimming, eating awesome brunches, baking delicious things, going to South Africa, and many more.
I truly am leaving one home for another.
Tschüss zämme! Isch uuhuere geil xi. I vermisse eu alle scho.