Ah, Switzerland. My Euros don’t work, but otherwise, we’re golden. I’m camped out in a kids room: there are boats sailing across my walls, and I have more helicopters and LEGOS in here than I know what to do with. I start my classes tomorrow, although I’m thankful to have a very light day on Monday, and I’ll use the extra time to get my bearings in Basel. I’m pleased to report there is a Starbucks in Basel, by the way. Not that I’ll be frequenting it, since I’m a poor graduate student now, but if I get lonely for the Great Northwest, I might swing by. I think I’m fortunate to have a temperament that adjusts quickly to new places and people, but it’s not so fun not understanding people…so…we’ll see. I might find myself in Starbucks more than I anticipate. I am understanding more and more German every day though, and I’m still having a wonderful time!
Here’s the quick rundown of what’s been happening:
1) I might buy a bike! I haven’t had a functional bike in ages, so I’m excited about that—if I get one it’s going to have a basket and everything. How fun! The guys in Lörrach have been out en force on my behalf all week looking for a suitable used bicycle, and I’ll post a picture if/when I buy one.
2) In other exciting news, I went grocery shopping, and I’m feeling quite domestic. I mean, I am set for nesting: I could bake you a pie or make oatmeal for an army, or invite the royal family for tea, or we could have pasta or potatoes or anything you want!! That is, we could if you were here. Unfortunately, I don’t have very many decorations for my room yet, but don’t be alarmed! I will remedy that situation shortly. I was going to buy tulip and daffodil bulbs yesterday, but Mrs. O reminded me I don’t have a garden (particulars, particulars) so first, I’m going to ask if I can have a pot in the yard, and THEN I’m going to buy flower bulbs.
3) My classes that I’m most looking forward to are “Black and Yellow Gold. A comparison of Mining and Miners in the German Ruhrgebiet and the South African Witwatersatrand, 1880-1950,” “Land Reform: Poverty as History in South Africa,” and “Imagining Africa: Missionary Intellectuals and Systems of Knowledge.” I don’t know if they’ll let me take the class on mining. Some of it is in German, and my German ist nicht so gut. I will have a total of around 11 classes, including German and an African Language (probably Swahili, but depends on availability. Arabic is the other most logical choice). That feels like a lot right now, but it’s about right—their credit system works differently than ours, so a “normal” credit load is about 30 credit points a semester, and I’m at 28ish. I’m also taking a course with the English department on South African Fiction, and I think that will be fun too. I’m a little heavy on South Africa-themed classes this semester, but it’s just what’s offered this time.
4) Olga and I watched Emma Saturday night, and I have to say I love that movie so much. The boys refused to watch with us. We tried to invite them, but they said “NO EMMA! And you aren’t going to contaminate our laptops with it either!” I told Vitaly that I know a couple guys who actually enjoyed the movie, but he said, “are you sure they were guys?,” so Olga and I gave up and watched it by ourselves and had a wonderful time without them.
There you have it. J Steph’s life in a very small nut shell. Feel free to email me or leave comments! I enjoy getting emails, and I’ll do my best to answer in a timely fashion. Blessings on your day!