Some things don't change, no matter what side of the world I'm on. For instance, last week, when I was wandering around the city lost I asked for directions at a Kiosk. The lady at the counter didn't understand my English, but a man who was probably 70 years old overheard. He looked kind of like an older version of Mr. Rogers with his slacks and sweater. He stepped right up to help. "Ehh? Which Language? Français? Nein? English? Ok, where do you want to go?" I showed him the street on the map, and he said, "You need to be on the other side of the river--you see that bridge there? The Other side of the river." I should have known that, I thought--whenever I'm lost in Portland, its always on the wrong side of the river. The old man continued "You take Tram 3, Ehh? Number 3!" He held up three fingers to clarify. "And then, you cross the river, and walk up the steps and the highschool is right at the top of the steps. Its a long walk, but you have good legs, and its right at the top of the steps, you'll see the highschool." The highschool! I thought. I'm not looking for the highschool...he must mean the university though. I thanked him and followed the tram tracks across the bridge because I didn't have any coins to buy a ticket for tram 3. I turned right at the end like he said and up the steps, and--sure enough, there was the highschool. I wanted to march right back across that bridge and say, "I'm in Graduate school, not high school!!!" but I was still trying to get to class, so I didn't.
Internet access is still sketchy, but I have just discovered a second library that has Internet access, and this one is closer to the main campus building than the English department library is, so we are in good shape.
Tomorrow we are having a going-away dinner for Agi, the girl from Poland. She moves out this week and then I can move into my permanent room.
This weekend I went with Daniel to a movie (in English!!), went grocery shopping with my hiking backpack on because the store is a long ways away and how else was I going to carry everything back?! and Johannes came down from Frankfurt and we had lunch and dropped by the Starbucks. Would you believe they dont have peppermint mochas here?! I might not have come to switzerland if I had known that. I'm getting pretty settled in and I am finding my way around. I need to make more friends--otherwise I am going to wear out the few I have.
This week I am starting a class called English in America--it covers the development of American English, the regional and ethnic differences, etc. I will be a real live specimen for them, and I am really excited about this class, except I did the reading for this week and it was a very brief overview of US History-- all 200+ years crammed into 15 pages. It was a tremendous oversimplification, of course, and we haven't got to reading about the language component yet, but I am waiting with bated breath.
Ok, I am off to class soon (Slavery to Freedom in S. Africa), so I will talk to you all later. I will post pictures from around town hopefully in a day or two. Much love and saccharine (as my dear elder brother calls it).