It’s been 3 days since I packed 2 kids, 2 laptops, 2 tablets, an iPod, iPad, and iPhone with all their assorted chargers and adapters – enough to lose my iMind – clothes, books, shoes, two bike helmets, and a soccer ball, into 7 bags, and moved 4000 miles to Winterthur, Switzerland. So really I haven’t had the time to muse randomly on earth shattering revelations like how airline food is gross but so cute with all its individually wrapped items, and how I’m no longer bothered by screaming children on airplanes but I do give thanks that none of the truly loud ones emerged from my loins, or how when the flight attendants give you the little tiny packets of peanuts or pretzels they do it with the air of a divine being bestowing a miraculous gift. Suffice it to say that our 9 hour flight to Amsterdam and on to Zurich was wonderfully uneventful.
We took the train from Zurich to Winterthur, a quick 20 minute ride through an alternating industrial and pastoral landscape. At Winterthur station we were met by Pamela, an administrator at the university, a lovely woman with dangly earrings and a lilting Swiss accent. She’s recently engaged and for their honeymoon, her fiance and she are going to backpack through Asia! I love hearing about other people’s crazy ass travel plans!
Then it’s a 5 minute cab ride to our apartment and time to see what 27 square meters means in feet. Time for a digression rant – I used to be able to estimate stuff in metric all the time and now I’ve lost the ability! C’mon America – it’s time to slough off the final vestiges of the colonial era! Even the British have gone metric! Rant over. Back to the apartment – it’s bigger than the studio apartment I had in grad school so that’s a huge relief. (Though, one memorable evening, I hosted a party in graduate school with 15 people in that tiny apartment – there were people sitting in my closet!) It’s very industrial, decorated by Ikea and a Spartan (as in from Sparta and not MSU). In fact, the apartment building is this grey modern building with steel and glass, and it’s surrounded by beautiful old Swiss homes that look like something out of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales.
Next, we are given the tour. There’s an incredibly complicated system of garbage disposal. The Swiss separate everything! Regular paper and cardboard are in two separate disposal areas, plastic bottles in their own area, recyclable plastic in its own area. Now, you could choose not to recycle but, and this is just another ingenieSwiss idea, you have to pay 2 CHF (~$2.50) for each garbage bag you use – that’s right – EACH bag! So the more you recycle the less you spend on garbage bags! That’s like the most passive aggressive form of recycling I’ve ever seen!
There’s also a fancy laundry system that I haven’t figured out yet and which uses cards and lasers and dark matter – or at least that’s what it seems like – I will write a post when I’ve gathered the courage to tackle it. It may be that we just spritz our clothes with cologne, turn socks and underwear inside out, and hold our breaths around each other for a few weeks!
Note 1: This post is filled with some incredibly mundane minutiae – I do apologize! It’s just that I want to do a memory dump every once in a while to free up space for new things and there’s precious little space left so I have to optimize the best I can!
Note 2: I didn’t have Dave proofread this post so forgive me for the atrocious grammar – feel free to devise a drinking game whereby you take a shot every time I make a mistake – it’ll make this post infinitely funnier!
Note 3: The name for this post is taken from a lovely movie with a beautiful soundtrack which was playing in my head as I traveled away from home – enjoy!