Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Herzlichen Wilkommen in der Schweiz!

Hello from across the pond!

As the title ("a heartfelt welcome to Switzerland") indicates, I have arrived safely and happily in Switzerland. After a good 13 hour sleep, I have showered my jetlag away and am now ready to go out and tackle the Swiss Alps.

As with my last visit two and a half years ago, I am staying with the ever gracious family of Conny. They live on the side of a mountain in a tiny village in Graubunden, Switzerland's largest kanton (like a state). This is the kanton famous for mountains, Davos, San Moritz, and the birth of the winter resort, but there is no shortage of summertime adventure. I know cliches make for bad writing, but if you think of the cliche image of Switzerland, that pretty much exactly describes my present location.

The local language (by which I mean in this valley), is Romansch. Along with German, French, and Italian, Romansch is Switzerland's fourth official language. It is only spoken by about 50,000 people in the world, and is the closest living equivalent of Latin. Luckily, everybody who speaks Romansch also speaks German, (though Swiss German is practically its own language...)

Conny was an exchange student during my senior year of high school; some of you had the pleasure to meet her last fall. Conny's two older sisters (Patricia and Lilian) are also visiting right now, so there is no shortage of excitement here! I met them all during my last visit, and always enjoy our adventures.

Speaking of adventure, we are about to go hiking, so I will end here. I miss you all dearly, and promise to respond to all letters once I have made it to Budapest.


Saturday, August 16, 2008


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Friday, August 15, 2008

Welcome (to a place of in-betweens)

As I sit down to welcome you, I am immediately struck by the juxtaposition of the point in my life from which I issue the welcome, and the particulars of this blog to which I am welcoming you.

My own life is at a crossroads – recently graduated from Colorado College (CC), I’m setting off to give the expatriate life a try. Having just completed a six week fellowship in Europe with Humanity in Action, I’m now back in the States for just long enough to put my life in order (deep storage) and say some goodbyes. Then it’s off to Budapest for a year at the Central European University (CEU). After that, who knows? The only thing that seems certain is that the coming years will bring constant transition.

As a blog, these words exist in no fixed place – the words, like everything else on a computer, are endless 0s and 1s that can be assembled in any place, but are anchored in no geographic point. I am reminded of the double-entendre Sir Thomas More penned with the creation of the word “utopia,” the Greek roots of which imply both a “good place” and “no place.” Find a word for both “no place” and “any place” and that would be this blog.

As a window into my life, this blog will reflect this transitory phase by offering a place from which one can catch a glimpse of the various paths leading towards and away from the present crossroads. As such, the topics will be eclectic. This page will host everything from travel blogs and photos to reviews and political essays. Someday, maybe even advice for other young internationalists. Like my own life, however, the content won’t be fixed.

So, as I stand at these crossroads, I welcome you to this virtual space – both no place and any place. To friends, family, and the random passerby: WELCOME!