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.


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