einen blog

Friday, June 30, 2006

First days in Zurich

I finally got on my connecting flight to Zurich. Once here, I was not immediately in love as I thought I would be. The baggage carts have this weird strap across the top which I guess is supposed to keep people from overloading their carts, but also prevents loading even one bike box onto it. So, where I thought I would be mildly amusing, I was genuinely comical, pushing the cart while dragging the bike box in a weird leap frog fashion. If I understood german, I can only guess I would have been incredibly offended because everyone was commenting as I passed. Fortunately, the taxis are minivans so getting stuff into the car was no problem and the taxi driver was pleasant. At one point he told me that he enjoyed driving in NYC better than Zurich because the one-way streets made driving around easier (!).

Now in my temporary housing, a “women’s pension” I was quite happy. My room is small but bright and faces a small street with lots of trees:

Across the street is an old church (the outside says 1512 which isn’t that old because the church in “old Zurich” is 13 something). I thought it was charming until it started chiming on the hour and half-hour all the way through the night. I can see old Zurich and some of the alps from the roof of my new home which is also a garden terrace.

At this point I slept for about 20 hours waking up only for this

and then went into work for the first time. Everyone in Berkeley will enjoy this:

Are you noticing the large crane? That’s what they are using to construct the new building next to my building. Now I won’t get homesick….

I managed to stay at work for a little while, but I was still feeling kind of ill. My throat was sore and I thought it was because the flu medicine wasn’t working very well and I just needed more sleep. At this point I also hadn’t eaten in about 48 hours because I’m never hungry when I’m sick and my throat just hurt, so I continued along this dangerous path….Next morning I woke up feeling pretty good, checked my email and saw that Karrie was giving me a hard time because I hadn’t posted yet! I wrote back and said I would post right after breakfast.

Skip this part if you have a weak stomach. The Pension provides breakfast foods, so I got myself some cereal and yogurt, coffee and orange juice. Start chewing, I am really hungry, so take another bite, realize that I can’t swallow. At all. Nothing is getting past my tonsils. So now I have two giant bites of food and nowhere to send it. I think, “maybe it just needs to be chewed some more with liquids”, so I add a sip of orange juice and chew. Some liquid manages to seep down my throat but nothing solid. After about 5 minutes of this I give up and go to the bathroom where food that should be in my stomach goes into the toilet.

Second day in Zurich and I am seeing a doctor. For future reference, there is a fully staffed office on the first floor of the main train station. Right next to the pharmacy. Efficient. They don’t take appointments, but you take a number and wait, it took about 1 ½ hours. The doctor did a strep test and had the (positive) results back in less than 15 minutes. Efficient. I got yelled at (politely) because if I waited much longer to go in I could have permanently lost parts of my voice box. Lovely. Anyway, now I am on a large dose of antibiotics, pain-killers, and prescription lozenges.

Oh and Germany and Italy won their world cup games today, so the Swiss are going crazy with the car-honking and flag-waving (?!?).

Leaving the US

Even after disposing or shipping many of my belongings, I still had a large duffel bag, a small suitcase, my laptop bag and my bike box to get on the plane. And it wasn’t one of those “overnight duffel bags” that you can just throw over your shoulder. This bag was 0.8 kilos over the 32 kilo limit set by British Airways and it doesn’t even have wheels, like it should:

Karrie said she would take stuff back to Berkeley and eventually to Australia where we are meeting for Goldschmidt, so after taking out a rock (what kind of geologist doesn’t bring any rocks with them to a new job?), some contact solution and a towel, I was safely under the weight limit by 0.2 kilos and ready to go. I would like to note two things here: (1) Karrie said I could pick up another towel when I got to Switzerland and (2) I was starting to feel a little under the weather but chalked it up to not getting much sleep the night before and my adrenaline finally running out.

I love British Airways. They didn’t blink at my large, excessively heavy baggage (did I mention that I ended up packing a bunch of tools into the bike box so it weighed almost 30 kilos?). They checked my bags all the way through to Zurich even though I bought two separate tickets (San Francisco – Heathrow and Heathrow – Zurich). The flight attendants were actually pleasant, speak 4 languages, and brought around beverages regularly. I wish I could have enjoyed it more because for most of the flight I was either feverish or having chills. I couldn’t work up the energy to turn on my in-seat television (one of the reasons I chose BA over Lufthansa) nevermind work on the knitting project I brought along. By the time we arrived at Heathrow I was quite a mess, and after waiting in the “transfer” line for more than an hour I barely made it to the pharmacy for some flu meds. This got my fever under control and brought me a (false) sense of security that I was on the mend.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

1st blog

this is my blog. a blog to celebrate my move to Zurich. and document my general cluelessness about all things swiss.

right now I'm 99.99% done writing my thesis and packing at the same time. my advisor finds this ludicrous, his exact words were: "I think it is not really a good idea for you to be trying to write and get ready to move at the same time. But we are stuck with the situation now."

so this weekend I finished chapters 1,2,3,5,6 and packed the remainder of my belongings, cleaned my empty apartment and started couch surfing. I'm surviving on coffee and ibuprofin.