It is a weird time we are living in. Earlier this year, my friend and I knew our travel plans to Central America wouldn’t be an option. As we were waiting to decide, the situation got even worse and worse. I started to feel privileged to live in a country like Switzerland where it seems like our government takes reasonable actions against COVID. This is also why I’m scared of travelling to another country. I imagined all the worst-case scenarios and everything else that could happen to us while we would relax at our white-sanded beach somewhere in Europe instead of Costa Rica.
No plan seemed to be right. As time passed, I began to realize that I didn’t even know my own country. I always had the urge to discover foreign destinations in my holidays. Okay, another reason to leave Switzerland is the ridiculously high prices. We can’t even use public binoculars, which are sometimes placed in our beautiful mountains sceneries, without paying a small amount of money. But anyways, it was time to get to know the country I was born in, even though there was a chance that I’d be upset about certain rules here. Or certain people.
Since my grandfather was born and raised in the western part of Switzerland, I’ve always wanted to learn more about this area. For those who don’t know, we officially speak four languages in Switzerland. But nobody really learns the other languages other than the one we grew up in. Although we have to learn one of them at school, only a small amount of people is able to retain the skill. I knew that I’ll have to use my English skills, which always raises a feeling in me of travelling to a special destination.
My friend and I met up on a hot summer day. We shared a small table at Starbucks (of course just because of the free Wi-Fi) as we brainstormed where to go to. I destroyed her wish for some lazy days at the beach pretty fast. We decided to check our options in Switzerland. Of course, it didn’t work out to book our preferred accommodation at first. It seemed like nothing was too easy nowadays. After another search on Airbnb, we found a tiny place at a great location in Lausanne, the western-southern part of Switzerland. My limited French skill means I can only say hi and thank you there. Such a shame. But I didn’t care, I was just glad to leave home for a while and live somewhere else.
Appreciate other sides of Switzerland
The first thing I noticed was how foreign everything was for me. I was almost able to imagine being in a foreign country far away because of the languages alone. Even though the streets look the same with the road signs and everything. The biggest difference was the people. I mean our country is so small and still, everything is so different in every region. I’m used to distinguishing people who don’t like to talk to strangers. You can feel the uncomfortable atmosphere when they talk. Here in Lausanne, the waiter in the café would chitchat with you and you end up getting tips about your travel plans.
When my family visited relatives living in this region, they would call all the relatives and friends just because we were in town. We would sit there for hours. Laughing, eating and sharing our cooking recipes. The mountains looked different, so did the lake. The pace of life was much slower than where I lived. It felt like travelling and discovering new cultures.
It doesn’t matter if it’s your own country, nothing is the same if you look closely and keep an open mind.