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Trip Start Jan 18, 2011
1
6
18
Trip End May 03, 2011


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Saturday, February 5, 2011

It is a beautfifl, sunny day in Switzerland!  I am home alone and sitting in bed with some tea....life is good = )  It has been pretty sunny here for the past few days and I am lovin' it! I feel like I've missed winter basically!  Since it has finally cleared up, I took some pictures of the views from my homestay apartment.  The first is from my bedroom window and the second is the view from the kitchen, when it's really really clear out, you can see Mont Blanc (highest mountain in the Alps.)

Everything has been going really really.  Thursday night we had a dinner with all of the SIT students and their host families.  The program treated us all to a traditional Swiss dinner of raclette.  Raclette is literally a plate of warm melted cheese.  They have these special ovens that you sit a huge piece of cheese under and then as it starts to melt you shave the top layer of melted cheese onto a plate.  Then each person grabs his/her own potatoes, pickles, and onions to eat with the melted cheese.  You are supposed to eat it pretty quickly before the cheese starts to harden.  (I'm not very good at eatting quickly though.)  Anyway, raclette is quite delicious!  And it is served in rounds so as soon as the last person at the table gets their dish, the waitress goes back to the first person to get him/her a second serving, and it goes on like that for about four rounds.  I stopped at three though.  Anyway, I sat with France and Laure and another hostfamily sat near us.  I understood more french that night then I ever have in my life.  I was actually following conversation!  It was a really good bonding night for France, Laure, and I.  Usually our dinners at home are shorter and consist of very rushed french between the two of them that I can't understand.  But Thursday night we were laughing and having a great time.  France brought up more than once to people that I was her first host student to empty the dishwasher.....brownie points for me! 

In other news, class is going well also!  We've actually had some really really great classes this week.  Wednesday we went to the International Committee for the Red Cross (Caroline I was thinking of you the whole time!)  and had a briefing on what the ICRC is/does and then a woman who works for the ICRC came in to brief us on International Humanitarian Law.  First of all, I don't think it is possible to actually be "briefed on IHL" because it is way way way too complex.  All of our heads were spoinning by the end because we were talking about who the Geneva Conventions apply to etc.  But, we all agreed it was a really really great talk.

Yesterday,Friday, we had a REALLY amazing speaker come in.  His name was Dr. Colum Murphy and used to work for the UN as a really high-ranking official.  He has worked on several UN missions, most notably in Somalia and then in Bosnia.  Like he was actually there....and in-charge to a certain extent.  His lecture was on what went wrong in Somalia, and then how the lessons supposedly learned in Somalia were misapplied to Bosnia.   His focus was mainly on the UN's hesitance to use force in Bosnia and why he disagreed, talking about being impartial in situations vs. being a referee.  The UN shouldn't stand on the sidelines as defenseless people are killed.  It was an intense talk since he had seen massive destruction in his work, yet still has hope for the future of this planet which is kind of unbelievable, considering all he has seen and all roadblocks he has encountered in stopping such awful things.

Onto a lighter subject, yes?  Last night I met up with a bunch of people right in Nyon (the village where most of us live.)  We went to a place called "The Fisherman" which is the "english-speaking bar" of Nyon.  But, there was a rugby game on tv and I guess it was a pretty important one and everyone was just staring at the tv and those not glued to the tv weren't exactly welcome since we basically just blocked the view, so we didn't stay there very long!  There is another SIT group in Geneva studying global health...and there is a girl from Muhlenberg doing the program so I ended up running into her last night, so that was funny!

Ok, this post has been insanely long and I'm really sorry.  I hope everyone is doing well, I think some of you may be preparing for yet another snowstorm! (oy!)  Love to all xo
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Comments

You know who we are on

The cheese dinner sounds great, but wheres the beef? HAHA Thanks for the beautiful views. We loved your exposure to the UN. Caroline was happy that you were thinking of her. You owe us $$$ for the super bowl betting. We will provide details later.

Jennifer on

Gah, I love your pictures!!!....I'm probably just going to keep telling you this until you get home! AND I think I've had Raclette...if it's what I'm thinking of it's fantastic! :)

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