Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes

Lately I have had a pretty serious case of the “I Wants.” I couldn’t really make up my mind on all that I wanted but I knew I needed to make a purchase and it needed to happen fast. One such buy was something I have wanted since I came over and finally got around to buying: a pedometer. I do a ridiculous amount of walking here and I was interested to know how far I travel each day. I like comparing distances at the end of each day especially if I have decided to go for a run, or spent the majority of the day wandering around town. As of 2:00 this afternoon I had already walked 4.47 km. I went on a run this afternoon, which racked up an extra 5.5 km. So, in a typical day I walked/ran 10 km.

With all the aimless running I do around here I have debated training for some kind of race. I miss the occasional 5k that took place in Manhattan. And I figure it would be wise to give myself a goal to work toward. I just need to invest in a new pair of tennies as the ones I have are so worn out there are rubbing fiery blisters on the arches of my foot. I will spare you the details but if I don’t take care of this little problem soon I am surely in danger of losing my feet entirely.

I’m looking forward to tearing up the streets of Schindellegi and putting a decent amount of mileage on my legs. If I’m not careful, however, I will be able to “Hulk” my way out of my jeans with my trunk-like quads. Which is exactly why I have been keeping up with my yoga. Thankfully the Mom and I worked out an arrangement so I could have a gym membership and also a few pieces of workout equipment, including a yoga mat. I just close the heavy curtains on my window, choose one of the many playlists I created for class and next thing you know I have my own private ashram. Taz walked in on me doing Half Moon one day and has ever since been entranced by the idea of exercise. (Now that I think about it, I think Taz and I need to have a conversation about boundaries…) Ever since last summer I have really missed teaching yoga. As much as I love to practice, I especially love teaching. Even so, I have been enjoying practicing here and desperately need the stretching so I don’t end up looking like one of those bodybuilders who always seem to be covered in Hawaiian Tropic tanning oil. Yikes.

Yesterday was a special Zurich holiday called Sechseläuten. In a nutshell, it’s a celebration to welcome summer and in a Groundhog Day sort of way, determine the length and pleasantness of the season. This is done by burning a large snowman after a lengthy parade, honoring the guilds and tradesmen of the city. The shorter the burn time, the better the summer. This year took 12 minutes and 54 seconds. As I stood with thousands of others, watching the burning, I was struck by the oddness of it all. First, there was the fact that the Swiss were cutting loose and enjoying a day of relaxation. This is so unusual that it is noteworthy. Secondly, I haven’t been in a crowd that intense in a long time. The only other comparable experience was going into the KSU-KU basketball game two years ago at Bramlage (in case you forgot, we won). At one point I was actually lifted off my feet and carried by the people around me. “Think skinny!” I thought to myself. Lastly, I was watching a frighteningly human-like form burn on top of a large pile of kindling. Raucous cheers went up as the explosives inside were detonated and the snowman was engulfed in a fireball. Hands down, this was the weirdest festival I have ever been a part of. But, when in Rome… or Zurich… In any case, it was fun to take part in the tradition. A few hours after the burning the coals die down enough that you can gather them and create a makeshift grill. Some au pairs and myself were graciously invited to a BBQ by some new friends, and incidentally enough, a couple of them were most recently working in Kansas City–small world. They had the all the supplies, hospitality included, and we enjoyed sausages, bread, and beer with countless others who also wanted to “make a party.” With such a short “burn time” I’ve got visions of a warm and pleasant summer dancing in my head!

Burning of the snowman and coals. Yikes!

–Funniest thing my sister said during our Skype session today: “Hang out, I need to get a bobby pin, my rat tail is driving me crazy.”–

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