Mini essais

There are loads of little observations I have noted which are not in themselves enough to write a whole post about. So I’ve done a Michel de Montaigne and collected a number of mini essais (or attempts – attempts at writing something interesting that is) that express a few of my thoughts…

The Hills are Alive… with the sound of my calves screaming – Lausanne is a hilly place. I’m talking, major hills here. Steep, steep motherfuckers. Do excuse the profanity, but a recent walk up to an art gallery on the top of a hill was anything but enjoyable. One doesn’t dress for vertical hiking when one is going to look at paintings; though we were rewarded with a lovely view of the lake and the distant mountains against the warm pink-peach sunset, aahh… I’ve been to hilly places in England (Durham is a perilous one), but Lausanne is really something else. Because of this, girls from Lausanne are supposed to have the most beautiful legs in the world, and it wouldn’t surprise me, though I can’t say I’ve been checking. If I gain one other thing this year (apart from fluency in French and some sweet memories and friends), let it be a pair of taut and toned stems!

Absence really does make the heart grow fonder – Cheddar cheese? Primark? Downton Abbey? These things all seem par for the course back in Blighty, but move a girl 460 miles to the east and suddenly they take on a brand new luminosity. I have found myself becoming increasingly proud of my British accent, even more so when people cannot seem to understand it as well as that of my American friends’ (it’s the way English is supposed to be spoken!). My jacket was from Topshop (non-existent here), and I’m keeping healthy with my Holland & Barrett cod liver oil tablets. I amble along in my Russell & Bromley brogues and carpet bag from Camden market, my humour is as dry as English weather is wet, and I apologise too much. I prefix everything with “bloody” and laugh about getting “wankered” the night before. Yes, when in a foreign land, there’s just no denying it. I am so, indisputably, inescapably, British.

No Drama – If I had to use one word to give a broad portrayal of the general mood and atmosphere one (or at least I) experiences on a day-to-day basis here, it would be… peaceful. I don’t even mean Switzerland’s perpetual neutrality (though that can’t hurt), but in most respects things are pretty chill-chill here. The Swiss are famous for being relaxed, taking their time to do things, and not getting stressed; yet they are efficient, too. A winning combo I’d say, why haven’t more people caught onto it? In addition, living in halls has not been the chaotic/ orgiastic/ drug-fuelled spectacle that featured in my nightmares. Far from it. I have not been caught up in one drama since arriving here, and that has got to be some sort of record. Not that I am a very dramatic person, but anyone who has experienced a Fresher’s Week in England knows that no drama=non-existent. Most people I’ve met are pretty chilled out, and we have good, clean(!) fun. Just as well, I’m getting far too old for all that kerfuffle…

European Chic – Every September in England “Fresher’s Guides” start to pop up all over the place; preparing for uni, do’s and don’ts in Fresher’s Week, and most of all, Fresher’s Style Guides. Apparently, there’s a way to dress for uni – campus chic, if you like. One thing I have noticed here is the omnipresence of the Longchamp handbag. I don’t know if there’s some kind of European equivalent of a Fresher’s Style Guide telling all girls to carry Longchamp bags, but literally (literally) every other girl sports one. I mean, they’re popular in England, but this takes it to a whole new level. Longchamp bags are to European girls what Nike hi-tops are to street dancers, or high-waisted trousers are to Simon Cowell. Well, I could think of worse things to see everywhere; like hair that’s been bleached to the consistency of straw, or the borders of foundation at girls’ jawbones. So they’re classy, at least.

Model Land – I’m sure I’m not unique when I profess a passionate hatred for les foules – crowds. Whether it be a dimly-lit nightclub, being swept along a swamped high street, or, as today, in an overcrowded university cafeteria, there is never any joy in having your personal bubble disturbed again and again, whilst being randomly pushed and prodded by strangers. However, today for the first time, I was completely distracted from the unpleasantness of all this by the beauty of the crowd. I’m not joking, the people here are GOOD. LOOKING. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but I won’t deny being a little wonderstruck. It’s like living in model land. The average height has got to be higher than in England, not to mention the sharpness of cheekbones. Anyway, it’s new to me. Just an observation.

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One thought on “Mini essais

  1. Pingback: Hmm, on second thought… | The Fondue Files

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