Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Everything Old is New Again

Having spent nearly eleven months in Europe, I was eager to cross the Atlantic at the end of June. I am Canadian through and through and I wanted to enjoy my country, my city, my family, and my friends as much as I could.  The summer was delightful, and it went by too quickly.
New teachers, Adam and Patti, pose at the Hotel du Peyrou
On August 31, I left Toronto ready for another year of teaching and travelling.  The second year already feels very different from the first. For one thing, I am without my husband behind this time. Without a Family Reunification Visa, he cannot enter Europe for another four weeks, so he will join me at the end of the month. Instead, I met Terry at the airport since we had booked the same flight. Like me, he had spent his summer reconnecting with his family and friends, and was sorry to leave them behind.
Terry and looking depressed to be coming back to Switzerland
So much is familiar the second time around. I knew my way around the Zurich airport and the adjacent train station, although I could not find the direct train to Neuchâtel, so we ended up having to change at Olten, and getting on the slowest train possible to our destination. Never mind – we got there and saw several pretty towns on the way.
Dinner on our first night in town: Terry and I are joined by Patti, Bill and his wife, Colleen, and Jen and her son, Jacob.
Upon arrival, warm greetings from Bill, Louise, Lyn, Diego, and Sandra immediately made me feel at home.  It was good to see my apartment just as I left it too. I had cleaned it thoroughly in late June – just as well, since I was to have company right away. Patti, one of the new staff, has moved in with me for the first part of the year until her apartment is ready in mid-September
My roommate, Patti.

Back to work.
Friday night dinner at Bockeridjer
Less than a day later, we began meetings to prepare for the students' arrival in a week. Again, I felt like a veteran, since I now know what to expect; I did not suffer from quite as much information overload as I had in 2014.  There have been many changes to the school building, but most other items on the agenda were very familiar to me. Also familiar was our tradition of eating at a local restaurant on a Friday night: we chose the delicious hamburger place in Colombier, and managed to get a reservation for 12, for staff and for friends and family of staff.
Adam loved Lucerne

16th Century art in the Spreuer Bridge
On the weekend before Labour Day, I returned to a city I had visited in 2014 to hear a concert at the Lucerne Festival. A former student, Scott Reynolds, had been selected both years as a member of the brass section of the Academy Orchestra and this time around, his girlfriend was also selected. The other new staff member, Adam, travelled with me by train. He was eager to discover Lucerne and I was to be his guide. He also joined Scott, Camille and me for dinner. Like Scott, Adam is a former student - and now we are colleagues. I am trying NOT to let this fact make me feel old.
Lucerne's Rathaus
Adam (Woburn '92), Scott (Woburn '07) Camille and me after dinner
Our day in Lucerne was very tiring. My fitbit indicated that I had walked 28 600 steps! That's okay: Lucerne is a beautiful city and I wanted to show it off. This time around, I also saw a few more sights, including the Needle Dam with its rushing waters.
The Needle Dam
 While Adam returned to Neuchâtel after dinner, I stayed overnight in the city and spent a quiet Sunday being cultured. I visited the Rosengart Museum, with its fascinating collection of works by Picasso, and heard the superb performance by the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra in the early evening.
The Rosengart Museum

Here is a photo of the Festival Academy Orchestra taken during rehearsal
On Labour Day Monday, the staff returned to La Pinte Pierre-à-Bôt for our kick-off dinner of cheese fondue. It's fun to follow certain traditions each year, and I must admit, I was very much looking forward to this meal. Last year, I sampled the tomato fondue, while this year, I went for the mushroom one - both delicious! 
Gathering at La Pinte Pierre-à-Bôt
Mushroom Fondue
On Tuesday, we returned to the Café du Cerf for Pub trivia, Our team, the Canucks, had some new members but we hope to continue to be a force in the bi-weekly competition. 
We were the first to arrive at the pub for trivia.
Having adjusted to the time change and having reconnected with my colleagues, I am ready for the obvious next step: meeting the students.

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