How To Make A Memory For Life
Standing At A Crossroad
Everything we do in our lives will become memories. Some days just pass by without anything special happening – and we don't remember theses days as anything special. Some days or periods in life we do something we will remember for the rest of our lives. When you're at a crossroad in life and have to choose between one way or another, it's a moment you will remember maybe for the rest of your life. Have you ever thought about what could have happened if you would have chosen the other way? That would be a whole other story than the story below. I'm gong to share my story with you.
At the age of 19, I made a decision. I chose to move from Finland in northern Europe to Switzerland in central Europe. I flew there one day in late August to live with a family - a mother, a father and their two small children. My job was to take care of the two children – by working as an au pair. I returned to my home country in July the following year. Now, so many years later, I still have so many memories from this time – both good and bad.
I remember that my first question when I came to Switzerland was: ”Where are all the mountains?” I had a picture in my head that Switzerland is basically The Alps. I arrived the city Winterthur in northern Switzerland that was going to be my home the year to come. The Alps are in the southern part of the country. At least Winterthur was a cool name for a place to live in. It actually was a great place to live in. The second question I asked myself was: What language do they really speak? I had studied German for five years and I knew I was in the German speaking part of Switzerland, but they obviously had a total different dialect than the standard German I had learned in school. I realized pretty soon that this wasn't standard German at all. I soon learned it was something called Swiss German that is spoken in some parts of Switzerland and, Swiss German also has a variety of dialects. By the time I was ready to move back to Finland I had learned Swiss German pretty well, or at least I could understand what they were saying.
Drinking And Talking
Getting To Know A Family
What happened next? Well, I met my new family. They were lovely. The father in the family showed me Winterthur and took me to some bars and bought me a couple of beers on every bar we went to. This was a way of getting to know me. I guess that's the Finnish way of getting to know people. When you get drunk, you see the real person hiding behind that quiet Facade. It was a nice experience. The family I lived with was originally from Finland too. My first weekend in Winterthur had been great thanks to the nice people who surrounded me.
The second weekend in Winterthur, there was a street festival in our part of the city. I spent time with the family at the festival and ended up at a private pool party drinking drinks with the mother in the family and one of her friends. Again, I guess drinking alcohol is the Finnish way of getting to know people. I still remember the taste of one of my drinks.
The Ups And Downs
So far so good. It had been a great start at my year in Switzerland. Days went by and I met some other Scandinavian au pairs. I had more in common with the Swedish au pairs than the Finnish because of my mother tongue that's Swedish. I made a new friend, who didn't live that far from me. She was from southern Sweden. During the year we discovered a bit of Switzerland together by travelling and we spent much time together on our spare time. Twice a week we went to the same floorboll practice. Later we actually studied at the same university in Sweden – but that's a whole other story.
As time went by in Winterthur, the snow started to fall down one cold, grey day in November. The children I took care of were thrilled. At this time I was very homesick. I just waited for Christmas, when I would go home to Finland for a couple of days to see everyone I was missing. I didn't want to return after the vacation, but of course I did. It was my duty to live with the family another six months. They were very nice to me, but I just wanted the time to move fast. To reduce my homesickness I ate tons of Swiss chocolate. Every day I wrote letters to my friends as well, and it was nice to get letters back. The chocolate and the letters was something that saved me. Swiss chocolate is good chocolate and in Switzerland you get mail even on Saturdays.
Among some of the nice things in my life in Switzerland was to have a new friend I could spend time with, to go to my floorball training twice a week and to go to Zurich on weekends and enjoy the big city atmosphere. The weather wasn't nice though. It was grey all winter long – and the snow in this area of the country had melted already around Christmas time. In March I had a week off from my job as an au pair. I went downhill skiing in the Alps for some days with my boyfriend at the time. It was some wonderful days I'll never forget.
Spring time came and I felt much better than before. It was a warm spring and I really enjoyed every day as I waited for the summer. Both good and bad things happened in my life at this time – things I think about sometimes and maybe there's a meaning to everything that happens in life. I don't really know... It's nice to be able to remember everything now from a different perspective in life.
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