I write to you today only nine days away from Canada. I have mixed feelings about leaving here, as it is so wonderful in Switzerland, there are just so many things that are different from Canada that I Love but then there are so many things in Canada that are different from here, that I Love. As an example, here, they don’t mow the lawn at lunch time, after work or on Sundays, and they don’t use a chainsaw or make any loud noises at all during these times. It’s an unspoken rule. It’s quiet, I like that. However, when you are in the grocery store, and you are talking about what you want to get, pondering over what’s for dinner, you have to be side by side together and speak lightly, for an example if he is at the other end of the veggie section and you are in the herbs wondering if he wants some basil, you would have to go over and ask, instead of talking a BIT louder, and heavens to betsy if you are chatting in the line-up waiting to pay! It’s quiet, I don’t like that. Anyway, there are differences to every place, and I am very fortunate to have been here for a few months and I am also very fortunate to be getting home, to Canada, even better, to Wakefield, Quebec!
So, the “Italian Switzerland” is like a whole other country. I was in Ticino, about a 40min drive from Milan, Italy. People don’t say “Gruezi” as hello, or “Tchuess” as good bye, they say “Bonjourno” and “Arriva Derci” so yes, everyone speaks Italian, or English, but NO Schweizerdeutsch, which is what I have been trying to learn. It’s not so easy when EVERY word has two different spellings and pronunciations. See, I have to learn High German first, so I can read here, there is no written Swiss German. And, of course there is a LOT of slang terms… let’s just say, those are coming a lot easier…I could teach you a few of those ;)
Getting back to Ticino, I stayed at a hotel over -looking the city, mountains and the Lake of Lugano. I felt like I was in the Mediterranean, you could almost smell the ocean, it was warm and all the flowers were in full bloom. Speaking of flowers, when we pulled up into the gate of the reception, it was unlike your typical “you need permission to come onto these grounds” gate, it was a cement box full of flowers that was sitting on a steel arm which would just slowly sway the flowers out of the way. Interesting camouflage! In staying with the Mediterranean theme, I chose big fat juicy prawns for dinner “Mediterranean style.” But not before I headed down to the pool, did some laps and took advantage of the bubbly “I could have fallen asleep in it” hot tub. See, I KNEW I just had to have the chocolate mousse for dessert later. The menu stated there would be THREE types of chocolate mousse on the same plate! The white chocolate kind was the best I’d ever had, well the only white chocolate mousse I’d ever had but holy smokes it was good… Later on when I was singing, a group of ladies ordered some and I saw it pass by me, and I drooled a little bit, forgetting my lyrics…it was that good. Its gigs like these that remind me of how great it can be, not that I mind the dives, but sometimes it’s fun to get treated like a star, I mean, my hotel room had TWO bedrooms TWO bathrooms, a living room, kitchen and the most beautiful balcony over-looking an astonishing view. Of course, on the way home, reality struck when we hit the Gotthard tunnel, or came CLOSE to it… it’s a seventeen kilometer tunnel under a mountain and it’s the only way out of the area, the area that EVERYONE travels to on the long weekend… We sat around for a couple of hours waiting to get through and as we were finally driving through it, I tried not to think about the ENTIRE mountain that was on top of me.