Guys! It’s vacation time! Yes yes, potential EPIK employees take note: winter vacation comes with 2 weeks of paid leave. This is way more rad than all the other lame job benefits I’ve had in the past. (You can keep that 20% off select entrees, Applebee’s. Jerks.) While other people have decide to take this opportunity to go somewhere warm like Bali or Thailand, I, friends, am taking the road less traveled and less thought-thru – I fly to Switzerland tomorrow.
Why? I guess it’s because I really like hating snow and making myself miserable. Also, my friend is living there (Hi, Hayes!) and I will go anywhere that I don’t have to pay for lodging. I’m stoked, and I’m going to tell you why.
In Switzerland, things that should be made of wheat will be made of wheat: Things like bread, noodles, beer, grain alcohol, beer, BEER, flour, beer, bagels, cookies and assorted pastries, beer, and certain petroleum products used in plastics. (Beer!)
In Switzerland, there are white people the size of grizzly bears: Holy crap am I excited to feel small and anonymous. I’ve come to grips with being Completely Obvious the last few months, but it’s a lot of work to know you’re being looked at all the time, especially when you can practically see the exclamation marks over people’s heads as you walk past. “How the hell did that get here?!” has become the logical response to my face. So not eliciting that reaction for a week will be great. And I’m not exactly a monstrous person, size-wise, but the Korean population is slight – a bunch of fine-boned, lovely bird-people. That means I kind of feel like a socially awkward Tyrannosaurus Rex. Self-esteem, you’re about to make a comeback.
In Switzerland, I will go beard watching: Damn do I miss facial hair on men. I realize that I’m in danger of sounding like a beatnik hipster type, but in this regard, I can’t help it. I remember last winter watching a friend’s band play (oh god, ouch, hipster, ouch) at a shady bar in Chicago. At some point I looked around the dark music hall and every. single. man. present had a full beard. I swooned. Megan was there, ask her. I also have extraordinary hopes that I will run into Pascal Baffert, the sole Swiss member of the Handlebar Mustache Club…just click on that link. Experience the magic for yourselves.
Erin: Man, I really underestimated how much I miss cheese.
Coteach: Korea has cheese. Korea has two kinds of cheese.
Erin: Yeah, but France has like, 500 national cheeses.
Coteach: The yellow cheese? Cheddar, you know it?
Erin: You mean those plastic-y Kraft-singles-looking-things at the store?
Coteach: And we have white cheese too. It’s called….cream cheese?
Switzerland has it’s very own national cheese, just like America! Any country who takes the time to give their people a personalized dairy product is awesome in my book.
In Switzerland, I will sacrifice myself on the altar of travel: Like I said, I’ve been here a few months so the novelty has begun to fade. This vacation comes at the perfect time to throw myself back into the cold water of a language barrier and up against the wall of cultural differences (though after Asia, Europe seems really really mild, as far as cultural differences go.). When you travel, you’re forced to be the best version of yourself, trust people in an unquestioning way that in ordinary life doesn’t come so easy. I’m ready to be extravagantly uncomfortable again.
So peace out, homes. I will try and send you a line from the Alps, but I might also be lying dead in a cheese and beer coma. One can only hope.