Swiss Exchange Trip Week 3 - Geneva and a Swiss Christmas

I never considered myself a traveller. I always wanted to go places and see things, but it's not something that would define me. However now that I'm overseas I'm starting to realize how addictive it is to be immersed in a different culture, and fall in love with language, food, and traditions, maybe I am becoming a traveller.
There are many positive things I can learn from the swiss culture, I'm thinking of healthy eating habits in particular. I thought that I would come here, eat bread and cheese, and put on weight, but the lifestyle here is so much healthier than in New Zealand. I almost never see anybody overweight. I've found everybody is much better about not snacking so much in between meals. In New Zealand we tend to eat all the time, constant snacking, often just out of boredom. But here you go from meal to meal, maybe with a few crackers in between, and its perfectly fine. Fast food is much more expensive here as well. At lunch time it's cheaper for me to pick up a salad from the supermarket than a burger from McDonald's. It pretty much forces you to eat healthier, and I am not complaining.
The positive lifestyle habits that I'm picking up from Switzerland make me excited to travel the rest of the world and see what else I'm missing out on.
This week was the last week of school for the year. As a little reward myself and a few other girls went on a girlie shopping trip in Geneva. Geneva was insane, very vibrant and busy. This was partially due to the fact that we went two days before Christmas, but I can tell Geneva is an energetic city. The streets and stores were packed with shoppers and street performers. While that's not everyone's cup of tea, I loved it.
Shopping in the vibrant city centre with the clear, blue lake on one side and pretty bakeries on the other was beautiful. The lake was much less polluted than I imagined it to be, it was a very striking blue colour. Actually the whole time we were there I desperately wanted to jump in, despite the chilly temperature.
And the shopping was so good. The stores are massive, and so much better than those in New Zealand. I have a new favourite store, Mango, which unfortunately is not available in NZ, but is in Australia. Everybody is so stylish here, at first I found the big oversized coats and statement pants a bit grungy and not up my alley, but the longer I'm here the more I like them. I will definitely return to Geneva for some more shopping after new years.

This week was our last week of school for the year, and basically one big lead up to Christmas. It felt so strange though, at home I would finish school at least three weeks before Christmas, so I couldn't help but feel that there were still a couple of weeks until the big day. We did all the christmas-y things: decorated the house, wrapped presents, and made Christmas cookies.
It's been very strange, in many ways it looked more like Christmas here; the towns were more decorated, and it's winter here, but I'm away from all my family, so it also felt much less like Christmas.

Everything is done differently for Christmas here. We opened presents on Christmas Eve after a big dinner of Fondue Chinoise - Chinese Hotpot - a very popular choice for Christmas Dinner. We opened stockings on Christmas day, and then said goodbye to all the family. But back home we would go to the beach on Christmas Eve, and maybe drive around to look at light displays, and open our presents early on Christmas day before breakfast. Dinner would be a big roast dinner. 
So this year was different, but very cool. I was away from my family, but got to experience a completely different kind of Christmas in another country, 
I hope everybody had a very merry Christmas this year.


Amesmames xx



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