2015 has been a great year and, looking at the things I’ve been through, all the things I experienced and all the people I met, it has been a wonderful ride. This year started with a trip to Shanghai, then Shanghai to Zurich, the city where I lived for a year.
|View from my window|
Switzerland is very different from the Philippines. The country is well organized, everyone is disciplined, the meals needed getting used to because it is a totally big shift from having rice every meal to bread, pasta, salad, cheese and lots of other things, the activities that can be done are activities not typically done in the Philippines and a whole lot of other things. First week in and I badly wanted to go back home already. The snow was not of big help in my early adjustment days as well! For days, I walk around the city alone with no friend I can go out with for coffee or no friend to share experiences with. Thankfully, on my third week, I went to language classes and there, I met a fellow Filipino who’s also learning the language. She introduced me to other Filipinos who live in Zurich. Living in Zurich became a lot easier since then as I have friends I can visit on weekends and they were also more than generous enough to give me tips on how to fully enjoy my stay. What delighted me so much as well was the thought of finally having Filipino meals on weekends! On my second month in the country, I got a hold of things already. I got comfortable with public transpos and I was even able to travel to Milan and Venice on my second month! I also got used to the food—pancake or bread with butter and honey or jam, yogurt, muesli with fruits for breakfast, pan-fried meat with mashed vegetables or pasta for lunch, fruits and chocolates or pastries or anything sinful and tea for zveri and any meat with salad or stir fried veggies, wine, and ice cream for dinner. I also got used to saying “gruezi” to any person I see. The first few weeks are the most difficult but after a while, what I considered as very different, became normal and comfortable to me.
|With my friends at Pilatus in Luzern|
I met friends who I’m sure are friends for a lifetime. I met them during travels, some just in the neighborhood and some are fellow Filipinos who are from the same region as I am here in the Philippines who also introduced me to other Filipinos who are from the south. My fondest memories I have are shared with my Filipino friends I spent most of weekends with. We had lots of sleepovers and we also did some trips together. Most of them opted to stay and try their luck in other European countries, some also came back but I am sure that in time, our paths will cross again. For now, we’re good with getting in touch through Facebook and Whatsapp.
|At the Parliament House in Budapest|
I’ve been saving for a Eurotrip since I started working but I didn’t fully expect that 2015 is the year I’d be able to fulfill that goal. I was able to visit the cities I only read about in books and hear of from friends. Probably half of my savings when I was still working in the Philippines, went to traveling and I guess same is true during my stay in Switzerland. During my travels, I have also noticed that although the countries are in the same continent, there are lots of things that make each country and city very distinct from the others. Travellers may say that one year is more than enough to go to countries in Europe as every country can be easily reached by bus or train but I was not able to travel up north due to time and budget constraints. I was only able to travel around Eastern and Central Europe. Maybe this means I should really go back to Europe because I have yet to see Belgium, Amsterdam, Sweden and Norway!
I arrived in Switzerland with a broken heart. I considered an opportunity to leave the country because I wanted to get out for a while and mend my broken heart. Friends can attest to this. One even advised that I should not enter into a relationship whilst in the country because the reason why I went to the country in the first place might be the reason I’d leave—heartbreak. I started going out on dates around the last week of May. Things were getting smoothly with someone but I felt like there is something missing, that our personalities don’t fit. Probably I have not completely moved on from my previous relationship or probably because we are from completely different cultures. I was used to a guy who would constantly communicate with me, who’s just one message away and who can prioritize me and his work at the same time. Had I realized that maybe he’s just too busy and that when it comes to work, he has to put his concentration fully at the task he has at hand before anything else, had I been more understanding, it would have worked out. I learned lots of things the longer I stay and I can say that it when I have finally absorbed the culture in Switzerland, it contributed to the great relationship I have with my boyfriend.
On what is next
Before I left Switzerland, I was already scared on what the future will be for me. No job to go back to and law school won’t start until June. To put it simply, basically, as soon as I left Switzerland, I delved into the unknown and honestly, it scared me so much. My family thinks that at this stage, I should already have a great career, good savings, be in a long term relationship, have a long term plan and financially secure but none of those are anywhere within reach. Currently, I am looking at universities where I can pursue further studies and thankfully, my parents are very supportive of it. Europe is a viable option but Australia is much more ideal because of the closer proximity to home and they also have excellent universities that best fit my criteria options-wise. As I go through this year one second at I time, I will savor the moment and finally jump into another abyss and hopefully, it would work well just as it has worked well last year when I took that big leap to Switzerland.