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Take Me Back

Lately, my heart's been longing for my little Swiss haven. That beautiful, cheese-filled land that I was lucky enough to call my home for the past year of my life. That little city on the lake provided me with so much and challenged me with even more. It forced me to look deep into my heart and figure out who I was and who I wanted to be. It stripped away so much of what I thought I knew and replaced it with that which I never would have dreamed of. It's only now as I reflect back on the experience and examine my own changes within that I find myself aching for what once was.

So here's to you, my sweet Switzerland. Thank you for stealing a piece of my heart.

Dear Switzerland,

It's been about four months since I made that uphill trek from the train station to Maison du Lac after a long weekend in one of the many country's I was able to cross off my list this past year. My overstuffed backpack always weighing me down like a ton of bricks, and my eyelids most certainly heavy with the sort of exhaustion I never really knew existed until abroad. I always used to curse that hill on those late Sunday nights when all I wanted was to fall asleep in bed but had mounds of homework to attend to instead. I never managed my time quite right back then, and I'd say I wished I had, but I don't. Sitting in a study room at midnight on a Sunday night, after spending the last few days in Spain, or Denmark, Italy or Ireland, on the verge of losing my mind due to the insane amount of work I had yet to finish before the week's classes begun. The invariable stress and sometimes tears became one of the things that seemed so heinous at the time but became merely another one of the sweet memories I didn't think I'd miss. How lucky was I to be so busy? How lucky was I to have so much to learn after a weekend traveling the world? How lucky was I to be exhausted because life was so jam-packed with new experiences that I barely had a moment to rest? How lucky was I to find a place that could become another home so easily? How lucky was I?

You were one of the best things that ever happened to me, Switzy. You showed me who I wanted to be and taught me how to open my heart and mind to a world much bigger than what I once knew. You gave me some of the most incredible memories -- like accidentally walking into a cow parade during the Des Alps Festival, for instance. Because first of all - what even is the Des Alps Festival and second, what country besides you would ever hold a parade for cows?

I remember almost getting attacked by swans on the lake in Lucerne as Swiss fighter pilots put on a show in the sky right above us. I remember running to catch a train, but missing it anyways trying to get home from Lugano. Or my personal favorite - when we all ran from the farthest terminal at the Geneva airport in under seven minutes after returning from Copenhagen so we could catch the last train home before midnight.

Or rather - sprinting along the lake in Montreux in search of Chateau de Chillon so we could tour that beautiful castle before it closed for the day. (Shoutout to the security man who let us in despite arriving ten minutes late).

I remember your first snow that weekend after Paris when so many of us decided to stay back and cancel our trips. We went ice skating as snowflakes fell in the Flon. Oh the Flon... that cute little modern square where we spent so many nights. Thanks for being home to the trendiest bar with the best Prosecco I've ever had, and that strange glass cube bathroom in the middle of the square that only fogged up when someone went inside to use it. Thanks for being home to everyone's favorite go-to bar, Legends, and for always welcoming us on our walks to Buzz.

Thanks to your beautiful park where so many friendships were solidified and too many great nights began. Your view was impeccable and that little amphitheater seemed to become our own personal stage.

To the coffee machine in the kitchen, you were truly the realest homie there was and I still dream of your cappuccinos and hot chocolates when I think of the horrid house food. I regret to inform you that I will not miss the ribs or the cheesy crepes or the turnips, or really any of that food that made me and 80% of the house cringe.

I miss the view everyday. I miss the balconies that you usually made it too cold to go out on. I miss seeing the French Alps from my bed. And I miss how hard it was to get water jugs from Vapianos first semester. I miss trying to find the right study room for my mood, and trying to make it down the hall to the shower in my robe without running into anyone.

I miss the drying rooms that were always filled to the brim with clothes and where one of my favorite shirts disappeared. I miss the stairs and how daunting they always seemed. I miss that elevator and how we always used to ride it, even if only going one floor up.

I miss being only a few second walk away from my best friends, and I miss all the quirks of the house that somehow became so normal by the end. I miss everything I always thought I wouldn't.

Switzerland, I miss you and all you gave me. You were one of the best things that's ever happened to me.

With love, Shan

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