Friday, July 1, 2011

Day 11 & 12: Our Last Days in Switzerland

I’m writing this on the train to from Lucerne, Switzerland to Salzburg, Austria. It’s about a 4 hour ride and thankfully the standard of trains in Europe is much higher than in the United States. We got the Eurail pass which is a four day pass that you have to use within a month that lets you travel across Europe to 25 different countries.

Basically you go to the website, put in where you are starting and where you want to end up and it tells you what train to take, the connections and all the times. It’s pretty impressive that they have coordinated this many trains across so many countries and is definitely the way to go if you are traveling in Europe.

Yesterday we explored Lucerne some more. We went to this Glacier Museum that didn’t really seem like it would be that entertaining but it ended up being a blast.

We rode some animals:



Looked at some really big holes:



And conquered the mirror maze that had 90 mirrors.



More like walked around with our arms outstretched, which kind of seemed like cheating, but we really didn’t feel like walking in mirrors.

Later in the day my uncle took us around town and we went to this high-priced watch store. This store is mainly for Asian tourist. Tour busses park right in front of this place and the tour groups go straight into the shop. Most of the people working their to my surprise spoke multiple Asian languages. It felt like I was in a China-Town

In the past three days it feels like I’ve spent more time with my uncle’s family than I have in my entire life. When I was younger (like twenty years) ago I visited this part of my family and we did have two family reunions in Alaska and Taiwan.  I have some memories of these trips but they don’t carry very much meaning.

They did come to America for my wedding a couple years ago, which was fantastic. However if you’ve been through a wedding you know that these events don’t get you very much time to spend with individuals.  Even though we haven’t spent that much time together, my aunt, uncle and cousin were very warm and welcoming and as I entered their apartment it started to make sense why.

Around the apartment were some of the same family pictures that are up in my parent’s house. My uncle had many of the same books my mom had including a cookbook she gave my uncle as a wedding present. These connections were material but represented something much deeper that came out as we started talking.

I learned about how my two uncles, aunt and my mom lived together as teenagers in Taipai away from my grandparents.  He told me about one of the times he met my father barging into my mom’s room pulling an older brother move wondering why there were some many people in her room.  We looked through old family pictures I had never seen before with pictures of my mom when she a young teen and my grandparents as young adults. And as my aunt pointed out, I look surprisingly like my uncle did when he was my age.

While I can’t quantify why learning about my history was important, I can tell you that it felt significant. I believe that it’s in our history that we find ourselves and as I felt closer to my Swiss relatives I felt prouder of my own family and my heritage.  I leave Switzerland with stories of the past but also with new shared experiences that we can reflect on in the future.

Lucerne

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