March 10, 2011

Makin’ Friends…

Seven years ago I was introduced to some really good friends: Kate, Jack, Sawyer, Hurley, Sayid, Jin, Sun, Charlie, and, of course, John Locke. Say what you will, but I learned a lot from these guys, and I miss them regularly. Whatever was happening in my life during the six years LOST aired on tv – be it studying for exams, starting a relationship, ending a relationship, going to the Final Four, or falling off a moped – I knew that I was regularly going to see my LOST friends through the good times and the bad (and hey, if the show was on a break, I would just repeat episodes to find the hidden images in the black smoke monster or try to figure out time travel, you know, the important things in life). I’ll admit, LOST helped me through some really difficult times, and I still think about the show and it’s characters probably more than I should be willing to admit.

Anyways, I could write a whole blog about LOST, maybe even a whole book, but I’m not going to. I did, however, want to talk about some of the new friends (some fictional, some real – let’s just be glad I can still tell the difference) I’m making over here.

I was a little hesitant when I first came to Switzerland; I think back to that third day I was here and got ‘lost’ :) on my way to the gym. I tried to ask a bunch of people where the gym was, but they only responded with irritated shoulder shrugs. I kind of understand that now, I mean, I was asking them in English and I couldn’t even give them the name of the gym I was looking for. I am so glad that I now know the names of my gyms, and can listen to French answers without having my head spin (most of the time). But other than that, I’m learning that the Swiss are very helpful, nice people. They are especially nice if you look friendly and responsive, albeit confused.

Today I went up to St. Cergue (the town on the mountain that I watch the sun set over every evening from my kitchen table). Because I own a car in NJ, I hardly ever take busses or trains anywhere, and so the whole ‘zone’ part of public transportation takes me a little while to figure out. Well, there was an older man who saw me studying the map before I bought my ticket, who came up to me, asked if I needed help in French (which, I actually understood – I think), and then showed me how to figure out the zones. He told me how many stops I needed to wait, asked what I did in Nyon, etc, etc. Before he got off the train he looked back at me and gave me a head nod, which I’m hoping meant, “You can do it! You’ll be great!” but may have also meant, “God I hope she doesn’t get ‘lost’ :).” Either way, he was very kind and helpful.

Why have I never read Treasure Island before? I’ll tell you what, that Jim Hawkins is one spunky kid. I like him, I think he’s adventurous and naïve enough to remind me of myself. So, when I open up my Kindle and put on my Pirates of the Caribbean music (to get in the mood to imagine the Jolly Roger waving in the wind, “fifteen men on the dead man’s chest,” and seafarin’ men with missing limbs), I feel ready to read about ol’ Jimmy Hawkins going head to head against Long John Silver. I’m not done reading yet, but Jimmy has been keeping me company during meals, and has yet to ask for anything as cliché as eggs, bacon, and rum…
The conductor on the train ride back down from St. Cergue thought I looked a little ‘lost’ :). He told me the train heading down to Nyon was getting ready to leave and showed me how to open the door (What? They have really fancy buttons to press, okay?) When I got off at my stop I turned to look back at him and saw him give me an energetic wave goodbye with (I may be projecting here) a hint of pride in his eye (probably because I figured out how to open the door to exit the train).
Jane Eyre is, what we call in sports, a stud. Talk about executing a play! The way she tells Mrs. Reed exactly what’s up, how she won’t settle for anything less than what she envisions, she has stud written all over her. Yes, I think Jane and I (if I can remember and hold on to what she’s taught me) will be good friends for a long, long time.
Back when I had tweaked my quad, the guys’ trainer took a look at it for me. I have since seen him at my lifting gym and working out during our noontime practices. He went to college in The States and speaks very good English, which has made it possible to have conversations about books, school, and basketball. It’s becoming really nice to see a familiar face who always comes over and talks to me (note to self: it helps to take out your ipod earbuds when someone is talking to you, that is, if you want to answer them in a coherent fashion).
Gloria from Modern Family is my new best friend. You can judge me for this, but anyone who is scared to ride a bike because they’re afraid to be ‘grabbed’ or who thinks the phrase is “It’s a doggie dog world” deserves best friend status in my book. She makes me laugh out loud at least once an episode.
On Monday during my relaxation circuit, I was in the sauna and met a man from the Netherlands. Hanz was an older man who used to run, but once his back started hurting him his doctor told him to stick to swimming. He could tell I wasn’t Swiss (from my height I hope, and not my awkward nature), and asked what I did in Nyon. I find it kind of nice and yet sad that everyone is always incredibly astounded to hear that Nyon has a basketball team (only nice because they always seem really, truly interested after learning about it). He told me how his daughter was 1.80 meters or so and married tall, his grandson was already over 2.0 meters (I’m listed as 1.91 meters on our team’s roster as a reference point), and was already playing basketball. While I was sweating bullets in the sauna, well over my usual eight minute max where I start to feel thirsty and light-headed, I listened to this man also tell me about how when he was younger, he belonged to the “saving lives club for the beach”  (hey, I was just happy he was speaking English). Apparently, around 1938 or so, when television first came to the Netherlands, he had a scare with his lifeguard partner going under water in a 'water boat' (? – it was hot, I was dizzy, he wasn’t talking about sports or LOST...), and he made television because he made it out alive!!! He seemed truly sad to see me go when I got up and told him I was melting, but was happy to have met him and would surely see him around.  
I begged my sister to let me borrow her copy of Les Miserables for a bubbler book. Les Mis is, after all, my favorite musical. I really wanted to learn about the real characters from the unabridged, translated version of the book. I am 700 pages in, almost halfway done. Jean Valjean is definitely a valiant man, but Victor Hugo is longer winded than myself, and making it hard for me to like him. I will however, give him props for straying what seems like hundreds of miles away from the actual story line, and finding his way back within a page. Kudos Victor Hugo, kudos.
Every day I go to the Coop, the local grocery story adjoined to my apartment complex. There is a cashier at the Coop who knew right away that I was the Nyon Basket Féminin foreigner and went out of his way to speak with me. I am more than used to the “Au revoir bonne journée” that the cashiers say as they hand me my receipt, but Mr. Coop (knowing I speak English) always says, “Byebye, good day!” I really want to thank Mr. Coop and all the other hospitable Swiss, for being so much friendlier on day (insert # of days I’ve been here) than I found them on day three. Maybe it helps that I don't get 'lost' :) quite as much anymore. 


  1. Please think about writing some fiction, I love your writing hooze and would love to read something that could take me away to somewhere amazing. I know you can do it. And even though Lost is gone HIMYM is still on and starting to get really interesting!

  2. HIMYM JUST getting interesting? That show is's close to earning that vacant spot for favorite show in my 'about me' section =). Thanks for the compliment Deej!