So yesterday was fun…
All Thursday and Friday I had been in bed with the flu, or some sort of general sickness/fever/buckets of snot thingy. But by Saturday I was feeling much better, which was just as well because Saturday night there was a party in Zurich for all us exchange students, organized by the ones who had been here longer.
Facebook told me that it was to be a “Grill and Drinks Night”, so I bought a vacuum sealed pack of two corn on the cobs, and a veggie burger. And a fruit juice, because even though there was going to be lots of alcohol freely available, I was going to do the sensible thing and not drink. Also, alcohol makes me sleepy.
I got to China Garden [a park on central Zurich] about an hour too early, of course, so I hang around texting the people who were all meeting in Zurich Mainstation. And then my phone died. Oops. I had forgotten to charge it.
It started getting dark around eight, but no worries, because about fifteen minutes later a group of about fifty exchange students poured into the park from the bus stop, making more noise than probably jet engines and a herd of trumpeting elephants? but also possibly more.
We all hung around under a big tree for five minutes, but then it started to rain and so we all surged back towards the bus stop. I managed to score a slice of pizza from someone on the way [birthday-party-girl Vicky] as it looked like my corn on the cob and vegie burger dinner wasn’t going to happen. Also apparently on that thirty second walk some people had already finished one bottle of straight vodka [bloody Russians!] and the usually wild and vaguely inappropriate American-Mexican guy warned me about underage drinking. I was pleasantly surprised at his concern. I was already half way through my fruit juice.
Waiting for the bus- time for selfies! In the olden days, when someone said “picture time!” everyone would group together and smile at the camera while the photographer clicked once. Nowadays, one person says it and suddenly the poor person who offered to take the picture has a thousand smartphones thrust into their hands- the more phones they accumulate, the more people slide into the picture, throwing up totally unironic peace signs because they aren’t as ‘cool’ as the American exchange students who laugh at them, and five minutes later, the pictures are all on Facebook.
On the bus the noise and commotion was, to say the least, overwhelming. One girl was so embarrassed that she hid her head in my scarf for most of the short trip to some place not far from the Mainstation. It was like a small square with a large, well lit pavillion in the middle- perfect.
We all piled out again and made our way across the street.
“Oh my god, everybody’s looking at us!” she said. I laughed. There is a strange feeling on anonymity when in a crowd. Also, being one of the few sober people in a group is interesting.
When we got to the pavillion, everyone settled down. Or settled up, I should say, because now the multi colored bottles of alcohol came out. Blue, green, orange, clear, yellowy-brown stuff.
I was slightly hesitant about talking about this, because hey, this is a public blog, but I’d rather be honest, and hope that you can appreciate that, and respect the fact that I am VERY sensible etcetera…
I did have a splash of vodka in my plastic cup of Pepsi. It tasted like you think methylated spirits would taste, from the look of it, which is actually quite a logical comparison. Don’t worry, no matter how many people offered me more, no matter how exuberant I was feeling, no matter what anyone said, I wouldn’t have accepted any more alcohol than that, and I didn’t leave my drink unattended for a second.
The party kicked up a notch when someone bought out speakers, and suddenly all the Latin-Americans [everyone who spoke Spanish, basically] was crowded round him, shouting out suggestions for them to type into YouTube on his smartphone, which was wirelessly connected to the speakers. God, I love technology.
There was a bit of dancing- my friend from the bus tried to teach everyone the AFS [the exchange student organization that everyone was here with] dance, which was like the hokey pokey. And then she tried to teach me the rumba. Which was cool.
I did meet some new people, which was really cool. I mean, the conversations lasted about five minutes because really, there were like sixty people there, but I don’t think I was the only sober person there, and it was nice to see some of them quietly helping others who had maybe overdone it a bit on the drink. I guess that is kind of what happens when you put a bunch of teenagers together and give them what is, relatively, mostly complete freedom. I mean, I’m not condemning it, as someone who was an interested observer. Those parties, and that kind of freedom, is just a kind of life experience which, hopefully, was fun and not too dangerous and disappointing.
I left at about ten thirty, because the last possible bus that I could take was at 11:12. I sat in the train station, clutching my Pepsi [i mean, hopefully it was just Pepsi] soaked backpack, and reading JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, which, by the way, is a fantastic book that I should totally review at some point.
Waiting for my second connection in Ziegelbrucke, I bumped into a friend of Runa’s from school. It was just twenty minutes or so from there to Glarus, and Hardi met me at the train station.
And then I ate two slices on bread with tomato paste, because vodka is nice but it’s not a proper dinner. I’m pretty sure that there are some Russian philosophers who would disagree with me on that, but hey, variety is the spice of life.
Which really kind of sums up a lot in my life right now.
Have a nice week!