Feb 24 2009

A Choral Kind of Week

by at 5:35 pm

Now now, I know all of you readers out there have been just waiting to hear the nitty gritty on my new semester.  Sorry to have kept that from you.  The deal with school is that I am taking 5 classes again this semester, but this time, only 2 are required and they seem to have a better goodness potential than the 4 required classes last semester, I have a familiarity with the institution and see familiar faces when I walk around, and my outside-of-school life has settled down considerably since September.  I think my classes this semester will be more diverse and touch upon more subjects that are interesting to me, meaning they have a high possibility of leading towards a master’s thesis topic, plus they all seem to have clearer expectations of me than many did last semester.  However, I have one more day to commute each week, and it’s still going to be tons and tons of work, though this time coming in large part in the form of exams and short papers instead of long research papers (only 2 huge papers this semester instead of 4).  So I can’t say it’s been too enjoyable—I’m already feeling super stressed out.

Enough about school, for the moment.  It’s been a choral kind of week because over the weekend I had two concerts, one in Fribourg, one in Nyon, both of which went quite well, even if they were rather underattended, I have weekly rehearsal tonight, this coming weekend there is one more concert in Vevey, and the following weekend we have a retreat to get a jumpstart on the music we’ll be performing in May.  I bought the CD for this cycle of concerts—let me know if you would like to hear a sample.

The other reason it’s been a choral kind of week is because Liz and Jenny, both of whom I know because of our four years together in the Radcliffe Choral Society, visited from late Saturday night to this afternoon.  And as, with all guests, it was a hectic few days, but they saw plenty of Swiss oddities (i.e. experienced a fair bit of frustration, made up in part by eating good chocolate and cheese).  They came to my concert on Sunday, which made me really really happy, went up into the nearby alps yesterday, and today we spent a couple hours in Geneva before they had to catch their plane.  Liz, who just wrote a play set in an organization based on CERN, really wanted see it, so the two of us headed out there (Jenny wandered around the old city of Geneva instead), and a friend I know because she is also a Swiss federal scholarship student, who is doing particle physcis PhD research at CERN, gave us a whirlwind tour, because not only did we have limited time to start with, it took a really long time to get there from the center of Geneva.  Yikes.  But it was pretty cool to hear her talk about it and to see it, and even if it nearly caused Liz and Jenny to miss their flight to Barcelona, Liz did get in some good research!

The last reason it was a choral kind of week is because, well, if you put me and Liz and Jenny together in, say, a kitchen, we are a small choir.  Small in number, not in volume.  In fact, in terms of volume, Liz can pretty much be a choir in and of herself.  This includes speaking, not just singing.  For three evenings, the three of us, sometimes Seth included, chatted until late at night.  Yesterday evening, at about 10:45, when we were sitting around the kitchen table, talking, a Swiss neighbor rang our doorbell and asked us to please be quieter so late at night.  I mean, we were not exactly using our late-night inside voices, but we were likewise not having a party or anything.  There was 0 alcohol or music involved.  Like, this is something neighbors in college would not have noticed, neighbors in an apartment building in Boston or New York might have been slightly irritated about, and something annoying enough to make a Swiss person march over to our door and ask us to quiet down.  Seth and I have been wondering the last few months how much our neighbors hate or accept us, and whether our late night toilet-flushing and after-hours dryer usage has been ticking anyone off, and where their limits are, exactly.  Good to know, I guess, but we feel pretty guilty about it.  Before bed, Seth and I composed a very apologetic letter (or what we hope comes across as very apologetic despite the less-than-perfect French) which we plan to distribute this evening to our immediate neighbors on our floor and above and below.  In sum, that visit from our neighbor was both a hilarious and worrisome moment.

Finally, while I’m writing a post anyway, I thought I should gloat to all of you that I think spring is arriving in this valley of this part of the world!

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “A Choral Kind of Week”

  1. Jackieon 01 Mar 2009 at 10:59 am

    Expat, blogging friends of ours had a similar run in this week! See Tina’s post about it: http://francesandaustin.blogspot.com/2009/02/complaint-letter-from-swiss-neighbor.html. But rather than a knock on their door, they got an awesome letter written by type writer on a piece of graph paper, grammar/spelling mistakes abounding despite its 2 lines. And for WALKING too loudly after 10 pm. I guess our neighbors really humor us, then…so we probably shouldn’t complain.

  2. Dianaon 23 Mar 2009 at 4:17 pm


    I was just wondering if you attend IHEID and if you do, what do you think about the school. I’ve just been accepted to the MIA program at IHEID and MSc in IR at LSE and cannot seem to decide which school to attend. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

    – Diana

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