A Shakespearean Study Break

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Just a pair of ETH Zürich students pretending to be fancy.

Otello tells a story of love, revenge, jealously, and repentance. It was deviously entertaining when performed at the Zürich Opernhaus in March 2017. I decided to stay in Zürich that weekend because of prospective travels in the following weeks (read as: every weekend for two months straight). Luckily, my building mate, Colin, also shared a love for classical music. We were elated to have snatched 20CHF student tickets to the opera. If you’re a young person (under the age of 26) and/or a student, then you’re eligible to purchase discounted tickets on the day of the show. The seats are often good enough and especially worth it for the price you pay. However, popular shows might have longer lines and there’s always a chance that it is sold out before you arrive at the ticketing counter.

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Falling for Rhine Falls

New year, same sporadic schedule (hooray for alliterations)! Ideally this Rhine Falls reflection would have been up before the clock struck midnight on December 31st, 2017, but similar to impromptu day trips, some things just don’t work out. To preface this post, Rheinfall is the largest waterfall in continental Europe. Located in the northern canton of Schaffhausen in Switzerland, it was a quick hour train ride away from Zürich. Hence, on an abnormally warm March afternoon, JinWon and I decided to plan an excursion to the famous falls. Little did we know that we’d be blessed with Zach’s guidance as he was itching to use his new GA travel pass privileges. Off the three of us went on St. Patrick’s Day!

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Hooray for Asian tourists (who took this photo)!

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Switzerland Does Halloween Better

It’s like I’m allergic to chronology. During mid-February, right after my trip to Munich, I had travelled to Luzern for unorthodoxed reasons. In spirit of Halloween, Luzern Fasnacht definitely put the “international day of all things spooky” to shame. It might have been the oversized masks and loud marching bands, but Switzerland sure knows how to scare people in more than one way! (Have you seen their prices for a pair of Adidas sneakers?)

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Reflections during Luzern Fasnacht.

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Being Politically Correct About Particle Accelerators

Attending ETH Zürich is practically synonymous to attending “nerd school“. The sole reason for visiting Geneva, or Genève if you want to politically accurate, was for CERN. Little did we know that you’d need more than a team of computer scientists and a determined physi(ology)cs student to visit the particle accelerators of the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire. I can still remember my frantic conversations with almost 15 people about forming a group to by-pass the line for individual guided tours. This was at least two weeks before the predicted trip.

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The main facilities at CERN was decorated by a coloured depiction of particle physics. For example, the muon is an elementary particle similar to the electron, with an electric charge of −1 e and a spin of 1/2, but with a much greater mass.

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When Swiss Cities Start to Look the Same

I realize that some of these trips are not in order. If you look at my personal calendar, which predates all the way back to August 2013, I have every major trip, class, test, meeting, and breakdown documented in my files. The previous post talked about Munich, but in reality, I went to Basel the weekend before! Perhaps I’ll start adding actual dates to these entries?

Regardless of my disorganization on this front, Basel was definitely one of the most spontaneous trips I took during my exchange. The night before departure, some of my friends and I wanted to take a day trip just to get out of Zürich. Same night, we were out till 3:00 partying on Langstrasse. So in our less-than-sober selves, Brandon, Will, Zach, and I, simultaneously bought Supersaver tickets to Basel.

Thus, not at the crack of dawn and closer to noontime, the four of us scurried to Zürich HB in spite of our throbbing heads. With little foresight on our activity, we followed our guiding saviour, Zach, and his supreme ability to navigate TripAdvisor, among other things. Stepping out of the main train station, we all concluded that Basel could be mistaken as Zürich 2.0. However, I would come to find my original interpretation of Swiss cities to be incorrect later in my travels. Our expat ignorance assimilated all trams and tramlines to be a defining factor in all Swiss cities. If you looked up on any major street, you’d see the thin wire that acts like a red string of fate, weaving the arteries of the town.

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Tram passing through a square in Basel.

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Skiing a Decade Later

Is it too early to post a throwback? I promise this one is legitimate and includes embarrassing childhood photos. That’s a yes? Cool.

In 2007, my family and I took a two-week trip around Central Europe. In true summer time fashion, we had packed maximum shorts (think Rome in August) and minimal outerwear (think one hoodie at best). So on the morning prior to travelling up Mount Titlis in Engelberg, 12-year-old Grace layered on ALL of her shirts and a jacket to combat the ominous mountain air. To say the least, it was not enough. Views were totally worth it, chilled appendages were not.

Fast forward to 2017, a decade apart and most definitely wiser about attire choices. Decked out in my trusty old Canada Goose and snowpants to match, I skied the narrow runs down the mountain. It didn’t even occur to me that I had visited the same location 10 years prior. It wasn’t until I saw the very obvious 范冰冰 (Chinese) advertisement at the top of the gondola did I realize I sat in these exact cable cars with my mother and grandparents. All the memories flooded back to me. Look below for evidence!

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Grace in 2007, wearing literally everything in her suitcase for top of Mt. Titlis in August.

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Grace in 2017, wearing literally one t-shirt and a jacket for skiing at Mt. Titlis in February.

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