Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dear Frau: Yodeling lessons in Switzerland?

Welcome to another edition of Dear Frau. It's kind of like Dear Abby, except with an international twist. If you have a question about life in Switzerland, don't hesitate to contact the Frau.

Dear Frau,

I am on a yearlong vacation here in Switzerland. Fabulous! (Well, my husband has to work, but it's a vacation for me.) Anyway, we'll be going back already in June and I have not yet learned to yodel! I cannot possibly face my friends in Colorado without a few good notes after having been here for a whole year. Seriously, I love to sing and have not been able to find any classes in Zurich. And I'm betting they'd be much more effective than my German classes! Do you know of any classes; have any contacts in this area; directions to point me, etc.?

Hoping for my own big yodel,


Dear Yodeloo

The Frau has not yodeled in Switzerland, although her living room does have an alphorn in it. One step at a time, she thinks, lest she become too Swiss too fast.

In Zurich, the Frau has only run into two yodelers—and they were from Appenzell. Most Zurichers wear suits and a sour expression and don’t quite seem like the yodeling type.

So the Frau would probably go to Appenzell if she were really serious about yodeling. It appears to be possible to book a yodeling lesson through the Appenzell Tourism Office.

Another way to learn to yodel would be to join the Swiss Yodeling Association, which just celebrated its 100th anniversary on May 8. Its membership also includes flag tossers and alphorn players. Their next big festival is in Interlaken.

Or if you want to settle for alphorn lessons instead, the Swiss Alphorn School in Gstaad offers an intensive weekend course in June and welcomes beginners.

Has anyone else out there yodeled in Switzerland? Or know about the Swiss folk scene? If so, please help Yodeloo learn to yodelee by leaving a comment. Merci.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Writing Workshops in Zurich this Spring

Hello Yodelers,

If you’re interested in writing, this post is for you.

There are several writing workshops taking place in Switzerland this spring that may give you the inspiration you need to either get started as a writer or take your writing to another level.

First off, yours truly will be teaching a two-hour workshop at the American Women’s Club of Zurich on Saturday, March 26, on how to make a living as a writer abroad. The course costs CHF 30 and you must register by March 15.

Secondly, The Zurich Writers Workshop has announced its spring workshop and registration opened today. The workshop will take place May 6-8, 2011 and is divided into two sections, memoir/creative non-fiction and fiction. Guest instructors include New York Times Bestselling Author Susan Jane Gilman and award-winning Novelist Janet Skeslien Charles. The workshop costs CHF 250 and includes 9 hours of instruction, a literary tour of Zurich, instructor readings, coffee/snacks, and more. Registration is limited to 15 writers per section and is filling fast so it is advised to register as soon as possible if you would like to participate.

If you have any questions about either workshop, leave a comment. And if you know of any other writing events going on, please let me know.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Dear Frau: What is it about Switzerland?

Dear Frau

I would be interested in hearing the little quirky things that make Switzerland home to people. I would love to hear the things that people who adopted CH would miss if they went away.

Maybe you will ask your readers my question?

Take care and hope to hear from you,

Mrs. Crocodile

Dear Mrs. Crocodile,

There are many things The Frau would miss if she left CH. Maybe that’s why so far, she hasn’t.

For one, the cleanliness. The Frau can barely leave Switzerland these days without being completely disturbed by how dirty the rest of the world really is.

Public transportation that is so punctual that you miss it.

The clock tower reminding The Frau every 15 minutes, 24/7, just exactly how much time she wastes on Facebook.

Knowing that when you make an appointment for 7 p.m. this means exactly that.

The locked trash bins.

The excitement that occurs when the sun comes out.

The amount of chocolate you can eat without gaining a pound.

Being able to walk everywhere.

Not having to own a car.

The great outdoors. The pool. The ice rink. The biking paths. The hiking paths. The Slow Up events. The Frau’s running path by the Limmat River. The fact that she can swim in the river. Or the lake. A spa that’s only a 10-minute walk away. A train station that’s only a 2-minute walk away. An airport that’s only a 20-minute ride away.

Conversations that take place in multiple languages with no loss of communication.

The “I’m a daredevil” feeling you can enjoy when doing laundry on Sunday.

Knowing exactly how many minutes until the baggage appears at the Zurich airport.

What would you miss if you left Switzerland? Or if you’ve already left, what do you miss?


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