Julie Seabrook Blog #1 – Arriving in Switzerland

It has been two weeks since I arrived in Switzerland and a lot has happened. Learning how to drive standard while few people speak English and having no Internet in my apartment for almost two weeks was challenging. In fact I did suffer from some culture shock.

Culture shock is the personal disorientation a person may feel when experiencing an unfamiliar way of life due to immigration or a visit to a new country or a move between social environments, also a simple travel to another type of life.

However, my teammates, coach, and substitute family (the Lacalamita’s) have been extremely helpful and nice so it made things a lot easier.

I have been playing basketball but I also got to do some sightseeing.

The Wednesday after I arrived (August 29th) the Lacalamita’s took me up into the mountains for some good old Swiss hiking. It was so beautiful. I felt like Heidi.

The next two days we had running and practice, but my head coach Scott was away at a coaching clinic so official practice did not start until Monday September 2nd.

The following Wednesday, September 5th, I went to the castle in Bellinzona. There are 3 castles there but I just went to Castelgrande, the biggest one. The other ones are called Castello diMontebello and Castello di Sasso Corbaro. The castles that belonged to the Italians until the late 15th century played a major part in defending the entry of Switzerland from invaders.

Behind me is Castello di Montebello.

On Friday September 7th, I hit up Cardada, the Peak of Locarno.  I took a gondola similar to the one at Grouse Mountain in Vancouver and then hiked to the top of Cimetta where there is an observatory. On the hike there were cows, para-gliders, and little cottages, where hikers can stop to eat and drink.

The views were amazing and the pictures do not do it justice, but I have posted one just so you get the idea.

This past weekend I went down to Lugano with some of my teammates and to meet up with some other American basketball players for me to speak English with. We went out on the lake in a paddle boat and went to Ikea.

On Sunday our team volunteered at Sportissimo, a festival that promotes sports in Bellinzona for adults and kids. We ran a basketball station outside where we taught kids some basketball fundamentals.

We also participated in some stations ourselves. The Zumba station was our favourite because we got to dance.

Anyways, this week will bring more basketball and I will get you some pictures of my apartment.

Ciao from Switzerland!