Why yes, I DID spend winter break in the Swiss Alps

Guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!! I hope that all of you had a wonderful winter break. I most definitely did! It featured skiing in the Swiss Alps, amazing meals and a lot of birthday love, to name just a few special moments. But let me start from the beginning...

Right after my winter break from school officially began, my dance studio had a show. However, this was no ordinary dance show… All ticket proceeds went towards families in need and we were able to raise nearly 13,000 Swiss Francs (approximately the same amount in U.S. Dollars)!! There is no way something like that could have happened in my small town in the United States.

Me with my host mother and grandmother at the Swiss ski resort Engelberg.

Directly after the show, I left with my host family, including my host grandparents, for a four-day ski trip to Engelberg, a resort in the Swiss Alps. My host grandparents are from Sweden and everyone was speaking Swedish for a lot of the trip, which was a little bit frustrating. It felt kind of like the first week of my program all over again, with conversations flying over my head, but oh well. It’s all part of the experience!

My host mom on the slopes!
Après ski french fries with my host family.

The trip was really great. I had a hotel room to myself (!!), and while the snow wasn't fabulous, we had the most incredible food, along with my first ever Wienerschnitzel. We were in Engelberg on December 24th, which is Christmas Day in Switzerland, something I didn't realize until that morning...it was a bit of a surprise! That night we ate a five-course meal at a restaurant and it was possibly the best food I've ever tasted.

Then, a couple days later it was my birthday. The day prior, 9 of my school friends came over to celebrate early. We ate a bunch of typical American food and they gave me a chocolate fondue maker, which I can’t wait to try out. After they left, my host family made a midnight toast to me to ring in my actual birthday, and they took that opportunity to surprise me with plans for us to go to Europark, a theme part kind of like Disney World. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go due to bad weather, but we went instead to this incredible indoor water park in Zurich.

After that, I thought the surprises were done, but when we got home, I discovered that my host brother and more of my friends had planned a surprise party for me! I was blindfolded and taken down to the basement, where everyone was waiting. We ate Raclette cheese and just had a good time.

Finally, on New Year's Eve I went back to Engelberg with my friends. And now here we are! Time is going so fast, I can't even believe it…

- Brooke

More Photos!

Check out a few of my favorite photos of Switzerland thus far, in no particular order:

Määs, Switzerland's largest fair grounds located in Lucerne.
Matterhorn peak on the border of Switzerland and Italy.
The incredibly delicious Swedish Saffron Rolls. Wrong country, I know, but so yummy!

If you’re interested in learning more about the program Brooke went on, click here.