Saving the Canadian

My walking trips are getting longer and longer.  It just feels good to be out there.  So on Sunday, it was no exception.  I hit the road.  I had no plan and that is so plan..just go.  Sometimes when we start our journeys it is good to know where we are going and sometimes not.  Sunday was a sometimes not kind of day.  An hour into my walk I realized that I didn´t know where I was.  Since being lost is a normal state for me, I didn´t panic. I thought Google will fix this. It didn´t.  No reception.  So what do you do when you don´t know?  You ask! ..and that is just what I did.

The first person I approached was an older woman coming up the hill towards me and I think I startled her a little with my “Gruezi”.  I have a good or bad habit of greeting everyone I see. That´s just me.

She looked at me, hesitated a little and greeted me back.  My accent tends to make people stop and think before they answer.  “Sorry… aber ich habe mich verloren.”, I said.  Now I know that my attempts at German can be been quite exhausting for some listeners but she must have understood and didn´t hesitate for a minute.  She asked me where I was from and where I wanted to go, took me practically by the hand and said…” Komm mit” and I did.  The way was full of stories..hers and mine.  I walked with her and by the time we said “Tschüss” I had learned about her lost husband, the family she adored, her childhood on a farm and her thoughts on the Coronavirus. She pointed ahead and said “Waldrand folge und dann rechts abbiege” or at least that is what I thought she said and I am sure she also said you can´t miss it.

I started walking and I kept on walking.  At some point, I realized this isn´t right.  I couldn´t miss it…but I did.  There I was lost but not lost.  It was Sunday morning in Switzerland and Coronavirus or not there are always people in the forest or the mountains.  It wasn´t long until I found the next person to help.  It was a swimming acquaintance.  Acquaintance is a wonderful world that I teach all of my students.  It is a person you see week in and week out at the pool or the bakery or the grocery store who says hi and bye and that´s it.  It is a familiar face without a name.  We made some small talk about the pool and the virus that is keeping us out of the water and somewhere in all of that I told him I was lost.  He tried to help but he only knew the way back to his car.  His only advice…” du muss abe”..or at least that is what I thought he said and I am sure he also said you can´t miss it.

So following this friendly advice I started off again. Soon it was past lunch and I had the funny feeling that going down was not enough to get me home.  I was cool about it but getting hungrier and thirstier by the minute.  I kept imaging myself like a Canadian Ötzi..lost in the Swiss mountains starved and frozen for future generations to find.  I was just about to lose all hope when I heard voices and footsteps.  It was a husband and wife out for a walk after lunch.  “Komm mit” they said.  I had heard that hours before and was still no closer to home but I went anyway.  Canadians have a hard time saying no.  I walked and we talked about a friend of theirs who went to live in Canada and their visits and their children and their farm and their last English course.  We were so busy talking that I didn´t even notice that the hill we were walking on was familiar.  Suddenly I realized I knew where I was. 

I thanked them and rushed down to the house.  5 hours later I was at home telling everyone about my adventures and it was then that it became clear.  I had been walking around in circles never more than 30 minutes from my house.  It was a wonderful day to be lost and found and it was made even better by the people who helped save the Canadian.  I guess that is what makes me feel so welcome here in Switzerland.  I guess I am home. 

Ms English Teacher
  • Ms English Teacher