I’ve always been a risk taker. This is most likely the reason that after having worked in corporate America for 2 years after college, I decided to quit my job, and buy a ticket to Florence. As it turns out, coming here to work for FlorenceForFun was the best choice I could have made. Ten days after arriving in Florence, I wasn’t expecting that it could be possible for my “Dolce Vita” to get any sweeter. Until, I found out that I would spend my second weekend fresh out of the states in the snow covered ski haven of Interlaken, Switzerland. After having studied abroad in Florence a couple of years back, I had my fair share of exploring the E.U. Considering I had visited every single country that borders Switzerland, it was fitting that I was finally seeing firsthand what all the hype was about.
The 8 hour bus ride was certainly a daunting thought at first, then I realized that we were driving through what seemed to be a real-life fairytale. I had visions of Hansel & Gretel as we passed through tiny Swiss lakefront towns surrounded by enormous mountains. We arrived at the Funny Farm around 4AM, and sign up for activities was at 8AM. After taking a cat nap, I awoke to my group of excited students anxious to indulge in the array of extreme sports offered in Interlaken. I half-heartedly decided to sign up for the infamous “canyon-jumping”, something offered only in New Zealand and Interlaken. As the weekend proceeded, I put the idea that I would be jumping off a cliff at the back of my mind. After strolling the boutique-clad streets of Swiss capital Bern, on my leisurely Saturday afternoon, I finished the night with an amazing fish and chips dinner. Even as the night trailed on, I wasn’t certain about my decision for the following morning.
To my relief, that Sunday morning in Interlaken was a white haze, blizzard. Gina told me we had to go make sure my canyon jumping would be cancelled because of the weather. When we arrived, I wasn’t ready for the blonde afroed canyon jump instructor Ziggy to zoom me away into the depths of the Swiss Alps. He didn’t even flinch when he saw the surprise on my face about the fact we would be wandering into the blizzard to jump off a cliff. I was set on the fact that the weather conditions would hither our ability to canyon jump. Forty minutes of zooming around the mountain ranges later, we finally arrived. After a fresh snow, the river that flowed through the adjacent cliffs was barely visible. I reluctantly followed Ziggy and 3 other terrified jumpers up the cliff. Ziggy harnessed me in, and I approached the 3x3ft plank. After some liquid courage, I felt encouraged that I could come out of this alive. It was now or never. I wouldn’t be given this opportunity ever again in life, most likely. So I walked out on the plank, gripping Ziggy’s hand, and after a minute of hesitation, I did it. Falling straight down was the most exhilarating thing. I didn’t know if I was alive or dead. It wasn’t until I started to swing that I felt alive, more than ever. At the end of it all, it was perfect. I was only half expecting to actually partake in this extreme thrill. Going forward, I will forever look back on this experience to remind myself why I’m here. The search has just begun.
As I (sadly) finish up my final days in Florence, I’ve been reflecting on the lessons I’ve learned and the memories I’ve