Yesterday was the final day of class and my class started it off with the game Taboo. I have played this game once before in English, yet never before in Romansch! Players are given slips of paper with a word (or a name of a person, place, thing, etc.) and they must describe this word to their team. However, underneath this word is a short list of taboo words and phrases that one must not say in one’s attempt to describe it. My first word to describe was venderdis ( = “Friday”). I had to try to describe “Friday” without saying any other days of the week with di (“day”) in the word, and I could not say week or the number seven. I think I had an easy one because all I had to say was oz and suenter gievgia ( = “today” and “after Thursday”) and my team got it. I also had to describe Incas and I did so by saying “an extinct tribe from the continent below where I live in the western hemisphere”. Now why didn’t I just say a native tribe like the Aztecs but from Peru in South America? Because all those words were taboo! It was a lot of fun.
Last night was the Sera Finala (the final evening) and I sat at a table with my fellow students and our excellent teacher, Annalisa Cathomas, and we enjoyed a beautiful and big dinner of soup, salad, curry chicken and rice plus an individual platter of many different bite-sized desserts. I loved the mineral water called Rhäzünser yet I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I also had a few glasses of both red and dessert wine along with the water.
Last year the weather on the final day was hotter and the dining room was a sweatbox. I still remember what
I wore last year during the Sera Finala only because it was boiling hot to be there: a red tank top with a short-sleeve collar shirt over it. By the end of the night the collar shirt was off. This year, however, it was totally overcast and cool, so it was much more comfortable and I was not sweating bullets while eating dinner.
There was a series of skits performed by every class (except, oddly, from both Levels 1A and 1B). A fellow
student, Hanspeter, wrote the skit in German and after we played Taboo, we had to translate it. It went off
without a hitch and was rather funny as well. There was singing afterwards till after 1 a.m. I left to go to bed just before 1.00.
This morning after our goodbyes at the Casa Caltgera I left for Chur, the capital of the canton of Graubünden
with my friend Ueli. I met Ueli last year and this year he was in the highest level, seven. We went to Il Palantin, Switzerland’s only Romansch bookstore. I spent quite a bit of money, over two hundred francs if I remember correctly, when I last visited this store two years ago. This time I only bought two books, and the strange thing is that neither is in an idiom of Swiss Romansch.
There are two languages belonging to the Rhaeto-Romansch family spoken in Italy, Friulian and Dolomitic Ladin. Il Palantin had a very small collection of books in and about these languages, and I bought La picola stria, a Friulian translation of a popular children’s book, Der kleine Hexe ( = The Little Witch). I have a Sursilvan Romansch translation of the same book, entitled La Strietta. I also bought Ladin, ulà vaste pa? ( = Ladin, where is it going?), a polyglot book.
Afterwards I went to Das Rätische Museum, and spent three and a half hours poring over every exhibit pertaining to the region’s distant and more recent history. I took one picture: of an eighteenth-century manure cart made entirely of wood. Not a nail or piece of metal to be seen. The wheels were fitted together like four crescent-shaped puzzle pieces.
Sunday I will walk around Zürich and read in a park and then early Monday I am off to Finland for a week. Many of you will get Swiss postcards mailed from Finland. I am almost clear out of Swiss francs and don’t fancy going to a bank machine to get only a little money out. So far I have kept my expenses way down yet I know that I will not be able to write that when I get to Finland.
Engraziel fetg ad Annalisa, ina commembra nova dalla gliesta