Igor Travels Abroad

"In the end, we only regret the chances we didn't take."

A Most Interesting Week… and That’s an Understatement!

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Fresh off the desk of Igor Miller

Montreux, Switzerland

Well, what a week!

Friday – Tropical  Theme Night

Last Friday night started off as a blast, being Tropical Theme Night at school. After surviving another week, it was finally time to let loose, eat great food and drinks, play games and party with classmates. Apart from having the best pulled pork and coconut cake, we had foosball, beer pong, karaoke, mojitos and more!

Afterwards, I went out with my friends, singing, dancing, and having a great time, and it was time to return back home at 2AM and at least get a little bit of sleep and be ready to go back to school at 6AM for… Europa Park excursion!

Saturday – Europa Park

Fun Facts: Europa-Park is the largest theme park in Germany, and the second most popular theme park resort in Europe, following Disneyland Paris. Each part of the park resembles a different country from the rides to food, drink, music and culture. Europa-Park is located in Rust, in south-western Germany, between Freiburg and Strasbourg, Alsace. It is privately owned and operated by the Mack Family.

Luckily, I came prepared and got in some good sleep on the 3 hour bus ride to Germany.

Sleeping on the bus ride to Europa Park

Sleeping on the bus ride to Europa Park

Once we got there, my friend Daniil and I sprinted for the rides and tried out all the separate attractions. We ate lots of pizza, “tasted” German beer and even won some prizes.

We won bears 🧸

We won bears 🧸

After a good 9 hours of fun, it was time to return back to school. Needless to say, I slept well.

Sleeping on the bus ride home

Sleeping on the bus ride home

Sunday / Tuesday – 48 Hours of Blindness & Swiss Medical System

This was quite a shocker. I went to bed with nothing hurting in my eye and woke up at 5AM due to a bad pain in my right eye, with the sensation as if a thorn was under my eyelid. After trying to wash it out for over 2 hours, I gave up and called the doctor.

The doctor told me to go to the hospital and I called my close friend to help me get there because I couldn’t see. They re-routed me to a eye hospital 40 miles away (yes, the Swiss have a hospital for everything) and sat there for a good 6 hours in urgent care waiting to get treated.

Finally, a doctor looked at my eye and found nothing… no sign of infection, nothing inside, just a very slightly scratched cornea from maybe something being there before. I received 4 weeks worth of eye drops, 1 week of antibiotics, and 1 week of vitamin a creme to expedite healing… and to put the cherry on top, a giant eye patch to make me look like I was going to the next shooting for Pirates of the Caribbean.

I don't know how my friend got me to smile for this picture

I don’t know how my friend got me to smile for this picture

I couldn’t really move me eyes and all and it was so painful I had to keep them closed. I couldn’t see for over two days.

I have to say though, it was a very interesting experience. I got a ” sneek peek” (yes, a horrible pun) and on a serious note about what those with blindness have to experience on a daily basis. Of course there were funny moments like trying to shave to go to school blind and I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working. Turns out, I grabbed the toothpaste and lathered it all over my face, rather than the cream! And I especially felt like a child again when my girl friends came over to feed me with a spoon. And I learned how to use voiceover (a iPhone feature for the visually impaired)

But what I did really get insight in was what challenges people due face with disability. Firstly, to be taken seriously and have people listen to them. When I was at the store, people communicate with my friends, not me. I was blind, not deaf for pete sakes! Secondly, I learned the reality that I literally take everything in my life for granted. The simplest things like putting my shoes on become a hard task to even located them in the first place without accidentally hitting my head against the wall.

Finally, and this may come as interesting, I learned to listen more to my heart and who I am and who others really are. Without the visual distraction, I could really instead focus on what I felt and really thought inside, concentrate more and not be distracted. I could focus not on the looks or the world and people but appreciate more of who they are just by their personality. This came as very interesting and some typical things such as listening to music or listening to audiobooks actually became the highlight of the day, because it made me see things from a new perspective.

Don’t judge others by their looks, judge people by their heart

So… on Wednesday it was off with the eye patches and instead….. A Wild Jungle Night in Africa

Wednesday – Africa Banquet

(Pictures will be ready and attached to next week’s posts)

Now this was a fantastic day! Not only could I see again but I came to school at 9AM and began working on food preparation for our Africa Banquet. I was our marketing manager, but instead came back to join the team and prepare the food. Our kitchen team was a little bit lost as to what was going on and luckily I have the knowledge and experience under my belt from my first kitchen internship last year to get things back in order. Again, one of the benefits of having an internship mandated education with real-world experience. We had to make snacks, a vegetarian and meat amuse bouche, starters, main courses and desserts for 80 people. Easy as pie. 🙂

I personally remained calm and we all helped prepare the mise en place, cut the food and cook. Unfortunately, our team didn’t have accurate recipes so I kind of just experimented making half of the dishes on the spot from previous recipes and techniques I learned. Don’t worry, the food did come out very good!

Upstairs, our entertainment and service team transformed the student cafeteria into a jungle, with incredible decorations, greeting cards, student names and ambiance.

The evening went by with great success… With incredible entertainment, dancing, food, games, prizes and music and everyone had a terrific time. After 8 weeks of preparation, hard work and blood, sweat and tears, we can proudly say, we did a great job and pulled off an amazing banquet!

Overall, another amazing week studying at the most amazing school. It’s a world class education and I’m so grateful to be sharing these moments with incredible students, friends, teachers and staff and everyday I’m learning something new.

There’s so much to do and I’m very happy and proud to to say that I am a student at #HIMontreux and to be #SwissEducated

See you next week… you’ll love the Banquet pictures 😉


Author: Igor Miller

A passionate Swiss hotelier with a love for adventure, entrepreneurship, experiencing cultures and people.

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