August 30, 2010

How I Burned 100CHF in Zurich

This morning was unlike many, many others in Zurich: (1) it was sunny and (2) I felt like running. So before Mother Nature or I had a chance to renege on our intentions, I took a quick swig of coffee water, rolled my ankles a few times, and ran aimlessly down my street with the goal of making a decision on where to go by the time I reached the traffic light. And once at the traffic light, I decided to just keep going straight since I hadn't decided on anything.

I eventually got to Letzigrund, the main stadium in Zurich, and was excited to see event posters plastered around with a big "Gratis" in bold letters; excited not only because this was one of the ten or so German words I knew, but because it means "Free"! I asked a security guard at the entrance if I could come in, and he didn't understand me, but since he moved out of the way, I took it as a yes. I eventually found an event organizer, who told me it was a run to raise money for MS (Multiple Sclerosis), and that even though I didn't have any sponsorship, I was welcome to run on the track since it was better for my knees than the sidewalk (how thoughtful!)... and so, I ran in the Lions Joggathlon & Walkathlon for a few miles and enjoyed being at the center of a huge stadium while listening to a mix of American R&B and Swiss German encouragement over the loud speakers.

I don't look forward to running (just to run) and infrequently go out on my own initiative, but I do love the post-effects. Also, sometimes it's good to just get lost in your own thoughts, and since I left my iPod at home, that's exactly what I did. I bounced back and forth between the superficial and significant, thinking about my last days in Zurich and what the next months will bring, and then thought awhile about how lucky I am: having the opportunity to live abroad, travel around the world, genuinely enjoy my job, having awesome friends, family, and my health intact. I don't do enough to repay the hand I've been dealt, but I figured the least I could do was donate to the charity organizing the event I crashed. And since some friends I know in Zurich literally burned through a 100CHF bill two days earlier (in a silly and embarrassing way that need not be recounted...), I figured I'd follow up and burn the same bill for something a bit nobler.

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