Every year, my church hosts a “team party” where they thank all of the volunteers who serve at various events throughout the year. This was the first year I was eligible to attend. There is always a theme, and I was warned that people go all out. This year’s theme was “Peter & Heidi” (better known as all things Swiss).
While I hadn’t visited it yet, I knew there was a costume store in Vevey. This would be my opportunity to check it out. I went one evening after work earlier this week and encountered the weirdest, creepiest woman in Switzerland. I think it will be hard to describe in writing, so you’re just going to have to trust me. Let’s just say that beyond the weirdness and the creepiness, it took me a LONG time to get her to show me what I was looking for. And that was only after she informed me that Heidi was not from Switzerland. (Probably could’ve given the girl speaking French with an American accent the benefit of the doubt, but we’ll move past that.)
I rented the dress and bought a hideous blonde wig. (I wanted one that already had braids, but they didn’t have that. I figured I could just braid the ugly one myself.) I was very happy to leave the costume store and all its rubber snakes, scary masks, and unfriendly staff. I’m actually bummed that I have to go back tomorrow. Hopefully, the return will be uneventful.
That night, I tried on the wig. I’ve only worn a wig one or two other times in my life. I always think they look ridiculous! I braided it into two ponytails. For someone who never had long hair and who never wore braids, I thought I did okay. I looked from behind in the mirror and realized that, when parted into braids, the wig did not cover my brown hair. Improvisation led me to a side braid. I don’t know how Swiss that is, but it would have to do.
Finding my way to the venue in the rain was the next obstacle. I don’t know when I’ll learn to ask for specifics from people who know where things are BEFORE I start driving / roaming aimlessly. After some searching in the rain (without an umbrella), I found it!
They weren’t kidding. Almost every single person was decked out in the theme! The room was decorated, and they were serving raclette for dinner. Yum!
Throughout the evening, they were holding competitions. The ones I heard them announce were cherry spitting and cow milking. One of my Norwegian friends said she thought that cherry spitting was a Norway thing! I’ve never heard of it, so I’m guessing it’s something that never made its way to America.
When dressed like Heidi in Switzerland, it only seems right to try out the cow milking. I’ve never milked a real cow, but this was a fake cow. How hard could it be? They were timing people in 30 second increments to see who could milk the most. I’m super competitive, and I was planning to win. The only “rule” was to “squeeze, don’t pull,” since pulling risked pulling the udders off! And when that happens, it takes multiple people to fix it…
As it turns out, despite my best efforts, I was third from last. I guess I’m not ready to be a real Swiss milk maid yet.
However, it can’t be denied that milking a fake cow brings sheer joy!
My friends were much more skilled. They both milked approximately 4x more milk than me in the same 30 second allotment.
I have some work to do to catch up!
Some of these friends I haven’t seen in the New Year, so it was fun to catch up!
And don’t you just LOVE that one of my friends dressed as a pot of fondue?! So creative!!
I am grateful to walk through life with people who know how to laugh! Even if it’s laughing at how non-Swiss I am! Oh well – it was fun to be Heidi for a night!