My Childhood Obsession with Switzerland

This post is brought to you by Ricola® Herb & Throat drops as part of a sponsored post for Socialstars. #swissherbs

My friends at Ricola gave me free reign with this month’s blog post topic, so I thought I would take you guys on a little journey down memory lane to the late-80s and early 90s when I was obsessed with all things Switzerland. Yep, that’s right… Switzerland.

While my friends were into things like Disney, Barbie, and collecting horse figurines, I loved everything and anything about Switzerland. The country still has a special place in my heart, and it’s actually one of the reasons why I decided to sign on with Ricola this year, so here’s a look into one of my childhood obsessions!

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Back in the 80s, my grandfather worked for the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Naturally, my grandmother moved there with him along with two of my aunts (my mom’s sisters), who were teenagers at the time.

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My grandparents lived in Switzerland for more than a decade. They came home to visit a few times a year (always with Swiss chocolate and Ricola for the grandchildren) but, one summer, when I was 9 years old, my mom, sister, and I had the opportunity to visit them in Geneva.

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And, of course, this trip was the start of my obsession with all things Switzerland. Now do you guys know why I love cheese so much?

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Other Swiss favorites: Bern bears!

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Skiing in the Swiss Alps!

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And I collected everything related to our travels that summer… maps, brochures, ticket stubs, even my plane ticket (remember when they were mailed to your house?).

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When I started back at school that following September, I took every opportunity to share my love of Switzerland with my classmates and teachers. Thinking back, I probably seemed like such a weirdo, but maybe not though? Switzerland was a cool, far-off land in my mind, so maybe my friends thought so too?

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I also wrote a report about Switzerland that year. When I was flipping through it the other day, I could tell I put a lot of work into it. I mean, check out the glitter on the front!

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And the cursive handwriting… I don’t think I can write that well now!

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It even had an appendix, which included a map (with a number of countries that don’t exist anymore)…

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And a handdrawn Swiss flag! Now that’s a quality report, right? I hope I got an A on it. Haha!

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Question of the Day

Your turn! Name something you were obsessed with as a kid!

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Twitter: @RicolaUSA

52 Comments

  1. That is awesome! My mom was born and raised in northern Italy, on the Swiss boarder, so I spent many summers visiting Switzerland. It’s not a bad place to be obsessed with. The food, yum! So delicious. And a rich culture.
    I was the same way about Italy growing up. A foreign land that’s none of my friends had been to yet. I am pretty sure my mom still has my 3rd grade project about Italy. Then again she also has the one I did about hamsters and I never actually had one of those!

  2. “West Germany on the South”–too funny.
    These pictures are awesome! You look so much like you, if that makes sense haha

  3. Princess Diana – I wrote a report on her when I was in the 4th grade because I just adored her; 7 years later she passed away and I remember watching the funeral LIVE on tv. I could not stop crying, my Mom had to console me because I was so upset 🙁

    Looking at these pictures makes me want to dig up my old reports and school work next time I’m at my Mom’s house!

    1. I can relate! I loved her too and was up very early in the morning to watch the wedding. I am older than you and was already married when she died but I remember my husband coming to wake me up (I worked early mornings then and was already asleep) to tell me. I got up and watched the coverage and cried.

  4. I love all the Switzerland projects!

    And…I’ll confess…I was obsessed with Jon Bon Jovi when I was little (4/5 yrs old!)!! I had two uncles who were in their early twenties when I was little so their love of 80’s hair bands rubbed off on me! I had a poster of him in my room!

  5. Funny you post this. We are going to Switzerland in a month and I cannot wait! I went there on a European trip while in college and vowed to return to the Swiss alps! Woo hoo! I plan to eat all things chocolate, cheese and fondue and grab some ricola for the return trip home!

    1. Have fun! If you can, buy choclate from Läderach, it’s the best. I just went there during my lunch break, haha

  6. Aww cute Tina. I was (and still am) obsessed with Winnie-the-Pooh. I was always decked out in Pooh T-shirts and shoes.

  7. When I saw the title of your post I laughed so hard…as a child I had a weird obsession with going to boarding school in Switzerland. Not sure where that idea came from, probably some book, but I never did get to go…

  8. Wonderful memories!
    As a kid, I was obsessed with Nancy Kerrigan, the Olympic figure skater. I was a figure skater myself and idolized her every move. In fifth grade, I won a contest where I got to meet her and attend a Halloween show that she was performing in at the garden! She also mailed me an autograph (clearly copied) that I caried around like gold. #epic

  9. You’re so lucky to have gotten to do that as a kid! I didn’t leave the country until I was 23.
    When I was a kid, for a whole year, I spoke with a fake French accent whenever I was at home (kids are so merciless, I wouldn’t dare do it at school). I was obsessed with going to France one day, probably because of “Beauty and the Beast.”

  10. Loved this post and the flashback photos! I’m currently living in Geneva and Switzerland is a wonderful country. The chocolate and cheese are totally amazing, and the views can’t be beat!

  11. I was obsessed with Horses. lol…my brother was in Germany and he gave up sending me anything but postcards with horses on them. I put up every one of them on my walls.
    None of the castle pictures cut the mustard with me back then. lol

  12. My childhood obsession has carried to now–I was always obsessed with Ireland. I used to make traditional Irish meals for St. Patrick’s day every year, buy lots of “Erin go bragh” stuff, and my husband and I added Celtic hints to our wedding (including our rings). I haven’t made it there yet, but my husband is afraid I’ll leave him for a Gaelic-speaking man—I’m a sucker for an Irish accent.

  13. Wow – what a great childhood to be able to take a trip like that! Totally jealous over here. However I am loling at your grandparents bringing you Ricola as a treat – what a coinkidink!

    A few thing I was obsessed with, in constant rotation, were animals, fashion design, and rollerblading 🙂

  14. Loved the trip down memory lane…Switzerland is high on my list of places I want to visit! I was obsessed with Sheryl Crow growing up …I’d write letters to her and when I’d get the generic postcard back, I really thought it was her haha!

  15. I’m a Texan currently living in Austria, but my boyfriend and I spent two years living in Switzerland, near Bern (where the bears still are, although probably different ones now). Switzerland and Austria are both beautiful countries with breathtaking landscapes and some of the world’s best cheese!

  16. Cool! I recognized your brochure for the Hotel Hirschen. I stayed there back in the 90’s. Loved Grindelwald. One of my favorite places in Switzerland as well as Interlaken!

  17. I was obsessed with speaking Spanish as a kid. My mother’s cousins were Columbian and were pushed out of the country fled to the U.S. I remember when they arrived, many of them did not speak English. It was difficult for family members to speak to them. I made it my mission to be fluent which I did. As a result, I did some of my schooling in Spain and have worked all over Mexico.

  18. hahaha this reminds me of my obsession with horses! I took riding lessons but still begged my parents for a horse practically every single day. And for some reason I never understood why they just wouldn’t buy me one! 🙂 haha And for my 5th grade U.S. state project I naturally chose Kentucky since that state is all about horses! Ahhh the memories.

  19. So funny! I had an obsession with switzerland too as a kid! I did school projects on the country a few times. I was so excited when I got to go there after graduating college.

  20. I was obsessed with 2 things – Manatees (thanks to a 4th grade report) and Laura Ingells Wilder!

    I still have both obsessions and actually my husband loves manatees too (we live in Northern Michigan, so this is very odd). We adopted one (Loreili) and have a manatee watercolor in our daughter’s room.

  21. I was obsessed with ballet (obviously not uncommon) but also Austria. I discovered my Austrian heritage and although it was somewhat sad because I realized that, had my family not left a century earlier, they would likely have perished in the Holocaust, I was obsessed with the Sound of Music and learning more about the country for several years.

  22. I am half Swiss/half Australian and spent every summer in Switzerland and every winter in Australia. I LOVE Switzerland too…it is by far my favorite place. I think I have hiked almost every place imaginable in Switzerland 😉

  23. What a fun and unique post – I love this, and especially that you have those old papers – neat trip down memory lane! I was randomly really obsessed with Pompeii when I was in middle school — I remember writing a big report on it and the whole Mount Vesuvius eruption. I’ve always wanted to go there – someday!

  24. my son asked to host an exchange student this year, so we have one coming from Switzerland in September. I guess we will learn more about the country then. did you or your grandparents speak another language?

  25. i was/am obsessed with germany!! switzerland too 😉 those mountains…. man if i could just wake up to that every day of my life..

  26. How neat! I lived outside of Geneva, Switzerland for 3 years, from 1981-1984, when I was 8 to almost 12 years old. My dad wanted total immersion for us, so we found a small farming town called Gy to live in. My sister and I made friends simply by talking with our hands at first, then gradually learned French. My years in Switzerland will always have a special place in my childhood memories, and even at age 42, I still keep in touch with a few families I met there.

  27. My sister and her husband and daughter live 20 minutes outside of Geneva! It’s easy to see why you’re obsessed with it. Breathtakingly beautiful!! I remember being obsessed with horses when I was young – pretty typical.

  28. Wow, yes, I also had a dream to go to Switzerland as a child and hike in the Alps. Amazingly, I was able to do it last fall with my siblings when we got to backpack all of Western Europe. It was truly unforgettable!

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