Loneliness or Solitude?

Loneliness kills.

I haven’t done my research. But I’m pretty sure it does.

There are about one hundred forty thousand inhabitants in the city of Lausanne. There are about twenty-one units in the apartment building where I reside. But they are all total strangers to me, as I am to them.

I know, we are in Switzerland. This is just normal. COVID-19, confinement, lockdown, working from home, travel bans, first wave, second wave and now third wave… just make it worse, especially for a single foreign woman who lives all by herself. As the joke goes, “When the measure of mandatory social distancing of two meters is lifted, Swiss people are happily back to the normal social distancing of five meters.”

Every joke has a little truth to it.

Another truth is, everything has a price to pay. The price for living a non-toxic life, for me, is like casting an amateur swimmer into the vast icy ocean in the North Pole. I am cast. Life can be ruthless. I have to try my best to get to the shore a.s.a.p..

Shanghai dialect is my mother tongue. Around age five I started to learn Mandarin. At age eleven I started to learn English. When I was satisfied with my English language skills, I challenged myself with French. That was eleven years ago. A couple of years later, I started to learn German. Now I’m back to learning and improving French. Life can be surprisingly kind – all my efforts on learning those languages were not in vain, as those langauge skills in THIS country seem so vital. Another joke says, even a homeless man on the street can speak four languages fluently in Switzerland.

Yet, I’m feeling as lonely as those homeless men and women. I know, the only solution is to build a shelter, a sanctuary within myself. I need to become the sun of my own Milky Way galaxy. After month and month of practice, it’s finally working.

We are in the middle of the winter in Switzerland. The last round of snow usually visits us in April. It could also be in May, depending on its mood.

Loneliness and boredom try to kill me. I fight back and we start wrestling. In the process of it I finally understand why most Swiss people don’t complain about their long gloomy winter. The “fashion show” and celebrations actually take place everyday in the ski resorts. When the outer sun shies away, the inner sun shines.

When I will have mastered the skiing skills, I promise myself, I will upgrade the sportswear winter collection in my wardrobe.

By then, I indulge myself in the merry sledging, dashing through the snow. There are quite a few ways to get the adrenaline flowing.

Loneliness thus becomes solitude. I hope.

Hello New Year! Hello Undying Hope!

The new year has inevitably arrived. No matter how awful the year of 2020 has been, the arrival of the new year didn’t necessarily change anything, except that it brought us stronger hope.

Hope. Who doesn’t need it?

When I just moved to Lausanne, the French-speaking part of Switzerland, exactly a year ago, I had nothing but hope. When I encountered a false potential love interest and got heartbroken, I knew it wasn’t anyone’s fault, but my expectations’. Hope, again, became my one and only ally. When I very unfortunately got infected with COVID-19 and my symptoms were getting worse and worse, being trapped in a small hotel room in the famous ski resort (Zermatt), without any medication, but further infection to my dear friend and her daughter (who fortunately had no symptoms at all), I thought I was going to die. I wasn’t afraid of dying, given the seemingly hopeless situation; I was ready to go (how rediculous that may sound to me now) – if I could just go like this, without making an effort to say goodbyes to my friends and witnessing them shedding tears. Yet, my dear friend worked her magic on the Christmas eve and conjured a feast. I was sitting at the table, holding a glass of red wine (symbolically), feeling my energy dwindle. I retreated to my bed and lay down, closed my eyes, hoping it would soon be over.

Hope, never disappoints me, but expectations do.

It was just like a flu. I then recovered. We then were “allowed” to return to our place of residence – Lausanne.

It was on the New Year’s Eve. While others were still trying their best to celebrate, I stayed alone in my apartment in Lausanne, the so-called home. The first time in my entire life I was all by myself spending the new year’s eve. Quite an experiment rather than an experience. However, to me, it was just like any of those evenings, nothing special. I knew, the next morning, except the calendar date, nothing would change dramatically.

Home, is where your heart is. Where is my heart? It belongs to me. I am my own home. No one here to hurt me. No one cares to hurt me. How safe I feel. I started watching Bridgerton on Netflix. I found it to be a copy of Gossip Girl, in the setting of early 19th centrury. Yet, it suited my taste – my hopeless romantic, fancy, cliched “happily ever after” kind of taste. It awakened my hope.

What the major protagonists confirmed me was my theory about two people (a man and a woman) first becoming best friends, then falling in love. When the beautiful friendship ends, the wonderful love story starts.

I hope, one day, I will start such a beautiful friendship with a wonderful man. Will the new year bestow it on me?



家门前是欧洲第三大淡水湖,博登湖(德语Bodensee,英语Lake Constance)。它瘦长的身段足足有六十三公里,紧紧抓牢了瑞士、德国、奥地利三个国家的肢体的一部分。它波光粼粼,夏季的湖面上经常飘扬着帆船。若不是对岸绵绵的山峦提醒着我它的宽度,我真的会把它当成蔚蓝的大海。到了冬季,它也会毫无留情地结冰,与一边的皑皑雪山呼应着,全然弄出一个冰天雪地的世界。它有它的尊严要维护,若是遇到狂风,它势必要掀起大浪。但如同大家闺秀一般的它,即使发飙也是矜持的。若是遇到暴雨,它势必会拉高它的裙摆,让大水冲进附近的村庄和小镇,凉凉行人的小腿肚。大部分时候它风平浪静,各种野鸭和天鹅携带家眷一起出来觅食和嬉戏。它保持着两岸土壤的肥沃,德国境内有一个著名的花岛和一个著名的菜岛,都是它的杰作。




从我家出门右转,上个坡,总共步行五分钟便是拿破仑三世的故居,又名拿破仑博物馆。想当年,拿破仑一世倒台,他的继女兼弟媳Hortense de Beauharnais (是的,拿破仑一世把自己挚爱的女人约瑟芬跟前夫所生的女儿嫁给了自己的弟弟Louis Bonaparte)带着儿子Charles-Louis Napoléon Bonaparte逃难到了博登湖这里,买下了湖边的大宅,请人重新装修。宅内硬装和软装皆显法国皇室奢华,室外的花园也刻意修剪成当年巴黎盛行的模样。于是,两百年来这个鲜为人知的桃花源里一直有着一个小小的巴黎角。


dream-like family life in Germany

Waking in the morning to the bedroom door cracking open sound, followed by a few quick steps, hearing a little cute sweet voice saying “Tante Hester, xia lou chi fan”, German, English mixed with Chinese mandarin, I opened my eyes to see the everyday wonder in this 4-storey 5-decade old house. My godson Jonas, one of the wonders.

Winter in this part of Europe can be depressing and even dreadful due to the lack of sunshine. However, a family cannot be more joyous with children’s liveliness and laughter.

This is one of my best Christmas times in Europe – being among a loving family. I captured this dream-like moment of the family on the Christmas eve, after the kids returned from the nearby church and started to open up the presents that had been delivered by Santa Claus.

What is success? At the end of the day, you ask yourself this question. When seeing this picture, I believe you have the same answer as mine. 🙂

low budget modelling for the brand I’m working on – Eveline Zoccolillo :)

For more product info and company info please click  www.evelinezoccolillo.com

Please follow us on WeChat public account: Zoccolillo卓绮丽瑞士时尚品牌

Butterfly In A Storm

In Zurich I have met quite a few small business owners. Often I feel very touched by their enthusiasm for their own products. Being a creator, their love and passion runs through every tiny step of the process of creation and emanates from every tiny detail of the product. 

I was delighted and felt honoured to be asked by one of them – a watchmaker / brand owner – to translate her biography from English to Chinese. 

Here I’d like to share what I’ve done so far. A timepiece is actually timeless. 





























































凭借在Flik Flak取得的巨大成功,吉赛尔轻而易举地在斯沃琪集团下的其他品牌—欧米加里找到了工作。

欧米加的总裁叫恩斯特.托姆克。同时他也是斯沃琪手表的发明者。就连发明这款儿童手表也是他的主意。他很清楚她在Flik Flak上取得的成功,便对她说:“茹菲女士,您在斯沃琪集团前途无量。如果有一天您成为公司里第一位女性CEO的话,我绝不会感到惊讶。“


“取笑您?我当然不是!“他回答道,并强调说:“您正是我们公司需要的人才—有大无畏精神,才华出众,随时准备承担风险。您工作勤奋又天资聪颖。我是认真的,当我说您在我们公司里前途无量。这就是为何我选择您为Flik Flak工作,我为何又很确信您在欧米伽会做出成绩。“












当她在为Flik Flak产品线工作期间,她意识到,市场上并没有任何一款专为女性设计的手表。有儿童手表、运动手表、甚至宇航员手表—但就是没有一款从头至尾转为女性设计的手表。它们几乎总是男士手表的缩小版。



“通过正确的营销策略,我相信它有可能比Flik Flak更为成功。女性的购买力达到历史最高水平,每项调查都显示我们为自己购买的奢侈品比以往任何时候都多。这是一种逐年增加的趋势。“















“我会为你留着晚饭。”他轻笑道。当吉赛尔在为Flik Flak产品线工作时,由于她时常出差,让-皮埃尔的厨艺大有提高。





































fairytale-like winter in Zurich

Xmas lighting in Zurich Nov 2018

Christmas is in the sky. Christmas is in the air. Christmas is in your dreams.

The Show Must Go On

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I skipped the spring after celebrating my birthday with 40 guests at home in Switzerland. I went directly to Shanghai. When I came back it was already summer. I thought I successfully brought a bit sense of elegance and style into this rural place. I thought the village people would feel excited or might even appreciate the new influence. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps for them it was more like an invasion.

I skipped the summer from writing. The heat blocked my mind. Perhaps I didn’t want to see the reality with my own eyes. I chose to continue imagining I’m a fairy from a wonderland and unluckily got lost.

The one and only time when I felt my heart beat faster and stronger in a very long time was when I watched  the opera “Carmen” a couple of weeks ago in Bregenz, Austria. The performance plus the stage effects were marvellous. It started with drizzle, later it was raining more and more heavily. We were all soaked in the rain. I was mesmerised by the show. ‘Cause I knew, “The show must go on.”

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a train is running into spring


On a rare sunny day in late March, about one month after celebrating my birthday, I captured the spring moment in the neighbourhood.

That was a local train running through part of the canton Thurgau. Every thirty minutes a train usually runs into this direction – to the right; correspondingly another one runs to the left. The interval between these 2 opposite detections is supposed to be 5 minutes. Hearing the metal clicking sounds, I’m often reminded that, I’m still in touch with civilization.

But when I took this photo, I realized, the train was as if orchestrating the prelude of spring.

the interesting times that we are living in


I borrowed the title from a newspaper in Shanghai to agree with its opinion – yes, we are living in interesting times in Shanghai / China.

The cashless payment transactions overwhelmed me while I was visiting my hometown in the past a couple of months. All we need to take with when going out or staying in is a mobile phone installed with some Apps, such as Alipay, WeChat, Taobao, Hema, DiDi, etc.

Being curious and persuaded, I downloaded the App Hema onto my iPhone, subsequently as a test, I ordered some green vegetables and 2 Shanghai crabs. To my surprise, 30 minutes later they were delivered to my apartment door, fresh and alive.

I was amazed.

Then I continued to download a few more Chinese Apps and started using them. Life had never been so convenient!

I heard, very soon Shanghai Metro will use a facial recognition system to allow passengers to walk through turnstiles without tickets. I also heard, perhaps China would be the first country in the world to launch a driverless bus-rail and cars, just like what we did with the Maglev train 15 years ago.

The air quality since 2013 has been noticeably poor. The Shanghai residents are determined to do something to change it. There’s no more fireworks, no more fire crackers. We celebrated the new year’s eve in a quieter manner but still in style.

As for the income level, Shanghai has always been the leader in mainland China. Many of my old classmates, friends have already reached Zurich salary level. Not to mention the property prices in Shanghai…

I still remember the summer 2014 when I just moved to this little town on the German and Swiss border. Some Germans were being very polite and honest to me, by saying to me,”China is so poor.” I couldn’t argue as I’m from Shanghai, where things were more developed and more advanced, whilst some parts in China might have not yet. However, I forgave them for not being able to express themselves deeper and more profound in English. Most of the German and Swiss people here don’t speak a word of English. For them, their world is big enough.

I’m grateful that I get to travel, a lot. There’s still so much to see, so much to do, so much to understand.


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