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Home/Blog/A Laughter Yogi in Europe – Jeffrey Briar, May 2010 7th INSTALLMENT


A combination of joy-of-new-friendship and sorrow-at-parting fills the morning of the last day; by lunchtime most people are gone, and almost no one is present for Kataria’s offer of a final Q & A session from 2-3:30pm. The handful of stragglers help clean up the room, and Gudrun Aeschlimman (a veteran of the training some years ago) drives me and a new trainee (who is by coincidence also named “Gudrun”) to a super-cool waterfall and delectably restored Fairy-tale Hotel, “ Grandhotel Giessbach.” A filming session with Elmo on some children’s play equipment enrolls two young girls who play with Elmo joyously. The two Gudrun’s and I have tea in the hotel lounge and I am able to play a Chopin Nocturne on their elegant Bluthner grand piano. Yum!

We drop off the “new” Gudrun by her home, and then continue to the village of Ins. Gudrun A’s husband Michael has prepared a lovely dinner of cooked veggies, salad and authentic Swiss Rosti (a sort of thick potato-and-onion pancake). Both share how Laughter Yoga has impacted their lives; notably, Michael (previously a predominantly serious fellow) has become much more playful, laughs daily when doing his morning ablutions (a most pleasant atmosphere, much to Gudrun’s liking!); and they rarely maintain any kind of argument, as after a minute or two of being stuck in any nasty attitude they invariably dissolve into laughter. Look like Laughter Yoga might become popular as the newest technique for Marital Therapy.

They give me a little room to myself, within which is: a Harpsichord! A small one, admittedly, but a fun little critter, and I am absorbed in counterpoint for a half-hour or so. ‘Seems their daughter had taken a fancy to it, they bought one, she played for a while… and then she lost her fascination. Now it mostly just sits and gathers dust. I shook some of that dust loose.
Off to the train station where I will take five different trips (two on the ”TGV” – extra-fast French trains) to get to my next destination. I breathe a sigh of relief as the language around me shifts from German (I know only 50 words!) to French (in which I can communicate with relative ease). Aaah…

All connections are made with very little time between – just enough to grab a slab of barely-heated quiche and a chunk of chocolate “Moelleux” (a dense chocolate cake) in the station in Lyon. Finally, the cloudy skies are clearing, and it looks like there will be some days of sunshine in store. The taxi driver in Paris knows a good route to get me from one train station to a different one (located in another part of the city) in only 30 minutes. I was concerned, having only 50 minutes between trains, and the traffic in Paris being unpredictable. All turns out well and after nine hours train-bound I arrive as scheduled in the sizeable city of Rennes, France.