Tuesday, March 02, 2010

You've been living in Switzerland too long when....

OK - Here's a little funny for today. I copied it from a friend and changed only a bit to make it applicable to Zurich area as I think it originated in the French region. My comments or explanations are italicized.

When you first move to a new place, everything is fresh and you notice ALL the differences. Many of those differences are dulled now after 3.5 years. You become accustomed to your surroundings and it's quirks. I know I have.

So - these are observations from a non-native Switzerland resident, author unknown, and probably more humorous for Expat's but figured I'd share.

Note for reference: 1 chf is about $.95 - add State sales tax and US $ 1 = Swiss 1 chf

You have been living in Switzerland for too long when...

1. You crowd to the front of the bakery counter with everyone else. Line, what's a line?;

2. You don't think 15 chf for a glass of coke in a bar is outrageous;

3. You read the 20 Minuten (a daily free paper avail. at the train stations) for news instead of finding a flat, job, or what's on at the movies;

4. You believe the newspaper stand might actually be under surveillance and pay the full 2 francs instead of surreptitiously putting in 20 cents;

5. You think radar cameras painted to look like lumps of cheese make them less oppressive;

6. Beggars annoy you;

7. You buy the most expensive model or variant of everything from razors to cars (discount markets have difficulty surviving here);

8. You notice how dirty French cars are;

9. You live alone in a studio and have a cleaning lady;

10. You don't think it unusual that you have never met a Swiss who does hard manual labour like road-digging;

11. You don't question why it takes 12-18 months and costs more than a million francs to build a modest residential house;

12. You start to wonder what's wrong when a train is more than a minute late (it is funny to see everyone checking their watches and peering down the tracks);

13. You put on 300 chf worth of brightly coloured lycra to go for a bicycle ride;

14. You think Swiss advertising is dynamic, clever and subtle.

15. You think it's economically wasteful to have more than one brand of a product in a store;

16. You think getting up early is good;

17. You actually get interested in the local elections;

18. You try to defend cartel based economics to a visitor;

19. You think that plaid jackets with flowery ties don't look that bad (or pastel socks to go with tie);

20. You think it's fair that you can only wash clothes once a month (many buildings have a laundry schedule and you may only launder on your schedule day/time);

21. You wonder why anyone would want to shop outside of working hours (most shops are closed by 6pm and grocery stores between 6 - 8 pm);

22. You think it's OK to drive slow on Sundays;

23. You feel like you're broke if you have less than SFr 300 in your pocket (not unusual to have 100 or 200 chf notes in your wallet);

24. You dress up to go grocery shopping (I pretty much never wear 'sweats' out - occasionally to drop kids off at school if I'm headed straight home);

25. You understand why Chinese food should cost more than normal food (for our family of four - about 100 - 120 chf for chinese dinner including beverages);

26. You prefer Swiss wine (don't think I'll live in Switzerland that long, and Italy is right next door);

27. You wish that your town had expensive garbage bags too (good news: price per bag has gone from 2.30 to 1.60 since we moved here - the ONLY thing that has gotten cheaper);

28. You think it's OK for a Chinese restaurant to be run by a Swiss and staffed by Spaniards and Portuguese;

29. You think Thursday night shopping is really convenient;

30. You think that large American cars are 'cool'

31. You think it's cool to drink expensive imported beers;

32. You prefer fizzy mineral water to tap/still water;

33. You throw a party and expect everyone to leave by 11:30pm;

34. You clean up "during" parties;

35. You expect dinner guests to help with the washing up (will never get there);

36. You begin to understand the subtlety of the Swiss cuisine;

37. You appreciate the differences between the Cantons;

38. You feel really hungry if you don't start eating lunch by 12:00;

39. You have breakfast cereal for dinner (muesli - a yogurt/granola dish);

40. You don't mind paying 25 francs for a paperback book (I now order all my books from Amazon.de - free shipping and no additional VAT for books only);

41. You think that Swisscom approved telephones are better;

42. You buy a new one instead of getting it repaired;

43. You think that 3% unemployment is high;

44. You think it was through its own efforts that Switzerland stayed out of World War II;

45. You consider getting goats and sheep to graze in your backyard (I have, I certainly have);

46. You only eat fondue in winter (it makes sense - and alpermaccrone also - only in winter);

47. You complain to your neighbour about the noise when he flushes his toilet after 10pm (some apartment buildings still abide by these guidelines due to noisy plumbing systems);

48. You become interested in the myriad of insurance offerings (mandatory insurance and many options);

49. You become concerned about the color of your neighbour's curtains;

50. You put Aromat (a seasoning in Switzerland for potatoes & veggies primarily) on all your food;

51. You worry about getting a cold when there's a draught;

52. You become offended when reading this.

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