Monday, 25 March 2013


Switzerland, it’s been a pleasure. I’ve survived. 7 months I’ve lived here now and considered myself very much an objective observer of the culture of cheese, cheese fondue and chocolate.

Things I won’t miss about Switzerland…
Fashion: what fashion?
The Prices (especially food): A single zucchini costs 4CHF. Enough said. Or 12.- CHF (about £9) for the equivalent of a tesco value chicken. I’d rather pay less for Findus lasagne and know I was getting horsemeat…

Shop opening times: Sundays are dead to the world. The Swiss officially go into hibernation. You have no food? Not even biscuits? Tough. Sunday is a day of rest. The same goes for aaaaall Bank Holidays / New Years Eve/ New Years Day / random ‘national feast days’ – you get the idea. For instance Zurich; one of the significant business cities on the globe. But Wednesday 1st August 2012 (National Swiss Day) it is Dead. To. The. World.

Smileys: I’m somewhat of a grammatical snob. I very much associate smileys in texts with my 14-year-old self texting.. (‘wot u up 2?’ Cringe.) BUT I was emailing the Head of HR at a very prestigious publishing house in Zurich, negotiating a formal job interview… Imagine my absolute perplexity when an email contained “no problem :)” Smilies are absolutely 100% acceptable in Switzerland.

Things that I think are rather nice:
Actual ‘lunches’ at lunchtime: You’d be in the definite minority if you stay at your desk devouring your delights during lunch rather than head out to a restaurant. Lunchtime for the Swiss is a big deal. I must say I rather like the idea of actually sitting down for a meal with the colleagues rather than dropping bits of sandwich on my laptop.

Language aspect: Ah yes the Brits abroad… There still seems to be the assumption that everyone else should speak English. But in Switzerland I feel a fool being only able to speak 2 languages!

Noteworthy but bizarre Swiss Observations
Crossing the road: A big deal for me as I am a self professed ‘car hurler’ – over the years, when crossing the road, I have amassed the great skill of assessing the distance between a passing car and myself so that I can begin crossing when it hasn’t entirely passed. Swiss drivers simply do not comprehend this. They will perform a full emergency stop and let you cross. But wag their fingers at you… Thank you kindly but it’s fine! I’ve judged the space and speed between you and the car heading in the opposite direction and I’m more than happy to cross after you’ve passed me!

Shopping: There I am at the till, ready to collect my plastic bags that I will obviously then recycle as bin liners. But everyone else is whacking out their own ‘eco friendly’ tote bags! Of course this is also an option in the UK, but here I’m not offered a single plastic bag! So what happens if I need to do my food-shopping straight from work? Do I have to take my shopping bags to work?

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