Becoming Swiss

Cam's Swiss flag

I took Cameron to a party supply store to pick out some candles for his upcoming birthday.  There was a large selection of paper flags from around the world.  He knows that he has two flags and recognizes them.  He picked up the American and British flags and asked if he could have them.  I said, “sure.”  He took a moment and then informed me that he had changed his mind.  He put both back and grabbed a Swiss flag instead.  I thought to myself, my son is becoming Swiss!

It’s fair enough that some swiss-isms will start showing up.  Cameron has lived here for half his life.  I don’t know if he remembers living in the U.S. at all.  His memories are of here in Switzerland or visiting Grandma and Granddad in England.  He now goes to Swiss school and plays with more Swiss children than international.  The little bit of German he speaks is more Swiss German than High German.  I will have to write a post on what Swiss German is all about.

I am far from being Swiss.  I am still very much an American, but I have noticed some changes in me.

Americans are notorious for being very loud people.  I don’t know why, but we just are.  My decibel level has dropped greatly since everyone here practically whispers on the trains.  It’s weird now when I hear a tourist or new expat and think to myself how rude they are being.  I have to remind myself, that was once me.

I didn’t recycle near as much as I should have when I lived in the States.  I always felt bad, but it was such a hassle, and it’s much easier to just throw it in the bin.  Here, garbage bags are a bit pricey.  You have to get the specific bag approved by the kanton.  You get a pack of 10- 35L (average sized) bags for 30 francs.  It makes you take a second look at your wastes.  You also have to buy your own paper grocery bag for 0.30 francs.  It’s not expensive, but you don’t want to spend extra change every time just to throw it in the expensive garbage bag.  Just load up your previously bought bag with all of your empty water and milk bottles at home and take it with you to the store.  The recycle bins are in a convenient place in the store and you now have empty grocery bags for your shop.  I feel really guilty if I am out and can’t find a PET recycle bin to throw away a soda bottle and end up having to throw it away in a regular garbage can.

I am a bit scatter brained so I have sometimes had a hard time showing up on time.  I now live in the land of Swiss watches and Swiss public transport.  If the train or bus does not arrive exactly on the famous SBB clock, people start getting very impatient and complain.  I have been forced to pull myself together, because if you miss your bus or train, you may have to wait another 15-30 minutes for the next one.  I used to be constantly late and it didn’t really bother me much, but that has definitely changed.  I have actually become quite punctual.  I am not saying that I’m not still occasionally late ;)

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  • © Brittany Andrews and Guten Tag, Y'all, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Brittany Andrews and Guten tag, Ya'll with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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