Daily Prompt: I, me and myself

Lonely Frog in Winter

When you decide to go places and see things, then do not think that wherever you are going, everyone is waiting for you. You are nothing special. You are the odd one out. You think because you speak english you are something completely different, after all everyone loves english.

Of course they do, but it is not their mother tongue. Their mother tongue, the one they learned from their motbers,  the one they grew up with, is theirs and everything else is just a supplement.

And so you arrive in this new country, but there are a few formalities to be dealt with. You might have a roof over your head, even a workplace, but no-one knows you. How are you to pay your taxes, have your official permission to be there. This does not go without saying, and a visit to the local town hall is the least you can do to say hello to everyone. Unfortunately here you again discover that not everyone speaks your language. The might, but why should they. You are now in their country and you speak their language, even if it is not the language you though it would be. I was armed with elementary high German and could get through. The Swiss have their own way of saying things (Swiss German), and believe me it is better that you learn fast how it works.

And now you are registered, you have a number somewhere and a permission, so get on with it. People are not standing on street corners waiting to help you, to be your friends. They do not have open arms. You are now the odd one out. You talk different, know no-one and do not belong. This is where many decided to go home, finding it is not what they expected. After all you are something special, but that is only in your own country. Either you persevere or give up. You spend the first months alone. Perhaps you go for a walk and want a drink in a restaurant, even a meal. You sit alone at your table and hear conversations around you. Schoolfriends and relations, neighbours, people that grew up with each other, a common background, a history. You do not have this, you are a stranger on the shore.

I persevered, because I left my country for something completely different. Today 50 years later, I realise I made the right decision. I learned the local lingo, learned the local customs, and if you cannot beat them then join them. On the way I met Mr. Swiss, decided to grab him for a Swiss passport and a few other good things and we are still together. He tells me I am often more Swiss than he is. He cannot yodel, neither can I. My solitary days are long gone, I even vote when the Swiss vote and they vote often with their direct democracy. To be quite honest. Mr. Swiss fills out the documents and I sign with a few exceptions, but we are usually the same opinion.

If you really want to go somewhere else, completely different, then think about it. Do you want to eat their food? Do you want to live according to their daily customs? Do you want to learn their language? Do you want to run the risk of marrying one of them and having children that will also grow up with a strange language, go to a school in a diferent country and perhaps even have a nationality that is not yours. Sometimes life can be solitary, as said if you cannot beat them, then join them.

Swiss Bread
Daily Prompt: I, Me and Myself

6 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: I, me and myself

  1. I think that thing you said: “If you really want to go somewhere else, completely different, then think about it. Do you want to eat their food? Do you want to live according to their daily customs? Do you want to learn their language? Do you want to run the risk of marrying one of them and having children that will also grow up with a strange language, go to a school in a different country and perhaps even have a nationality that is not yours.” You have to feel that need to not only “taste” something different, but really live it. Not everyone can do it for a lifetime and a lot depends on what you left behind and how much that means to you. But you really need that will to live differently and be a part of something completely other than your life to that point.

    Really well said!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was never someone for half things. I was 20 when I left London, perhaps young enough to take risks, but I wanted to do it on my own. What you have to bear in mind is that you have no past where you are going, no colleagues to meet up with and no shared experiences with anyone, you have to start from scratch and have no-one to ask ifor advice. Reflecting I don’t know how I did it.

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  2. Pat; I’ve lived on 2 continents and 4 countries, but never alone. I can well understand what you say about being alone on foreign territory, I, on the other hand, have experienced being lonely in company, on another continent…. When I divorced my ex, I felt absolutely wonderful being on my own, doing just what felt right at the moment, eating when I was hungry not driven by an evening programme, etc….. And I also enjoyed being on my own in a café, restaurant, on a ship, etc. You obviously did the right thing and you do seem to me as a reader as someone who got their priorities aligned as a very young person. So, good on you. And of course, being Swiss myself, I have (grudgingly) to admit that the ‘normal, general’ Swiss is NOT waiting for any foreigner to join us…. Even getting married in later life with a French spoken Suisse Romand, got me a larger number of remarks about trespassing the Röschti-Graben (ask your husband about it) – I take all this with a wide smile, my Hero Husband is unusual, difficult and VERY lovely, so all is well. Have a lovely weekend from the one who just returned from wonderful Devon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What I missed most of all were not friends and family, but not having a history in another country. I had nothing in common with anyone, did not share schoolday expepriences, or events. It was all new and very neutral. I don’t have to ask Mr. Swiss about the Röschti Graben as we live only half an hour away from it. Biel is 30 minutes by road. Although they say 60% french speaking and the rest german, this is a matter of where you are in Biel. My son’s office is in Biel and he mainly speaks french when working, although also a portion of english. Of course Swiss German is also spoken, but it seems the main communication is done in French. We began our marriage in english, but somehow we transferred to Swiss German and that’s the way it has stayed. My kids can speak english, but why bother when mum also speaks Schwyzertütsch.

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