Good Morning

Let’s begin the day with something completely different. I live in Switzerland and have been here for 50 years. Of course when you move to another country, you realise it is not only the language that is different, but the people also have their little differences. They might look like you on the surface but you soon realise that beneath the surface they are different: or are you different.  Never sit down in a restaurant, or on a train, without asking if the seat is already occupied. Even if you see no other customers waiting, ask. It is the way it is done in Switzerland.

I remember my first days in Switzerland when I had to register my residency in Zürich. I reported to the official office and was greeted with a friendly “Gruetzi” from the lady in charge. I answered with a “Gruetzi” as this was basically the only word in Swiss German I knew at the time. This was a mistake because it was assumed that I was proficient in this dialect which just a few thousand people spoke in the Kanton of Zürich and surrounding areas. I was then asked questions which I did not understand, all in Zürich dialect, and given instructions. “Do you speak English” was my question, but I got no answer. Yes you are now in another country with other customs. Of course they spoke more english than I spoke Swiss German, but that seemed to be a state secret. With hand and feet I managed to state my wish for an official registration. Afterwards I moved onto the British Embassy where they at last spoke English. I was registered as a legal alien in Switzerland and was now ready to feel at home. Or was I?

Of course life is lonely in a new country when have no friends or family. You explore the surroundings alone. You might even have the wrong idea that you are interesting to others because you speak a different language, and perhaps even because you are British. Being british is nothing special, because you do not fit, do not share the same ideas on life.

Yesterday I stumbled on a video from a Swiss TV show. It is even in English, perhaps to show that the Swiss do want to be helpful basically. I was amused, and yes there are a few truths there oder?

In the meanwhile No. 2 son paid us a visit yesterday evening. It seems he will be again on his way through Europe to attend an international conference so he made the most of the time before he left, to pay the old folks a visit. My sons are almost 100% Swiss thinking, so they do not have to prove anything to the authorities, just follow the rules. No. 2 son even served in the Swiss Army for a few years as his duty, although he did not see very much action. He was in the heavy artillary and did go for a ride in a tank once. Otherwise he was responsible for the administration behind the action scenes: making sure they had enough food and taking care of the accounts to be paid for the goods they were getting from the local village where they were stationed.

It looks like another cold frozen day in Switzerland and family AngloSwiss carry on undaunted. As mentioned our cleaning lady is no more which I am not sorry about. Of course we would like someone for the heavy stuff, but at the moment it does not look so bad at home. I just have to take care not to drop stuff because my hands no longer seem to be attached to my arms.  As long as I can type on the keyboard, there is no problem.

My doc wants to see me and Mr. Swiss next week for various blood tests. Mine is for my longtime blood sugar examination and to check how I am managing with my injections for MS. I wish there was an injection to cure the daily golden oldie problems, but don’t we all.

Enjoy the day, see you around.


4 thoughts on “Good Morning

  1. Actually, you have to ask in this country before you take a chair because someone may be holding the seat for someone who hasn’t arrived yet … or it might belong to someone who is temporarily gone — like maybe, in the bathroom.

    I remember being newly in Israel and not understanding anything. I didn’t learn the language well or quickly, so 9 years later, I STILL didn’t understand much, but everyone spoke English — something I didn’t know when I got there.

    People are different in various locations — and sometimes, in weird and unexpected ways that are hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t lived there for a while. Even moving from one town to another, or from the city to the country … or from New York to anywhere else … people are different.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We also ask if a chair is taken or being saved. The biggest mistake I made some time ago was taking a seat in a silent compartment in a train and not realizing it. I phoned home to say I was arriving and immediately people began to make signs that I should be silent. I didn’t realize that these compartments existed,
      People might speak English in Switzerland but it is a foreign language for most people. We also have the national differences in various towns in Switzerland, and different dialects.


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