Let’s begin with the money, although I took this photo a couple of years ago and some of the notes have been replaced in the meanwhile with newer versions. They have even added some plastic to the paper which is not so popular with our environment friendly inhabitants. The most important buildings in any town are the Swiss Banks. Each country has its exports, and ours often seems to be money. However, money is money and in Covid 19 days, we should stick to hygenic plastic cards.
The theme of this prompt actually dragged me out of my temporary retirement from blogging as something had cropped up in life in the meanwhile. Just to reassure you we are all healthy and no-one has caught the dreaded and we still love each other. Sometimes you have to sit back and reflect a little, when something unexpected happens
And now to being Swiss. I am 73 years old and I moved over to Switzerland on my 20th birthday which was just a coincidence that my train arrived at Basel on 6th December 1966. I arrived in Zürich and after 2 years moved to a place called Solothurn, where I have been since after meeting Mr. Swiss and becoming Swiss by marriage. They gave me a Swiss passport on my wedding day, which no longer happens. The freshly married now have to earn their Swiss nationality after being married for a certain amount of time.
So what does being Swiss mean to me? First of all I have to pay my income tax to the Swiss State, meaning I have to complete those complicated documents once a year. Actually we both hand in our combined tax forms, although after being here for 51 years I have now taken over the task from Mr. Swiss. Thank goodness he helps me with it.
Swiss chocolate, Swiss cheese and Swiss watches are all part of life in Switzerland. To be quite honest Swiss chocolate is too creamy and sweet for my taste, and I prefer dark chocolate. I even miss the British Cadbury brand from time to time. I also prefer cheddar to Emmental cheese and Swiss watches are really Swiss. I think if a Swiss meets someone new, the first thing they look at is the watch that that the other is wearing, it shows the status in life. Since living my Smartphone life, I no longer bother with a real tick tock watch, but prefer digital. I don’t think we have ever possessed a cuckoo clock, and they are a feature of the Black Forest region in Germany, and are only Swiss for the tourists.
I love the alps, they are everywhere and if they are not near you still see them, they are too high to be ignored.
This is the selection we see from our back yard from left to right: Mönch, Eiger and Jungfrau, all in the Bernese Overland. We live in the Kanton/State of Solothurn, bordering the Kanton of Bern and so these high mountains are in the Bernese Overland. And yes, I have been there and seen them close up, on my Summer holidays in places with names like Gstaad, Adelboden and Grindelwald. If you are Swiss and spend your holidays in Switzerland, it is normal to rent a holiday chalet somewhere which we did every year with the kids. We are now golden oldies and prefer to spend the summer relaxing at home in the garden. No. 1 son usually goes to Italy for his 2 week holiday and No 2 son travels around Europe with his wife and kids. Let’s face it, Switzerland is just for the tourists.
Living in Switzerland is not much different to anywhere else I suppose, but if you really want to enjoy life in a foreign country, then become one of them: learn the language, the way of life. Switzerland speaks four official languages, according to where you live. I live in the German speaking part, although is it German? No really, we speak our own dialects and there are many according to where you live. We speak Solothurn German, which is similar to Bernese German. Take a train and travel West for half an hour and you discover that 60% of the people are speaking German, the other 40% French. Go further West and it is all French. Go South and you need you Italian dictionary. Going East to the mountain area of Grisons, they are all speaking Romansch, with its 3-4 various dialects, but do not worry, they usually also speak German (although their own dialect – you cannot have everything).
So that is enough, It might be a small country with its eight million inhabitants, but diversity is written with a capital “D”.
It has become my home after more than 50 years and I have absolutely no urge to return to Britain, And if I really must have something British, I can always order it online from The British Shop,
RDP Sunday: Swiss