The Little Things
I am currently sitting on a train to Genève, and what am I snacking on? In the U.S. this would normally be where you interject, Starbucks. But in true Zürich style, I have my bratwurst and Rivella. And with that, I’m ready for my next adventure to Genève!
I have now lived in Zürich over two months, and I want to talk little things! …Those subtle Swiss habits that really make the experience.
Let’s start with the basic … not 2 but 3 kisses! Also, don’t stop at tschüss but add ciao and maybe not always danke but merci as well. This may seem silly, but I find a kiss-on-the-cheek greeting and the fluidity of language change as so genuine. Such a caring culture, as you can count on the Swiss to go through three languages to make you feel at home!
And you cannot live in Switzerland without beginning to enjoy all the sparkling drinks, whether mineral water, or apfel schürrle, or Rivella. Shopping at a Kiosk to grab one of these sparkling treats is just the way it goes! It is a part of transport, even be that walking the alpine trails. Only in Switzerland can you be guaranteed a cozy mountain inn every 3 miles to regain energy over an apple beer or café glacé. Even in the mountains, conversation on wooden tables overlooking the mountain valley or in a lodge surrounded by snow always happily awaits.
…Sun Crazy! The minute the weather is great and the sun shining, you can just feel the atmosphere in the lab change as everyone adjusts plans to ensure that they can soak up the rays on the lawns of Enge or at a barbecue in the Chinese Garden. But you can bet on Switzerland to be prepared … they have electric grills for you! I was the only crazy one who expected to need wood!
Green! The Swiss have truly embraced the color of their landscape. Surrounded by green hills and mountains of all shades, the Swiss have conservation to the tea! The train system makes owning a car unnecessary. And hey, that one time you need to visit Ikea, no need to worry! There are car organizations, where if you pay a monthly fee for only the first months, you can use one of the membership cars to satisfy those occasional shopping binge or excursion cravings. Also, what is so cool is that Zürich has many bio-roofs, and you are also guaranteed to see the majority of apartment balconies donning all the botanical goodies! In fact, if you live in the city and are torn from your garden, you can purchase an allotment: a garden 15 minutes away from home in a garden community! And don’t expect to do any serious shopping at Migros without your own reusable bag. An interesting comment by the PhD student in our lab … “You know something I really don’t understand about the U.S. You guys invest so much in energy and on possible new energy sources, but you invest so little in conservation!” And, this is very true. Unlike in Switzerland, trying to make the U.S. public use Limmatal garbage bags would just cause general confusion, lots of laughs, and “you can’t be serious!”
This is the charm of the Swiss land and people.
Alright, my train has arrived. Tschüss, Ciao, Ciao for now! Till next time!