Friday, 21 October 2016

Stranger in a Strange (Cheese-Filled) Land

So, I've been in Switzerland for just over 2 months.
I'm pregnant, too, by the way!
15 weeks! 

We'll save that for next post, because what I REALLY want to do is make a listicle of some of the oddities/cool stuff and weird stuff I've noticed since arriving here.

If I was in a sour mood, this could have become a Debbie Downer style list of all the things I am having a hard time adjusting to, but I am having a pretty darn good day, so let's look at the bright side, too, shall we?!

So, without further ado, let's look at the good, the bad and the fugly of this odd little place.

1. Bananas are super affordable (PRO)

This is a weird observation, I know. In Canada, a large banana can cost you as much as $0.75! No joke, today, at the grocery store, I saw a bag of 15 BANANAS for less than 2 francs (that's about $2.45 Canadian). They are super cheap, and I am happy about this.

2. People generally seem miserable; neutral at best (CON)

I don't want to take too big of a stab at the Swiss, but it's hard for me to fully understand the line between privacy and misery. Where is the line?! I know that the Swiss appreciate privacy (cool, so do I) but it's weird that no one smiles at each other in public.

3. Buses and trains are always on time (PRO)

This is a pro for me. I have always been the "on time or early" type. Catching a bus or train here is a breeze. No irritation when a bus rolls in 15 minutes late (hello bus line 123 in NDG...) or, not at all (also you, bus line 123 in NDG)

4. There are fast food discrepancies (CON)

So, I knew when I moved here that I wouldn't be able to walk into town and buy a poutine (although there IS apparently a place that makes them in Lausanne). Despite this, I find that fast food here is not up to par. Sure, they have the standard "chains"but that's not usually my jam. The thing I miss the most? Greasy, cheesy, $0.99 pizza slices. Here, we need to either buy an entire pizza, or make it at home. Why can't I just get a slice?!

5. Kebabs are everywhere (PRO)

On the upside, the Swiss are big fans of kebabs, otherwise known as shish taouk in Montreal. There is no shortage of Lebanese restos serving up amazing pitas, falafels and salads. This is good.

6. Swiss TV Fucking SuuuuuuuuuuCKS (CON)

Probably because I don't understand any German. I've heard that the German channels are great! I've never watched so many episodes of Two and a Half Men in my life. Pretty much that, Catfish on MTV, BBC News and the nightly movies. Grateful for Netflix more than ever!

7. No Sales Taxes (PRO)

This is a super welcome change to my previous reality. Gone are the days of adding 15% taxes to almost everything I bought. Now, I can spend all my francs at the local H&M without worrying about not having enough once taxes are added!

8. Cheap Cheese (VERY PRO)

Cheese is super inexpensive here (obv.)
I remember how much of a treat it used to be to buy a big chunk of Parmigiano Reggiano. It could cost you $15 in Canada for a big 'ol piece. Here? Practically free. I think I spent 4 francs on a big piece a few weeks ago. It was a beautiful moment.

9. Villages are hard to live in when you are from a big city (CON)

This probably has more to do with the fact that BEING AN EXPAT IS HARD (see #10).. But, it's worth mentioning. I'm used to living in a city that doesn't shut down on Sunday's.
A city that has shopping centers. A city that you can walk around all day and not see the same sight twice. OK, this is making me too nostalgic. Proceed to point 10.

10. BEING AN EXPAT IS FUCKING HARD!

There, I've said it. Despite all good intentions, you can't "intend" yourself to be a master cultural adapter in a foreign country.
You know those stupid memes, "this is what my mother thinks I do, this is what I think I do"? It's kind of like that.
You have a vision of what your new life will be like BEFORE arriving, then it changes while you're here, then it changes again and again and again.
The process of integrating into a new culture, while struggling to retain what is familiar to you (yet far away) is super duper strange and challenging.
There is enough material in point 10 to write an entire sub-post, so let's end on that!

It is now time for me to make some delicious pasta, and then go see the new Bridget Jones movie!
Yeah yeah yeah!!!!






3 comments:

  1. I had to smile at your points because it was very similar to my experiences when arriving in England about 10 years ago....my continuing griefs are:
    1) LOUSY PLUMBING! The British don't know their arse from their elbow as far as plumbing goes....low water pressure everywhere, 'power' showers because they have hydraulic erectile dysfunction, and so on.
    2) LOUSY ELECTRICITY! See all the points in 1) before. You can easily blow your fuse box over and over again with their WWII house wiring. Ever hear of goddamned 'fuse wire' for crying out loud?

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    1. Hi Priscilla! Thanks for your comment! Absolutely, link away. I would love to check out your blog as well!

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