31 August 2012

< Things You Now Know About Switzerland//Part One >

I thought I would share some of Switzerland with you. Before I came to Switzerland for my first time back in 2010 all I knew about Switzerland was that my dad went there on business, Swiss Army Knives, Swiss Army watches, the chocolate, what the flag looked like and maybe just a couple other random things. So now that I live here I am kinda an expert. HA. not. but I do know a whole lot more now than the day I was offered an Au pair job in Switzerland.

Coming to Switzerland that very first time after I graduated college literally changed my life, so I probably should tell you about the place that changed my life.

1::Cars have to be up to a very strict code meaning they have to go in for a check every so often and if their car doesn't pass it isn't allowed to be driven until it is fixed. That is why you see a lot of nice cars in this country. You will never see a rundown car or even a rusted car on the road...like in the States. This is a good and bad thing. Bad if you don't have money to buy a better car or can't afford to fix your car. Actually, I don't really know why it's a good thing other than "safety".
2::Cars come in alll colors here. Purple, pink, baby blue, teal, yellow, lime green...and other colors you don't typically see. Of course all the other normal car colors as well.
3::Swiss people are great gardeners. Almost every home has a nice yard and some sort of garden whether its flowers or produce or both. Also if they live in apt or in a house without a yard they can have an area in their cities community garden. Community gardens are pretty much in every city, but not all. You will also hardly ever, I think I saw one, home that had a junky unkept yard.
4::Switzerland is crazy overpriced. Just about everything is at least double the price of what it would be in the States...also most things come in a small quantity AND is still double the price. This is probably the thing I dislike most about Switzerland...I get really angry at prices here. If you ever plan on a trip to Switzerland, plan on spending a lot more here than any other European country.
5::THE most amazing mountains and hills are found in this country and mostly in the eastern region, where we live. I feel so blessed to live in this region of Switzerland. The hype about the land here is NOT exaggerated. THE best car rides you will ever have. If you come here without seeing a lot of the land then you have wasted your vacation here...if you see little of the land then you have not experienced this beautiful country. The land never gets old. I can see a place over and over and it still amazes me. The land is my favorite thing about Switzerland.
6::You would be really lucky if you saw a squirrel. I have seen one squirrel in the 2 years I have lived in Switzerland. Maybe there are some States in the US that don't have many, but I come from Seattle and we have squirrels everywhere.
7::There are 4 national languages in Switzerland. 1. Swiss German 2. French 3. Italian 4. Romansh depending on which region you live in is the language you learn. In grade school children learn German, French and English. Cool huh? Can you imagine if kids learned some language in elementary school in the States, I think that would be soo awesome.
8::France, Germany, Austria and Italy are all surrounding Switzerland. Switzerland still has a border control whereas the other countries do not, not since the European Union was formed. Switzerland is not part of the EU. They don't stop every car at the borders, mostly just take a car out randomly or look at what country you are from. And if they do stop you they just ask how much meat you are bringing in and some other things because there are regulations about what you can bring in and how much of it. We grocery shop in Germany two times a month and we have only been stopped once.
9::Speaking of the European Union...Switzerland still uses their own currency because they are not part of the EU. Their currency is called Swiss Francs and it looks awesome. They also have 1, 2 and 5 franc coins{as well as a 50 cent coin{well really its called the 1/2 franc coin}, 5 cent coin and a 10 cent coin. They also have really high franc bills. There is a surprising amount of cash being used in this country. There is NO problem with paying with a 100franc bill at just about anywhere...they always have enough change. I see people pay with cash way more than card which is the opposite of the States.
10::Stores close really early here. Many businesses close as early as 5 and it's super annoying. Even stores in the city close early...and stores close even earlier on Saturdays. Also, pretty much every place is closed on Sundays. Only some restaurants and a few bakeries are open on Sunday. Also, there are only a small amount of gas stations that are opened 247. Really small amount. AND pretty much everyone is closed at lunch time. SO if you are trying to call say your insurance you have to during your own work hours because you can't call on your lunch break and you can't call when you get off work at 530....dumb. Jachen once had to take work off so that we could get my visa card{not the credit card visa but my visa to live here visa} because they were closed before Jachen got off work AND on Saturdays...dumb.

So there you have it, 10 things you now know about Switzerland. There will be more soon!
ps. if you are just tuning into my blog/life you may want to know why Switzerland changed my life...I came in 2010 as an Au pair where I met my now husband. After a year of dating him long distance we married and now I live in Switzerland with him for the time being. That is the very shortened version.

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