The Swiss – …are just so chilled and friendly. I went to a flat party the other night (my first authentic, 100% Swiss party!), and I basically didn’t know anyone. However before I knew it people were coming up to greet me, giving me the usual triple-bise (three kisses on the cheek) and making me feel welcome. Which leads me on to the next thing I love about Switzerland…
The Triple Bise – It’s extra, takes too long, slows everything down… I love it. It’s a good way of properly acknowledging someone when you meet them, rather than a brief “hey” and a wave. It’s much warmer. It’s virtually impossible to give someone three kisses in a cold manner, so you’ve got no choice but to be friends! How awesome.
The Service – I love how the cute checkout guy at Denner (a discount store) managed to make me blush because he was so polite and friendly. That would so never happen at ASDA. That aside, all cafés and restaurants offer table service (excluding American imports such as McDonald’s and Starbucks). They give you the receipt as soon as you’ve ordered, so once you’re done you can just leave your money on the table and up and go, which again leads me to the next thing…
The Safety – Whoever heard of just leaving your money on an outdoor table at a café and walking off? Well, a friend and I did just that the other day. Though it’s not crime-free here, people are pretty trusting. Sometimes at the supermarket the cashier will walk off to check the price of something, leaving me standing there, unattended, with all my groceries scanned, unpaid for, and already in my handbag, able to walk off at any moment. Standard.
The Cheese – Newsflash: I actually discovered some small blocks of Cathedral City cheddar cheese in a supermarket. Extortionate, of course, but proof that cheddar cheese is not just some kind of dirty myth here on the continent. Aside from that, the cheese section in my local supermarket is ginormous. It’s like a wall of cheese. And there are all these different intriguing types of cheese, many I’m too afraid to try. Which should give you an idea of how weird some of them are, so rarely am I afraid to eat anything.
The Metro – Would you believe there are NO barriers? For most of my first month here I saw not one contrôleur (ticket inspector). I have since seen them several times, but they are always very friendly – though I hear that can change if you are actually caught without a ticket. The Metro is clean, on time, convenient, and (as mentioned in a previous post) never fails to amuse with its sound effects.
The Organisation – I haven’t been caught up in any red tape, and fingers crossed it will stay that way. Everything just seems to run smoothly. I arrived expecting things to go wrong, for admin to get messed up and general confusion to ensue, as I assumed was standard when one moves to a foreign country. It didn’t happen. I was happy about that.
My New Friends – Last, but by absolutely no means least, is my new motley crew of foreigners and Swiss alike. It really is thanks to them that I’m having such fun. Whether it be my bonkers girls with whom I share red wine, chocolate, and uproarious laughter, my crazy colocs with whom I share Sunday dinner and probably too much personal information (though all in French, at least), my charming Swiss buddies who share so much of their culture with me; English-speaking, French-speaking, Chinese-speaking, and everything in between, it’s all of them who make my time here worthwhile. I’m nothing without you – triple bises all around!