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  #21  
Old 05.10.2015, 18:20
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

The funny thing is I've worked in Amsterdam, London and most recently Sydney Australia but the comments were never this fast and furious where now I'm "the swiss expat making a ton of chf"! Singapore is a really small (but pretty rich) country and a lot of Singaporeans actually do work outside of Singapore (a lot in UK, Australia, USA) but very few in Switzerland. Perhaps its just this rarity and stereotype that swiss expats = skiing in zermatt + champagne at a private room in UBS
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  #22  
Old 05.10.2015, 19:00
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

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Ah, yes!! The visitors from hell.

Who, when you take them out for a drink on a nice sunny terrace overlooking the lake - complain that a glass of wine costs too much. And calculate everything down to the last half p. How much is that in "real money"!!

And then sleep in your bed, eat your food etc. without even offering to buy a pizza.

All because you live in Switzerland.

After day three, i suddenly had to go and "visit a friend who was ill". Just to get away from them. Came home, they were still sitting on the couch. Even though i had shown them where the shops were, shown them how to use the buses etc. "We don't speak French"!!

I was the cash cow. Luckily they left to go and stay with other mutual friends in Italy.

But, on the other hand, it is nice to show old friends your life and where you live. They also get to meet your new friends etc.

The funny thing was, they had counted out 30 francs for their taxi to the airport. And they forgot it on the coffee table!!

People just get the idea in their heads that Switzerland is expensive, and we all are rich. But other places are expensive too, London must be.
Ufff, replace all the friends bits with my dad and that's exactly what we had to deal with this summer.

When we couldn't follow anymore to show them around, we provided them with maps and all things possible. They managed to get lost every single time and put it on us for not driving them around.

Cheap to the core. Horrible
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  #23  
Old 05.10.2015, 19:17
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

When we moved here 4 years ago, my wife's ex-husband stopped child support as I was clearly "too wealthy". I remember the discussion very well.

We've never told our daughter. Since 2011, we bring her to the UK every 5 weeks to see her dad.
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  #24  
Old 05.10.2015, 22:22
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

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Anyone feels the same? That people back home have sort of a warped perception of how it is like being an expat in Switzerland?
Nope. Not from relatives or close friends, no. When I'm back home everyone wants to pay for everything we consume (me and OH) actually..because we are guests...
When they come over we have to fight with them to let us pay for some things when visiting places "Oh no, but you were so nice already etc etc". Gee. We can't win with these people.
I mean it.

Some people who don't count might make some comments like "oh, Switzerland...heeeeeh!" But as I said, they don't really count.
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Old 05.10.2015, 22:55
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

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Anyone feels the same? That people back home have sort of a warped perception of how it is like being an expat in Switzerland?
Alamak, what sort of Singaporean are you?! Just do what your fellow countrymen do best and complain a bit to set the record straight: Here is a the argument that will stop anyone in his tracks: The food sucks and a simple lunch in a food court like canteen is 30 SGD! And a Swiss Kopitiam expensive like Sttarbucks lah! Wanna know how much a bus ride in Zurich is?! Wah lau!
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Old 05.10.2015, 23:08
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

I'm not bothered of what others think or say. It amuses me actually. It's their business and if anyone is being misused, it's their own doing. Friends can only be called friends if they are real friends. Otherwise not welcomed at my place. And when they are friends, I don't mind if I put in some extra. They'd do the same for me if and when I visit. Besides, think of it this way, bad reputation is better than no reputation.😳😀
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  #27  
Old 05.10.2015, 23:35
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

When I have visitors here, I make them take the train and walk around. Where they come from, they drive 2 or 3 blocks to go to a convenience store. So I tell them that is how everyone here stays thin. And I let them get Switzerlanded with the train fare, the +20CHF lunches, and the +40CHF dinners. In the end, they realise there is a price to pay for quality.
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Old 05.10.2015, 23:43
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

[QUOTE=Perhaps its just this rarity and stereotype that swiss expats = skiing in zermatt + champagne at a private room in UBS[/QUOTE]

I'm sorry - I tried to hold back all day, but curiosity got the cat in the end - apologies. You're telling me that UBS offers private rooms .

As a UBS employee, as a result of the cost cuttings in recent years, I look for a desk everyday that I need to be in the office (I believe it's called hot desk-ing). The building that I work in should have been demolished years ago. On the other-hand, I get to work from home a lot. Sorry, just hit a nerve...
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Old 06.10.2015, 00:02
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

You know the seagull thing?

They fly in, eat all your food, crap all over you and then fly away
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  #30  
Old 06.10.2015, 09:03
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

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Ah, yes!! The visitors from hell.

Who, when you take them out for a drink on a nice sunny terrace overlooking the lake - complain that a glass of wine costs too much. And calculate everything down to the last half p. How much is that in "real money"!!

And then sleep in your bed, eat your food etc. without even offering to buy a pizza..
I think part of being a good host is treating friends from out of town when we go out. Honestly, think about it. If back home, your salary justifies going out and spending 30 bucks on dinner, would it be fair to give a restaurant recommendation where everyone spends 80chf for the same food and not treat them? I'll let guests take me to coffee, maybe a glass of wine, but I always pay for dinner.
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  #31  
Old 06.10.2015, 09:48
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

I've had the opposite experience to many of you .

Folks from back home come to visit, expecting to see either glistening chalets-palaces or Bond-villain palatial lairs, take one look at our tiny shoebox of a house, and assume that we are skirting the poverty line.

Cue the now-expected solicitous/curious "Honey, are you two alright?"

Then they look around, see that most people live in similarity 'poverty stricken' neighborhoods, and conclude that Switzerland must be a very poor country.

I do not disabuse them of the notion. I just tell them to write their congress critters and explain that few expats in Switzerland are fat cats and FATCA needs repealing.
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Old 06.10.2015, 10:55
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

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I've had the opposite experience to many of you .

Folks from back home come to visit, expecting to see either glistening chalets-palaces or Bond-villain palatial lairs, take one look at our tiny shoebox of a house, and assume that we are skirting the poverty line.

Cue the now-expected solicitous/curious "Honey, are you two alright?"

Then they look around, see that most people live in similarity 'poverty stricken' neighborhoods, and conclude that Switzerland must be a very poor country.

I do not disabuse them of the notion. I just tell them to write their congress critters and explain that few expats in Switzerland are fat cats and FATCA needs repealing.
I hope you also tell them that you're very thankful for what you have - it may not look like much but it could be sooo much worse:

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  #33  
Old 06.10.2015, 11:04
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

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I hope you also tell them that you're very thankful for what you have - it may not look like much but it could be sooo much worse:

And on your right do you see the typical Swiss slums found outside the larger cities. In Swiss German are they known as "Faveli"... please note the mandatory flags showing that it's mostly foreign immigrants living there.
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  #34  
Old 06.10.2015, 11:35
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

On the other hand, I think it's kind of normal somehow. People don't know much about Switzerland, and most of what they know is related to (not necessarily in that order): tax evasion, Swiss bank accounts, extremely wealthy foreigners settling there, skiing in the Alps, watches (mostly expensive), quality focus and trains that run on time. While there is some truth in all these clichés, it doesn't reflect the current situation for most foreigners living in Switzerland today. And some realities are unknown to outsiders, like the cost of housing and insurance or the labour laws (in Norway, they can't fathom that people can be fired at will here).

Same thing for the expat (as in sent by the company for a limited period of time) status. In earlier times it was a gold paved road to early retirement, especially if you went to remote countries. Hence people have in mind a glamorous and lavish lifestyle. Most companies have made the terms of these contracts, and now being an expat in a developed country is more about experiencing life abroad and pursuing and interesting project than becoming rich.

Overall, my experience is that guests who come here rapidly realise that it's not the case, and apart from a few guests (on-time guests, in case specification is needed) no one complains about our hosting even it the Champagne and foie gras factor is much lower than when we were in France 10 years ago. As for people at home, the ones we care about understand quickly how things really when we talk about our new life.

The way I see it, it's a little bit like people who think that there is so much snow in Norway; where we used to live, it was more like rain 300 days a year.
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  #35  
Old 06.10.2015, 12:00
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

While I agree to this for most countries is the situation for the OP a bit different: The Singaporean government has for decades told the population that the number one goal is to get them "Swiss quality of life" since it was usually Zurich or Geneva that topped the various yearly studies on the topic. The press in Singapore re-hashed those references over and over again, so the country has a very specific stereotype that everything in Switzerland must be totally awesome. I heard this a hundred times whenever the rather chatty cabbies or the like asked me from where I moved... the trick is that the perception is not just that the quality is world leading (which is the only thing the government promised) but that it also somehow comes for free. Setting the record straight really bursts their bubble. Taxes (on average much higher in CH than in Singapore), cost of living (housing and cars are cheaper in CH but everything else is MUCH more expensive, so whenever sombody complained about the costs of cars did I tell them how much a dinner in a Swiss restaurant costs...) and life style (both countries are very clean, but in SG is this the case as some low cost worked will tidy your stuff up all the time... ) are the topics worth mentioning and people slowly get the idea that there is more to understand than the one number on the salary slip.
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Old 06.10.2015, 12:08
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

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I'm sorry - I tried to hold back all day, but curiosity got the cat in the end - apologies. You're telling me that UBS offers private rooms .
Oh yes, our Bank manager at our local branch always receives us in his very nice private room- tastily decorated with local paintings, sculpture and clock- and comfy leather chairs and coffee and petits fours, of course. He has just been replaced after retirement, and his replacement invited us to his private room to introduce himself and have a chat- very pleasant.

The 'musical chairs office' is just normal practise now in London too. Not to do with cost cutting, but practicalities and rational use of space and facilities- and this even at Senior Partner level.
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Old 06.10.2015, 12:16
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

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While I agree to this for most countries is the situation for the OP a bit different: The Singaporean government has for decades told the population that the number one goal is to get them "Swiss quality of life" since it was usually Zurich or Geneva that topped the various yearly studies on the topic. The press in Singapore re-hashed those references over and over again, so the country has a very specific stereotype that everything in Switzerland must be totally awesome. I heard this a hundred times whenever the rather chatty cabbies or the like asked me from where I moved... the trick is that the perception is not just that the quality is world leading (which is the only thing the government promised) but that it also somehow comes for free. Setting the record straight really bursts their bubble. Taxes (on average much higher in CH than in Singapore), cost of living (housing and cars are cheaper in CH but everything else is MUCH more expensive, so whenever sombody complained about the costs of cars did I tell them how much a dinner in a Swiss restaurant costs...) and life style (both countries are very clean, but in SG is this the case as some low cost worked will tidy your stuff up all the time... ) are the topics worth mentioning and people slowly get the idea that there is more to understand than the one number on the salary slip.
You're absolutely right. I remember reading about Singapore's ambition to become the Asian Switzerland while living there. And while it is in many aspects, the cost of living and lifestyle are pretty different. When a Singaporean friend and I compare our respectives lives, we find that they are both very nice but very different and that it would be close to impossible to transpose my Swiss life to Singapore or vice versa.
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  #38  
Old 06.10.2015, 12:19
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

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The Singaporean government has for decades told the population that the number one goal is to get them "Swiss quality of life".
I hope it includes the Swiss quality hiking and ski weekends in mountains, which is the top 1 argument I get when I underline some lesser quality aspect of Swiss life. Otherwise, they'll never reach their goal.
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  #39  
Old 06.10.2015, 12:23
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

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Oh yes, our Bank manager at our local branch always receives us in his very nice private room- tastily decorated with local paintings, sculpture and clock- and comfy leather chairs and coffee and petits fours, of course. He has just been replaced after retirement, and his replacement invited us to his private room to introduce himself and have a chat- very pleasant.


http://www.nzz.ch/nzzas/nzz-am-sonnt...ern-1.18624121
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Old 06.10.2015, 12:28
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

What i wrote was a bit tongue in cheek.

They did buy a round of beers during Happy Hour.

And i didn't take them to places where it costs 6 francs for a Chasselas, i took them to places where it costs 3.20. Which is two quid, try and get a glass of wine in the UK for two quid!! More like three or four.

Towels on the floor? They couldn't work out how the shower/bath doodah thingy worked. Flooded the bathroom a few times!! My odd cat that liked water was in his element. He'd just go in there and sit in the puddle. Which they didn't even think about wiping up.

At 9.55 every evening i would ask them if they needed to go to the toilet!!

On the other hand, this summer i visited my Mum in Edinburgh. She would not let me pay for anything. In the end i sneaked out to the shops and bought the makings for her tea. Total cost ten quid. including a cheeky little Rioja. And she got all flustered. Jeez, if i can't pay and cook a meal for her once a year!!

And i had taken most of the ingredients from here. Emptied my fridge into my suitcase.

Which is also one of those reverse things we all do, i take Swiss things there and come home with saussies, haggis, black pudding etc.

If i don't take a Vacherin Mont D'Or at Christmas - my sister sulks.

Last edited by Patsycat; 06.10.2015 at 12:43.
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