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Old 05.10.2015, 12:17
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Not so pleasant trip back home

Hello everyone,

I've had not so pleasant a trip back home to Singapore after 6 months in Zurich and wonder if anyone has felt the same way.

Maybe I've become used to the distant, polite and non-intrusive ways of the Swiss, or maybe in the 6 months away from asia, people have become a lot more in-your-face. But this trip back has had me frowning on many occasions.

Many friends/family/neighbours/acquaintances I've met during my visit home have started commenting on how "you make so much money in Switzerland" or "the exchange rate is so good chf is so strong you must be rich" or "your salary must have tripled" or "you must be living the good rich life there" or "so tell me now do you make a high 6 figure salary?"

Quality of life isn't poor in Zurich but I'm definitely not "living it up" as these people think. I may make more money in absolute dollars and cents but this perception that I'm rolling with the rich just because I moved to Switzerland for work is getting on my nerves.

Anyone feels the same? That people back home have sort of a warped perception of how it is like being an expat in Switzerland?
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Old 05.10.2015, 12:22
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

Complaints Corner is really for venting about things which annoy us here not things which annoy us elsewhere.

Get your message though. If youi look through this Thread, you'll find plenty of other weird ideas folk have about Switzerland.
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Old 05.10.2015, 12:41
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

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people back home have sort of a warped perception of how it is like being an expat in Switzerland?
They do, but I don't care any more. After all, I live in the shadow of snow-capped mountains, commute on the cleanest, most efficient trains in Europe and never have to worry about dogshit in the streets, while they have to live in a miserable, damp, undemocratic shithole where everyone hates each other and one's entire life is governed by one's place in the ossified, medieval class system.

So who gives a monkey's what they think?
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Old 05.10.2015, 12:46
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

Yes and they expect you to foot the bill for lunch or dinner whilst they are asking you these things. Or people will invite themselves to stay to freeload. Because of course we're all rich here.

(Note: I am not complaining about my life here. I love it. But I do understand the OPs feelings).
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Old 05.10.2015, 13:10
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

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.

Last edited by Patsycat; 05.10.2015 at 13:25.
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Old 05.10.2015, 13:13
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

This is especially true for singapore. I spent some time there, and the typical lunch or dinner conversation always revolves around money, be it how much one makes at this company compared to that company, or which shop has better discounts for which phones. It seems the locals only care about how much money they can save, or which new gadgets they should buy next. They also idealize switzerland, probably because of the (broken) promise by the prime minister a long time ago, to make quality of life on par with that of switzerland within 10 years.
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Old 05.10.2015, 13:27
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

True that! It's just very highly annoying behavior I have to put up with on a supposedly nice relaxing trip home. I want to say something sarcastic in return but that really isn't in our culture so as you can imagine, there is a lot of pent up annoyance. :P
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Old 05.10.2015, 13:31
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

Yikes! Haven't had visitors apart from my parents visit me in Zurich yet. I guess I'm lucky Singapore is pretty far away and not many people will come visit!
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Old 05.10.2015, 13:35
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

It's sad your experience in Singapore has made you see Singaporeans in that light. I assure you not all of us are like that! I think this has got to do with the fact that it's a really competitive society, we're taught from young that your value as a person is highly correlated with things like which elite high school you went to, which university you attended, which MNC you work for, where you live, what car you drive etc...
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Old 05.10.2015, 13:37
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

We've had visitors non stop this Summer from back home and all over the world. All were huge fun, considerate and 'grateful', all muck in with cooking and shopping and insisted on paying a tank of petrol, bottles of wine and shared shopping. Wonderful and it will be the same when we visit them soon in the UK. But yes, sadly, many of our expat friends say the same when they go to visit relatives in places where things are really tough at the moment. Some of our friends never go back to the Domenican Republic or Jamaica for that reason- constantly asked how much their earn and for loans (that never get repaid) and to pay medical bills for the whole family, etc. Just depends where 'back home' is and about friends and relatives- We are very lucky with ours- and those who are more financially challenged help even more with cooking, etc, and we adapt to their finances without a word being said.
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Old 05.10.2015, 14:11
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

im not gonna generalize here, but in my experience the women in eastern block countries tend to have gold diggerish tendencies when you mention that you live and work in switzerland.
nothing wrong with it, if you are young, single and looking for a good time and know how to work that angle to your advantage
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Old 05.10.2015, 14:56
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

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im not gonna generalize here, but in my experience the women in eastern block countries tend to have gold diggerish tendencies when you mention that you live and work in switzerland. Blah blah blah.D
I'm not gonna generalize here and goes on to generalize with some guff..
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Old 05.10.2015, 14:58
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

We have had various guests that have not lifted even part of a finger to help. Just sit there waiting to be served tea, food etc despite me saying "the kitchen/ dishwasher is that way" or "you can buy a great bus pass to go on the trams, buses & even the lake". If you go food shopping, they discreetly walk off to "wait outside" the till area when it comes to paying to "get out of the way". There was also a couple who actually drop their towels on the floor as if they're in a hotel when they leave to show they're used!
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Old 05.10.2015, 15:08
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

You need some new friends, neddy.
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Old 05.10.2015, 15:09
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

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I'm not gonna generalize here and goes on to generalize with some guff..
In general (), an "I'm not going/trying to [insert verb], BUT" is followed by whatever was inside the brackets . The part before the comma is simply used as a preemptive to make those who it is said to accept whatever was said after it, since after all it was "excused/explained".
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Old 05.10.2015, 15:55
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

It was hard to explain to people sometimes, that if you live in Switzerland that yes you do have a Swiss bank account but it's not the same as having THE Swiss bank account...
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Old 05.10.2015, 16:30
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

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It was hard to explain to people sometimes, that if you live in Switzerland that yes you do have a Swiss bank account but it's not the same as having THE Swiss bank account...
Guests are like fish, good when they're fresh, but tend to smell after a couple of days.....
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Old 05.10.2015, 17:03
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

as said above, you've got the wrong guest then (we have a few 'wrong' relies, they only were invited once)... When some guests stay longer, they normally take themselves off for a day or few in the middle- so everyone gets a break- and we are lucky (them too...) that they can borrow my car to go off on their jollies. We often will have guests for a few days here, then go off together to stay somewhere else, like a spa and then return here for a few more days. Our guests never smell- as they have a spanking new great bathroom
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Old 05.10.2015, 17:39
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

Have to say, friends and family in Norway and Canada ten to think that we have made it big. I mean, we're expats in Switzerland!!!

What they don't know, if that the terms of an expats contract are no longer what they used to be, our travel allowance has been reduced by half (unilaterally and 6 months within a year, once we had bought most of the flight tickets for that year), we had to sell the flat in Norway not to lose money by being here, and Trollefar receives 80% of his salary in Norwegian Kroner, which was at 5 kr to the Franc when we arrived and is now closer to 8,60 kr to the Franc... With a kid who always needs something and no expenses at all in Norway, we really feel the bite. Not that we live in poverty, we are still living well, but once one sees past the company paid flat and private school, our cash flow is not that impressive.

I can live with the odd cheeky comment, at least it's not like they expect us to foot the bill for them when we visit. But they seem to think that we live a very glamorous life.

As to guests, with very few exceptions they have been good at offering to participate in food costs. We don't always accept, but receiving a family of 5 for 2 weeks can be a drain on the food budget and I appreciate the acknowledgement.
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Old 05.10.2015, 17:52
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Re: Not so pleasant trip back home

I don't think that the people back home thinking you've got it made is a recent thing;

My Mother arrived in Oxford from the Irish Republic in 1946, joining her sister who'd married an englishman a year earlier. She'd often tell me that everyone back home thought they must both really be well-off just because they were living in England... to the point that they were written out of family wills as they clearly didn't need their shares of any inheritance!
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