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Old 30.10.2016, 14:17
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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No idea, as we never take the bus!

Tom
I think you wouldn't fit in, with all the Hello Kitty stuffed animals

Public transport is one of the things that's like home, so it makes me happy. Not the cost, obviously, but the practicality and safety.

Kedi - happiness is surely culturally and individually perceived. Also the honesty one answers these surveys with, or ideas the respondents have about how much better off they are here compared to elsewhere therefore happy (imagine the foreign news, gaaasp, bordel, must be terrible to live elsewhere). I think the deep sense of satisfaction people either don't miss or look for later. I think we are lucky certainly, to be here. Whether everybody is really the happiest in the world, I wished they were. There is a lot of hidden spite, jealousy, comparison with others, etc. The key is to stay long enough to find the lovely folks, they are here..It just feels one has to make more and more conscious effort. And maybe not hate one's own accent, even when people rip on it. Mine is hard to identify, people ask and start a conversation. Honestly, you can't do it in PC culturues - "I like your foreign accent, tell me more" I gotta work on it, mine is disappearing .
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  #282  
Old 30.10.2016, 14:28
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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I think you wouldn't fit in, with all the Hello Kitty stuffed animals
Few are Hello-Kitty, only a dozen or so.

This one escaped the train crash the other day:



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Public transport is one of the things that's like home, so it makes me happy. Not the cost, obviously, but the practicality and safety.
Not practical at all around here. 3h15 by public transport vs 40 min in a car yesterday, each way, with 2 hours between buses!

Tom
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  #283  
Old 30.10.2016, 14:38
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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Few are Hello-Kitty, only a dozen or so.

This one escaped the train crash the other day:

Wow

You realize that you give OP a pretty weird recipe for integration
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  #284  
Old 30.10.2016, 14:39
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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Interesting. I have been thinking about this lately. You always read that the Swiss are happy with their jobs and their lives but I really do wonder: Why do people on the bus everyday look so grumpy? Why do they throw a critical glance at anyone who seems to be having fun including the children?
I came to the conclusion that the people who answer these surveys probably think "money is good, we don't have a war going on, so yeah I guess I am happy". Also we should not forget that the Swiss think they do everything well, so surely their country must be the best.
After all, if you asked an average person if they are satisfied with their life, they will think about their job, their possessions, their environment and give an answer based on that. It is only a small percentage that want more from life and therefore are bound to be disappointed.
To further support my theory I would also add that the colder countries with less sunshine and more economic and politic stability tend to come higher in the happiness surveys. They also have higher suicide rates.
I found this post interesting.

It seems to me that immigrants, from anywhere to anywhere, live in a continuum, with one end of the scale being the cultural bubble or "ghetto" with folk from one's original country, or "the expat community", and the other end of the scale being the ideal of fitting in. These latter are the immigrants who rush ahead to learn the local language and customs as quickly and efficiently as possible so that they, or at least their children, will be fully accepted and integrated. In the middle range of that scale are those who muddle along trying to cope, and generally manage to do so, at least by trying to avoid trouble, and are sometimes deeply unhappy or homesick, at other times genuinely grateful to be here, while not sure whether or not they want to or could manage to put down roots.

Let's just call these groups A (non-integrating), B (middle) and C (aiming to integrate).

The group A may well be content when inside their cultural bubble, and frequently frustrated whenever they have to move outside it.
Group C people deliberately set out to adapt to and even to adopt the local culture. Group B people are occasionally surprised at how much they have done so. Group B and C people I know, who live in Switzerland, be they from Turkey, Greece, Canada, New Zealand, Ukraine, Croatia, Kosovo, Pakistand, Sri Lanka, Germany or wherever, end up conducting their professional and social lives increasingly in accordance with the general protocol that is the Swiss way: they don't just drop by unannounced, they stick to arrangements, they are punctual, etc. and we laugh when we realise that we may never have done things quite this way when we lived in our respective "back home" countries.

Another example: I think that Swiss people, or at least Swiss-German people, share a general culture of disliking behaviour that is flashy, brash, flamboyant or loud. They prefer people to behave quietly, in an orderly fashion, and not to brag or draw attention to themselves. I know immigrants who, bit by bit, have become more like this, the longer they have lived here.
Therefore, even if they originally came from countries which are considered full of temperament and pizzaz, they now appreciate it when other commuters on the bus are considerate enough to speak to each other quietly, to leave one another the peace to read, to avoid loud phonecalls, and who try to keep the children occupied and quiet, such that it is possible. Having adopted this aspect of the culture, they, too, more readily disapprove of loud behaviour they now, too, have come to consider anti-social or selfish.

@Kedi, yes, I think that you are right that having enough money to live in shelter, and enough food, and not being in a war, are common reasons for saying: "well, I guess in that case I must be happy".

On one hand, it is true, and indeed we have a great deal for which to be grateful, and the list can be continued with very easy access to clean drinking water and heating, a high standard of basic medical care, a good system of roads, good emergency services, punctual public transport, excellent online information about government procedures, beautiful forests and mountains, free swimming in warm lakes and rivers in summer. None of these things is perfect, but on the whole, they make for a pretty good life.

About being truly happy... here I don't agree with you that only a small percentage want more from life.

On the contrary, I think many do yearn for more contentment, for being truly known, if only one could find the courage to open up, for more or more interesting sex, for physical touch that is about closeness and affirmation, for kindness, for intimacy of being seen for who one really is, with all ones dreams and failings and hopes and insecurities, for the sort of friends whose eye one can catch, across a busy room, and both know that we know what we're thinking, for someone who will visit with a pot of soup when we're feeling down, and for knowing someone about whom one cares enough to want to be that soup-bearing friend, for someone who will listen when we express our secret fears or when we cry or rave in anger or frustration, and who really Gets It, for someone who doesn't reproach us if we bake a cake that flops or look odd (or wonderful) when we dance, for someone who encourages and admires us, and for close friends who accepts us without resorting to a reflex to say things aren't so bad, after all, just see ..... all the external things in my list above.

Indeed, in those very yearnings, I have heard people here in Switzerland express a certain shame for longing for this, for yet more, when, after all, we're not in a war, etc.

As to the higher suicide rate, in Switzerland particularly, at least some of that has to do with legal access to the services of Exit and Dignitas, so that people have the choice to end things rather than be forced to endure their pain or loneliness, and also that suicide is a topic that is openly spoken about, but that's a different discussion, and already has a thread of its own.
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  #285  
Old 30.10.2016, 14:56
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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No idea, as we never take the bus!

Tom
Seeing all the rudeness I encounter getting into buses (especially when I had to go around with a double stroller when my children were younger) I actually considered not taking the bus and always getting around by car. It is a good way to avoid daily annoyances as I must admit the motorists here are much nicer than my country.
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Old 30.10.2016, 15:00
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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Interesting. I have been thinking about this lately. You always read that the Swiss are happy with their jobs and their lives but I really do wonder: Why do people on the bus everyday look so grumpy? Why do they throw a critical glance at anyone who seems to be having fun including the children?
I came to the conclusion that the people who answer these surveys probably think "money is good, we don't have a war going on, so yeah I guess I am happy". Also we should not forget that the Swiss think they do everything well, so surely their country must be the best.
After all, if you asked an average person if they are satisfied with their life, they will think about their job, their possessions, their environment and give an answer based on that. It is only a small percentage that want more from life and therefore are bound to be disappointed.
To further support my theory I would also add that the colder countries with less sunshine and more economic and politic stability tend to come higher in the happiness surveys. They also have higher suicide rates.
At the risk of seeming to pick on you (I'm not).

Your first two questions are actually four questions, viz:
Why do people on the bus everyday look so grumpy to me?
Are people who look grumpy to me actually grumpy?


Why do they throw what seems to me to be a critical glance at anyone who seems to be having fun including the children?
Even if they were critical of what is going on, what might they be objecting to?

Facial expression is fairly cultural. Perhaps the people on the bus are just tired.

Without a doubt, the Swiss see Switzerland as the best place to be, how is this different from Canada, the U.S.A., France, Ireland, Australia (the list goes on)? Are the Swiss somehow different from any other nation in this? More so than any other country which is small and has something close to 25% foreigners bringing change but for the most part not intending to stay? Lets not even ignore the issue of if Switzerland has a culture of accepting and integrating immigrants - even in Canada, the premis of accepting immigrants is that they will integrate. If we can take EF as a representative sample of the foreigners here, surely you cannot have failed to notice how often someone complains because it is different here, that the contract they signed without understanding isn't to their advantage despite being perfectly legal, how many complain about not being able to get by without learning the local language. I have a Swiss passport, but I have also been an immigrant here: it wasn't particularly easy, nor was it impossibly inhuman. Yes, the Swiss do have a certain insularity about them, both personally, as well as a society. My experience is that there is just as much insularity going on on the side of people who want to come here, benefit, and leave unaffected other than some number of zeros in their bank balance.

At the end of the day, emigrating starts with leaving home. Wherever you arrive will be different - at least initially I made a conscious effort to drop the categories "better" or "worse" and just used "different" - this helped me see past the initial reaction (already negatively influenced by the "not homeness" of this strange place I found myself in). After a few years Switzerland was "home" to me, and yes, I did allow myself to judge, and found both the positive and the negative. Was it a mistake on my part to hold judgement on Switzerland when I first arrived? Not really, I saved a lot of energy by trying to see the place as a dog might... what is not clearly a threat to me got a sniff and ultimately became familiar.

Johltravonta is perfectly entitled to his assesment, it is to him, "true". My experience was, and is, very different - perhaps this boils down to the fact that I was in a relationship, perhaps it has something to with the shape of the bones in our faces. I don't know. What I do know is that he should leave. Not because "if you don't like it here leave", but rather because his experience and assessment seem to me to be so one sided and overwhelmingly negative that even if something positive did happen to him his radar won't let him pick it up, or that if it did it would be categorised as an exception.

He may find happiness elsewhere, and I wish him that, as I do any person. But I would say that he should be aware that he may be carrying his unhappiness with him... and that even if he isn't blessed with an unlimited supply, he might be well advised to put that baggage down for a moment when he gets wherever he is going to. Putting it down won't make it go away (no one will steal it), or even make it less difficult to carry. But putting it down will, if only briefly, remind him that he is carrying something and from that point one can decide if all this crap really is "wanted on the voyage".
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  #287  
Old 30.10.2016, 15:02
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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Where the attitude he described hurts the most isn't dating or daily little jabs, it is in a professional setting. And I experienced it. Loads of different people do.
I totally agree with this. I once worked at a Swiss company where I had to speak German. The bullying and being pushed around I encountered was unbelievable. There were a lot of unhappy Swiss people there who wanted to take out their anger on foreigners who are doing their best to adjust. But I get satisfaction from one thing: The useless Swiss scrum master (I am in IT) who used to bully me without having a clue about software development now works at the reception in an IT company (non Swiss). I know it sounds petty but it does give me some satisfaction when I remember how his incompetence was ignored while everything I did was constantly criticised.

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  #288  
Old 30.10.2016, 15:08
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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Few are Hello-Kitty, only a dozen or so.

This one escaped the train crash the other day:

Something makes me think that you spend a lot of time at Chilbis, and that the shooting range operators don't really like you all that much. Could this be true?
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  #289  
Old 30.10.2016, 15:10
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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Happiness means different things to different people. Maybe some don't even realise there's a difference in meaning between "content" and "happy".
Happiness is not having every decent pub closed down and converted into a Tesco Express. My brother's 'local' now is a converted florist's shop.

When was the last time you saw a Swiss bar closed down or converted? I've seen a few lying empty, but the ones that are open have a steady stream of customers.
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Old 30.10.2016, 15:14
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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At the risk of seeming to pick on you (I'm not).

Your first two questions are actually four questions, viz:
Why do people on the bus everyday look so grumpy to me?
Are people who look grumpy to me actually grumpy?


Why do they throw what seems to me to be a critical glance at anyone who seems to be having fun including the children?
Even if they were critical of what is going on, what might they be objecting to?

...
I agree that most of what we perceive about the reactions of people around us has to do with our frame of mind at that moment. Some people have thick skin and whatever the people around them say or do to them, it just washes over them while others will take it more personally. But I also believe that, if, from a young age, you have been treated differently because you looked a certain way, it is perfectly normal to perceive behaviour as relating to that.

As an example, do you remember what happened to Oprah Winfrey a couple of years ago? She was not shown a bag in an expensive boutique because the sales assistant assumed she cannot afford it. What does Oprah naturally think? It is because she is a black woman. She even went onto say that she was dressed nicely in a Donna Karan skirt so she really could not find any other reason why the assistant immediately assumed she cannot afford the bag. It can only be one thing right? If Oprah, after all these years of success and all those millions, cannot shake off the feeling that any perceived looking down on she encounters must surely be because of her race, for us simple folks it is perfectly reasonable to feel the same way too.
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  #291  
Old 30.10.2016, 15:25
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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I found this post interesting.



Let's just call these groups A (non-integrating), B (middle) and C (aiming to integrate).

The group A may well be content when inside their cultural bubble, and frequently frustrated whenever they have to move outside it.
Group C people deliberately set out to adapt to and even to adopt the local culture. Group B people are occasionally surprised at how much they have done so. Group B and C people I know, who live in Switzerland, be they from Turkey, Greece, Canada, New Zealand, Ukraine, Croatia, Kosovo, Pakistand, Sri Lanka, Germany or wherever, end up conducting their professional and social lives increasingly in accordance with the general protocol that is the Swiss way: they don't just drop by unannounced, they stick to arrangements, they are punctual, etc. and we laugh when we realise that we may never have done things quite this way when we lived in our respective "back home" countries.
I do agree almost with all of your points including the bit about the suicide rate statistics being probably skewed by other factors.

I want to also mention that if you belong to the group of immigrants who are in Group B that are also immediately recognized as not Western or West European you are most likely to be perceived as someone who is uneducated and who works in so-called 'blue collar' jobs. So anything you do will be seen behind the curtain of prejudice.

I and my husband are from the same country but he looks quite European and he speaks pretty much no German. So when he speaks English, he is treated immediately as an "educated" foreigner, whereas because I speak German fairly well although still like an "ausländer, people assume I must be an uneducated foreigner even though I am more educated than my husband and speak English much better too! I believe any person regardless of their income level deserves to be treated well when they are buying coffee with their hard-earned money from someone who, after all, only works the cash desk at Migros. (so, let's be honest, is not educated to the CEO level) therefore, of course, it gets really annoying when I am constantly looked down on by people who probably cannot afford the things they are selling to me.
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Old 30.10.2016, 15:36
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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I believe any person regardless of their income level deserves to be treated well when they are buying coffee with their hard-earned money from someone who, after all, only works the cash desk at Migros. (so, let's be honest, is not educated to the CEO level) therefore, of course, it gets really annoying when I am constantly looked down on by people who probably cannot afford the things they are selling to me.
Ah, there's your problem right there.

You're a snob.
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  #293  
Old 30.10.2016, 15:38
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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It can only be one thing right? If Oprah, after all these years of success and all those millions, cannot shake off the feeling that any perceived looking down on she encounters must surely be because of her race, for us simple folks it is perfectly reasonable to feel the same way too.
I hate stories like this. They rarely touch the truth of the matter, and Oprah had other avenues of resolving the matter open to her if she felt so strongly.

I wonder if the same conversation would have happened if Tina was the person asking to see the bag?


Back when I used to work in food production, and we still used to get wage packets, I'd go into town straight from work every Thursday to pay my bills and bank the cash. Without fail, every time I went into M&S, the store detective would follow me around the store. Maybe it was my hair being tied up, or the fact that I was wearing jeans or tracksuit bottoms, or perhaps the faint aroma of olive oil and crumpet batter that made him feel that I wasn't quite 'their kind of clientele'. He even stood right next to me at the till on one occasion, and I took great delight in fanning out the few hundred quid I had in my purse to prove a point. The cashier laughed, he blushed and walked away.


Was that special attention down to my race? My dress? My 'just come off a 12hr shift and half asleep' surly appearance? Or did I look similar to someone who was a known issue/shoplifter?


Simple answer is, I don't know, but I had the opportunity to prove I was a legitimate customer and took it. Pity that more people don't challenge this behaviour at the time instead of whinging to the media.
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Old 30.10.2016, 15:40
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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If Oprah, after all these years of success and all those millions, cannot shake off the feeling that any perceived looking down on she encounters must surely be because of her race, for us simple folks it is perfectly reasonable to feel the same way too.
I take your point, sad though it is. The prejudice one has encountered teaches one to be particularly sensitive to further snubs along the same lines. And Oprah may well have been right and the hand-bag shop assistant may well have been plainly, blatantly racist.

On the other hand, Oprah, of all people, chose not to let the prejudice she was subjected to in her youth prevent her from becoming successful and, in the ways that matter for her, happy.

Perhaps I am rejected by some according to my race, by others according to my BMI, by others according to my gender, or my place of origin, or my citizenship, or my personal transgressions against what they think to be respectful behaviour. We cannot stop the prejudices or criticisms of others. But we can choose how to react to them, or how to go on despite them. We can choose, in particular, how we conduct ourselves, and over time we can experiment again and again, until we discover the code of how to harvest less criticism and rejection.

On a more humorous note:
https://youtu.be/Bi0NLeimRIA
and
https://youtu.be/qNgb9OK7I-A
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Old 30.10.2016, 15:42
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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It can only be one thing right? If Oprah, after all these years of success and all those millions, cannot shake off the feeling that any perceived looking down on she encounters must surely be because of her race, for us simple folks it is perfectly reasonable to feel the same way too.
Folks aren't simple.

I wouldn't say "reasonable" I would say "plausible". Reasonable would be to stop for a moment and evaluate the situation, keeping track of just who's bias is putting a spin on things.

It took me quite a few trips to Japan and Korea to grasp that people weren't angry all the time... once I realised that both those languages are very percussive (which is often a part of expressing anger in English) I was more comfortable.

It isn't uncommon for German speaking people to find English speakers rude or agressive in a discussion. There are many factors at play, but one is that they are German speakers.... they are waiting for the verb at the end of the sentence to indicate that the sentence is complete (and meaningful) - German syntax includes the idea that an incomplete sentence is broken, meaningless. At a very basic level, when you interrupt a German speaker mid sentence you are deliberately interfering with their ability to make sense how else could they interpret that other than as rudeness? English syntax is more of a free for all: "I know where you're going with that, but..." isn't rude in a syntactical way that it is in German. Even interrupting a speaker to agree with them isn't really done in German.

Culture and language are bound together closely, but it takes careful observation to see that.
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Old 30.10.2016, 15:50
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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It took me quite a few trips to Japan and Korea to grasp that people weren't angry all the time... once I realised that both those languages are very percussive (which is often a part of expressing anger in English) I was more comfortable.
Yes, I had a similar experience years ago visiting Italy. One day, three Italians notice me watching them and paused. One asked: "Sprechen Sie Deutsch?" When I nodded, he explained, in German, that he guessed I might be shocked, perhaps thinking they were having a huge fight, whereas in fact they were not yelling, and not in the slightest upset with one another, but merely deciding what to do on the coming weekend, with each one putting his point across.

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It isn't uncommon for German speaking people to find English speakers rude or agressive in a discussion. There are many factors at play, but one is that they are German speakers.... they are waiting for the verb at the end of the sentence to indicate that the sentence is complete (and meaningful) - German syntax includes the idea that an incomplete sentence is broken, meaningless. At a very basic level, when you interrupt a German speaker mid sentence you are deliberately interfering with their ability to make sense how else could they interpret that other than as rudeness? English syntax is more of a free for all: "I know where you're going with that, but..." isn't rude in a syntactical way that it is in German. Even interrupting a speaker to agree with them isn't really done in German.
Brilliant! Yes!
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Old 30.10.2016, 15:51
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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I believe any person regardless of their income level deserves to be treated well when they are buying coffee with their hard-earned money from someone who, after all, only works the cash desk at Migros. (so, let's be honest, is not educated to the CEO level) therefore, of course, it gets really annoying when I am constantly looked down on by people who probably cannot afford the things they are selling to me.


DB's right. That's a gobsmacking level of snobbery.

My best mate is retiring in January after serving in the police at a high level for her entire career. She has degrees in IT and Business Management. She has a list of things she wants to do after retiring, which include working behind a bar and being a sales assistant in M&S. Her ex, a retired police chief constable, is now a long distance coach driver and loves his new career. He wanted to work as a shopping trolley collector at first, but couldn't get the job.

My brother, a retired barrister, in now the part-time treasurer of a non-league rugby club. My OH was a pizza delivery guy for 6mths within the last decade. Do you want me to go on...? We would be here all night if I did.
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Old 30.10.2016, 15:55
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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Ah, there's your problem right there.

You're a snob.
No I am not. I work hard and I do not want to take BS from people who make one or another assumption about my finances. Just give me whatever I want.

Oh and do not tell me you don't think it is not hilarious to see girls in expensive shops thinking they are better than you just because they are serving the rich tourists.

By the way, From your last two comments I see that I am right about my observations about you: The bitterness of some other forum members seem to be rubbing on you.
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Old 30.10.2016, 15:58
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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DB's right. That's a gobsmacking level of snobbery.

My best mate is retiring in January after serving in the police at a high level for her entire career. She has degrees in IT and Business Management. She has a list of things she wants to do after retiring, which include working behind a bar and being a sales assistant in M&S. Her ex, a retired police chief constable, is now a long distance coach driver and loves his new career. He wanted to work as a shopping trolley collector at first, but couldn't get the job.

My brother, a retired barrister, in now the part-time treasurer of a non-league rugby club. My OH was a pizza delivery guy for 6mths within the last decade. Do you want me to go on...? We would be here all night if I did.
I actually wouldn't mind working in a kitchen myself or better at the fish or meat counter in a supermarket. Only for a couple of months though. So no snobbery here. If you are only doing a job because of the experience and not because you HAVE to do it, things are much easier. But now we live at times when everyone thinks they are too good for the job they are doing, including those that are highly educated.
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Old 30.10.2016, 16:00
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Re: 9 months in Switzerland - a honest report.

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No I am not. I work hard and I do not want to take BS from people who make one or another assumption about my finances. Just give me whatever I want.

Oh and do not tell me you don't think it is not hilarious to see girls in expensive shops thinking they are better than you just because they are serving the rich tourists.

By the way, From your last two comments I see that I am right about my observations about you: The bitterness of some other forum members seem to be rubbing on you.
I don't go to those kind of shops because I can't afford them.

I'm not educated to CEO level, you see.
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