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Old 01.03.2011, 11:40
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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If you don't want to invite them directly to your apartment you can also ring the bell and just introduce yourself. But then again you might have done that already
Well, you probably know by now that the Swiss don't come around to welcome new neighbors, so you have to introduce yourselves to them (if you want to socialise with them, that is)
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Old 01.03.2011, 11:40
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

Pretend to be Catholic - and never ask where the nearest mosque is.

[sorry - has a genuine request for advice already started to slip into the depths of wise-cracks and ridicule? Oi!, keep the "noise" down.]
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Old 01.03.2011, 11:43
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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I hope you manage to make a go of it and good luck to you both, just don't expect it to be easy.
On the topic of children, I'd like to add that even though it might not be the best place for me, a small town is brilliant for the kids. Giving the kids an opportunity to grow up in an environment full of freedom and lack of fear is stupendous. I know all their friends, I know all the parents and there are many times when I have no idea where my kids are but am confident all is well.

Last year, my son and his friends built a tree house in the local woods and made camp fires. As 10-11 year olds, they were gone hours and hours and I never really worried. It's the way I grew up and am glad my kids have a chance at the same life too.
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Last edited by olygirl; 01.03.2011 at 11:47. Reason: "They know all their friends" is an oxymoron. I rewrote the sentence to make it clearer.
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  #24  
Old 01.03.2011, 11:49
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

Only advice I can give as the only English in our village, try to blend in with the locals, be seen at the local fete or whatever they call it, maybe join a local group if there is one that interests you, let them see that you want to become one of their community, after all it is their country. I have found that when they get to know you they are far friendlier than most of the English villages I have lived in. Traditionally have a small party for the neighbours when you move in, at least it gets you talking to the neighbours. Good luck with the move.
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Old 01.03.2011, 11:50
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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Tradition dictates:

- the front pews are for children
- the middle section, left side, is for single/widowed women or women visiting mass without their husband
- the middle section, right side, is for families and partners
- the last pews, right side, is for widowed men, bachelors or men visiting church without their wives

In some places, you'll still see this seating order (like in my little town)
And I thought that God made no distinction and all are equal.
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  #26  
Old 01.03.2011, 11:55
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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And I thought that God made no distinction and all are equal.
Olygirl did say 'tradition dictates'
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Old 01.03.2011, 11:59
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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And I thought that God made no distinction and all are equal.
Organised religion deals with God only on certain levels. Other levels include culture, customs, money, social ranking, family tradition, church heirarchy, etc.
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Old 01.03.2011, 11:59
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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2. Geranium etiquette is taken very seriously. Study local traditions - this is dangerous ground for making a serious social faux pas.
I cannot stress enough how important this is - seriously and no joke! To be on the safe side, stick with plain red during your first summer and then slowly progress to more adventurous combinations from there. Believe me, Frau Müller and Herr Meier will be watching you
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  #29  
Old 01.03.2011, 12:01
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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And I thought that God made no distinction and all are equal.
God, maybe. Villagers, not so much.
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  #30  
Old 01.03.2011, 12:04
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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Mathnut .. yes, names! They are big on names here, and I am really bad at remembering names. It is a problem! Every choir rehearsal we arrive and go around shaking the hands of all 40+ members and saying "hello insert name of person" Almost 5 years in, I've just about got 75% sussed
DB lived in rural Greece, which means he had to know everybody by name. I don't know if it is easier or more difficult in Greece than here. The difference is, in Greece, everybody is called Yorgos, Yannis, Nikos, Mitsos, Takis, Panos, and the set of first names for women isn't any bigger. So the problem is, you have to make lots of faces match with only very few mugs, which means you may know thirty Yorgosses, whereas here there are only few namesakes.
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Old 01.03.2011, 12:09
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

DB - we are over the other side of the lake most weekends (Amden) and can be found most Saturdays done in Nafels getting bread and cakes at Muller (half the price of Sprungli and twice the quality).

How far are you from "civilisation"?
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Old 01.03.2011, 12:11
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

All the above is excellent advice, I would just like to re-inforce the church going and joining the town choir. I have lived in many quiet places: never underestimate the power of the grape vine! Always ask for advice, they love to boss you around!
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  #33  
Old 01.03.2011, 12:12
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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So the problem is, you have to make lots of faces match with only very few mugs, which means you may know thirty Yorgosses, whereas here there are only few namesakes.
Too true... too true.

I must admit that I'm quite relieved that I won't have to attend five different name-day celebrations in one evening, like I used to have to everytime it was St Dimitrios' day.

It took me days to recover...
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  #34  
Old 01.03.2011, 12:12
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

Don`t forget to say Gruetzi to every person you find in the street. (very usual in small communities)
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Old 01.03.2011, 12:13
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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How far are you from "civilisation"?
Not far at all... we might well bump into you in the bakery.
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Old 01.03.2011, 12:15
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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Don`t forget to say Gruetzi to every person you find in the street. (very usual in small communities)
This raises an interesting question: does anybody know what is the norm in Glarnerland?

We've heard both gruezi and gruss Gott on our walks around the town. Does anyone know which is preferred, and by whom?
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Old 01.03.2011, 12:23
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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This raises an interesting question: does anybody know what is the norm in Glarnerland?

We've heard both gruezi and gruss Gott on our walks around the town. Does anyone know which is preferred, and by whom?
I haven't gone through the whole website, but it seems to be a good place to start: http://www.dialekt.ch/english.htm
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Old 01.03.2011, 12:27
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

In one village it helped that Mr Longbyt (he is Swiss but counted as foreign as he wasn't born in that Canton - however I don't know if they allow real aliens to join) became a member of the local volunteer fire-brigade. Not that he was ever actually around when they had a fire to put out, but he did water fields with them once and rescue swallows and put them into boxes to be transported to Tessin. (I kid you not). I joined the local gym club which linked me to the locals in much the same way. (We actually did gym!) .

Later, in another village in another canton, the ice was broken when our kids did something special which merited a mention of the village in the local-region newspaper. Having been presumably invisible inhabitants of the area until then, we were spoken to by practically everyone we saw.
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Old 01.03.2011, 13:01
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

Long story written on pages of the EF somewhere in the past but to cut it short...

We are not that much involved in local life of our district e.g. fervent church goers and other local festivities. My wife simply got to know our neighbours from the loundry room, street, local Migros & Coop or pharmacy, working in the garden. Often trivial conversations are products of instants. There is no standard recipe and the opportunities present themselves in almost every situation. Regular politness and Grützi uttered to everyone living in your district is a standard thing and will open door to everywhere. Try to mimic them, tone of speach, gestures and etc and soon they won't notice non-native presence there (warn you though it is tough to talk to Marsians)..

Just an example. It was so much easier for us because we are active bunch and the following turn of events took place:
  • many years ago we joined two locals tennis clubs - this way it helps to get to know more people including natives and foreigners at the same time and further invitations to aperos, tennis plausch and other activities abound,
  • my wife is recognized tennis instructor for kids and adults and almost all the parents have high respect for her coaching abilities and invite us regularly,
  • in spring and summer there are more things going on and you can hardly miss opportunity to integrate one way or the other.
  • we are not into local traditions but Swiss are tolerant bunch and they respect other peoples cultures so no probs there
You dont have to be super active, rich, famous, good singer or Frank Sinatra. Try to show them what you are good at and there surely be place for you in their small society. If you don't click with Herr X and Frau Y, you will get along with Herr A and Frau B better and perhaps get lots of respect from family C. Live your new life and enjoy it!
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Old 01.03.2011, 13:50
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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Did you get involved with the local community? Were you able to make a good impression? What terrible social mistakes are we liable to make as an Englishman and an American lost amongst the natives? What unexpected difficulties did you encounter? How has it turned out in the end? Do you have any other advice or suggestions for us?
Your wife is going to like my advice: buy a gun and join the local gunclub.
learn how to skin a rabbit with your eyes closed.
No making funny comments about how locals all kind of look alike, like they're one big family.
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