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  #61  
Old 01.03.2011, 17:02
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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Tradition dictates:

- the middle section, left side, is for single/widowed women or women visiting mass without their husband...
Can anybody confirm whether this arrangement is also normative for protestant churches?
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  #62  
Old 01.03.2011, 17:22
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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At the end of the week, we shall finally leave the Luis Vuitton infested suburban nightmare of the Zurich Gold Coast for the tranquil plains of Glarnerland. The town to which we are moving has everything we could possibly want: several supermarkets, a railway station and lots of pretty mountains to look at. There is a very large population of foreigners in the town, but I doubt many - if any - are English speakers. Like Mr Kurtz before us, we are finally going native.

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?

All responses gratefully received.

Cheers,

DB
Does this mean I have to stop calling Glarnerland "my Kanton"?

Not making people speak high German is one of the fastest ways of making friends. If you are hikers, hike up to Leglerhütte and mingle with the regulars: lots and lots of locals go up there and are quite friendly.

Depending on your music tastes, you might be interested in the concerts at the Kunsthaus: http://www.tapir.ch/section69/Sound. They are usually monthly. I have seen world-class musicians (mostly jazz) play there.

Join a club: http://www.glarusservice.ch/htm/vereine.htm.

On Friday nights in the winter there is a Zältli-Bar in the garden of the Steinbock Restaurant, which seems to have been put together by a English-speaking artist named James. Two weeks ago they had an Irish musician playing, three weeks ago a poetry reading. It is new and I haven't been yet but James is a nice guy and the people who run Steinbock are very friendly (even if their pizza is not always great).

It certainly will be easier as there are more and more people here who speak English. When I came that was not the case but, as a result, I have absolutely no problem understanding Swiss. I also play Jass, which probably helped me integrate more than anything else.

So, finally: Welcome to My Kanton!
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  #63  
Old 01.03.2011, 17:59
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

Avoid discussing politics though.
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  #64  
Old 01.03.2011, 18:08
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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In one village it helped that Mr Longbyt (he is Swiss but counted as foreign as he wan'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!) .
I was reading through the thread to see if this was suggested - the fire brigade for the men and the "Damenriege" for the ladies is really a good step. Also, if you can at all manage it, offer to help the elderly people with their shopping, even if it is ad hoc like reaching for that thing that's a bit high up or reading a label in tiny print. You will instantly become "that nice English/American couple" and old people gossip a lot. Good or bad. I actually had an incident of "you are that young lady who sometimes helps my mum with her shopping, aren't you? Thank you so much..." in my local Migros - in Zurich! No idea how that worked, a bit scary but also very nice.

And for Glarus - develop a deep love for Ziger (the food, not the EF user). It's Switzerland's Marmite / Vegemite / Durian fruit / other native food that you either love or hate. Alternatively, if you hate it, create a secret underground Ziger-hater society and have Gschwelti - shock - WITHOUT Ziger.
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  #65  
Old 01.03.2011, 18:14
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

Our best integration move: buy products from local farmer (we are really in a rural area). The products are also better quality and taste better than what you get in shops. It's not only good for integration but also for your health. We stopped buying meat, eggs, honey from supermarkets.
The farmers spent also a few hours showing the kids the animals and how the farm works.
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  #66  
Old 01.03.2011, 18:26
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

I'd forgotten about the farming bit. Put on your hiking boots and go up to help with haying. You'll need boots though as where we lived it was so steep that in shoes the foot slipped and one actually stood on the 'side leather' not on the sole at all. And if you ever help with mucking out, no matter what the washing ads say, it doesn't come out and nor, usually, do grass stains unless you can boil the material. Fortunately our kids were still growing and I could, with good conscience, throw out the old trousers they had used when helping.
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  #67  
Old 01.03.2011, 18:47
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

Yes, locals love it when you praise local specialities, but NOTHING will make me eat Tripes à la Neuchateloise - there is integration and there is ....
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  #68  
Old 01.03.2011, 19:48
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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Pretend to be Catholic.
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I can assure you that pretending to be a Catholic will not necessarily endear you with the natives around here! Check local religious history first!
Hi Odile,
Just to clarify, I was generalising in a light-hearted way - after all, I am hidden away in deepest Kanton Fribourg, where the idea of anyone not having religious beliefs, let alone, not of the RC variety, is incomprehensible to the locals.

I think in the east (of CH) it isn't as bad - although in the countryside the traditional beliefs are probably still upheld.
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  #69  
Old 01.03.2011, 20:13
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

Well yes, deepest Fribourg and Upper Valais are a bit 'special' lol - but up here, Calvinists have had the upper hand for a looong time. My mother came from very Bourgeois Protestant stock, divorced with 1 child and my father from a more modest family of staunch Catholic stock (greatest irony, originally of Hughenot origin) - so all hell let lose when they met and decided to marry in the mid 40s. After the mass immigration of Italians, Spanish and Portuguese from the 60s onwards, Neuchatel is now about 50/50 - they just have to work together to survive. Up here in the mountains, Protestants are still the vast majority, and not a minaret in sight I can assure you.
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Old 01.03.2011, 20:40
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

I would be careful about casting rural areas as primitive societies. Many who live there see themselves as a more advanced civilization, for many good reasons.

I haven't locked my front door for as long as I remember. I think the last time I locked it was when I went on vacation in summer.

Just don't ask me for my address.

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Old 01.03.2011, 20:49
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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I was reading through the thread to see if this was suggested - the fire brigade for the men and the "Damenriege" for the ladies is really a good step.
In our village you are "invited" (for which read required) to join the fire brigade if you are in a certain age bracket ... be you man .. or woman
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  #72  
Old 01.03.2011, 21:09
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

The best way to integrate is not to try so badly to integrate. Let it be the way its meant to be. This is natural process and either you fit in or you won't. Time will show. You must preserve your integrity.
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  #73  
Old 01.03.2011, 21:16
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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And for Glarus - develop a deep love for Ziger (the food, not the EF user).
What!?! And why not develop a deep love for me too? After all, I live in Glarnerland, could help in the integration process and don't smell, like some other zigers.
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  #74  
Old 01.03.2011, 21:41
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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The best way to integrate is not to try so badly to integrate. Let it be the way its meant to be. This is natural process and either you fit in or you won't. Time will show. You must preserve your integrity.

Echoing this note, I notice the locals hone in on any clues about a person's true character. Ostentatious displays might be greeted with a grin, but aren't the ones that make the most lasting impressions. In fact, they eschew ostentatious displays and ridicule them. It is the little unintentional ones that endear them, the ones that build trust. Another thing about the Swiss locals, once you're in, you're in.
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  #75  
Old 01.03.2011, 22:41
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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both sensible grown-up types
Who are these two people you write of?

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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?
We moved 10km outside of Lausanne and the Swiss thought we were moving to the wilderness. "You're moving to the country" they would say... but in French, with a look of horror like it was a different planet.

Our little village of 700 humans and 1300 cows was perfectly lovely. Even though I was the only foreigner in the village, they were kind never mention it. I imagine you are moving to some place much more remote than us. So, I can't give you specific advice accept locate the closest exit route in case of emergency.

Since I don't really like people, I hang around online in virtual places called "forums" where computers generate discussions on many different topics. So I can't help you with meeting real live people.

But I will take this opportunity to wish you all the best on the next chapter of your lives!! And you really should consider telling those two sensible grown ups to move out. Aren't you two a bit old for housemates?
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Old 01.03.2011, 22:49
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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Echoing this note, I notice the locals hone in on any clues about a person's true character. Ostentatious displays might be greeted with a grin, but aren't the ones that make the most lasting impressions. In fact, they eschew ostentatious displays and ridicule them. It is the little unintentional ones that endear them, the ones that build trust. Another thing about the Swiss locals, once you're in, you're in.
May I kindly suggest what may not work in favour of icebreaker

Not that I care at all and sometimes even audibly like to express my worldly opinions on matters which some would agree and some would disagree with me here. But there it was a couple of weeks ago amongst Swiss workmates - notion of "Billag" at lunch...

Surrounded by hardcore protagonist who dish out thousand of arguments in support of the local TV, still did not manage to convince me. Btw, I never watch it anyway but I kindly pay may dues in form of the TV licence or (aforesaid Billag tax).

So, some of those buffons call me Billag tax dodger without reason. Anyway, I fired few arguments backed up by some kind of petition from thread on the EF, to have them shut up. Peace.

Bottom line, it is double edge sword. You are entitled to your own opinion and can rest your case but... elements of diplomacy will take you further than revolutionist's remarks. Next time I will bear in mind what infuriates some.
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  #77  
Old 01.03.2011, 22:56
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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Bottom line, it is double edge sword. You are entitled to your own opinion and can rest your case but... elements of diplomacy will take you further than revolutionist's remarks. Next time I will bear in mind what infuriates some.
I suspect that's the same everywhere.

I'm an expert at nodding, smiling and agreeing with the most outrageous opinions if it means I'm going to have an easier ride as a result.

Learnt that one pretty quickly in Greece...
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Old 01.03.2011, 23:48
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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Avoid discussing politics though.

But praise the Glarner Schabziger a mile and a half over and above the Fronalpstock
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Old 01.03.2011, 23:56
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

After living in a very multi-cultural town, it sometimes comes as a shock to see/hear such a large % of the local population whole-heartedly supporting the views of the UDC and seeing their posters in their 100s posted on every tree or lamp-post.
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Old 02.03.2011, 00:08
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Re: Living in the Wilderness

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Our best integration move: buy products from local farmer (we are really in a rural area). The products are also better quality and taste better than what you get in shops. It's not only good for integration but also for your health. We stopped buying meat, eggs, honey from supermarkets.
The farmers spent also a few hours showing the kids the animals and how the farm works.
And never laugh at theme ,because they hanging up the cows tail on a overhead wire
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