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Old 07.05.2012, 07:53
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Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

Have been reading this book about Switzerland and it said that getting to know the Swiss is just as hard as breaking through a coconut's outer shell. It further said "In contrast to cautious coconuts, societies in the English-speaking world are all peaches... where every stranger is a potential friend." Based on my experiences so far over here, I find this somewhat true. Anyone else have this same impression?
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Old 07.05.2012, 08:14
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

It's funny to read this post because my husband and I just heard that same comparison last week. We have been here two months, and his company provided us with two days of cultural training. The trainer used the very same analogy and says that in her experience (here for 7 years), it is absolutely true. Of course, for us, it's too soon to say with any conviction.
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Old 07.05.2012, 08:23
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

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Have been reading this book about Switzerland and it said that getting to know the Swiss is just as hard as breaking through a coconut's outer shell. It further said "In contrast to cautious coconuts, societies in the English-speaking world are all peaches... where every stranger is a potential friend." Based on my experiences so far over here, I find this somewhat true. Anyone else have this same impression?
With the only difference, that I find the Swiss just as superficial as other people. Which makes them superficial coconuts I suppose.
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Old 07.05.2012, 08:42
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

Most of the locals would not even say hello to me untill about a year passed. Some still don't say hello. There are articles about how racist SUI is from Amnesty International and other such organisations. One of the major political parties SVP is hugely racist and has in the past dissplayed racist advertising (foreigners taking our jobs and committing crimes etc).

That's one side of the equasion. The other side is that we are the outsiders and as such it is our job to fit in to the Swiss culture and way of thinking etc. And I must admit that within reason this is true. People who plan to stay for years should learn the language or at least try to. Foreigners who try to speak german or Swiss german are forgiven for making errors of grammar in my experience (unlike France hehe).

The Swiss children have to go to the local school you see. It's that or go to the expensive private school. And most swiss, even the wealthy ones put their kids in the public school system, not private. So as a result of this the families try to stay in the same location so the kids can keep their friends, their connections and therefore their stability in life. So many of the Swiss have friends that they have known for many years. And also most of the locals know each other and can identify new comers and outsiders easily. Trust is not given quickly to new comers.

I don't mind this at all. It reduces crime and maintains in my belief more trust and better behaviour through social pressure.

If you can get over these issues then once the coconut is cracked life will change and you will most likely have valuable and fruitfull relationships with the Swiss. Added to this the amount of expats that work here and you have a great place to mix with both the locals and the English speakers.
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Old 07.05.2012, 08:59
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

Not sure about this and I think, as always anywhere you live, it depends on the people. We lived for 3 years in a tiny Swiss family-owned village in the Lauvaux where their business was wine making. Three generations of the family lived there. We were the only ex-pats. The elder generation liked us and every day when the elderly man was walking his dog I would talk in broken french to him and we sparked to see each other. Now, on the other hand his son did not like us but was cordial. The younger generation always talked to us and showed us around the winery, the vats, how they make wine, tastings.....

We live around ex-pats now that we moved. But I can't say it is any better or worse, because we've already gotten complaints after a month....

For the most part, I like Swiss people. I think they are like anywhere else, and you just have to find out the nuances of the culture.
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Old 07.05.2012, 10:00
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

I went after some at the weekend with a machete and a straw, but they all looked at me as if I was weird, before running away. Not one smile.

The Swiss are so unfriendly.
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Old 07.05.2012, 10:04
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

Maxwell Edison majoring in medicine...

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Old 07.05.2012, 10:04
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

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I went after some at the weekend with a machete and a straw, but they all looked at me as if I was weird, before running away. Not one smile.

The Swiss are so unfriendly.
Remember to swiftly strike down with the 'blunt edge' of the machete...... this is a common mistake where people often use the sharp edge leaving the machete wedged inside the hard exterior.

The force of the blunt edge should be enough to crack a Swiss coconut.

Hope this helps.
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Old 07.05.2012, 10:05
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

Pay them two rounds, tell them how wonderful Switzerland is and how you appreciate the Swiss way of thinking and they'll love you für immer und ewig.

And for those that are still suspicious, throw in a joke about the Germans. That will win them over for sure.
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Old 07.05.2012, 10:21
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

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Have been reading this book about Switzerland and it said that getting to know the Swiss is just as hard as breaking through a coconut's outer shell. It further said "In contrast to cautious coconuts, societies in the English-speaking world are all peaches... where every stranger is a potential friend." Based on my experiences so far over here, I find this somewhat true. Anyone else have this same impression?
Don't worry, you will be assimilated soon enough
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Old 07.05.2012, 10:47
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

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Most of the locals would not even say hello to me untill about a year passed. Some still don't say hello.... The other side is that we are the outsiders and as such it is our job to fit in to the Swiss culture and way of thinking etc.
Well, German is just one big part of the problem. I do intend to stay here for a couple of years but learning to be conversant in German takes a while. I do understand that I have to learn about their culture and way of thinking but with this mentality, seems its going to take a looooooooong time. For example, i have been living here for almost two years but I still don't know anything about my neighbors.

It's nice to know some people share the same opinion though.
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Old 07.05.2012, 11:36
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

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Not sure about this and I think, as always anywhere you live, it depends on the people. We lived for 3 years in a tiny Swiss family-owned village in the Lauvaux where their business was wine making. Three generations of the family lived there. We were the only ex-pats. The elder generation liked us and every day when the elderly man was walking his dog I would talk in broken french to him and we sparked to see each other. Now, on the other hand his son did not like us but was cordial. The younger generation always talked to us and showed us around the winery, the vats, how they make wine, tastings.....

We live around ex-pats now that we moved. But I can't say it is any better or worse, because we've already gotten complaints after a month....

For the most part, I like Swiss people. I think they are like anywhere else, and you just have to find out the nuances of the culture.

Your mention of the three generations is interesting. My father in law reckons there is an age range of less tolerant people in Switzerland, between the ages of about 40 and 60. Older people and pensioners seem happy to talk to anyone, as with the younger crowd, but this middle group seem to be the most distrusting and unhappy with outsiders with reactions ranging from cold civility to outright disdain. This is a view from a conversation between my wife and her dad, both of whom are Swiss (so I can claim this isn't an outsider's perspective!).
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Old 07.05.2012, 11:45
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

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Have been reading this book about Switzerland and it said that getting to know the Swiss is just as hard as breaking through a coconut's outer shell. It further said "In contrast to cautious coconuts, societies in the English-speaking world are all peaches... where every stranger is a potential friend." Based on my experiences so far over here, I find this somewhat true. Anyone else have this same impression?
Do you want to crack my coconuts?
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Old 07.05.2012, 12:38
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

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Well, German is just one big part of the problem. I do intend to stay here for a couple of years but learning to be conversant in German takes a while. I do understand that I have to learn about their culture and way of thinking but with this mentality, seems its going to take a looooooooong time. For example, i have been living here for almost two years but I still don't know anything about my neighbors.

It's nice to know some people share the same opinion though.
it depends entirely on the individual, much as with anything else. I come across people with whom I will always be just another shitty American regardless of how much I try with German, Swiss German or any other language, just as I come across people who treat Americans far better than they would a "Zuercher".

if you adjust for the fact that very few Swiss are fluent in day-to-day, relaxed and nuanced American English (despite what they might think), just as very few Americans ever get fluent in day-to-day, relaxed and nuanced Swiss German (also despite what they might think), I have not found developing friendships any different in Zurich than I have anywhere else I have lived. in fact, my own experience here has been much like the experiences of the expats I have come across back in the States whose native language is not English - those expats are constantly wondering why us State-side midwesterners are so passive-aggressive, private and uptight.
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Old 07.05.2012, 12:50
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

It's a very interesting nation. I can imagine that being a small nation surrounded by three large countires, they had to adapt and be very protectionist. I know a lot of Swiss people who are really friendly and open; however, never meet their spouses or children. I guess Gruezi in the morning is as far as we can get.
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Old 07.05.2012, 12:59
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

Absolutely! I lived in Amsterdam for 6yrs and most of my friends were and still are Dutch. This is my 6th year in Switzerland and I do not have a single Swiss friend...I'm sure I could try harder, join clubs, etc...but they really are an insular species who tend not to extend beyond the familiar.
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Old 07.05.2012, 13:10
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

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I went after some at the weekend with a machete and a straw, but they all looked at me as if I was weird, before running away. Not one smile.

The Swiss are so unfriendly.
You are doing it all wrong. Only yesterday I cracked open two coconuts. I use the hammer and bowl approach. Grab the coconut so it can't run away. Whack it hard with the hammer couple of times and place the bowl underneath. Then just wait and watch all the friendly juices flow into the bowl.

Civilized foreigners use hammer and not 3rd world machete approach
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Old 07.05.2012, 13:10
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

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Pay them two rounds, tell them how wonderful Switzerland is and how you appreciate the Swiss way of thinking and they'll love you für immer und ewig.
Then notice how they dont get in touch with you for about a year and when they do, they remember to buy you one beer then go home early.... and this only if they actually quite like you!

edit: yes, an exaggeration with a bit of truth in it.

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Old 07.05.2012, 14:06
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

You need eye contact, (with a sharp implement).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n2UyVEm4Osg
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Old 07.05.2012, 14:17
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Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

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You need eye contact, (with a sharp implement).

The eye thing is cool and I have been cracking them for ages. Don't like the oven technique though. I will adopt the eye thing for the juice but stick with my hammer technique for cracking it.

I don't know why he took the skin off though. I like eating it all.
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