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  #101  
Old 25.05.2011, 13:54
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

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I am not mad at the culture. I just really don't like confrontation.

I was actually very excited about the move. I was very excited about coming here and learning the language and blending...I am not an introvert, so staying home isn't something I am used to doing...but I am very pregnant and a bit tired (ok, a lot) and have been home alone with 3 kids all day long for 2 weeks while my husband has been traveling and just didn't need to be yelled (spoken loudly too) that day and it is clouding my opinion of everything at the moment. And yes, I am probably being overdramatic and I should just relax and let it go and move on and never check this thread again as forgetting is a fabulous first step.
Abbie, what you are going through is so normal. Seriously. Husband gone. Kids demanding. Culture new. Language new. Loneliness starts creeping in. Insecurity starts grabbing hold. That damn little negative devil on your shoulder starts talking more and more....

Welcome to EF. By posting your thoughts and perhaps creating on-line friendships, we can be of help. Many people are going through what you are. You are not alone!!!!
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  #102  
Old 25.05.2011, 13:58
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

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I am not mad at the culture. I just really don't like confrontation.

I was actually very excited about the move. I was very excited about coming here and learning the language and blending...I am not an introvert, so staying home isn't something I am used to doing...but I am very pregnant and a bit tired (ok, a lot) and have been home alone with 3 kids all day long for 2 weeks while my husband has been traveling and just didn't need to be yelled (spoken loudly too) that day and it is clouding my opinion of everything at the moment. And yes, I am probably being overdramatic and I should just relax and let it go and move on and never check this thread again as forgetting is a fabulous first step.
Ah, I forgot about the pregnancy - all understandable now. You know, you could get away with going nuts at people that give you grief and get it all out of your system. Worked for me.
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  #103  
Old 25.05.2011, 14:17
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

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You've now officially become Swiss Nicola, you blame it on the foreigners. Works very well in Zürich too, where a minority are actually born in Zürich.
splutter ... what I actually meant was just how much I value the huge influx of visitors and tourists, for the rich diversity of culture that they bring to the city
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  #104  
Old 25.05.2011, 14:22
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

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I am not mad at the culture. I just really don't like confrontation.
I think your first statement says it all Abbie. And who does like confrontation? I know we are always being told to turn a blind eye, etc etc, but sometimes, when our own resistence is low (for whatever reason), it is not always easy to do that. And, as much as I hate to say this, this will not be an isolated incident.

I am not trying to sound negative, simply realistic. And, when you are more settled and your life has got back into some semblance of a normal routine, I am sure that you will much more easily be able to shrug off such incidents. Wishing you all luck!

Last edited by NSchulzi; 25.05.2011 at 14:32. Reason: oops
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  #105  
Old 25.05.2011, 14:34
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

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I think your first statement says it all Abbie. And who does like confrontation? I know we are always being told to turn a blind eye, etc etc, but sometimes, when our own resistence is low (for whatever reason), it is not always easy to do that. And, as much as I hate to say this, this will not be an isolated incident.

I am not trying to sound negative, simply realistic. And, when you are more settled and your life has got back into some semblance of a normal routine, I am sure that you will be much more easily be able to shrug off such incidents. Wishing you all luck!
Good point imho, it's certainly true that in CH you will often meet people who tell you off for things they think you do wrong, social enforcement of unwritten laws so to say.. If you disagree you should try to argue your point and explain it.. difficult if you don't like confrontation, but I hope once you regain your energy and you have a cute little one with you you'll eventually manage these situations much better!
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  #106  
Old 25.05.2011, 14:34
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

So well put Nicolaschulz..and good luck to you Abbie.It can only get
better with time and once the baby is born.You are in my thoughts.Be
blessed.xxx
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  #107  
Old 25.05.2011, 14:41
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

One thing that I struggle to understand is the immediate aggressive tone in someone's voice (here in Switzerland) when they're in disagreement. For me, this is still a part of the culture shock which I heavily object with.
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  #108  
Old 25.05.2011, 14:45
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

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One thing that I struggle to understand is the immediate aggressive tone in someone's voice (here in Switzerland) when they're in disagreement. For me, this is still a part of the culture shock which I heavily object with.
Indeed, and I think it is this element that was particularly shocking to Abbie.
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  #109  
Old 25.05.2011, 15:09
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

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One thing that I struggle to understand is the immediate aggressive tone in someone's voice (here in Switzerland) when they're in disagreement. For me, this is still a part of the culture shock which I heavily object with.
That reminds me of a time when I was on holiday in Corfu and there was, what looked to me, two locals squaring up to each other to fight. The tone sounded aggressive and pretty ugly, until the other one clapped him on the arm and started guffawing with laughter.

The conversation continued in the same tone and they were still standing what I would class as confrontationally close but occasionally one or the other would laugh out loud.

Sometimes what seems aggressive and threatening at first glance, if you don't know the lingo or the culture can actually be perfectly normal.
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  #110  
Old 25.05.2011, 15:12
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

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One thing that I struggle to understand is the immediate aggressive tone in someone's voice (here in Switzerland) when they're in disagreement. For me, this is still a part of the culture shock which I heavily object with.
you have to look at it from the other's perspective, as well: it may be equally frustrating to the other person if he thinks there's a problem but has the feeling that you don't understand him. Perhaps some of what you perceive to be aggressive behavior is just the other guy's frustration.
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  #111  
Old 25.05.2011, 15:12
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

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you have to look at it from the other's perspective, as well: it may be equally frustrating to the other person if he thinks there's a problem but has the feeling that you don't understand him. Perhaps some of what you perceive to be aggressive behavior is just the other guy's frustration.
...yeah but if you speak the lingo, and you still feel that way, then IMO, it's the culture that is shaped this way.


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That reminds me of a time when I was on holiday in Corfu and there was, what looked to me, two locals squaring up to each other to fight. The tone sounded aggressive and pretty ugly, until the other one clapped him on the arm and started guffawing with laughter.

The conversation continued in the same tone and they were still standing what I would class as confrontationally close but occasionally one or the other would laugh out loud.

Sometimes what seems aggressive and threatening at first glance, if you don't know the lingo or the culture can actually be perfectly normal.
Yes, certainly and I know exactly what you mean...but I do know the lingo and the culture here...it's just, that a lot of people seem to be socially inept on some level...even when dealing with the most banal things.
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  #112  
Old 25.05.2011, 15:15
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

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Yes, certainly and I know exactly what you mean...but I do know the lingo and the culture here...it's just, that a lot of people seem to be socially inept on some level...even when dealing with the most banal things.
When sometimes a Post-it note just isn't enough...
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  #113  
Old 25.05.2011, 15:18
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

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I have Le Shop and it makes me nervous to drive here...people with tiny cars seem to drive in the middle of the road...and only like 1 in 5 cars knows what to do at a cross-intersection with no traffic signals.
Im really sure you mean well Abbie, and I mean that honestly, and I say this hopefully in a way that isnt offensive, but maybe you are slightly culturally insensitive as a result of not having spent much time here yet and not yet growing accustomed to the norms which tend to prevail from place to place.

I am happy to hear that you are planning to take some language courses. I have been here quite a long time now, and while I am very far from fluent, I can at least get by and this will be very helpful in determining whether the people you meet are trying to help or being impolite... not always as easy to determine as you might think from listening to the voice alone.

I would like to point out that one of the differences between road rules in the UK where I come from and here is that sometimes at intersections, in Switzerland the branch road feeding in from the right can actually have right of way whereas in the UK it would not. Having also driven here for some time and now knowing how it should be, I would say there is some small chance that in this case you might be the 1 in the 5

Because I did not change over my UK licence soon enough after I arrived here, I was obliged to take a sort of mini swiss driving test. To prepare for this I actually took a few lessons with an instructor and I must say this was really enlightening and useful in learning the differences.... especially as I live in Zurich which is quite a challenging place to drive.

Perhaps this may be something you could also consider... because one area the Swiss are also picky about, is how other people are driving (exemplified by the tooting horn if you do not move off at a green light within microseconds).

For the rest, try not to take it too seriously and even if people initially seem cold... the friendlier you are, the friendlier the response you often get here.

Good luck!
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  #114  
Old 26.05.2011, 16:24
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

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You're expected to turn off the motor, here, when waiting at a train crossing.
Exactly. That was the issue. It was you leaving the motor running. I did something similar for a few minutes but parked legally. I know the UK people tend to leave their motor running but here not. The chances are that the woman wouldn't notice that you're illegally parked or manoeuvred incorrectly.
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  #115  
Old 26.05.2011, 16:49
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

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I agree.

Plus, there is something else that I feel quite strongly about, its about switching off the engine. If I remember correctly, (please correct me if I am not) the swiss voted on this in the late 80's. At the time there was a huge ozone hole above Australia and there was a lot of fuss about car emmisions and how this is causing the ozone layer to reduce. So, like many of my friends, I felt I had to do my bit for the enviroment, and voted yes at those proposals. I think one of them was also to reduce the speed limit on the motorways to 120 from 130. And also to switch off the engines at train crossings and red lights (from the second car). I felt proud to be doing my bit for the planet.
So.... six months later, we visited Austrailia on our honeymoon. Went on a day out to one of the beaches from our camping place and were picked up by a coach. Because he was picking up other people too, and their boat hadn't yet come in, we sat in this coach for more than one hour with the engine running! I couldn't believe it, and when I asked him why, he said that it was for the aircon, and he didn't like to get too hot.

I felt miffed that we were doing our bit for "their" ozone hole when they weren't doing much about it, and felt that we had been misguided to say the least. Yes, it might look like the laws here in switzerland are stupid, but many of them were brought in for the honourable reasons.
Actually you're mixing up CFCs from aerosols and car emissions. Two different issues - car emissions have nothing to do with the high altitude ozone loss. However they do increase ground level ozone which is not a good thing.

The speed limit reduction was basically about reducing fuel consumption and therefore reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing ground level polution (including reducing ozone levels).
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  #116  
Old 26.05.2011, 17:00
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

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Drivers are actually very good here, better than in the States. Please try to get out more or you might be finding yourself very isolated, and ultimately, becoming depressed.
They may be better "technically" and in dealing with narrow cities and trams and buses etc, but the US drivers are better if driving long distances, and are far more tolerant by average, so that it is balanced out.
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  #117  
Old 31.05.2011, 21:35
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

I live far from Vaud & one thing I've learned is that culture varies greatly here.
I am American & was always appalled north of Toronto that people polluted air with stinky diesel cars idling. There is no source of ventilation so fumes linger in the air whether cigarette or car fumes. That being said, we kept our car idling in Germany the other day because of it being unbearalby hot without ac & trying to figure out where to go. I expected someone to tell us something but they didn't.

That being said I find the Swiss in my area super-rude. They are anxious to tell how much they dislike Americans & how we stupidly bombed them in WWII. We bombed them because they were selling arms to the Nazis, etc according to their own historians. I personally think the Swiss here are depressed.

My problem is that they throw loud parties late;have their kids screaming bloody murder all day so I can't think straight & we are to accept it.
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  #118  
Old 18.06.2012, 18:27
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

I'm an American expat living in Zug (for the past 7 months) and just had the most unpleasant & frustrating (to say the least) experience at the local gym today. As a regular at the gym, I was minding my own business have a nice morning workout on the elliptical machine when a very rude Swiss woman came up to me and started waving a paper towel around next to me, as if she wanted me to take it. I politely took off my headphones and asked her if she spoke English, which she did. She then proceeded to tell me that I needed to take the paper towel and blow my nose with it. I told her "thanks, but no thanks" and that I didn't need to blow my nose, and even if I did I wasn't going to use a paper towel from her. She then became VERY pushy and rude and told me that I needed to because I was bothering her and everyone else around me because I was sniffling. (Kind of funny since all of the men around me had head phones on). I had noticed her staring at me (which is nothing new in Switzerland) throughout my entire workout, but just ignored it. She refused to leave me alone so I actually left and went into the locker room to get away from her. I have never in my life been treated with so much disrespect by a complete stranger. I know that I should just laugh and get over it, but I just cannot believe that someone could act like this. Unfortunately I was in such shock by her behavior that I didn't have a chance to respond the way I would have liked to. With any luck I'll see her again tomorrow morning...now that I've collected all of my thoughts
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  #119  
Old 18.06.2012, 18:39
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

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I'm an American expat living in Zug (for the past 7 months) and just had the most unpleasant & frustrating (to say the least) experience at the local gym today. As a regular at the gym, I was minding my own business have a nice morning workout on the elliptical machine when a very rude Swiss woman came up to me and started waving a paper towel around next to me, as if she wanted me to take it. I politely took off my headphones and asked her if she spoke English, which she did. She then proceeded to tell me that I needed to take the paper towel and blow my nose with it. I told her "thanks, but no thanks" and that I didn't need to blow my nose, and even if I did I wasn't going to use a paper towel from her. She then became VERY pushy and rude and told me that I needed to because I was bothering her and everyone else around me because I was sniffling. (Kind of funny since all of the men around me had head phones on). I had noticed her staring at me (which is nothing new in Switzerland) throughout my entire workout, but just ignored it. She refused to leave me alone so I actually left and went into the locker room to get away from her. I have never in my life been treated with so much disrespect by a complete stranger. I know that I should just laugh and get over it, but I just cannot believe that someone could act like this. Unfortunately I was in such shock by her behavior that I didn't have a chance to respond the way I would have liked to. With any luck I'll see her again tomorrow morning...now that I've collected all of my thoughts
Missed a trick here. I would of either blown my nose as hard as i could into the tissue and handed it back to her...

or

Wiped the sweat from brow and neck etc and handed it back to her....

Ater either of the above, without letting her comment, I would forcefully say, "how wonderful that people are paid to bring tissues to people in the gym here in Switzerland....thank you and BYE" and completely switched off from her as if she wasnt there.


But, sniffles are annoying. I hate it on trains, trams etc when people are sniffing. But I think anywhere it is allowed is perhaps the gym, where all sorts of grunts, groans, straings and sigh are being flown about amongst the sweat, blood and tears.
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Old 18.06.2012, 18:48
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Re: So, is sometimes the "Swiss way" kind of rude?

Thanks so much for your tips, haha. I especially love the first one. I'll have to try that out next time.

I also find the sniffles annoying but I wasn't really even sniffling, which makes it even more funny. Oh well, she must be a bit of a crazy lady!
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