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  #241  
Old 20.12.2010, 19:14
hoppy
 
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Re: Absolutely disgusted with American politics and the state of living here....

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Um, don't think so. But even if it were so, if everyone jumped off the bridge would you? You can keep going (and I'm sure you will) but it's clear that you lack perspective.
I lack your perspective, but am trying hard to bend my mind round it. I am terrible for never letting anything drop- ask my husband.


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So you've been asked a stupid question in the land of "high document literacy" and so you repeat it as if fact because some one wrote it on the internet?
I thought that it was a commonly recognized term at least amongst people who operate internationally; I've even been asked it by Swiss. It may soon be that some Europeans will wish they were separate entities again looking disdainfully at their European passes.
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  #242  
Old 20.12.2010, 20:20
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Re: Absolutely disgusted with American politics and the state of living here....

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This is very interesting, so when you are new to the country and fill out your tax forms, you are only given the choice of the two 'official' denominations to give money to and the taxes are collected by the State. If you are Muslim ( the number of Muslims are rapidly growing, but probably don't count in statistics because many don't have nationality) then they don't collect for the mosque- only for the official Christian religions.

This tallies well with my husband being asked to check back with me (by the stadtverwaltung while registering the birth of our daughter)) and choose a recognized Swiss name instead of the name he chose. Is that still legal?
Separation of Church and State?
If you are neither Protestant nor Roman-Catholic, you do NOT pay taxes to either of them of course.

The old list of "recognized" names was NOT linked with a church in any way. And even this, at least in Zurich, has long ago been replaced by a kind of index of things NOT allowed
- ridiculous names
- clearly male names for girls and the other way round
- family names of politiicians used as first names --- for example
Blocher Saddam Takriti Sarkozy Müller
- political slogans used as family names
- names likely to cause problems like Osama Bin Laden Weber
etc..................

Back to the taxes. You if being either Protestant or Roman-Catholic can declare your leaving the church in question in a letter to the church. You will get contacted by somebody of the Kirchgemeinde who will try to convince you of the advantages of being a member. But then you can write to the municipality that you have declared your leaving to the church and that you confirmed this to Reverend ..... on the ...date..... . And you no longer will pay church tax
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  #243  
Old 20.12.2010, 20:24
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Re: Absolutely disgusted with American politics and the state of living here....

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I lack your perspective, but am trying hard to bend my mind round it. I am terrible for never letting anything drop- ask my husband.



I thought that it was a commonly recognized term at least amongst people who operate internationally; I've even been asked it by Swiss. It may soon be that some Europeans will wish they were separate entities again looking disdainfully at their European passes.
First of all, no, not really. But second, no full EU member country had a public vote about the EU membership. The only country which had votes about a big number of Bilateral Agreements and approved of these Treaties is Switzerland. Which means that Switzerland in reality is the most pro EU country in all of Europe !
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  #244  
Old 20.12.2010, 20:25
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Re: Absolutely disgusted with American politics and the state of living here....

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A friend of mine grew up in Bulgaria during the communist regime. She talked about how they formed an extended family of sorts, or tribes, to look after each other. In effect, they formed underground subcultures that was particularly anti-government.

It struck me that I grew up similarly in the US. Following the 60s and 70s, there was great distrust of government. There were pigs, capitalists, and the fascist insects who preyed upon the life of the people. There were songs and poems written about it. There was the that type of person, and those in the know were called the hip.

This underground sub-culture and sentiment flourished in California, and in urban centers. It was eventually bought out with 6 figure incomes, stocks, and equity in corporations.

Such communities of people are closer to what I consider America. America isn't simply our government, especially when many of us don't even identify with our governments. Many of us hate our governments, and refuse to be identified with it.

I suppose if one does not really have a community of people in America, then there really isn't anything there for them. But if one does, and this community means something to them, then it is totally worthwhile to go back and reconnect to it. It's this diversity of opinions that still and always make me proud to be American.

Power to the People!
My husband left his native Czechoslovakia when his parents fled the regime in the late 70s, when he was a little boy. Yes, I know there were groups who were subversive, how else could they and their closest friends have managed to escape - separately?

Back in the States, I have a very close group of friends who don't buy into the whole America that I described. But we are a minority, and many thought they were creating change with their votes in the last presidential election, only to be disillusioned. Others have turned to libertarianism, which I wholly disagree with (as it puts the burden of surviving on each individual, instead of working towards having basic survival of all people as the main goal).

I remember the communities of the hip, I was born in the 60s and saw them from a distance until they mostly fell prey to the almighty dollar and conformity.

Despite having a strong community in the US, I still don't feel a need to return there.

Power to the people? Only those in power have power, which of course we know corrupts.
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  #245  
Old 20.12.2010, 20:34
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Re: Absolutely disgusted with American politics and the state of living here....

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Personally I think the American Dream is still true and still holds, but modern society has confused it with entitlement.

Eitherway the "Swiss Dream" is valid as well, but personally if I grew up 100% into it, I would be very depressed as an adult, and would feel like less of a contributor to society, rather a cog on wheel. But that's really good for some.
The American Dream is alive for those fortunate enough to be born into it, who have the benefit of a good education, and who have someone--anyone--close enough to them to be an example. Immigrants need not apply--unless you're coming with money. Between health care and housing, you'll never make enough money; and too many Americans are wiling to pay you virtually nothing off the books to ensure you'll never get anywhere.

And in the meantime, Americans getting rich off your tired backs are vilifying you for digging into benefits--like emergency healthcare--because you can't afford health insurance.

I am so happy we came to Switzerland. No, it's not like the US or any other country for that matter. There are rules, the society can be difficult to integrate into (gee, maybe try learning the language, for one), the shops aren't open on Sundays, the assortment of merchandise is not what you're used to, privacy seems not to exist sometimes, but in Switzerland I can finally live without cognitive dissonance because I know that the extra money I am charged in the market actually goes to subsidize a farmer or the extra money I pay in the shop goes to pay the clerk a living wage. I don't see beggars on the street like I do in the States. I am only too happy to pay taxes here, where they actually know how to use the money efficiently.

For an American perspective on Swiss life contrasted with American life, you can look at my blog www.adayinthelifeofpamela.blogspot.com. I have a few entries which talk about the differences, which for the most part, I highly value and I am really grateful that my 4 year old has grown up here in this society which has similar values to what I teach in my home.
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  #246  
Old 20.12.2010, 20:59
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Re: Absolutely disgusted with American politics and the state of living here....

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The American Dream is alive for those fortunate enough to be born into it, who have the benefit of a good education, and who have someone--anyone--close enough to them to be an example. Immigrants need not apply--unless you're coming with money. Between health care and housing, you'll never make enough money; and too many Americans are wiling to pay you virtually nothing off the books to ensure you'll never get anywhere.

And in the meantime, Americans getting rich off your tired backs are vilifying you for digging into benefits--like emergency healthcare--because you can't afford health insurance.

I am so happy we came to Switzerland. No, it's not like the US or any other country for that matter. There are rules, the society can be difficult to integrate into (gee, maybe try learning the language, for one), the shops aren't open on Sundays, the assortment of merchandise is not what you're used to, privacy seems not to exist sometimes, but in Switzerland I can finally live without cognitive dissonance because I know that the extra money I am charged in the market actually goes to subsidize a farmer or the extra money I pay in the shop goes to pay the clerk a living wage. I don't see beggars on the street like I do in the States. I am only too happy to pay taxes here, where they actually know how to use the money efficiently.

For an American perspective on Swiss life contrasted with American life, you can look at my blog www.adayinthelifeofpamela.blogspot.com. I have a few entries which talk about the differences, which for the most part, I highly value and I am really grateful that my 4 year old has grown up here in this society which has similar values to what I teach in my home.
You have no clue what the American dream is all about do ya? It's still alive and kicking for everybody...it's about fighting for what you believe, it's about self-actualization, it's about realizing your dreams and achieve whatever you want...something you cannot do in Switzerland because society and its infrastructure is so damn limited. America is also built on extremes...it's the survival of the fittest whilst getting compensated for what you've worked hard for.
Also, if you believe that there are no immigrants here braking their back and at the same time get underpaid...go to any retail storage facility..any construction site...this nation, since the 50s exploited foreign workforce and it has built itself up (literally) on the backs of these poor economical refugees.
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  #247  
Old 20.12.2010, 21:04
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Re: Absolutely disgusted with American politics and the state of living here....

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There are two "official" denominations in Switzerland, the Protestant Church and the Roman Catholic church. If you are member of either, you pay church-taxes via the state, which however go directly to the church administration. The other Christian denominations and other religions are "private" which means that they have to organise their financing by private methods. But your religion has nothing to do with politics or the economy, and people do not really care. There is no "Swiss Islamic Organisation" but various Muslim communities, usually along ethnic lines.
I suppose, like most things here in CH, it changes from K/Canton to K/C. In NE there are 4 official denomination, Jewish and Christian Catholic, which is akin to Anglicanism as well as Protestant and Catholic.
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  #248  
Old 20.12.2010, 21:20
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Re: Absolutely disgusted with American politics and the state of living here....

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You have no clue what the American dream is all about do ya? It's still alive and kicking for everybody...it's about fighting for what you believe, it's about self-actualization, it's about realizing your dreams and achieve whatever you want...something you cannot do in Switzerland because society and its infrastructure is so damn limited. America is also built on extremes...it's the survival of the fittest whilst getting compensated for what you've worked hard for.
Also, if you believe that there are no immigrants here braking their back and at the same time get underpaid...go to any retail storage facility..any construction site...this nation, since the 50s exploited foreign workforce and it has built itself up (literally) on the backs of these poor economical refugees.
I do actually have some clue as I am a first generation American, born to an Eastern European immigrant family. What I can tell you or anyone who wants to know is that America today is absolutely not what it was 50 years ago. The far right would absolutely love you to believe that with a little elbow grease and grunting it out you too can make it, and those who don't simply aren't trying hard enough. Making it with just hard work, as my family did,is now nearly impossible, mostly because minimum wage is not a living wage anywhere in the States--period. These folks can kick and fight and work hard all they'd like. And when they do, some of them don't even get paid. Have you ever heard of wage theft? Rampant, especially in the construction industry.

I never said that Switzerland was anything like the USA, nor did I say that people came here in order to realize dreams. I certainly didn't come here to make it big. I came here to have a decent job with a good quality of life, to experience something new, and to give my daughter a chance at learning another language and culture for her future. I came to escape the rampant consumerism that has America gripped by the you-know--whats.

I am saddened to hear that retail storage facilities and construction sites in Switzerland are exploiting immigrants and would love to hear from you and/or other posters about this topic. How specifically are workers exploited? It was my impression that wages here are higher than other parts of Europe and so that is why they come. With that said I know nothing about this part of life in Switzerland and don't claim to. What I do know is that life in the USA for immigrants can be incredibly difficult despite their work ethic, and the way they are painted in the conservative press is disgusting, and is fueled by the thought that success is somehow up to the individual and is the sole factor of success, independent of any other social factors.
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  #249  
Old 20.12.2010, 21:21
hoppy
 
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Re: Absolutely disgusted with American politics and the state of living here....

I just spoke to some people in the village. It sees that life is changing slightly, a little more culturally diverse and the right people are taking the reins of power, which is great. It was funny to catch up on the local politics, still the same people doing most of the work. The people I spoke to are incredibly nice and helpful, even though I interrupted abendessen for all of them. They know me well, are straight talking so I can't BS them, which I like. It always reminded me of Trumpton Town and still does.

I was a victim of racism in Switzerland, I could take it for me but not for my chidren to grow up accepting that they were in Swiss eyes unequal.
As readers can tell I am very bitter about it.
Perhaps If I had suffered the same racism in the US (and of course racism exists here too) then I would feel as bitter about the US.

I was also bitter about wage theft, to get wage rise we would have to threaten to leave. The audacity of trying topromote a 2 year college technician to manage a PhD who was bringing most of the money into the department, excused by his army rank and Swiss connections. Did they really think we were that gullible? in the end we got sick of the game, left and the department more or less collapsed. We were then blamed with being cheats, for not showing our full hand of job offers elsewhere. We didn't uproot our children lightly on a whim, we did take a gamble and for us the American dream paid off. We had never felt so appreciated and respected. How long that dream wil exist I don't know, but the US has been kind to us and we owe it back in return.

I, too, sometimes feel betrayed by Obama, but the I consider the ways in which Republicans are vociferous to block much of what Democrats is trying to do. One example is that Obama's judges are being blocked at an historic rate. The last thing to make me really physically sick was this:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/1..._n_798382.html

However the biggest problem perhaps was the language barrier. Language is power, I was unable to engage intellectually and express myself at a level where I felt comfortable. When I left search engines were pretty achaic, there was no English Forum. I am sure that being wired would have made things much easier.

So tonight will be the lunar eclipse and for those watching will all be reminded of what a small place and how fragile the Earth is, except perhaps the 40% of Americans who still believe in creationism and God's plan for the world.

Last edited by hoppy; 20.12.2010 at 21:33.
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  #250  
Old 20.12.2010, 21:23
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Re: Absolutely disgusted with American politics and the state of living here....

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You have no clue what the American dream is all about do ya? It's still alive and kicking for everybody...it's about fighting for what you believe, it's about self-actualization, it's about realizing your dreams and achieve whatever you want...something you cannot do in Switzerland because society and its infrastructure is so damn limited. America is also built on extremes...it's the survival of the fittest whilst getting compensated for what you've worked hard for.
Also, if you believe that there are no immigrants here braking their back and at the same time get underpaid...go to any retail storage facility..any construction site...this nation, since the 50s exploited foreign workforce and it has built itself up (literally) on the backs of these poor economical refugees.

And *every* country has the immigrant work force. While visiting Prague with a friend who was living there teaching English in 2002, there were Ukrainians working in Prague for next to nothing because the Czech Republic was a step up from the Ukraine. They were able to "send money home" on 2002 off-the-books Czech wages. It's all relative!
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  #251  
Old 20.12.2010, 21:39
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Re: Absolutely disgusted with American politics and the state of living here....

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You have no clue what the American dream is all about do ya? It's still alive and kicking for everybody...it's about fighting for what you believe, it's about self-actualization, it's about realizing your dreams and achieve whatever you want...something you cannot do in Switzerland because society and its infrastructure is so damn limited. America is also built on extremes...it's the survival of the fittest whilst getting compensated for what you've worked hard for.
Also, if you believe that there are no immigrants here braking their back and at the same time get underpaid...go to any retail storage facility..any construction site...this nation, since the 50s exploited foreign workforce and it has built itself up (literally) on the backs of these poor economical refugees.
BS : I made my apprentice ship in the 50s.Italians came hier claiming "I AM A XXXXXXX" and got paid as such .
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  #252  
Old 20.12.2010, 21:47
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Re: Absolutely disgusted with American politics and the state of living here....

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BS : I made my apprentice ship in the 50s.Italians came hier claiming "I AM A XXXXXXX" and got paid as such .
Sometimes it's simply a matter of jobs that are less appealing to natives. This seems to be true in construction in most countries. So it's not so much taking advantage as it is just the way it is.
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  #253  
Old 20.12.2010, 21:48
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Re: Absolutely disgusted with American politics and the state of living here....

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BS : I made my apprentice ship in the 50s.Italians came hier claiming "I AM A XXXXXXX" and got paid as such .
I thought that you were in Canada? Everyone here knows that the US would collapse if it wasn't for immigrant labour, as would Switzerland have done without the immigrant day workers. The difference is that in the US a large majority get citizenship (or did) whereas Switzerland will send them back and block path to citizenship.
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Old 20.12.2010, 21:56
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Re: Absolutely disgusted with American politics and the state of living here....

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I thought that you were in Canada? Everyone here knows that the US would collapse if it wasn't for immigrant labour, as would Switzerland have done without the immigrant day workers. The difference is that in the US a large majority get citizenship (or did) whereas Switzerland will send them back and block path to citizenship.
Did I said any different ??. I am talking about wages .And yes I am in Canada
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Old 20.12.2010, 21:59
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Re: Absolutely disgusted with American politics and the state of living here....

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BS : I made my apprentice ship in the 50s.Italians came hier claiming "I AM A XXXXXXX" and got paid as such .
Please explain?
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Old 20.12.2010, 22:04
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The American Dream is alive for those fortunate enough to be born into it, who have the benefit of a good education, and who have someone--anyone--close enough to them to be an example. Immigrants need not apply--unless you're coming with money. Between health care and housing, you'll never make enough money; and too many Americans are wiling to pay you virtually nothing off the books to ensure you'll never get anywhere.
I differ in my opinion, based on first hand experience. Americans who were born with the blessings have typically been lazy and uninspired. It's the ambition-driven immigrants who have been able to capitalize on the American dream.


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Everyone here knows that the US would collapse if it wasn't for immigrant labour, as would Switzerland have done without the immigrant day workers.
It isn't just labor they bring in, but also entrepreneurship.

I have seen many Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese families who in the first generation, worked so hard that they have overtaken the majority of Americans in education, social status and wealth. Now, I'm seeing Mexican families doing the same with more frequency. For many places in the world, America is still the land of opportunity. The smart ones who can perform know that they can do things in the USA that they can't do in their homeland. They come to America with the understanding that the locals are basically just squandering away their opportunities. Their intent, from day 1, is business. Many have become wildly successful.

This rarely happens here. Ambition is not well met here, in fact, it is discouraged and even ridiculed.
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Old 20.12.2010, 22:07
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Re: Absolutely disgusted with American politics and the state of living here....

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I lack your perspective, but am trying hard to bend my mind round it. I am terrible for never letting anything drop- ask my husband.
No, you lack any at all really. Oh, I already knew you'd never give up. Keep going. I'm sure he'll say you are never wrong either.
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Old 20.12.2010, 22:20
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Re: Absolutely disgusted with American politics and the state of living here....

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My husband left his native Czechoslovakia when his parents fled the regime in the late 70s, when he was a little boy. Yes, I know there were groups who were subversive, how else could they and their closest friends have managed to escape - separately?

Back in the States, I have a very close group of friends who don't buy into the whole America that I described. But we are a minority, and many thought they were creating change with their votes in the last presidential election, only to be disillusioned. Others have turned to libertarianism, which I wholly disagree with (as it puts the burden of surviving on each individual, instead of working towards having basic survival of all people as the main goal).

I remember the communities of the hip, I was born in the 60s and saw them from a distance until they mostly fell prey to the almighty dollar and conformity.

Despite having a strong community in the US, I still don't feel a need to return there.

Power to the people? Only those in power have power, which of course we know corrupts.
How much older are you, then your husband
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Old 20.12.2010, 22:23
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Re: Absolutely disgusted with American politics and the state of living here....

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I differ in my opinion, based on first hand experience. Americans who were born with the blessings have typically been lazy and uninspired. It's the ambition-driven immigrants who have been able to capitalize on the American dream.




It isn't just labor they bring in, but also entrepreneurship.

I have seen many Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese families who in the first generation, worked so hard that they have overtaken the majority of Americans in education, social status and wealth. Now, I'm seeing Mexican families doing the same with more frequency. For many places in the world, America is still the land of opportunity. The smart ones who can perform know that they can do things in the USA that they can't do in their homeland. They come to America with the understanding that the locals are basically just squandering away their opportunities. Their intent, from day 1, is business. Many have become wildly successful.

This rarely happens here. Ambition is not well met here, in fact, it is discouraged and even ridiculed.
As long as they pay back to the society from which they feed and respect the opportunity afforded them then all is well. I have found it hard to eradicate the negative concept of aufstanden in my children, they are very Swiss in this way, they never blow their own trumpet, if anything they pay down their talents. They and my husband are just learning that they mist show ambition, they must sell themselves to succeed, they can do it-like an act but cringe at the thought of it. In the US the competition is much more overt, in Switzerland the competition plays a closed hand which we learned to do also! Opportunity coupled with sense of confidence can be so inspiring it enables you to achieve what you never thought possible, you learn to set your own expectations and not accept the limitations others put on you.
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Old 20.12.2010, 22:26
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How much older are you, then your husband
That's kind of rude to ask that. Just for the record, all my sisters and many friends are older than their partners, my son has always sought out older women.
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