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Old 22.08.2007, 10:24
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Apero for our neighbours

I truly have tried to search the forum to find an answer to this. We moved into our flat 3 weeks ago, we haven't got off to a very good start with our downstairs neighbour - she said that we had destroyed her life! and it has been suggested that we have an apero. Now, my questions are these: what time should it start and end? Should we put notes in mailboxes or under the doors in the block? What night would be best - obviously it won't be a stonking party. What language should I send the invites out in?
Many thanks in advance
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Old 22.08.2007, 10:33
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

hi Zug-bound (or should I say Zug-arrived?), we live in a building with 8 units and got new neighbors a few months ago, who did something similar after they'd settled in. They put a simple sign on the downstairs door saying they'd be having an open-house apero, that all were welcome and they were looking forward to meeting us.

They did theirs on a Sunday afternoon, which I thought was a good idea. Lots of people in our building have kids, and it gives you enough time to go, have a drink and chat, but exit gracefully in time for dinner and the kids' bedtime.
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Old 22.08.2007, 11:00
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

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our downstairs neighbour - she said that we had destroyed her life!
Oh dear, what did you do?

We tried putting a note on the door for a Christmas apero two years ago but only one neighbour came (which made us feel err... really popular My homemade nibbles can't be that bad, I hope). I would suggest going to each apartment personally and inviting them eye to eye (in addition to the note).
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Old 22.08.2007, 11:10
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

Wait. I'm confused. You destroyed your neighbors life? 1) how? and 2) Who suggested the Apero? If you could expand a bit on your story, that would be great.

And can I guess that the woman whose "life you destroyed" is Swiss?

You could either leave a little flyer on everybodies door or perhaps a bigger one on the main door to the flat. Also, put a start time and an end time (say 2 hours), have it translated into German/ as well as English.

Or, go around personally to everyones door aroung 7-8 pmish with a small flyer and invite them personally.
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Old 22.08.2007, 12:02
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

Chemgoddess, I liked your suggestions, but I'm anxious for this not to be reduced to a "them Swiss" issue . Zug_bound and his or her family apparently got off to an unfortunate start at their new place for reasons as yet unknown, but wants to set whatever it is right, regardless of who's to blame, with a get-together.

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And can I guess that the woman whose "life you destroyed" is Swiss?
Disclaimer: I do not know Zug_bound, nor do I know what transgressed over in Zug
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Old 22.08.2007, 12:05
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

well, we allegedly destroyed her life by moving in. We do have a 6 year old and apparently she sounds like a herd of elephants. This woman cornered me in the laundry room and told me she didn't speak very good english. She spoke it like a native (one whose life has been destroyed apparently). I did try to apologise and told her that our carpets would be arriving soon. She said it should only take two weeks from England. I replied that they were coming from Bangkok and she said that that explained everything. Not sure what everything is.......................
We were recommended to have the apero by my husband's employer. He said it would be a good idea to introduce ourselves to everyone following the negative experience with Ms downstairs.
I have never had neighbour trouble before, we are as considerate as we can be bearing in mind we have a virtually empty flat and the floors are uncovered. Maybe we shouldn't wait until our stuff arrives and let the other residents see how we are living?
Anyway, thanks for the advice about the leaflets, I have a feeling that our hauswart would take the notice on the front door down though!
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Old 22.08.2007, 12:18
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

We had a similar situation in the temporary flat we were in. We were subletting while someone was on an extended holiday, and it had been cleared with the landlord that I and our toddler would be visiting my husband on the weekends (he moved here ahead of us). We were sometimes here on a Friday or Monday depending on airline flight availability. This lady even complained when we ran the exhaust fan over the stove while cooking, and the bathroom fan . Some people are more sensitive than others and we found that her expectations were coloured by her past experiences. In this case she had a praxis downstairs and used to actually be the tenant in the flat we were subletting. Hence she was used to *no* noise from upstairs (since she was the only tenant above her praxis) and that was her continued (unrealistic) expectation. This was an older building so I'm sure it was not as soundproof as the newer buildings often are.

I just wanted to say that I sympathise and I applaud your efforts and wish you the best with your apero and relations with the neighbours. All you can do is make an effort and let the neighbours make up their own minds. You are entering in to all of this in the right spirit, and at the end of the day, that's all you can do.
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Old 22.08.2007, 12:22
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

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Maybe we shouldn't wait until our stuff arrives and let the other residents see how we are living?
Definitely wait until you have the flat looking lived in before inviting the neighbours round. They will make judgements about you based on how the flat looks and if it's a bit empty then they could draw some false conclusions.

Otherwise if you make a bit of effort to speak some basic German, wow them with some Thai cooking and ply them with alcohol then an apero could be just what you need to get their acceptance!
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Old 22.08.2007, 12:25
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

Yes, yes. We don't want it to be turned into a "them Swiss" issue. But, after reading lots and lots of complaints and stories on the EF forum I have to say that usually when there is a ridiculous amount of complaining (or telling a new neighbor that they've ruined their life) it does tend to be from the natives.

And yes, it is very commendable that they want to set things right with their neighbors. However, from experience, I've learned that there are some people regardless of the efforts made that things can't set things right with. It sounds like her neighbor has unreasonable expectations, i.e., the noise coming from upstairs should be the same as when no one is up there.

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Chemgoddess, I liked your suggestions, but I'm anxious for this not to be reduced to a "them Swiss" issue . Zug_bound and his or her family apparently got off to an unfortunate start at their new place for reasons as yet unknown, but wants to set whatever it is right, regardless of who's to blame, with a get-together.



Disclaimer: I do not know Zug_bound, nor do I know what transgressed over in Zug
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Old 22.08.2007, 13:05
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

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Yes, yes. We don't want it to be turned into a "them Swiss" issue. But, after reading lots and lots of complaints and stories on the EF forum I have to say that usually when there is a ridiculous amount of complaining (or telling a new neighbor that they've ruined their life) it does tend to be from the natives.

And yes, it is very commendable that they want to set things right with their neighbors. However, from experience, I've learned that there are some people regardless of the efforts made that things can't set things right with. It sounds like her neighbor has unreasonable expectations, i.e., the noise coming from upstairs should be the same as when no one is up there.
It's strange, but I'm usually complaining how loud our SWISS neighbors are to my wife. You'd think that they'd close the local restaurant (which is quite far from the center of town) at 10pm. Heck, even midnight would be better, but we've had to hear drunk patrons over there as late as 2AM on a weeknight. Then there are some other neighbours (in the next buildings, the folks in our building are silent) who've had parties on their balconies or gardens, with one party that had gone on to 5:30am!

I could go on, but this isn't the complaints corner.

However, you might not ever be able to make this neighbor happy. I mean, kids are going to be kids and play. If it's during the day and not late into the evening (and if it's not hour after hour of learning playing some musical instrument), there isn't much this person can do but complain. I suppose one solution is to figure out where your neighbor is spending time during the day and have the child play in an area that is in a different corner of the apartment.
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Old 22.08.2007, 13:36
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

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However, you might not ever be able to make this neighbor happy. I mean, kids are going to be kids and play. If it's during the day and not late into the evening (and if it's not hour after hour of learning playing some musical instrument), there isn't much this person can do but complain. I suppose one solution is to figure out where your neighbor is spending time during the day and have the child play in an area that is in a different corner of the apartment.
Good point. Also raises in my mind that fact that unless your child is disturbing them during the official quiet hours (should be noted in your lease contract) she really actually has no right to complain. If it were me, if she continued to complain after the apero and some time has passed, I would ask her when specifically she is finding herself disturbed. If it's not during quiet hours, then she doesn't really have a leg to stand on (which she may already know since she is complaining directly to you instead of to the landlord/management/hauswarten).

We have friends who have a flat in an older building in Bern - 2 adults, no kids, and their downstairs neighbour complained that they sounded like a herd of elephants so they agreed to walk around the flat in their stocking feet or house shoes (no outdoor shoes). But at the end of the day, you've got a right to live and move around your flat. If her previous neighbour was gone working all day and she's used to total quiet, well, she's just going to have to adjust.
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Old 22.08.2007, 14:00
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

Ah ha! I think there in lies the difference. You complain to your wife but you do not complain to the neighbors or call the cops. My roommate and I complain to each other constantly about the older lady who lives upstairs from us, by herself, who is about 90% of the time moving furniture. 1 AM, 6 AM, 1 PM doesn't matter. But we'd never go up there and say anything to her.

However, my advice to Zug_bound is to be very nice, but do not be apologetic about her 6 yr old. Nothing wrong has been done, people are allowed to go about their everyday movements in their apartments without being told by their neighbor that they have ruined her life. If she complains again, just tell her that you're sorry the noise bothers her but given the way the building is and the fact that nothing out of the ordinary is happening there really isn't anything you can do about it.

And yes, apero, great idea.

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It's strange, but I'm usually complaining how loud our SWISS neighbors are to my wife. You'd think that they'd close the local restaurant (which is quite far from the center of town) at 10pm. Heck, even midnight would be better, but we've had to hear drunk patrons over there as late as 2AM on a weeknight. Then there are some other neighbours (in the next buildings, the folks in our building are silent) who've had parties on their balconies or gardens, with one party that had gone on to 5:30am!

I could go on, but this isn't the complaints corner.

Last edited by chemgoddess; 22.08.2007 at 17:09. Reason: typo
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Old 22.08.2007, 16:27
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

It's all gone quiet since I went downstairs and had a word with our neighbours. Regardless of time of day, if our kid made any noise by walking or falling over, there'd be a lot of banging on the ceiling. Came to a point where we'd taught her to walk quietly, but she fell over and there was a hell of racket where them downstairs were banging on the ceiling. I gave myself a few seconds to calm down a bit and went to see them. Usually, the bangning only occurs when the woman's out and it's just herincredibly surly and sour-faced boyfriend in the flat, but this time it was her who answered the door. I explained (quite nicely) that we were trying to get her to walk quietly, but she fell over as well as the occasional strop from where she's teething. The woman said 'Oh, I understand completely - my daughter was the same', while looking over her shoulder towards the boyfriend, ie 'It's not me - it's that miserable b****ard'.
Not been a problem since, but he's still a surly b***ard who looks like a bulldog licking pee off of a nettle.
Ho hum.
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Old 22.08.2007, 16:31
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

Geez, stop pushing the little kid over and she might not fall down as often.

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It's all gone quiet since I went downstairs and had a word with our neighbours. Regardless of time of day, if our kid made any noise by walking or falling over, there'd be a lot of banging on the ceiling. Came to a point where we'd taught her to walk quietly, but she fell over and there was a hell of racket where them downstairs were banging on the ceiling. I gave myself a few seconds to calm down a bit and went to see them. Usually, the bangning only occurs when the woman's out and it's just herincredibly surly and sour-faced boyfriend in the flat, but this time it was her who answered the door. I explained (quite nicely) that we were trying to get her to walk quietly, but she fell over as well as the occasional strop from where she's teething. The woman said 'Oh, I understand completely - my daughter was the same', while looking over her shoulder towards the boyfriend, ie 'It's not me - it's that miserable b****ard'.
Not been a problem since, but he's still a surly b***ard who looks like a bulldog licking pee off of a nettle.
Ho hum.
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Old 22.08.2007, 16:34
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

point taken, Chemgoddess. And of course, telling your new neighbor at first sight they've ruined your life is overly dramatic - not exactly conducive to good neighborly relations...

Zug_bound, kudos for rising above this and making drinks and nibbles for the building. You are a bigger person than me.

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Yes, yes. We don't want it to be turned into a "them Swiss" issue. But, after reading lots and lots of complaints and stories on the EF forum I have to say that usually when there is a ridiculous amount of complaining (or telling a new neighbor that they've ruined their life) it does tend to be from the natives.
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Old 22.08.2007, 16:57
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

You are also a better person than me. If someone said I ruined there life and then wanted to Apero, that would be hard forme. I am not that much a neighborly type anyhow. I would make sure it is in English, it is your household and you should speak your language. I had friends for an apero and the guy said "do you want to try speaking Swiss German we can if you want." I said "I will try that at your house" my house is an English speaking one!
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Old 22.08.2007, 17:05
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

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Geez, stop pushing the little kid over and she might not fall down as often.
That's what the social workers kept saying....


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Old 22.08.2007, 17:09
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

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I would make sure it is in English, it is your household and you should speak your language. I had friends for an apero and the guy said "do you want to try speaking Swiss German we can if you want." I said "I will try that at your house" my house is an English speaking one!
Actually, I would disagree (at least partially). You need to show that you are trying to integrate if you want to be accepted. The OP probably doesn't speak enough German after only a few weeks to have a conversation however any attempts to use at least a few German words (e.g. on the invitation, hello, goodbye etc) will be much appreciated by the Swiss neighbours! If you are inviting friends then it's a different matter of course...
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Old 22.08.2007, 17:14
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

yes, I agree if you go to them I would always make an attempt. I always try to speak German everywhere and they answer me in English. But not in my house. And I send the invites in English so they will know.
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Old 22.08.2007, 18:14
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Re: Apero for our neighbours

If they are claiming that you ruined their lives, just sack it off.

They are not up for it and I am guessing they are complete mentalists.

Do you REALLY wanna be close neighbour buddies with them?

Run while you still can.
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