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Old 06.09.2011, 08:59
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What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or skip

There was a post recently about whether EF gives us a biased view of life here by focussing on the complaints of others. Well, I couldn't really personally see it, as I'm a pretty "glass is half full" kind of guy, but I understand where people are coming from.

But here's what I am currently experiencing about Switzerland.

I'm writing this with a flawless blue sky outside my window which is filled by the old castle in Thun and the mountain of Stockhorn. Pretty soon, when I wake up and sit at my PC, I'll start to see the first signs of snow at the top of the mountain and I'll be thinking about taking my skis for their service before I start skiing for the season. Not in a two week, "ski til you drop" skiing holiday like my friends in the UK have to take, but in a "open the curtains on a Sunday morning and decide whether to pop up for a couple of hours or just go back to bed instead if the weather doesn't look one hundred percent perfect" kind of way.

Later....I'm thinking to myself....I'll get some exercise. Maybe a run by the lake which takes me past the tourists who pay money on holidays to visit the place that I live (!) or maybe I'll cycle up through the forest on the dedicated and well signed cycling paths. Maybe I'll do the one I didn't complete last week when I got a puncture in a hailstorm 4km from home and a stranger offered to give me a lift when he saw me push my bike.

But what is making my glass fuller than usual, is that my son was born in a Swiss hospital two days ago. And that experience in itself says a lot about Switzerland too. My wife and I speak passable restaurant German, enough to read Blick but not Der Bund....but the staff go out of their way to speak in English when they can, actually to work the rota to try to help. Not because we are lazy, but when you are in labour, or discussing pain management options, or want to know why our baby's temperature is a little high.....isn't it nice to have that explained in a kindly voice in a language you understand. I find it uncomfortable when the staff apologise to me that there English isn't good when i) it IS and ii) I should be apologising to YOU for not understanding the official language as well as I should. The birth was OK, not quite textbook, but the treatment she received was absolutely first class. All her preferences were noted and acted upon. There was no stress, no drama, just good professional medical care. The food she gets is fantastic, I can visit her 24 hours a day. The staff know me by name now and remember the name of my son and try to speak in High German and a little slower than usual as they know that I will try hard to speak to them in the same way.

My son doesn't have a magnetic tag around his leg as he would have in the UK with alarms, codes, security doors and I don't have to endure looks from staff which attempt to figure out if I'm a baby stealer. There is a nice lady at reception, who watches the door from 0600 - 2200.

I could sleep there, but I choose to sleep at home. We smile at our neighbours in our 6 apartment house when we pass, but we never socialise with them. I put a small sign on our door yesterday showing that the baby was born (to share my fatherly pride and to warn them of baby sounds in 2 days time!) and when I got home, there was a small card and gift waiting at the door with a home made card of welcome to my son. We have NEVER said more than hello to the people that sent it.

Unfortunately, the shop we purchased our pushchair from has gone bust before we collected it, we had paid 50% of it and it was a nice pushchair, being made with the colours we wanted. How did we find out about that? Did we lose our money? We got a polite phone call from another distributor telling us not to worry, this company has stopped trading, but our order will be fulfilled and we won't lose money, and he will try his best to get the pushchair for when my son comes home.

Our home is new, the lady downstairs has some water damage problems and the workers needed to remove some tiles from our bathroom to sort it out and it would take 5 days. I said that I wasn't happy for them to do it when my wife was heavily pregnant or when the baby was home. But I said "If you can start when my wife goes into hospital and you clean up the apartment fully, you can have it for 48 hours". I called them on Sunday (!), they started 0700 yesterday and the house will be fully cleaned at 5pm today.

And when I pick my wife and son up on Thursday, the air that he breathes will be some of the cleanest air in the world. And when they walk into town together, I won't worry about some kids hassling them, I will know that they will be much more safe than in either my or my wife's home towns.

So.....what's the point of this? All the things I highlight above are things that would NOT be the same in my home country (UK). I KNOW that not all life here is quite as idyllic as I have just painted it, and of course I am seeing the world through brighter eyes than usual at the moment. But forgive me if I can never really get too upset about some of the complaints here, because although they are real issues, in the scheme of things, I don't think anybody's life is worse here than it would be in another country, doing the same job and living in an equivalent place. A lawyer, teacher, or shelfstacker in Switzerland has a better life than a lawyer, teacher or shelfstacker anywhere else in the world. And some of the things that annoy us are the "flip side" to the same coins that provide the things we like here.....the rules which irritate are the same rules that keep the place clean and safe and tidy.

Anyway, thanks for reading my indulgent post. I need to go now. Don't take it personally, but there is somewhere else I'd rather be
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Old 06.09.2011, 09:04
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s

At last. A non whinge post abt Switzerland. Good Man! and congratulations!
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Old 06.09.2011, 09:05
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s

Thanks for a positive morning post.

Congratulations on the baby.
Good health and lots of good wishes to you and your family.
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Old 06.09.2011, 09:09
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s

Congratulations on the new arrival! Your post has made my morning
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Old 06.09.2011, 09:09
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s

Fantastic post, I would "thank" you but I have not yet posted enough to have the option!
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Old 06.09.2011, 09:10
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s


And for the baby
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Old 06.09.2011, 09:11
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s

A real person on EF, awesome!

Nice post
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Old 06.09.2011, 09:14
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s

Congratulations to you and your wife on the arrival of your new son. Thun is a lovely area, and soon you can proudly walk them around town.

You are right, there are so many good things here which many people, including me, tend to take for granted.
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Old 06.09.2011, 09:15
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s

Congratulations, Caviarchips! What wonderful news, and what an uplifting post! Thank you for making me pause in the midst of emails, errands, and what-not to appreciate the beautiful things, scenery, and people around me, and to think back to remember the awe and love I felt upon meeting my now-teenagers for the first time!

Enjoy these precious days with your your wife and your new little one!
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Old 06.09.2011, 09:17
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s

What a wonderful post! Congratulations on the birth of your baby, it sounds like he is going to have a happy life in Switzerland with his lovely dad (and mum). I agree, there is much more to be positive about here than negative. My husband regularly says 'Do you know where we are?' with wonder (and no, he doesn't have early onset Alzheimer's). Even after living in Switzerland for almost twelve years, and me four, he still can't believe his luck, and me too!
Congratulations again, and may you all continue to enjoy the beauty of our adopted country for many more years to come.
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Old 06.09.2011, 09:19
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s

At first I was like, "tl;dr", but scanned into the middle and saw this:

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My son doesn't have a magnetic tag around his leg as he would have in the UK with alarms, codes, security doors and I don't have to endure looks from staff

- back to the top- first few lines "I'm a pretty glass is half full kind of guy" and was like,"oh no! Caviar's son is in prison! now he's writing a wistful post about the simple joys of life!"

Still didn't read it all (recovering from the epic posts in Kodakan's farewell thread) but congratulations on your baby boy!

And glad you like Switzerland and all that yeah yeah .
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Old 06.09.2011, 09:20
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s

Yay! Congratulations on the birth of your son.

Nice to read about someone being so content for a change.
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Old 06.09.2011, 09:20
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s



Guys.....thanks for the reaction! I was fearing groans as I thought I was sounding a bit smug, but thanks for adding to my happy mood!

(I'm going to drive to the hospital now. Who wants to bet that I get flashed at a red light for being 0.000001 seconds late and I have nowhere to vent )
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Old 06.09.2011, 09:24
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s

Caviarchips,

Thank you for your post and congratulations to you and your wife for the precious addition to the family.

Your post was refreshing, and a wonderful way to start the day.

Cheers!
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Old 06.09.2011, 09:36
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s

Great post, very uplifting. Congratulations to you and your Wife.
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Old 06.09.2011, 09:42
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s

You've been "Switzerlanded" in the right way, as I guess many of have. As always we write letters of complaint far more than letters of thanks. So it is on EF...
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Old 06.09.2011, 09:52
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s

What a wonderful way to make a public announcement! All the best to the little family and again, Congratulation!

You know were to ask babies related questions if you forgot how it works!
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Old 06.09.2011, 10:10
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s

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What a wonderful way to make a public announcement! All the best to the little family and again, Congratulation!

You know where to ask babies related questions if you forgot how it works!
It's like riding a bike Nil, you NEVER forget how it works!
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Old 06.09.2011, 11:43
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s

Bostin, ain't it?

Congratulations.
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Old 06.09.2011, 11:48
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Re: What I think is important about life here. Pretty long, save it for a coffee or s

Just lovely.

Well worth having made a coffee and settling down ...

Many many heartfelt congratulations to you both.

Elizabeth
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