Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Living in Switzerland > Daily life  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 07.05.2012, 07:53
MrsJPS's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Zurich
Posts: 71
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 32 Times in 19 Posts
MrsJPS has no particular reputation at present
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?
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank MrsJPS for this useful post:
  #2  
Old 07.05.2012, 08:14
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Lausanne-ish
Posts: 60
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 38 Times in 20 Posts
Jennifer W has earned some respectJennifer W has earned some respect
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.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Jennifer W for this useful post:
  #3  
Old 07.05.2012, 08:42
Jack of all trades.'s Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Basel
Posts: 813
Groaned at 22 Times in 15 Posts
Thanked 667 Times in 325 Posts
Jack of all trades. has a reputation beyond reputeJack of all trades. has a reputation beyond reputeJack of all trades. has a reputation beyond reputeJack of all trades. has a reputation beyond repute
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.
Reply With Quote
The following 6 users would like to thank Jack of all trades. for this useful post:
  #4  
Old 07.05.2012, 08:59
lmerkel's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Corseaux
Posts: 316
Groaned at 9 Times in 5 Posts
Thanked 249 Times in 114 Posts
lmerkel has an excellent reputationlmerkel has an excellent reputationlmerkel has an excellent reputationlmerkel has an excellent reputation
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.
Reply With Quote
The following 3 users would like to thank lmerkel for this useful post:
  #5  
Old 07.05.2012, 10:00
adrianlondon's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Basel
Posts: 9,131
Groaned at 170 Times in 153 Posts
Thanked 25,643 Times in 6,892 Posts
adrianlondon has a reputation beyond reputeadrianlondon has a reputation beyond reputeadrianlondon has a reputation beyond reputeadrianlondon has a reputation beyond reputeadrianlondon has a reputation beyond reputeadrianlondon has a reputation beyond repute
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.
Reply With Quote
The following 16 users would like to thank adrianlondon for this useful post:
  #6  
Old 07.05.2012, 10:04
grynch's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Geneva/Vaud
Posts: 4,945
Groaned at 50 Times in 46 Posts
Thanked 5,199 Times in 2,354 Posts
grynch has a reputation beyond reputegrynch has a reputation beyond reputegrynch has a reputation beyond reputegrynch has a reputation beyond reputegrynch has a reputation beyond reputegrynch has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

Maxwell Edison majoring in medicine...

Last edited by grynch; 07.05.2012 at 10:19.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank grynch for this useful post:
  #7  
Old 07.05.2012, 10:04
TidakApa's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Top of a Triangle
Posts: 2,992
Groaned at 38 Times in 29 Posts
Thanked 5,673 Times in 2,039 Posts
TidakApa has a reputation beyond reputeTidakApa has a reputation beyond reputeTidakApa has a reputation beyond reputeTidakApa has a reputation beyond reputeTidakApa has a reputation beyond reputeTidakApa has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

Quote:
View Post
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.
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank TidakApa for this useful post:
  #8  
Old 07.05.2012, 10:05
olygirl's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: d' Innerschwiiz
Posts: 7,780
Groaned at 418 Times in 282 Posts
Thanked 18,329 Times in 5,676 Posts
olygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond reputeolygirl has a reputation beyond repute
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.
Reply With Quote
The following 11 users would like to thank olygirl for this useful post:
  #9  
Old 07.05.2012, 13:10
I am a Panda bear's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: ZH
Posts: 149
Groaned at 7 Times in 7 Posts
Thanked 186 Times in 75 Posts
I am a Panda bear has an excellent reputationI am a Panda bear has an excellent reputationI am a Panda bear has an excellent reputationI am a Panda bear has an excellent reputation
Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

Quote:
View Post
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
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07.05.2012, 11:36
guyc's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Burgdorf
Posts: 236
Groaned at 2 Times in 2 Posts
Thanked 184 Times in 86 Posts
guyc is considered knowledgeableguyc is considered knowledgeableguyc is considered knowledgeable
Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

Quote:
View Post
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!).
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank guyc for this useful post:
  #11  
Old 07.05.2012, 18:12
lmerkel's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Corseaux
Posts: 316
Groaned at 9 Times in 5 Posts
Thanked 249 Times in 114 Posts
lmerkel has an excellent reputationlmerkel has an excellent reputationlmerkel has an excellent reputationlmerkel has an excellent reputation
Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

Yeah we saw this too. Thanks for your comment. I don't know why this is, maybe just as an elderly person in any culture you get more friendly. I remember the time we sat at our caveau in our village and the elderly people who live across from us came to talk and said they did not speak quite good english. They were getting kicked out of their place after having it in their family for more than 100 years. I spoke to my french teacher about this and she told me this is a huge problem en suisse, where older people can not maintain their housing or afford to pay for food but no one talks about it. I felt so sad. It was the family (middle guy) who did not like us that bought their property and turned it into a modern 3 family. I still wonder where the older people went...

Quote:
View Post
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!).
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank lmerkel for this useful post:
  #12  
Old 09.05.2012, 21:28
suissa's Avatar
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Zurich
Posts: 245
Groaned at 4 Times in 4 Posts
Thanked 201 Times in 96 Posts
suissa has a reputation beyond reputesuissa has a reputation beyond reputesuissa has a reputation beyond reputesuissa has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

Quote:
View Post
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!).
This is an interesting theory that,actually, fits with my experience. In my case, although most of the Swiss I've met are nice, most of the (few) really intolerant individuals I've met have that age range.

Please tell us, what reasons give your wife and father in law for that attitude in that generation? would be interesting to hear...
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 07.05.2012, 10:47
MrsJPS's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Zurich
Posts: 71
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 32 Times in 19 Posts
MrsJPS has no particular reputation at present
Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

Quote:
View Post
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.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank MrsJPS for this useful post:
  #14  
Old 07.05.2012, 12:38
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Pittsburgh
Posts: 1,983
Groaned at 69 Times in 52 Posts
Thanked 5,074 Times in 1,802 Posts
crazygringo has a reputation beyond reputecrazygringo has a reputation beyond reputecrazygringo has a reputation beyond reputecrazygringo has a reputation beyond reputecrazygringo has a reputation beyond reputecrazygringo has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

Quote:
View Post
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.
Reply With Quote
The following 3 users would like to thank crazygringo for this useful post:
  #15  
Old 10.05.2012, 08:29
dawiz's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Ostschweiz
Posts: 4,112
Groaned at 96 Times in 46 Posts
Thanked 2,050 Times in 1,191 Posts
dawiz has a reputation beyond reputedawiz has a reputation beyond reputedawiz has a reputation beyond reputedawiz has a reputation beyond reputedawiz has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

Quote:
View Post
Most of the locals would not even say hello to me untill about a year passed.
Well, you live in a city. Here, you pretty much have to great every single person you see on the street :-) Personally, I prefer not to be greeted once in a while ...
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 11.05.2012, 23:59
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Zurich
Posts: 11
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 5 Times in 4 Posts
bryanag has no particular reputation at present
Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

Quote:
View Post
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.


Agree - we have been here for 3 years and live in a small apartment block. The other 3 residents still barely say hello.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank bryanag for this useful post:
  #17  
Old 12.05.2012, 00:05
Confloozed's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Zurich
Posts: 4,801
Groaned at 104 Times in 91 Posts
Thanked 4,965 Times in 2,360 Posts
Confloozed has a reputation beyond reputeConfloozed has a reputation beyond reputeConfloozed has a reputation beyond reputeConfloozed has a reputation beyond reputeConfloozed has a reputation beyond reputeConfloozed has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

Quote:
View Post
Agree - we have been here for 3 years and live in a small apartment block. The other 3 residents still barely say hello.
Just a question since you didn't say it...are you saying hello to them daily as well?
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 29.05.2012, 23:31
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Aarau
Posts: 9
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
scary_fairy has no particular reputation at present
Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

Quote:
View Post
Agree - we have been here for 3 years and live in a small apartment block. The other 3 residents still barely say hello.
You live in Zurich, that is no surprise to me
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank scary_fairy for this useful post:
  #19  
Old 29.05.2012, 23:37
Newbie
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Aarau
Posts: 9
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
scary_fairy has no particular reputation at present
Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

I think Swiss people are very reserved. Trainrides are the perfect example- No one would sit next to a person here if there is an empty/vacant compartment available

I am Swiss so I can't really tell if we are like coconuts- I've always loved to meet new people but I grew up in Chur which is a village compared to Zurich...
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 12.12.2020, 12:26
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Zürich
Posts: 66
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 30 Times in 18 Posts
yoli has earned some respectyoli has earned some respect
Re: Are the Swiss really hard to crack like coconuts?

thats just about it Jack of all Trades. You got the Swiss right!
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
coconut, friends, swiss




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Are the studies at Swiss Universities very hard? More Other/general 7 08.05.2012 09:48
What are the Swedish people up to really? economisto Jokes/funnies 32 10.02.2010 12:54
What are the indians up to really? Hannu Daily life 124 10.02.2010 12:10
are the swiss lazy or hard workers? zombie Complaints corner 208 08.05.2008 21:48


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 23:33.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0