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Old 16.08.2021, 12:34
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Happy Swissiversary to me!

I have officially been in Switzerland for 3 months!

I wanted to note down a few things that have made me curious, fascinated, or simply made me smile since moving here. Iíve lived in a few different countries now, and I find different cultures and behaviours very interesting (eg. I still remember giggling to myself seeing people in the UK all lining up at the bus stop waiting for a bus Ė that would never happen in Australia!). I like to think Iíll look back on this when Iím fully integrated and smile at the things that made me pause when I was a newbie.

ē The first is obviously the scenery. Over the weekend my sidekick & I took a little day trip down to Thun, and we were blown away by the beauty of the lake and mountains. I honestly think I could live here the rest of my life and never get tired of the scenery.

ē (pls note Ė this one is NOT a criticism) I guess living in Scotland got me used to people (strangers) generally being quite friendly with one another, and now itís a habit that when Iím walking along the sidewalk with the pup and I pass someone, I automatically smile at them. Iíve noticed people here seem quite determined not to make eye contact, and if they do, there are definitely no smiles! Itís not like they look at me strangely trying to figure out what Iím smiling atÖ itís more just an indifference to engagement.

ē I can only speak for Basel at the moment, but Iím super impressed with the public transport system. The trams and buses are regular, on time, they reach practically all corners of the region, and the ticketing process is simple and user-friendly. Just awesome.

ē Dog-friendliness Ė as anyone has seen on my other thread, Iím currently having a slight issue here, but aside from that, I do think this is a very dog-friendly country. Being able to take your furry pal on the tram or into the bank is amazing to me, and although Iíve heard comments from other expats that itís hard to find a park where youíre allowed to walk your dog on grass, Iím cognisant that the local government have to find a balance to keep everyone (doggy and non-doggy people alike) happy, and I think they balance this well

ē The multi-coloured eggs in the supermarket!! This was a bizarre but delightful find for me

ē TWINT is pretty great, and has complete replaced Apple Pay for me (which I used daily in the UK)

ē The sound of church bells. Iím not a churchgoer myself, but hearing the bells every morning is so lovely

ē Itís very clean Ė you do see some graffiti and/or litter, but nowhere near the same volume as other places Iíve lived. Even the trams and buses are clean, it makes for a really nice day-to-day experience.

ē And of course (sigh) the German language Iím partly putting this here for accountability as I start German classes for the first time tonight. But listening to this language swirl around me when Iím in public, it seems utterly impossible to think that Iíll ever be able to understand it, never mind speak it. Iím still going to give it my best shot of course, but at the back of my mind I'm skeptical that Iíll ever pick it up

Have I missed anything obvious that was a funny / lovely / happy find when you arrived here?
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Old 16.08.2021, 12:39
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

Good post, thanks.
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Old 16.08.2021, 12:52
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

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I guess living in Scotland got me used to people (strangers) generally being quite friendly with one another, and now it’s a habit that when I’m walking along the sidewalk with the pup and I pass someone, I automatically smile at them. I’ve noticed people here seem quite determined not to make eye contact, and if they do, there are definitely no smiles! It’s not like they look at me strangely trying to figure out what I’m smiling at… it’s more just an indifference to engagement.
Surprised to hear this. When I’m walking on the village/town/walking trails/bike paths I address others with guertzi wald or guertzi middlealp (or something that sounds like that), or the French version Bonjour Madame, Monsieur, Monsieur-dame.

I notice it’s up to me to initiate, but if I do I usually get a warm greeting.

I also find that ein Bitzli gets a universal grin, even in Geneva.
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Old 16.08.2021, 13:00
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

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ē (pls note Ė this one is NOT a criticism) I guess living in Scotland got me used to people (strangers) generally being quite friendly with one another, and now itís a habit that when Iím walking along the sidewalk with the pup and I pass someone, I automatically smile at them. Iíve noticed people here seem quite determined not to make eye contact, and if they do, there are definitely no smiles! Itís not like they look at me strangely trying to figure out what Iím smiling atÖ itís more just an indifference to engagement.
Must be a "big" city thing. Living in a village, everyone, GrŁezis everyone passing randomly on the street. Also children, by themselves and unprovoked, hanging youths etc. Surprised me when I arrived and I like it
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Old 16.08.2021, 13:34
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

Another one for being surprised at the lack of greetings..

Everybody greets each other around here.. From young kids at the bus stop to teenagers with their boombox .. They all smile and say hello, even across the street.


Something I would add is the trust.. If we can call it that.
Paying later without be credit checked, eg ordering stuff from Zalando with a bill
Picking up the car from the garage and driving off with paying. The bill will come in a few weeks.
Expecting that if you leave your phone in the car, it will still be there when you get back.

Many similar things surprised me when i first arrived 9 years ago-ish.
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Old 16.08.2021, 13:50
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

What I like about Basel (I don't live there) is that it's right next to France... just hop on a tram or drive a few minutes and voila, French bakeries, architecture, proper seafood markets, french cheese, amazing low-cost wines, great and cheap restaurants, everything's in French and everyone speaks French! It's like walking through a magic door. BTW there's usually no customs control
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Old 16.08.2021, 13:57
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

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Iíve noticed people here seem quite determined not to make eye contact, and if they do, there are definitely no smiles! Itís not like they look at me strangely trying to figure out what Iím smiling atÖ itís more just an indifference to engagement.
This is a Basel thing.
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Old 16.08.2021, 14:21
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

Cool. Itís my 10th Swisserversay today.
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Old 16.08.2021, 16:21
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

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Something I would add is the trust.. If we can call it that.
Paying later without be credit checked, eg ordering stuff from Zalando with a bill
Picking up the car from the garage and driving off with paying. The bill will come in a few weeks.
Expecting that if you leave your phone in the car, it will still be there when you get back.
Yes, this is a big one for sure! I was looking online for a new television a few weeks back and was very shocked to find that you could be invoiced afterwards for the purchase!

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What I like about Basel (I don't live there) is that it's right next to France... just hop on a tram or drive a few minutes and voila, French bakeries, architecture, proper seafood markets, french cheese, amazing low-cost wines, great and cheap restaurants, everything's in French and everyone speaks French! It's like walking through a magic door. BTW there's usually no customs control
I haven't actually gone across to the French side at all yet, but it's on my to-do list!

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Cool. Itís my 10th Swisserversay today.
Happy Swissiversary MsWorwoo
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Old 16.08.2021, 16:26
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

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ē (pls note Ė this one is NOT a criticism) I guess living in Scotland got me used to people (strangers) generally being quite friendly with one another, and now itís a habit that when Iím walking along the sidewalk with the pup and I pass someone, I automatically smile at them. Iíve noticed people here seem quite determined not to make eye contact, and if they do, there are definitely no smiles! Itís not like they look at me strangely trying to figure out what Iím smiling atÖ itís more just an indifference to engagement.
I start to recognize and be recognized other joggers/mtb riders around home. Sometimes they say hello, other times I'm ignored.I guess there's some kind of a rule that once you're in the forest it's OK to say gruŽzi to anyone you encounter out there....but not in town. Anyone else has this experience?

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ē The sound of church bells. Iím not a churchgoer myself, but hearing the bells every morning is so lovely.
Weekdays, YES! Sunday 8h00, not really
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Old 16.08.2021, 16:34
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

Yes, the lack of greetings and smiles is real (I've lived in Basel for a long time now). However, now I get greeted, and greet, my neighbors and people I see out and about it in the neighborhood. I tend to share smiles with unknown women, often foreigners - no reason except that I miss it and I think smiles are really nice! I'm not sure if I would dare to do the same if I were a man...
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Old 16.08.2021, 17:07
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

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Yes, the lack of greetings and smiles is real (I've lived in Basel for a long time now). However, now I get greeted, and greet, my neighbors and people I see out and about it in the neighborhood. I tend to share smiles with unknown women, often foreigners - no reason except that I miss it and I think smiles are really nice! I'm not sure if I would dare to do the same if I were a man...
It's a Basel, or city thing. When I was 16 I moved to Basel from a small village where you get scolded as a child/teen when you don't greet the elderly.
For more than a week I greeted people at Claraplatz a recieved strange looks in return.
I returned four years later to live in that small village again for a year and promptly got scolded by a Lady because I didn't greet her. Yes, I was 20 then
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Old 16.08.2021, 17:18
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

I haven't noticed the greeting thing, but I am doing more than smiling (I'm greeting them). If I'm out and about early, and I say "Guten Morgen" and smile, I get it back. The same is true if there are special times of year afoot - Xmas, New Year's Eve, and so on. Some people are the first to say it to me, too.


I compliment people sometimes, ask if I can pet dogs, and say thanks if people make way for me. People have often stopped me to chat, if I've been out wandering with a dog.


I'd say do a bit more than smile, and see how that goes. There's nowhere in the world where everyone does everything, but I've found people are pretty open to exchanging greetings, and even more so, if you see the same faces time and time again.
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Old 16.08.2021, 19:18
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

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It's a Basel, or city thing. When I was 16 I moved to Basel from a small village where you get scolded as a child/teen when you don't greet the elderly.
For more than a week I greeted people at Claraplatz a recieved strange looks in return.
I returned four years later to live in that small village again for a year and promptly got scolded by a Lady because I didn't greet her. Yes, I was 20 then
I'd say it's a city thing, though city is relative, perhaps anonymous is the better term.

I've lived in ZŁrich-Albisrieden for 15 years. The people in the near vicinity, in the neighborhood if you will, would greet each other as if it was a village in the boondocks, stop for a quick chat, etc. But outside of that neighborhood and in the anonymous parts, it's big city behaviour - look away from whoever is approaching while you're negotiating the side you pass each other on.

In the metropolis I live in now with its 3k residents, you greet pretty much everybody. The practice is that you greet unless the other obviously wants not to, it's the inverse of the anonymous areas.

I never would have expected this but I actually enjoy the bright "GrŁezi" by the children nowadays.
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Old 17.08.2021, 18:56
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

Being from Scotland I'm well accustomed to getting someone's entire life story whilst waiting for a bus

However, I don't entirely agree with people saying Basel is a bit unfriendly as I think it just depends where you live. We have lots of retired Italians in our little district and they're only too happy to smile and say "Gruezi" or give another greeting as they pass by. I worked with a lot of different cultures back in the 80s when I was employed by a Japanese bank in London and tried to take time to understand them all.

OH has a work colleague we sometimes socialise with who is from Basel, but was overseas for a long time. He told me the unfriendly Basel thing comes from the fact people are often here on secondment with their companies and aren't going to be staying beyond the length of their contract, hence locals don't bother to make friends with them in case it's "here today, gone tomorrow".

When we were looking to move from Kleinbasel in 2018 I had my heart set on Gellert, but OH's colleague said "don't - I grew up there, it's very snooty, nobody will speak to you and you'll end up feeling very isolated". Anyway the flat we applied for there was given to someone else who viewed it.

I've been 5 1/2 years in Basel now and had a year of coming on visits to my OH before that. I'm still finding all sorts of lovely and quirky things about it and I really like it here. For me it's not that unlike Edinburgh, as it has medieval parts and modern parts, loads of cultural places and cinemas plus nice places to walk along the Rhein and by the Birs. I sometimes feel like I'm a perpetual tourist and am quite happy to get off a tram and just have a wander.

I'm also a person who likes their own company so anything that could be perceived as Swiss unfriendliness doesn't get to me. I actually just think it's people being reserved. The one thing I didn't enjoy was an ex-pat club I joined, some members were the unfriendliest people I have ever met and others were totally up themselves. It was too cliquey and felt like they didn't really want new people to join
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Old 17.08.2021, 19:24
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

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Ö.. and others were totally up themselvesÖ.
Thereís a lot of the Hyacinth Bucket going on. These people would be cants in the UK also.
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Old 17.08.2021, 19:36
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

I'm sure they would, some of the British ones were like golf club types from the S E of England I just didn't feel I fitted in there, went to a number of German conversation groups and it was an uncomfortable 90 mins as I felt like an outsider.
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Old 17.08.2021, 19:42
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

In 10 days it will be 35 years.

Tom
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Old 19.08.2021, 10:03
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

I like Switzerland. I've been living there for half a year now.
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Old 19.08.2021, 10:21
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Re: Happy Swissiversary to me!

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I have officially been in Switzerland for 3 months!
You sound like a teen-ager talking about their first love-affair.

Nice how you enjoy exploring your new enviroment.

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ē (pls note Ė this one is NOT a criticism) I guess living in Scotland got me used to people (strangers) generally being quite friendly with one another, and now itís a habit that when Iím walking along the sidewalk with the pup and I pass someone, I automatically smile at them. Iíve noticed people here seem quite determined not to make eye contact, and if they do, there are definitely no smiles! Itís not like they look at me strangely trying to figure out what Iím smiling atÖ itís more just an indifference to engagement.
Awww, the Swiss can't do it right. Soon there will be an other thread about the Swiss staring at people.
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