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  #41  
Old 25.02.2008, 19:14
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Re: How do people live here?!

Switzerland is not that densely populated. however, unlike the US, most of the available land has been developed or will not be converted from farmland. In the US, farmland/ranchland is turned into high priced developments quite frequently. Does that happen in CH?
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  #42  
Old 25.02.2008, 19:22
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Re: How do people live here?!

Oh, tell me about it!!! Einsiedeln yesterday - One path, two old ladies coming side-by-side in one direction - Tilia coming in the other. The two ladies simply stops, one of them face to face with me (and I am placed way out right on the path, NB) and wait for me to do.... Well, God nows what. When I finally squeeze myself between them and give them a "look" when doing so, they loudly complain of _my_ rudeness.



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Tumbleweed.....

Zürich is quieter than a Trappist mouse. That said , the path can be empty ten metres wide and the Züricher will maintain a collision course, which it makes it seem busier....

dave
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  #43  
Old 25.02.2008, 19:35
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Re: How do people live here?!

I certainly understand the culture shock - most of my US visitors assume we have fallen on hard times and are one step away from the poor house when they try to squeeze into my tiny Swiss Puppenhaus.

But as other posters have pointed out, the panoramic view over Lake Zürich from one side, into the Alps from the other, the glorious hiking trails out my back door - not many places in Chicago can rival that. You compromise, you adjust. And you realign your values scale.

What are your long term plans? If you are here on a limited assignment, look on this as an adventure, a chance to experience a different way of life. Leave 3/4 of your goods in storage, shake off those ol' materialistic encumbrances, and enjoy living life without having too much stuff to weigh you down.

If you are here for the long term, do all the above for a limited time, get settled, find your feet - and then buy a (spacious-by-Swiss-standards-but-still-on-the-small-side ) house. And do your laundry at 2 am, just for the heck of it.

After all these years, I've gone native - and when my American visitors look aghast at my living space, in retaliation I just get all over smug about my tiny carbon footprint ...
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  #44  
Old 25.02.2008, 19:38
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Re: How do people live here?!

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I'm sorry I do not understand the confusion. Is there not a temperature at which Europeans think it is too cold to let children play outside??

In our public and private schools, children are not allowed to go out and play if it is colder than 40F. (4.4C) Most parents follow the same if not stricter guidelines. To be fair, I am from a much warmer climate. It is 70F (21.1C) here today.
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  #45  
Old 25.02.2008, 19:44
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Re: How do people live here?!

I reckon they wouldn't get much skiing done, would they?

Kids here seem to be out in all weather, but just bundled up appropriately if it's cold.
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  #46  
Old 25.02.2008, 19:48
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Re: How do people live here?!

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I'm sorry I do not understand the confusion. Is there not a temperature at which Europeans think it is too cold to let children play outside??

In our public and private schools, children are not allowed to go out and play if it is colder than 40F. (4.4C) Most parents follow the same if not stricter guidelines. To be fair, I am from a much warmer climate. It is 70F (21.1C) here today.
I was also shocked when my daughter started kindergarden and they have one day where they spend in the forest from 8.30am until 2pm no matter the weather conditons sun rain snow minus 5, i just have to wrap her up warm in the cold ski outfit thermal underware hat gloves you name it in the end she looks like the mitchallin man but as long as she is warm thats the main thing.
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  #47  
Old 25.02.2008, 19:54
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Re: How do people live here?!

Too cold to be allowed to play outside? Honestly, no. I would have absolutely no problems sending my kids out at any temperature possible in Switzerland. Where we live, that could mean -10 to -15 Celsius. Yet to hear of a child that doesn't come in by itself when cold.




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I'm sorry I do not understand the confusion. Is there not a temperature at which Europeans think it is too cold to let children play outside??

In our public and private schools, children are not allowed to go out and play if it is colder than 40F. (4.4C) Most parents follow the same if not stricter guidelines. To be fair, I am from a much warmer climate. It is 70F (21.1C) here today.
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  #48  
Old 25.02.2008, 19:57
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Re: How do people live here?!

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Too cold to be allowed to play outside? Honestly, no. I would have absolutely no problems sending my kids out at any temperature possible in Switzerland. Where we live, that could mean -10 to -15 Celsius. Yet to hear of a child that doesn't come in by itself when cold.
Indeed, Mrs P being from Slovakia, insisted that our littlie had his lunch time nap outside on the balcony, cap, two layers, footsack & blanket ... ruby cheeked snoozing, bracing in a Victorian kind of way.
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  #49  
Old 25.02.2008, 20:12
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Re: How do people live here?!

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I'm sorry I do not understand the confusion. Is there not a temperature at which Europeans think it is too cold to let children play outside??

In our public and private schools, children are not allowed to go out and play if it is colder than 40F. (4.4C) Most parents follow the same if not stricter guidelines. To be fair, I am from a much warmer climate. It is 70F (21.1C) here today.
I for one grew up playing all day long in winter, with temperatures between -5 and -15C to no ill effects. It'd better be cold, else how can you build an igloo in winter?!? Or a snowman?
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  #50  
Old 25.02.2008, 20:15
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Re: How do people live here?!

Incidently, the building code in most places specify that there must be X amount of playgrounds for Y amount of apartments, and the playgrounds are generally within sight of the apartments.
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  #51  
Old 25.02.2008, 20:19
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Re: How do people live here?!

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I'm sorry I do not understand the confusion. Is there not a temperature at which Europeans think it is too cold to let children play outside??

In our public and private schools, children are not allowed to go out and play if it is colder than 40F. (4.4C) Most parents follow the same if not stricter guidelines. To be fair, I am from a much warmer climate. It is 70F (21.1C) here today.
Hi there!

I've never heard of any rules about how cold it can get before kids are kept inside - neither at normal Swiss schools nor in Swiss homes, nor in homes anywhere alese, for that matter. There certainly weren't any when I spent 2 years in chicago as a kid in the early 80s - we had lots of fun playing in snowstorms. Still, as a matter of normal life, kids *are* typically inside more in the winter and outside more in the summer.

Actually, there is one school rule: if there's a realy good snow, the schools will sometimes declare the day "schneefrei" (snow free) so that all the kids can go sledding. I love that. (As do my kids!)

BTW, contrary to popular perceptions, urban Switzerland has *warm* winters. There's snow up in the mountains, but it's been about six years (?) since it was cold enough for the ponds to freeze over here in Zürich. It will snap below zero during the night, but daytime temperatures in the winter are typically more in the 5°-10° range.

Best,

Mike
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  #52  
Old 25.02.2008, 20:31
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Re: How do people live here?!

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I'm a bit concerned about the kids having enough "personal space". Maybe this is not as big of a deal as I think it is? I have a number of friends with twins, and even the twins sleep in their own room and have their own space.

---SNIP---

Oh, and one more thing. How big is a standard bedroom? I know in Texas they tend to put in 5 small bedrooms, where 3 larger ones would have made a great deal more sense. Since most likely two of the kids will have to share a room, we would need to fit a full size bed or a twin bed plus a crib in one room. Would that fit? Also my husband and I have a huge king size bed, would that fit in a typical master bedroom? I know it depends, but is the square footage typically used on the shared spaces, or divide well throughout?
YMMV, but if you are looking at coming to Switzerland with an expat style salary, I think you'll be able to swing a place with enough space for your kids to have their own rooms. We live outside of Zürich in what they call a 4-Zimmer ("4 room") apartment. That means we have three bedrooms (one for each of our two kids, one for us) and a living room + dining room. (After living in the block for about 4 years we also managed to rent another room in the basement area called a Bastelraum, or craftroom.)

If a Swiss family has three kids they would typically be looking for what they call either a 5-Zimmer or a 5.5-Zimmer as their basic option. (5.5 mean that the living - dining room area is particularly large, often set apart clearly.)

Best,

Mike
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  #53  
Old 25.02.2008, 21:06
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Re: How do people live here?!

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In our public and private schools, children are not allowed to go out and play if it is colder than 40F. (4.4C) Most parents follow the same if not stricter guidelines. To be fair, I am from a much warmer climate. It is 70F (21.1C) here today.
I am in mid-northern New Hampshire, and today it is 37F (about 3C) and we consider it a heat wave I have more than once started a hike early in the morning with temperatures around -20F (-29C). Not exactly pleasant, but with adequate clothes (insulation) and moving (increased heat production) it is quite doable.

There is a Scandinavian proverb, much quoted by New England winter outdoorspeople: "There is no such thing as bad weather; only inappropriate clothing."

To comment on another thread you have started, for several years while living in Boston I was car-free, doable in a compact city with acceptable public transport.

Hmmm ... perhaps a few months in a Northeastern US urban center would be good preparation for your trip

More seriously, I think your are right in trying to understand how you will have to adapt in Switzerland. From your many responses I feel that you will indeed adapt successfully, and come to love this wonderful country as much as many of us do.
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  #54  
Old 25.02.2008, 21:31
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Re: How do people live here?!

RetiredinNH- Thank you so much for your kind reply! I do hope we adjust well if we are given the opportunity to relocated. We are quite excited about the possibility. I think your statement is quite right, it is the matter of inappropriate clothing. If I bundle the kids up Texas style, they return rather quickly complaining of the cold. I'm sure there is much warmer gear to be had in Switzerland. I don't even know where I could find thermal underwear here!
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  #55  
Old 25.02.2008, 21:45
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Re: How do people live here?!

The thing is that it's rarely that cold here really, at least at the altitude of Geneva.
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  #56  
Old 25.02.2008, 21:53
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Re: How do people live here?!

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You might need more clothes depending on your access to wash machines. Personally I noticed peoples levels of hygiene to be worse in Switzerland than elsewhere.
Eh? Try the North East of England - "don't shower, just put on some more Axe/Lynx" seemed to be very popular among the lads there. Most Swiss people I know look at you as if you were set for the loony bin if you mention you have occasionally only taken a single shower in an entire weekend...
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  #57  
Old 25.02.2008, 23:24
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Re: How do people live here?!

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RetiredinNH- Thank you so much for your kind reply! I do hope we adjust well if we are given the opportunity to relocated. We are quite excited about the possibility. I think your statement is quite right, it is the matter of inappropriate clothing. If I bundle the kids up Texas style, they return rather quickly complaining of the cold. I'm sure there is much warmer gear to be had in Switzerland. I don't even know where I could find thermal underwear here!
Hi Texas Momma - further to the other replies about the weather here. the temperature may indeed be cold, Sunday here on Flumserberg mountain the air temperature in the shade was only 3 or 4 c but in the sun it was t-shirt weather. It's only January when it gets really cold. I'm sure your kids will adapt really quickly!
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  #58  
Old 25.02.2008, 23:25
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Re: How do people live here?!

*off topic*

Eh Kitty, so how many roti canai did you eat?
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  #59  
Old 25.02.2008, 23:51
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Re: How do people live here?!

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Hi there!

BTW, contrary to popular perceptions, urban Switzerland has *warm* winters. There's snow up in the mountains, but it's been about six years (?) since it was cold enough for the ponds to freeze over here in Zürich. It will snap below zero during the night, but daytime temperatures in the winter are typically more in the 5°-10° range.

Best,

Mike
Pfaefikersee, Greifensee and the edges of lake Zurich all froze over the year before last.
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  #60  
Old 25.02.2008, 23:57
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Re: How do people live here?!

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Pfaefikersee, Greifensee and the edges of lake Zurich all froze over the year before last.
Normally the lake of Zurich freezes (completely) over every 25 years, we're presently about 15 years late and counting..
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