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Old 23.08.2009, 19:46
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Intro, chf to pounds, culture shock

My name is Mac. I come from Olympia, Washington (one hour down the road from Seattle). I have lived in Zürich since March of 2005. I just found this forum about three weeks ago. It's fun and interesting to read through some many of the threads of people have had similar experiences to mine - with food, electric appliances, the government, housing, etc. I wish I would have known about this forum sometime ago. However, now I am quite comfortable and love living in the city.
My purpose in writing today, is twofold. First, I will be traveling to London for five days next week for the first time in my life. (Will even be at the Arsenal game on Wednesday evening!) Will be staying near the Tower. Any tips on must-see places? Advice on changing Swiss francs to British pounds -- do it here? Do it there? – (where for the best rate?) Best way to get from the airport into the city? What / who to avoid? Stuff I would never think of ?
Second, perhaps I have not reviewed enough of the EF categories, however, I'm always fascinated with other peoples culture shock stories. Here's mine:
In December 2002, I made my first trip to Europe. To Zürich, to be more specific, with my new (German/Swiss) bride. It was December, cold and rainy. Although I had taken a year of German classes at a community college, it was practically worthless. Every time I would try to understand something on a tram or in the street, my wife would say “Don't listen to that, it's not German anyways.” Most of the time it wasn't even Swiss German. Arrrgh !! “It's better to get in this end of the tram in order to make the next connection, but get in the other end of the tram on the next one.” Huh? After five days of nothing but cheese and hard bread and hearing thousands of voices but not understanding a single word (very much like what schizophrenics experience) - it happened. As I opened the cupboard, a rockhard loaf of bread fell out, bounced off the drain board, and landed on my bare toe … and it really hurt! I cried. I didn't think I would ever make it here. My wife then got on her bicycle and rode off somewhere and returned with a large, piping hot slice of pizza! Just what the doctor ordered. Then we went to see a movie that was in English and for two hours I was able to decompress and get myself back together. Ironically, the movie was Bowling for Columbine, which caused another huge row because, guess what -- the Swiss have different ideas about guns than Americans do. … and that's a whole other story! Now, I really consider [FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']Zürich home.[/FONT]
Looking forward to hearing from you.
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Old 23.08.2009, 20:02
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Re: Intro, chf to pounds, culture shock

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... a rockhard loaf of bread fell out, bounced off the drain board, and landed on my bare toe … and it really hurt! I cried...
Ahh, I hope you're feeling better

Change your money at Marks & Spencers; they don't charge commission.

You'll find plenty of places of interest, it's London. Do some research via UK newspaper sites for restaurants of note; there are loads of excellent eating houses and even more terrible ones.

Dunno why you'd want to see Arse nal, though...
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Old 23.08.2009, 20:08
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Re: Intro, chf to pounds, culture shock

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My name is Mac. I come from Olympia, Washington (one hour down the road from Seattle). I have lived in Zürich since March of 2005. I just found this forum about three weeks ago. It's fun and interesting to read through some many of the threads of people have had similar experiences to mine - with food, electric appliances, the government, housing, etc. I wish I would have known about this forum sometime ago. However, now I am quite comfortable and love living in the city.
My purpose in writing today, is twofold. First, I will be traveling to London for five days next week for the first time in my life. (Will even be at the Arsenal game on Wednesday evening!) Will be staying near the Tower. Any tips on must-see places? Advice on changing Swiss francs to British pounds -- do it here? Do it there? – (where for the best rate?) Best way to get from the airport into the city? What / who to avoid? Stuff I would never think of ?
Second, perhaps I have not reviewed enough of the EF categories, however, I'm always fascinated with other peoples culture shock stories. Here's mine:
In December 2002, I made my first trip to Europe. To Zürich, to be more specific, with my new (German/Swiss) bride. It was December, cold and rainy. Although I had taken a year of German classes at a community college, it was practically worthless. Every time I would try to understand something on a tram or in the street, my wife would say “Don't listen to that, it's not German anyways.” Most of the time it wasn't even Swiss German. Arrrgh !! “It's better to get in this end of the tram in order to make the next connection, but get in the other end of the tram on the next one.” Huh? After five days of nothing but cheese and hard bread and hearing thousands of voices but not understanding a single word (very much like what schizophrenics experience) - it happened. As I opened the cupboard, a rockhard loaf of bread fell out, bounced off the drain board, and landed on my bare toe … and it really hurt! I cried. I didn't think I would ever make it here. My wife then got on her bicycle and rode off somewhere and returned with a large, piping hot slice of pizza! Just what the doctor ordered. Then we went to see a movie that was in English and for two hours I was able to decompress and get myself back together. Ironically, the movie was Bowling for Columbine, which caused another huge row because, guess what -- the Swiss have different ideas about guns than Americans do. … and that's a whole other story! Now, I really consider [FONT='Calibri','sans-serif']Zürich home.[/font]
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Give it 5 years and you will find all does experiences funny wonderful I went true the same stuff but in Canada
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Old 23.08.2009, 20:11
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Re: Intro, chf to pounds, culture shock

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Ahh, I hope you're feeling better

Change your money at Marks & Spencers; they don't charge commission.

You'll find plenty of places of interest, it's London. Do some research via UK newspaper sites for restaurants of note; there are loads of excellent eating houses and even more terrible ones.

Dunno why you'd want to see Ars n all, though...
Fixt that for you
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Old 25.08.2009, 22:36
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Re: Intro, chf to pounds, culture shock

Hi Mac,

I have been living in London for the last 10 years( and about to move over to Basel next week) so hopefully I can help you with some tourist info!

If you have any specific questions re: things to see/do or bar/restaurant recommendations in specific areas of London, drop me a PM.

In the meantime, these sites should help ease the burden of socialising

www.beerintheevenings.com for bars/pubs - search by London area, etc.
www.toptable.co.uk for resturants - search by area, price, cuisine, etc.

http://www.londontown.com/LondonEvent.php & http://listings.metro.co.uk/ for events & exhibitions, search by date, etc.

All the best & down with arsenal!
Loveducky
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