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Old 02.03.2014, 13:35
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Do my grandparents think i am a thief

i am a swiss american. i was born in america and im an adult now and have come to live in switzerland. while i am looking for a job and place, i am living with my grandparents. i have only seen my grandparents in switzerland twice before. i have been here for 15 days and i have only left the bedroom light on in the room 3 times but they really hate it and complain all the times it has happened.They just left to go walking in the mountains for a couple of hours. i was going to give them a 20 franc billet to soothe there nerves. in switzerland they have keys to lock all doors. i tried opening there door so i can place the 20 somewhere. it was locked. they purposely locked the door and took the key with them. im pretty sure they locked it the other times when they leave and it is just me here, but i never knew because i never went in their room, and im pretty sure when it was just them 2 living here before they never locked their bedroom door when they would leave. this leads me to believe they think im a thief or dont trust me. what is going on?
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Old 02.03.2014, 13:41
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

You say you're "an adult now" but are you sure?
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Old 02.03.2014, 13:47
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

Oh it's you again.
Maybe they've read all your previous incarnations on here and decided it's better to be safe than sorry.
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Old 02.03.2014, 13:47
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

A lot of the retired people I know (Swiss and American both) are very very conscious about energy usage and leaving random lights on. This is a much bigger deal to them than the few cents it might in fact cost. Offering them money will not help, so don't. Instead, apologize and then make more of an effort to remember to turn the lights off.

As for the bedroom door being locked - they probably don't suspect you of being a thief, but maybe of being a little bit nosy! I couldn't tell you whether any of the various Swiss people I have stayed with have locked their bedroom doors or not, because I've never tried to go into their bedrooms.

I know you didn't mean any harm, but still....

Try to understand that this is an indication of how they feel about privacy in general, not specifically about you.
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Old 02.03.2014, 13:56
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

And it had to be their bedroom?
What's wrong with the kitchen?

You haven't learnt much spelling in all those reincarnations, eh?
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Old 02.03.2014, 14:00
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

You're new here, aren't you? This probably explains why you are unaware of the Basler custom of Nachtfinsternis, which dates back to the Pomeranian occupation of 1522.

It is customary amongst the older citizens of Basel to turn out all the lights at eight o' clock prompt every evening. They believe that leaving one's lights on after eight o' clock is as good as advertising one's house as a brothel, thus attracting the unwelcome attention of hirsute Pomeranian infantrymen. Even to this day, many elderly Baslers will go around turning off all the lights in their dwellings - even in large, concrete, multiple-occupancy blocks - at eight on the dot in order to ensure immunity from the horny handed depredations of the long-gone enemy.

By leaving your bedroom light on, you're basically saying "come and get me big boy". Are you really sure that's what you want?

It takes time to get used to a new culture. You'll get used to it eventually. Just be sure to direct any further queries to me, and I'll help you with all eventualities.
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Old 02.03.2014, 14:10
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

As it's their home, they have every right in my view to lock whichever doors they want so long as you have no need to go in said locked room such as their bedroom!

As to whether they think you're a thief, in all seriousness how would a random bunch of anonymous strangers/commentors on an Internet forum know the answer to that kind of a question...

If it bugs you that much as to why etc, then go ask them!
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Old 02.03.2014, 14:18
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

It's possible we know OP better than his grandparents given how much time he's spent with us.

MathNut is right. Don't offer money, turn off the lights.
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Old 02.03.2014, 14:35
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

Suggestion to mods: can you open a specific thread for the OP...i think he/she will open quite a large amount of threads in the next couple of months addressing own specific issues.
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Old 02.03.2014, 14:42
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

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Suggestion to mods: can you open a specific thread for the OP...i think he/she will open quite a large amount of threads in the next couple of months addressing own specific issues.
I can't promise it would be any shorter, or less controversial, than the Masseneinwanderung thread... However the idea has some merit, as only the "regulars" have a clue what we are talking about, and non-regulars might get the idea we are just mean to newbie Swiss-Americans that live with their grandparents.
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Old 02.03.2014, 14:58
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

don't you know carpentry? You should be able to get through a locked door ...........
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Old 02.03.2014, 15:03
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

Well, we do not have keys to individual rooms- and I would never think of locking them if we had any BUT, what on earth were you trying to do by getting into their bedroom none of your business and keep out...

oh and switch off the lights

Your poor grand-parents hardly know you, from what you say- and probably felt they could not say NO when you asked them to come and stay- and yet do not feel totally at ease with your presence. Sounds to me like you need to make a lot more effort- and that does NOT mean leaving a 20CHF note----- in their bedroom.

Do you even speak their language? You are VERY lucky they took you in, in the circumstances. I suppose you'll expect them to sponsor you as well?

Last edited by Odile; 02.03.2014 at 15:38.
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Old 02.03.2014, 15:23
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

My wife is in the habit of locking all internal doors, regardless of whether anyone is home.

Drives me nuts.

Her mother was the same, and when she died we couldn't find all the keys!

So, we had to have a locksmith come and open all the inner doors that we couldn't find keys for or pick. And there were a lot of them.

Tom
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Old 02.03.2014, 15:25
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

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don't you know carpentry? You should be able to get through a locked door ...........
A 4mm allen key and some vice grips work fine on most Swiss inner door locks.

Tom
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Old 02.03.2014, 15:27
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

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A 4mm allen key and some vice grips work fine on most Swiss inner door locks.

Tom
ah maybe it was the bright lights of fast food that were sucking him in last time?
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Old 02.03.2014, 17:15
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

Hey thekilla,
Welcome to Switzerland. This is probably your first time to live in a foreign country, even if you do have a Swiss passport. In any case, once you start to understand the Swiss mindset, you will understand why they do the things they do. The Swiss, especially from the older generation, are more picky about little things, that the average young American could ever imagine.

For example:
1. Electricity is not to be wasted...(My first job, at a dental office, was completely dark, except for the lamp on the chair!! The patients had to read their magazines in the dark, during the dark winter months)

2. Dirt is to stay OUTSIDE....so leave your shoes at the door, or even outside the door. Even better...do not get them dirty, or clean them immediately!

3. Never waste food! Serve what you want and eat what you serve...until the last bite...Best is to be conscious of the price of food..and remain very modest in your consumption....especially with meat!

4. Water is precious! Take short showers and use your clothes and towels many times before laundering them.

5.Polite behavior is a must! Never start to eat, until your grandparents begin (say en guete) Just try to observe and ask questions...my husband taught me to never cut my salad....only fold it...which I though was weird.

6. The internet and smart phones are probably quite foreign to their generation. You may want to limit your amount of time, online. Perhaps spending time with them, would be a more effective way to learn the language.

The list can go on.....

It is really challenging to get your start as a young person, especially if you do not already have a training. It sounds like you may have come here, to find your luck. is this true?

Changing countries, and living with people you do not know so well is not easy, but it can be done. Just remember it is challenging for them, as well.

You may want to contact some of the American au pairs, who are working here, as they probably understand your concerns more than the average English Forum member. Many of us could be your parents.

Best of luck!
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Old 02.03.2014, 17:52
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

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what is going on?
Maybe they found out about your nickname on this forum and now they're scared.
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Old 02.03.2014, 17:57
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

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Maybe they found out about your nickname on this forum and now they're scared.
His nickname wouldn't bug me so much if it didn't put this earworm in my head every time I see it.
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Old 02.03.2014, 18:05
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

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what is going on?
No idea. When they return from their walk, ask them why they keep their bedroom door locked. Tell them that, from an American point of view, it is very rude of them to do so and that in future you should also be provided with a key to all of the rooms.

I am sure they will appreciate your honesty.
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Old 02.03.2014, 18:11
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Re: Do my grandparents think i am a thief

Basel doesn't have any mountains. There's a few hills nearby, but no mountains.
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