Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Why The Swiss Are Odd (=Not Like Me)

Much as it's always possible to carry on about the stereotypes and how Switzerland is so different and everything is so clean/organised/punctual etc here, I'm not really a big fan of these generalisations and I don't really find them to be true anyway (although it was kind of funny the day the two Swiss women in my french class both instantly shot their hands in the air when the teacher asked "so who thinks punctuality is important?" and everyone else was sort of ambivalent. Oh, apart from the Japanese woman, who said that it's better not to arrive at all than to be late because being late is just so rude).

Anyway - "Switzerland, don't believe the stereotypes", is my experience. But two things that always strike me as being odd here (and it's entirely possible that I'm just extrapolating this from"things Reto and his family normally do" to "things ALL Swiss people do ALL THE TIME") are:
1. You often don't get enough cutlery in restaurants. It doesn't always happen, and I'm sure in fancier places it never happens, but I often find that you sit at a table with each place set with a single knife and fork, you order an entree and a main meal, your entree arrives and you eat it, and then you see your (Swiss) husband putting his used cutlery back down on the table so that it won't be taken away with the (now empty) entree plate, saving it for re-use with the main course. Really? They can't give us more cutlery? I suppose that if you do have your cutlery taken away that the waiter will bring you some more for your main meal, and who knows, maybe that's actually what happens normally, but I'm so in the habit now of saving my first lot of cutlery that it hardly even seems odd any more. I was kind of surprised to have to explain it to my family when they were here visiting in Dec/Jan.

2. I suspect Swiss people have a different serviette-using policy to me. Firstly, no one here ever puts their serviette (napkin?) on their lap when eating, which I was always under the impression was the polite thing to do. The main point of difference though, becomes clear at the end of the meal when my serviette is back on the table and all scrunched into a ball after I've finished using it (not that that implies I'm using it excessively or eating with my fingers or dripping food all over the place or generally making a mess. I don't think I am). Then you look at the serviette of Reto and you can hardly tell he's touched his, although he has. He has wiped his mouth/fingers/whatever with his serviette and then folded it into a nice neat rectangle, usually with the dirty bits not showing although that could be a coincidence, and put it back on the table where it was before the meal started, and it doesn't look like it's been used at all. Seriously, you hardly even see a crease in it. Which can be problematic if you come from the "slacker" school of table clearing and generally only take away the dirty things (leaving clean stuff there for the next time).

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Happy Birthday Deonie!

Mmm, birthday cake with added Omega 3.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

The Post

Something stupid is happening with our letterbox. There's never anything in it. Well, none of the things I'm waiting for, anyway, one of which (a thing about my upcoming french exam which I theoretically should have received last week or so) is potentially inconvenient, the rest of which (magazines and newspapers I've subscribed to. I've given up on the newspaper, but it was only a free trial offer thing anyway, which apparently the newspaper people weren't so concerned about as to actually bother to send to us, but I've also subscribed to and paid for french National Geographic (which makes me sound a bit loserish, but there you go) and if they don't start sending it to me I will be very annoyed indeed. Which will be annoying because it means I'll have to write cranky emails in french, and I don't want to do that. And I bet I can't bully Reto into doing it for me either).

Stoopid post. No wonder no one uses it any more.