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Showing posts from November, 2012

How to Spot a Swiss Person

As an expat one usually spots fellow expats right away. It's not only the language or the looks of people but rather the little peculiarities of life that seem so normal at home that give us away while abroad. Obviously, it's a cliche that all people from the same place (country, city, continent) behave in the same way and I am far from making that claim. However, growing up in a certain surrounding does rub off on people's behavior and some similarities can certainly be observed.

This is also true for Swiss people. According to the Swiss stereotype, we are a clean, punctual and strictly organized people. However, there are many exceptions like my Swiss friend who is always late or my brother whose room was a total mess while growing up. Yet, although they do not fit the description of a typical Swiss person, they still have some traits that give them away as Swiss. The same is probably true for myself - if I like it or not.
10 Signs you are dealing with a Swiss Person So,…

A Swiss German Christmas Dictionary

Christmas is only a bit more than a month away and advent season is about to start. Soon streets in every town will be lit up with Christmas lights and filled Christmas songs. High time to brush up your Swiss German language skills for the Christmas season with this short glossary of Christmas terms:

Advent(advent, the season before Christmas)
Adventschranz (advent wreath, usually with 4 candles)
Adventskalender(Christmas calendar)
Adventsmärt(advent market)
Cherze(candle)
Cherzezieh (making candles)
Chrischtbaum (Christmas tree)
Chrischtchindli(Christ child)
Chrippe(manger)
Erdnüssli(peanut, typical gift from Santa)
Fitze (Santa's stick that he uses to hit bad behaving children)
Grittibänz(bread roll in the shape of a man)
Gschänkli(gift, gifts)
Guetzli(cookie, cookies)
Liechterchetti(chain of lights)
Mandarinli(mandarine, typical gift from Santa)
Samichlaus(Santa)
Schmutzli(lit: dirty one, Santa's helper, usually dressed all black)
Schnee(snow)
Schtern(star)
Schtern vo Bethlehem(Chistmas star, …

Slow Food Market in Zurich

This weekend another great trade fair will take place in Zurich: the second Slow Food Market. Just like any other food market, the Slow Food Market promotes, sells and introduces different kinds of digestibles. With one small difference: all the food presented at the fair is considered "slow".

But what exactly is slow food? Slow food is a (trademarked) term that refers to delightful and conscious eating of local food. It started as a counter movement to the globalized consumption of fast food; a fact that is emphasized by the contrasting name slow food. The Italian founder of the slow food movement promotes three basic principles that define slow food: buono, pulito e giusto - good, clean and fair.

The Slow Food Market in Zurich calls itself a "trade fair of good taste" and promises its visitors a variety of taste and flavor experiences. Different food producers present their goods In one gigantic market hall. Visitors can not only taste and buy the food they like bu…

German, French or Italian?

One of the issues most expats are dealing with is language. Unless you move inside your own language region (e.g. from England to the US) you will be facing a new language in your day to day to life. Buying groceries or ordering a meal suddenly become challenging new aspects of your life. Now, one could argue that in this age of globalization a decent knowledge of English will be sufficient to master all these situations. This is probably true for most larger cities around the world that are the home to many internationals. However, as soon as you move a bit farther into the suburbs or into the small towns you'll notice that English becomes less useful. 
The situation in Switzerland is similar. In the big cities such as Zurich, Geneva or Basle you don't necessarily need to know the local language. English works fine for work and living and even the government offices offer most services in English as well. The situation is quite different in the smaller towns and rural areas …