Sep 29, 2009 - England, everyday life    6 Comments

My B-Day!

Brithday cakeSome of you knew last friday was my birthday! Many of you are probably wondering how does a birthday in Switzerland look like? Some may think it is all about getting chocolate and cheese, but since I don’t really like either of both it looked different for me.

In my family it is a tradition that the one who has his birthday gets woken up by a sweet choir that sings in a really nice tune happy birthday. Usually at about 6.30 am which is really early especially for me since I am not really a morning person. Afterwards there is a nice breakfast prepared with delicious croissants which helps my morning mood a lot. With a full stomach I am going to school where many friends already wait to congratulate. It is not as crazy like in the United States where people usually decorate your locker and stuff, but friends hug and wish you the best for the next living year. Gladly nobody in my class reminded a teacher to sing happy birthday, otherwise that is usually the case and then the whole class sings happy birthday for the birthday-kids embarrassment.

After school I go home where two big steaks already wait for me. My dad cooked them with some spaetzle (some sort of pasta), vegetables and salad. The birthday meal is ready and I am ready to eat all of it! Delicious!

In the late afternoon I finally get to unwrap all those presents which were laid out on the table. I get some sweet T-Shirts (I think my T-shirts collection is up to a 40 by now), books, dvds, a whole puncher, one tire, a calender, sport bag and much more! Isn’t it nice to have birthday it is always worth it.

conveyor bandFor dinner we are going to a special Asian place in Germany. First in this restaurant they serve “all you can eat” what I don’t need to explain to US Americans and second they actually don’t serve it. The food comes on a “conveyor band” and you can pick and take what you want. It is also really practical because if you don’t like something you just put it back on the band and nobody sees that I haven’t finished. (Of course you should not do that!) The day finally goes by and how could I ever better finish a day than with a full stomach? That was great birthday once more.

But the birthday celebrations aren’t over yet. Family and friends come over on sunday and the party and especially the eating goes on! I get some more present and as a return I show them some picture of the United States. We eat, talk, laugh and eat more till late night. And then my big birthday weekend with a lot of celebrations is over!
Thanks to all messages on facebook, calls, e-cards, e-mails, letters, text messages, presents and hugs I received for my birthday!

Sep 23, 2009 - England, everyday life    5 Comments

Haircut is Like a Box of Chocolate!

haircutA hair cut is like a box of chocolate you never know what you are going to get.

As it turns out getting a haircut in the United States is way easier than in Switzerland! I remember the days where I could ask someone spontaneously if she/he has time to drive me to “Sport Clip” where I could get a haircut in ten minutes for about $ 17.-. I was happy with the result and everybody liked my haircut. (At least I thought so, don’t tell me if not…)

Now in Switzerland a different situation! For a “cheap” haircut I had to catch the train to Basel which is about 30min ride. Then I went into the barber shop and waited for about 10-20 minutes till it was my turn. A book helps you to pick a nice haircut if you want to. This time I didn’t use the book, because I learnt in the USA that you don’t use a book to let the lady know what your hair should look like at the end, especially when you are a guy. I think that was my mistake, simply because the hairdresser obviously didn’t understand what I meant. The result was NOT really satisfying. I think it is more the late 50s style, then what I had in mind. But this is not the whole story. After wards I had to pay of course, Fr. 32.50 for the actual haircut AND Fr. 3.- for the “spiking glue” that she had put in my hair. So not for a whole box only for the little amount that she had put in my hair! All in all that makes about $ 32.- for a CHEAP haircut.

Welcome to Switzerland my dad told me when I got home and told him the story. My opinion: this is crazy and I miss the United States where you have nice moms and dads who drive you for an easy and cheap haircut to Sport Clips!

Sep 17, 2009 - England, everyday life    7 Comments

USA vs. Switzerland Part I

Andy Roddick (USA) vs. Roger Federer (Switzerland)Now that I am back in Switzerland the differences between the United States and Switzerland are very obvious to me. That’s why I thought I am going to list some of them for you guys who asked me some question about Switzerland.

 

 

 

Conversation:

1. When you meet someone Swiss people shake first and or if it is a girl kiss her three times on her cheek.
2. When someone ask you “how are you” you really tell him how you feel.
3. When meeting a new person a Swiss doesn’t ask private questions and is very passive in a conversation till he figures out that he can trust the other.
4. Questions like “what’s happening?” or “what’s up” don’t exist in Switzerland. (That’s why I tried to really answer those at the beginning of my year in the US)
5. In Swiss German their is a polite form which is used for adults and teachers. (This form exists in many languages and represents Mister or Misses)
6. Teachers don’t often talk about something else then the school stuff with their students.

Transportation:

7. Cars are way smaller in Switzerland
8. On every street corner you can sightsee the car “Smart”, and no this doesn’t mean Swiss people are very smart.
9. A straight street is so rare like a farm in downtown Chicago. Every street has some kind of curve or turn.
10. When you speed you don’t get pulled over. Photo camera’s take a picture and send you a fee home.
11. The speed limit on highways (Autobahn) is 75 miles per hour in the whole country.
12. Getting the driver license costs around $ 4000.-. This includes everything what you need to learn how to drive a car.
13. While learning how to drive you have to put a little blue square sign with a white L on it on the back, so everybody can see that you’re learning how to drive and laugh at you. (Yes the “L” stands for “learning”)
14. No driving under 18.
15. Teenager get around with public transportation like train, trams, and buses.
16. The public transportation network is huge and goes to every little town.
17. Buses and trains are never late. If the train is only one minute to late every body gets nervous and angry because they have to wait.
18. Trains are comfortable in Switzerland.
19. There are so many tunnels in Switzerland like wholes in a Swiss cheese.
20. My mom never gives me a ride to school.
21. Stick shift cars are the norm
22. When you drive over the speed limit the police won’t hunt you down. They will take a picture of your your license plate and send you a penalty home. The mean thing about it, they camera’s are set up almost everywhere and they don’t need a human to figure out when to take a picture.
23. Crossroads are often regulated my street circles.
24. The trains look like from the future. Seriously
25. A family has on average one car.

These are just some difference between US and Switzerland. More will coming up soon! So look forward to part two of the differences between the United States and Switzerland.

If you don’t understand something, please ask! And let me know which one is the weirdest one for you. For me it is probably nr. 4.

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