Apr 29, 2012 - England    10 Comments

Learnt It the Hard Way

After spending an hour at the stormy coast of Portland, UK – you already have seen some pictures – our group decided to spend the rest of the traditional Wednesday afternoon trip in a cosy (American: cozy) British coffee shop rather than go shopping in the rain. What we didn’t at the time was that I was about to learn a really important piece of good behaviour.

We ended up in the just most British coffee shop called Tom’n’Jerry conducted by an Italian and pulled together about five tables due to our group size of 20. The waiter gave us the menu and after having a quick look, started to take our order. The three girls at the top of the table ordered. Me sitting next to them thought I was next in line. Even more because no-one else seemed to really know what they wanted whereas I was pretty sure about my hot chocolate topped with cream. So I said that I wanted the hot chocolate. Half way through my sentence the waiter interrupted me saying: “Please! Ladies first.” Everybody laughed and I felt humiliated. To make matters worse he than waited to take my order at the very end. Finally he came back to take my order. Offended as I felt, I said, well now I would just like a free tap water. Everybody laughed again and I felt I sense of revenge.

Nevertheless I ended up ordering the hot chocolate – the temptation for a beverage was bigger than my pride – but in order the sustain my revanche I payed with as many little coins as I had. Was my behaviour childish? Yes. Was his behaviour rude and humiliation? Yes. I can only speak for my side but I think we both learnt our lesson. He, not to humiliate his customers. Me, ladys first in every situation even when it would be easier the other way! As you can image it is now an ongoing joke at our college…

Did anything like this happen to you too? Tell me in the comments!

Apr 26, 2012 - England    2 Comments

[Picture Time III] Singing in the Rain

Finally some pictures again! This last few weeks have been very British: meaning rainy, sunny, windy and even some hail all in one day! However, I still managed to go on some nice trips and to take some snapshots for you guys. I hope you enjoy it, if you do let me know and tell me which is your favourite.

Which one of the three places I visited do you think was the ancient capital of England?
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Apr 22, 2012 - England    7 Comments

Am I a Swiss American?

It happened to me before. It always happens to me in Switzerland whenever I start speaking English, it happened to me when my hostdad picked me up and actually thought I was the wrong guy and it happened to me today in school again.

We were reading a newspaper article about some migrants getting sued, when I, curious as I am, asked a vocabulary question concluding that it was the same word as lawsuit. It was when my teacher gave me a really puzzled look telling me that she wanted to ask me this before but didn’t have the chance. She added if I actually have been or lived in America. “Yes mam! I suuure haaave” I responded with my best Forest Gump accent. She was teaching me for the second week apparently without knowing about my exchange year in the United States of America.

I love to see the puzzled look on people’s faces when they can’t really figure out where I am from. I use a lot of American day to day language, I have an “American accent” but still English native speaker can hear that there is something fishy. Their suspicion are usually released when I tell them that I am a Swiss who did an exchange year in Chicago. That was also the reason why my UK hostdad wasn’t really sure if he picked up the right guy. I quote him “As soon as you opened your mouth, I thought hold on a minute, is he really from Switzerland or is he just a crazy American who wants to learn proper English?” My hostmom tells me that she always needs to tell herself: “He is not an American he just talks like them. So I can’t suppose he understands everything I say.”

I want to thank my American friends and family for teaching me so well (I actually think the way I eat is part of it. The paster pastor of my church even has the opinion that I am more American than Swiss by my behavior) In the US I was known as the Swiss or the guy from Switzerland. In the UK, I am known as the Swiss American or the guy from Switzerland with the American twang.


As always: Do me a favour and correct my mistakes ;)