We are getting a new dishwasher today. They guys were supposed to come between 11-12:30. When I walked upstairs at 10:15 to go take my shower I saw a new dishwasher and two workers outside the front door. Coming 45 minutes earlier than you were supposed to? Now that's Swiss.
Other Swiss things:
Sexism. Yes, it reigns supreme here. Women are actually looked down upon if they have a full-time job and are a mother. Women who work but not full-time usually feel the need to explain, "Well I only work 70%..." The first day I arrived we went to Ikea and there were a bunch of parking spaces at the front of the store marked specifically for women, not just the expecting mothers and/or mothers with small children like they have in the States but just for women. Because they don't want them to walk too far with their Ikea loads. I guess some might consider it polite, while some might consider it a wee bit sexist.
Scrunchies. I have a bunch of pet peeves, it is true. But scrunchies are right up there on the list (right behind the overly loud eaters--Moll you know what I'm talking about--and PDA). A woman sat next to me on the bus a couple months ago. She had on: a Prada dress (the tag was sticking out), a Louis Vuitton bag, and Christian Louboutin heels. She looked very chic until she turned her head and I saw a Burberry scrunchie. Not only did this woman have designer overload but she ruined it all by wearing a scrunchie! Swiss women seriously love their scrunchies.
Safety. Coming from America where it's the land of the free and the home of the over-bearing parent (I worked at a summer camp, I know firsthand) safety is pretty big on my priorities in childcare. But the Swiss? Not so much. When I took Girl to her first swimming lesson I was shocked to see all the parents hanging out on the side of the pool and the kids swinging (literally) from ropes hanging on the ceiling. They were jumping all over one another, bashing every child in sight with pool toys, I mean causing general mayhem. But no one was phased. Even the pool employees (I can just see the YMCA lifeguards throwing a fit) didn't seem to mind! In fact, of all the pools I was at this summer I didn't see one lifeguard.
Last but certainly not least: PDA (or public displays of affection). Now if you know me you know I have a severe allergy to PDA. It's true. It really freaks me out, makes me uncomfortable and just generally awkward. I know it's bizarre to have such a strong reaction to something but I feel like it's a private moment between two people that the public is intruding on. Even watching it on film makes me uncomfortable! (I think it started with my brother and his willingness to PDA with former girlfriends... Sorry Jack, just saying...) Anyway, here in Switzerland, or make that Europe, people have no sense of privacy. Sometimes I feel like the odd man out because I'm not partaking in PDA. You think the reserved Swiss would feel just as awkward as I do, but no. Thank goodness I have friends that will warn me, "Jill, do not turn around right now," because really, who wants to see that?!