Friday, June 6, 2008

Some observations on Swiss life after 5 days

Here are just a few things we've noticed/learned/been told about the Swiss way of life in the 5 days we have been here.

IKEA Dietlikon (closest to Zurich) is three times the size as the Baltimore (White Marsh) location.

The Swiss recycle everything. You have to buy trash bags in order for your trash to be picked up. They are on the smaller size (largest size we have found is 60 L) to encourage recycling.

If you are pulled over while driving, you are expected to pay the fine immediately, in cash. They will send you a bill if you do not have cash however. If you are driving 30 km/hr over the speed limit, your license is revoked immediately and the fine you are issued is based on your salary.

Cars actually stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.

A lot of people here smoke. And they are allowed to do so in bars, restaurants, etc. Quite a surprise when you are used to everything being non-smoking in the States. Also surprising since the Swiss seem to be very health conscious.

The paperwork required to move here is astounding.

Doctor’s bills are expected to be paid upfront. Then you are reimbursed by the insurance company.

The McDonalds closest to us has leather chairs and a Playstation 3 for the kids to play with. They also have salads (tomato & mozzarella!) on the menu that are pretty tasty. But the prices!!!! 70 CHF or so for 4 people and a happy meal. Yikes!

Everything here is expensive. I'm still going through price shock.

The trains rock. On time, fast, easy to figure out, and clean.

The laundry detergent we bought didn't have scoops with them. Not sure if we are supposed to buy them separately or not. Still trying to figure that out.

Diet Coke is Coca Cola Light.

People tailgate. At least the people driving behind me lately do.

Everything is clean and pretty. The lake and river water here is crystal clear. And you can drink out of all of the water fountains here (unless stated otherwise). Try doing that in Baltimore.

Our apartment is close to town so we can walk to everything. Quite a change from driving everywhere.

The food is fresh. Very few preservatives are used. The food doesn't last as long, which means more trips to the grocery store. But it tastes fantastic.

Everyone we've met so far is friendly. Brian got yelled at the other day but that was only because he interrupted a conversation (to make sure the grocery check out person didn't ring up the wrong items).

The check spelling function on blogspot doesn't seem to work here.

No tipping here, people just round up.

Europeans are excited about the UEFA EURO 2008. The city is packed and ready to go for the tournament. Should be an exciting several weeks.


Jessica said...

True true. This is a great list!

I didn't know about the speeding fines. Yikes - that's something I'll have to learn when we get a car.

As for the laundry and no scoops- I know! What gives? I've found one in the pink tube though... whatever that spot remove stuff is.

And it's expensive here, isn't it? But worth it.

Welcome to Switzerland!!!

Mom2Cam...Wife2Ger said...

can I just say that part of me is green with envy that you get to experience such a neat change!?

Katie said...

very interesting! I hope you didn't learn about the speeding thing first hand!

Holly Dengler said...

OK - so, I guess I would understand the prices more if I knew the exchange rate. I have a feeling its a lot - but what is it?? Sounds interesting there. A LOT to get used to!!

Ryan said...

Tell me, How long was Brian playing the PS3 for???

Ryan said...

I would love to be able to experience what you are. DH laughed at the Ikea one. Also, he suggested that you not speed. haha!
Enjoy Neutral Life!

mrsmac said...

Jessica: Still locating a scoop and guessing the amount in the meantime. That really surprised me when I opened it though! And you're right, definitely worth it!

Sandra: Thanks! You'll have to come visit and experience it too!

Katie: No, thank goodness! But I've been warned. Gotta watch my speed!

Holly: I believe the exchange rate is around 1 to 1, with the USD being a smidge more valuable that the CHF at the moment.

Ryan: He didn't even play it. Can you believe it?

Ryan: Yea, definitely can't speed. Need to stay within 5 of the speed limit!

Dean said...

Instead of not speeding, I'd just carry a lot of cash in the car... definitly more fun that way.

Anonymous said...

i agree with dean.