A couple of weeks ago we were walking home from the train station when we met an older couple. They started speaking to us in German so we quickly apologized and asked if they spoke English. They did and we had a lovely conversation for several minutes before walking away and wishing each other a good evening.
Brian and I walked away from this encounter stunned. It's gotten to the point where I expect to be yelled at when someone stops me. This meeting was a breath of fresh air. Nice people who just wanted to say hello and compliment me on my kids? Where am I?!
I have replayed that encounter in my head multiple times in the last few weeks, even telling some friends about the nice older couple I met.
And then I was yelled at by an older woman at the grocery store that reduced me to tears.
The woman started in German. And when I stared at her blankly, shocked by this woman's outburst and meanness, she switched to English.
I walked across the parking lot (distance of 15 feet or so) 5-10 feet away from the crosswalk, with kids! How dare I, I was told, I should walk in the crosswalk when with kids.
I could draw a diagram or take a picture when at the store the next time I go to really illustrate just how out of line she was. But it doesn't matter. She thought I made the wrong choice and felt the need to point out to me what a bad mother I was. I felt I was doing the safest thing for my kids.
In the end, if someone here thinks you are doing something wrong, they will tell you. I just haven't gotten used to it yet. I want to remember the nice couple we met walking home from the train station, not every person who tells me how I am a horrible parent (no hat! no umbrella! walking five feet away from the crosswalk! disciplining your kids too loudly! your 3 year old is yelling! etc)
Expats, how do you deal with Swiss 'policemen'?