Saturday, August 02, 2008

International Party

Yesterday we had our annual August 1st party to celebrate Swiss Independence Day. It is always interesting to see the diverse mix of people interact during these events.

Our Swiss neighbor, (the only Swiss at the party), came over, as usual, right when the clock dinged 7.30pm. She is never late.

Our next guests arrived before 8pm, a French couple with 4-year-old twin boys. Since this couple speaks French and English, and our neighbor speaks German and French, a lot of the conversation went on in French, with me understanding most of it, and then speaking back in English or German. Then if the conversation turned to English, the French woman would translate it into French for our neighbor. Somehow, we all had a good time. The best moment was when the French woman, who just moved to Switzerland a month ago, praised Switzerland for being so clean. Our Swiss neighbor really disagreed.

"No," she said, "it used to be clean a long time ago. Now it is very trashy,"

"Compared to France, it is very clean," said the French woman. And then she started talking about how nice it was not to have to tiptoe around dog poop.

Fashionably late, the Americans, Swedes, and Polish guests began to arrive after 8.30pm, so English began to dominate the conversation, with a bit of French and German thrown in for good measure. Although most people understood some German, even if they couldn't really speak it.

And in Swiss style, the fireworks started exactly at 10pm and lasted exactly 15 minutes, with the clock dinging once right when the fireworks ended. It was really kind of amazing. Anyhow, it was another great party. And the tortilla chips from Germany went over really well with the Jello jigglers in a close second--as most people had never seen such a thing before.

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