Wednesday, April 27, 2011

America is on sale!

For awhile, I didn't know what could help the United States recover from its economic demise, but now I do: the Swiss tourists.

There's a lot of excitement among Swiss and expats in Switzerland. They can't wait to go on a shopping vacation–to the USA. Among Europeans, the U.S. is now considered a budget destination. See above, this was the leading topic in today's newspaper, "20 Minuten."

To further the incentive, the dollar fell yesterday to a new record low against the franc: $1 is now only worth .87 francs.

In just six months, the dollar has fallen 10%; 17% for the year against the franc. Since I moved to Switzerland five years ago, the dollar has fallen a total of 30% in value. Now that's a reason to get home and get shopping.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

You Know it's Easter When...

It's been a tradition for the last five years. It never fails, every Easter, my grandpa sends me a package of marshmallow Easter eggs. He doesn't put them in a box or anything, he just wraps them in a brown paper bag. So they always arrive partly smashed and stale, but I love them all the same.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Where are the April showers?

I can't believe I would ever say this in Switzerland, but here it is: I am wishing for rain. Just for a day. Please?

In my highly scientific opinion (sneeze), the pollen this year in Switzerland is probably the worst it has ever been due to the extremely warm weather and lack of rain. Since spring decided to begin in February this year, I've been sick since oh, about then. And since we haven't had any rain for at least a month, the pollen is sticking to everything and blowing everywhere.

(Sneeze.) It would just be so great if I could breathe through my nose. Unfortunately, I have forgotten what that's like. I had to go back to the pharmacy today for yet another refill on my barely functioning allergy medicine.

But despite my allergies, I couldn't help but bike through these rape fields near Wettingen yesterday (see photo above). They're out a whole month earlier than usual.

And while I'm loving the warm, sunny weather, please, Zurich, rain. I know you can do it.

Anyone else having allergy issues this spring?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Healthcare in Switzerland vs. the United States

In the past few years, the U.S. has been in the news for its so-called health care reform. But what has been accomplished?

Like most things, as you learn more about another country’s way of doing things, you’re educated about your own country at the same time. Unfortunately, what I am learning is not flattering to the healthcare situation in the United States.

Basic Swiss health insurance covers you for emergencies that take place outside of Switzerland for up to twice the cost of what this emergency would cost inside the country. And yet Switzerland, known for being one of the most expensive places in the world, recommends that for travel to the United States, one take additional travel insurance since medical costs there will likely exceed twice the cost of the same procedure in Switzerland.

Yes. Medical care in the United States will generally exceed twice the cost of medical care in Switzerland. Why? Too many lawyers? Too many greedy people? Too many fat people? To me this is absolute insanity and shows just how out of control medical costs in the United States have gotten and how much reform really needs to take place there.

What do you think?


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