Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Swiss flea market bargains

In honor of the upcoming August 1st Swiss Independence Day holiday, I found the perfect thing at the Baden flea market: a chair made especially to commemorate the 700th anniversary of Switzerland back in 1991.

Of course, I knew none of this chair history when I bought it, I just liked the chair, knew it would match the colors in our front entranceway, and, most importantly, it was being sold close enough to carry home.

That night, I googled the chair, and the impossible happened: I found out I actually got a good deal in Switzerland. I paid CHF 50 for the chair (the owner wouldn’t bargain, typical of people at Swiss flea markets—another subject all together…), but I found it being sold online for over CHF 250.

Now that’s what I call a Preishit.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Why the Swiss love the USA

In honor of 4th of July last week, the Swiss newspaper Blick am Abend featured six reasons why they love the U.S.:

1. Free thinking. Do whatever you want. There's more room for creativity in the U.S.

I agree that the U.S. feels much more open creatively than Switzerland. It's been said that the Swiss are both prisoners and their guards. There is some truth to this.

2. American hot dog.

Can't say I'm very excited about the American hot dog. Give me a slice of deep dish pizza instead.

3. Doggy Bag.

Yes, love the doggy bag concept, although in Switzerland I don't usually have any food on my plate to take home since the portions are much more reasonable (in size, not price). But when I do have leftovers, I would appreciate a doggy bag, especially considering that next plate of Chinese food will set me back at least CHF 25.

4. Dream factory. Home of the stars and anyone who wants to be one.

I think what the Swiss are forgetting here is the concept of competition. It's easy to stand out in Switzerland without being that talented because there aren't that many people to compete against. The U.S. population is 311 million people versus 7 million in Switzerland. So yes, if you make it big in the U.S., you probably make it big worldwide. But the chances of that are like playing the lotto.

5. Music business. The music divas of the U.S. are found on Swiss TV and radio stations like none other in the world.

This actually disappoints me. I wish other countries would play their own music.

6. Smile please. We wish our service was as friendly and happy.

Amen. Would someone in this country please smile and learn that customer service does not involve toll numbers?

What do you think? Do you agree these are reasons to love America?

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Swiss C Permit Reject

My husband just returned from Alphorn School. We just had a three hour dinner and German conversation with my Swiss neighbor. And we submitted everything ((including salary statements for three years and forms that stated we did not owe anyone any money (that ironically we had to pay for to receive) the Swiss government requested.))

None of this matters. I’m still a B.

After waiting five years to apply for the C permit, my husband and I were rejected because we went on vacation and therefore missed the short deadline they gave us to complete the paperwork.

Yep. Wait five years and they give you seven days. Nice.

The annoying thing is, the Swiss government knew were gone. Because we had to run around to Aarau at wee hours of the morning and pay CHF 180 for the Visa for the honor of leaving the country at that lovely time when your permit expires but they can’t seem to process another one fast enough in order to avoid you paying them more money for their tardiness.

We came back from our vacation only to collect our mail and realize they had given us only seven days to complete the paperwork—even though they knew we were gone.

The reject letter that came a week later basically said, “better luck next year. You can pick up your B-permits for CHF 220 and you have only 10 days to do so.”

Thanks, Switzerland. We love you too.


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