Thursday, May 30, 2013

Yodeler Appreciation Day

Dear fellow yodelers,

Thanks to readers like you, One Big Yodel is well, a big fun yodel.

If you’ve left a traceable comment from March 21 until May 16 as of the writing of this post–and you have a blog–you’ll find a link to it below. Yodelers, please check out these fellow readers’ blogs this week. Thanks for being a part of One Big Yodel.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ah, The Fresh London Air

Over the long weekend Baby M visited her sixth country and The Frau got to visit one of her best friends from college. This friend moved to London two years ago after being an expat in Düsseldorf and she is still recovering.

“Oh my God, do you see how run down the roads are?” My friend asks as we drive from Heathrow Airport to her place in Richmond.
Richmond Bridge (Southwest London)

“And look at how disorganized the traffic is!”

The Frau couldn’t help but laugh, because she was thinking the same thing herself.

One of the side effects of living in Switzerland and Germany is that they do their best to ruin the rest of the world for you.

Because once you live amongst people who are preoccupied with dirty sink spouts and out of place geraniums, the rest of the world is just not going to be able to compete.

Still, The Frau and Baby M had a great time in London—in particular, they enjoyed the fresh air. The Frau found it amazing that she could go to a city with thousands of times the number of residents of Zurich, but with only about a tenth of the amount of cigarette smoke. She could even sit outside at a restaurant for two whole hours without smelling one cigarette.

Refreshing, huh? Especially to realize Switzerland has some work to do if it really wants to be perfect after all.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Why are you still here?

The Frau read an interesting statistic: After most expatriates have lived in Switzerland for 10 years, 80% of them typically leave. But this statistic is holding up no longer, because more and more high-earning expatriates from countries like the United States, Australia, and Canada are staying beyond 10 years. Why is this changing?

Is Switzerland becoming friendlier towards expatriates? Is the rest of the world becoming less attractive? The Frau believes both to be a bit true.

The Frau will celebrate seven years in June even though she only planned to spend three years here. So why is she still here? Below are 10 (okay, 11) reasons The Frau is still living in Switzerland.

–She loves the great outdoors. She loves living in the center of her village. And in Switzerland, she can enjoy both. Within five minutes from her front door she can be shopping at a major department store, hiking in the woods, or getting on a train that will connect her to almost anywhere in Europe.

–She loves not having a car. And with Switzerland’s amazing public transport system, she doesn’t need one.

Baden, Switzerland
–She loves her work/life balance. Funny how you enjoy your career even more when it doesn’t consume your entire life.

–Her daughter is learning another language effortlessly. (The Frau is jealous of course).

–Another country is just 20 minutes away. Three more are just an hour away.

­–She loves writing about Switzerland. It’s become a niche. She feels creative here.

–Switzerland is doing well while the rest of the world struggles: Switzerland has low unemployment and employees are protected by an unemployment system that works (70% of your salary for 18 months).

–She loves all the swimming and ice skating facilities and how surprisingly affordable they are (typically 200 CHF for a yearly pass). It seems every Swiss village has their own indoor pool, outdoor pool, and ice rink. She has become a year-round swimmer because of them.

–She loves how close Zurich Airport is and the ease of getting there. Where even more countries are just a two-hour flight away. (Can you tell The Frau loves travel?)

–Things just work. Everything is on a schedule and rarely goes off of it—even your baggage at the airport.

–Things close down. Stores close for the evening. Stores close on Sunday. Why is this good? Because it forces you to do something most Americans like The Frau could never do before they moved here: relax. It also supports the work/life balance concept that is absent in American society today.

But enough about The Frau. Why are you still here?

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Why America Should Do Nothing About Syria

Sometimes The Frau gets fed up with the Swiss press. For instance, Monday night there was an article in Blick am Abend with the headline, "What is Obama doing?" (Was macht Obama?). A photo of a frustrated Obama accompanied the article along with an American warplane. The article discussed the Syrian war and what Obama was doing wrong.

Now The Frau realizes getting upset over a Blick article is like getting upset over a piece in Star Magazine or something, but still.

The Frau is tired of everyone else’s problems being America’s problems. No wonder America can’t solve its own problems. They are too busy getting blamed for the rest of the world’s.

To this particular article, “What is Obama doing?”, The Frau wanted to scream—what about you, Switzerland? You’re rich. What the heck are you doing about Syria? Why are you waiting for Obama to act if you think he’s doing a bad job?

The Frau loves Switzerland. It’s so perfect. It gives women paid maternity leave. It offers workers amazing unemployment benefits such as 70% of your salary for 18 months. It’s safe. It’s clean (except for all the cigarette butts). The Frau can take advantage of all of these things while living here as an American. But her American friends in the U.S. don’t have all of these things.

Why? Because America is too busy taking care of the world to take care of themselves.

So the time has come, America, to face the fact that your own problems have become too big to add the rest of the world's to your agenda.

It’s time to solve violence, unemployment, and poverty at home. And the only way to do that is to leave the rest of the world alone. Even if it means letting down wealthy countries like Switzerland, who want you to act so they don’t have to.


Thursday, May 02, 2013

Drop Everything and Sun

Ah, the great outdoors. Ahem, the gray outdoors. Because we are in Switzerland people, where the sun likes to play hide but not so much seek.

This is Zurich (in case you don't recognize it under sunny skies.)
That’s why it makes no sense that The Frau should be sunburned. We’ve had like what, fellow yodelers, three sunny days this year?

But then again, maybe that’s why The Frau’s skin can’t handle the sun anymore. It’s adjusted to a world without one, so even three minutes of sun is a shock to her sensitive epidermal system.

After The Frau saw her red face in the mirror last weekend, it necessitated a documentation of her time in the sun so far this year to figure out just how she could have gotten so red under such gray.

Here are her very scientific discoveries:

Swiss Sun Day 1. Sometime in February.

The sun comes out for a half hour at 3 p.m. Bye office, hello frozen fingers. Sunscreen? Whoops. It’s hard to remember sunscreen when you’ve almost forgotten the sun existed.

Swiss Sun Day 2. Sometime in mid-April.

The sun comes out for three minutes at 5 p.m. Hurry! Out on the balcony. Sunscreen? There’s no time for sunscreen when the sun is only out for three minutes!

Swiss Sun Day 3. April 25.

The sun comes out at 7 a.m. Blink. Oh yeah, skies can be blue. Is this a dream? It’s not? Schedule? What schedule? Drop everything and sun! 


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