Thursday, July 31, 2014

Happy Swiss National Day

Grüezi Yodelers,

Black sheep like The Frau celebrate
Swiss National Day too.
Happy Swiss National Day. Are you in Switzerland on August 1? Then you should have brunch on a Swiss farm. It's the thing to do if you want to live the Swiss life, so naturally The Frau will be eating her share of Zopf, cheese, and dried Fleisch tomorrow. You can find a brunch near you at Just make sure your farm of choice is not already ausgebucht (sold out).

Also, in honor of Swiss National Day, The Frau is having a sale. Her book, Swiss Life: 30 Things I Wish I’d Known, is available for CHF 16 for a limited time. This price includes shipping within Switzerland and a free bookmark with a cloud or sun, depending on how you feel about Switzerland at the moment. The Frau will sign the book too if you want. The offer is available until August 10 and payment is via bank transfer. Please mention the super secret code Chuchichäschtli in your book order e-mail. If you can also say what Chuchichäschtli means, your total price drops to CHF 15.

All the best for an ausgezeichnet holiday.

Liebe Grüsse

The Frau

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Shop Switzerland!

Dear Yodelers,

It’s that time of year again. The one of two times a year that the rules of Swiss economics need not apply and The Frau goes shopping.

Running shoes for less than the
price of a mortgage payment?
Yes, Switzerland can. 
Yes. There are two sides to every “I just got Switzerlanded” story and they are called January and July. The Frau brings this up because, well, it’s July. And July will be over soon.

So hurry and get your Swiss watches for half the price, your clothing for 70% off (in otherwise, jeans at normal American prices), and that set of wine glasses you’ve been putting off which are now being offered new for less than they're selling for at the Swiss flea market. What's more, you'll also be able to buy a pair of running shoes for less than the price of a mortgage payment and when else is that possible in this country?

Yodelers, it’s time not only to hunt. But to gather. And if you miss the deals, don’t worry, the travel agency across the street is advertising shopping vacations in New York City. See you there when desperation strikes in mid-November.

The Frau

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Line at Tibits

Yodelers, as some of you vegetarian lovers may know, Tibits is a zoo at noon. Especially at noon on a rainy day. Like yesterday. So imagine The Frau’s surprise when she saw a line at the buffet.

Yes. You read that right. A line.

A line? In Switzerland? The Frau didn’t know what to do. Wait in it with the rest of the foreigners while the Swiss helped themselves to the food? It seemed rude to cut in such a well-formed line, but The Frau has been in Switzerland eight years and that's long enough to have no patience for lines since only foreigners who have been here three years or less stand in them.

As The Frau stood there debating what to do, a Swiss woman grabbed a plate and started lecturing everyone in line that here you don’t do things like that. You just grab a plate and go. Then she demonstrated, grabbing a plate and elbowing her way into the middle of the crowded buffet. The Frau, relieved, followed her, leaving the other foreigners standing in their pointless but polite line.

Unfortunately, The Frau is feeling a little American guilt about the whole situation today. So like the good American she no longer is, she’ll try to make amends now by saying sorry for cutting in front of all her foreigner friends.

Like reading about Swiss Life? Then you may also like The Frau's book, Swiss Life: 30 Things I Wish I'd Known. Just a friendly tip from an author who has decided to embrace shameless self-promotion. 

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Eight Things to Love about Switzerland, Part II

The Frau celebrated eight years in Switzerland two weeks ago. In honor of that milestone, she’s put together a list of eight things she loves about Switzerland. Today she’ll conclude with the last four. To read the first four, click here.

Baden, Switzerland
Photo by Brian Opyd
Five: Health insurance is not tied to employment. And it’s mandatory.

What happens when health insurance is tied to employment? Well, apparently if you’re in the US and work for a company like Hobby Lobby, they can deny you your legal right to contraception in their health policy because of their personal religious beliefs. Would this ever happen in Switzerland? No way. Health insurance is private; it has nothing to do with your employer, and everyone is required to have it whether they like it or not. This does a lot for costs savings and equality, since unlike in America, the people who pay for health insurance aren’t also paying for those who forgo it even though everyone has health issues. And it also means you don’t have job stress. Swiss people often quit their jobs to travel or reevaluate their lives or start a business. All while keeping their health insurance. Which brings The Frau back to point one: Freedom.

Six: Punctuality is valued.

You never have to wonder whether someone will come on time or not in Switzerland. Ten seconds late is late. Why is this great? When time is valued, you don’t tend to waste it. The Swiss are a productive country for a reason.

Seven: It’s clean. No really, it’s clean.

Switzerland is the only country The Frau knows of where she’d actually take a shower in a parking garage. Or let Toddler M continue to eat the apple she dropped on the floor of a bus. Or find a sparkling clean bathroom in the middle of nowhere. Clean is nice. And also too easy to take for granted sometimes, especially after you’ve been living here awhile.

Eight: Towns and cities are built for walkers.

Cars are required by law to stop for pedestrians at zebra crossings. Lights are timed to make driving suck as much as possible in Swiss cities. And parking costs are high. Why? Switzerland isn’t a driving country; it’s a walking one. If the laws and hiking signs aren’t proof, then the example set by The Frau is. 

The Frau walks to buy groceries. The Frau walks to buy clothes. The Frau walks to buy electronics. The Frau walks to the train. To the bus. To the library. To the post office. To the pool. There’s almost nothing she needs that is not within walking distance. Not only are all of these walkable Swiss cities and towns pleasant to live in, but when a city is walkable, it cuts down on car pollution, congestion, and noise too.

What else do you love about Switzerland?

Oh, by the way, if you love reading about Switzerland you might also like The Frau’s book, Swiss Life: 30 Things I Wish I’d Known. Just a totally unsubtle hint.


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