Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Frau's American Experiment

The Frau doesn’t want to write about it because if she writes about it it will become real, but there it is: The Frau is leaving Switzerland.

Sort of.

Let her explain.
Good-bye, Switzerland. Hello, American experiment.

A lot of things have happened this year. Great things, like her first book being published, interesting travel writing and copywriting projects, and fun days at cow parades and so on. But some pretty terrible things have happened too. A very close family member passed away. Another one got diagnosed with cancer two months after that and is currently going through some really rough treatment. Alone.

Things like these make you think about being 5,000 miles away for almost a decade sometimes. So do things like Toddler M getting bigger and turning into Little Girl M. And sometimes our 80-year-old neighbor feels more like Toddler M’s grandmother than her grandmother.

But then again, The Frau loves Switzerland. She feels Swiss. She loves the lifestyle here. She doesn’t want to go “home” because she’s not even sure it’s “home” anymore. Also, she’s not sure she remembers how to drive a car or deal with tardy trains.

Enter Swiss bureaucracy.

Thanks to the wonder of a VeryLongGermanWord The Frau still can’t pronounce without stumbling, The Frau is being allowed to conduct an up to two-year American experiment without giving up all of her ties to Switzerland. Swiss bureaucracy has agreed to put her residence permit on hold for up to two years.

This means The Frau is moving to America, but can come back to Switzerland within the next two years and be given back her residence permit like she never left. She’ll even continue to work on Swiss-related books and projects for Swiss companies so will surely be back for a few weeks here and there in the meantime. It’s the best of both worlds…so which world will she choose?

Will spontaneous conversations with Target shoppers make her swoon? Will she dance like Maria in The Sound of Music over her newfound personal space? Or will she realize a little country in the heart of Europe has stolen her heart?

Only time and this blog will tell.

If you enjoy reading this blog then you might also enjoy (insert shameless self-promotion pitch here) The Frau’s first book: Swiss Life: 30 Things I Wish I’d Known. Sure to see her country like she never has before, she will be writing the sequel, American Life: 30 Things I Wish I’d Known, during her two-year American experiment.

More details on how to put a residence permit on hold will also be a topic on this blog in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Swiss hospitality at its finest

One of the views from the Torre Bar in Baden
The Frau writes a lot about the wonders of Swiss hospitality in her day job. But sometimes she questions it. I mean, least night she went to the Torre Bar with two friends. The bar has beautiful views over Baden and they sat right below the castle ruin and drank glass after glass of the Spanish version of Prosecco. It was very pleasant.


Doesn’t good hospitality also include a few peanuts or olives if you are spending the equivalent of $150 on drinks? Not according to the Torre Bar. Instead, For SF 7, we received exactly one shot glass full of olives. That was it. It was astounding in its scarcity. We each had two toothpicks worth of olives and looked at each other in disbelief.

Except that it really wasn't disbelief. Because unfortunately, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened and situations like these are starting to define Swiss hospitality for The Frau. Take the Mövenpick Wine Bar in Zurich. Granted, they have a great deal on Tuesday nights with all you can drink Champagne for SF 35 and it is again, very pleasant.


Go there with your same group of three and the wine bar will serve you the million franc appetizer plate with only two breadsticks. Even though there are three of you. Again, wouldn’t a little Swiss hospitality just add an extra breadstick for goodwill?

And that’s the thing about Switzerland that confounds the Frau to this day. As so-called leaders in the hospitality industry, you think they could throw you a small bone in the shape of a few peanuts for your business. But time and time again, this seems to be asking too much. But then again, the Swiss are rich. Coincidence?

Anyone else have the answers?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The wonder of European pharmacies

The Frau loves the European healthcare system. Especially the pharmacies. Walk in to an Italian pharmacy wearing your bathing suit and a pained expression and walk out ten minutes later with cream, bandages, and the satisfaction of knowing you survived the sting of a jellyfish and everything will be ok. No waiting, no doctors, and little expense. This was The Frau’s experience last week in Italy.
Pharmacy in Levanto, Italy
Which reminded her that Swiss pharmacies are as great as Italian ones. Baby M has green puss coming out of her eye at 4:56 p.m. on a Saturday? No problem. Rush to the pharmacy across the street, talk with head pharmacist for one minute, receive eye drops for CHF 7, and by Monday the pink eye is gone and Baby M can go to school and Mommy can go to work.

If this doesn’t seem great, consider the dire American alternative. The health clinic. No, you cannot just go directly to the pharmacy with your pink eye or your sting. Two hours of waiting, $400 to see a doctor for five minutes who spends more time on the computer than looking at your sore throat, and then you still have to go to the pharmacy, wait in line, and spend another $100 for medicine. It wastes time, money, and gas, since you most likely have to drive too. Please America, it's time to change from a doctor-centric society to a pharmacy-centric one. Please?

Do you love European pharmacies?


Blog Widget by LinkWithin