17 August 2010

Not 'Round Here

By reading my earlier posts, it's easy to conclude that I love Die Schweiz.  Switzerland is a loooovvvvely country...clean, picturesque, safe, small, diverse.  It offers the best transit system in the world. I can go on and on about how much I appreciate this country.  However, there are a few things from America that I miss like crazy. 

I miss...REAL JUNKFOOD with orange cheese - Cheez Its! and Cheez Doodles.  Now I eat fruits, breads and oats for snacks.  Really!  Who wants to flop on the cozy couch to watch a movie while eating this?

Bircher Muesli (Google photo), uncooked oats, fruits, and nuts. 
Add yogurt if you want to live dangerously.

A SUGAR-FILLED BREAKFAST - McDonald's in the morning - hotcakes!  Now I eat a croissant, yogurt and coffee or cappuccino.  A real American breakfast every now and then will hit the spot.

I also miss whiting fish sandwiches, cheesecake (Sara Lee will do), an Americanized taco (I say Americanized b/c in Mexico you will never find a taco with cheddar cheese and sour cream unless they are catering to tourists), an Americanized baked potato (the Swiss actually eat plain potatoes, give me the Americanized one any day), Nephew Tommy's Prank Calls (the In The Closet call was hi la ri ous!), black and Dominican hair salons,  Target, people covering their mouths when they cough, BBC Eastenders and A&E Intervention.  There are plenty of websites that offer these shows, but the networks work like dogs to make sure they are taken down.  If anyone knows where I can view these shows online, pls drop me a line via email.  In the meantime, I watch Absolutely Fabulous and Footballers' Wives over and over again.  I love Adina and Patsy.  The British seem to have the best shows.  I recall reading an article in which Will Smith was campaigning for BBC America to broadcast Eastenders in America.  It's nice.

Oh and most of all I miss my mom and lil sis (my twin).  Ciao.

06 August 2010

How We Spent Our Weekend

Last weekend my husband and I decided to hop the FABULOUS Swiss train and head to Murten.  Murten is a quaint village located on Lake Morat (Lake Murten).  As I explained before (I think), Switzerland, although small, is a country with four different languages (French, Italian, German, and Romansh) and many different regions.  And each region, state or town has its own identity and language (Fr, Ge, It, or Ro) with its own distinct dialect.  This means that several locations will have multiply spellings and pronunciations.  I'm still trying to get the hang of it!  It's like moving to Atlanta and having to figure out that there are more than one Peachtree Stsss... Peachtree St, Peachtree Rd, Peachtree Cir, Peachtree Court, Peachtree Center Ave, W. Peachtree St...
By taking the FABULOUS Swiss train, it's easy to see when we enter different regions.  You see, Murten is actually planted where the German and French parts meet.  So Murten has a German and French feel.  You can see, touch, taste, feel, and hear all that is German and French rolled into one.

Like many Swiss towns or villages, it has a fortified wall.  Built centuries ago to keep the outsiders out...for protection.  The charm of Murten includes beautiful water fountains (they seem to be everywhere in Switzerland), quaint village shops, and well-maintained centuries-old homes with doors so small only a hobbit can comfortably fit through.  This demonstrates how small people were centuries ago.

Hope you enjoy the pics!   

The following day was Swiss National Day.  My husband and I spent a peaceful afternoon at my in laws.  That evening, we celebrated the day be partaking in the town festivities which included free sausages provided by the village government.  Oh, and I can't forget the complimentary wine and beer provided by the village, as well.  Yes, tax dollars were spent on beer and wine.  I don't know why I was surprised.  I mean after all, in Die Schweiz, wine is served at school parties when parents are invited.  Last year I observed a school in Denmark that had a teacher's desk with a bottle of wine on it.  This is all sooo very Europe.

My in-law's village
Watch your step!  Slugs are common after a heavy down pour.
Tschus!  Ciao!

Ironing Boards...hmmm?

Ok, so today I was in one of the neighborhood grocery stores... when I noticed this...

Many of you recall my dilemma regarding parting with 100.00 Swiss Francs to purchase an ironing board.  Well, today I stumbled upon two ironing boards for 68.00 CHF ($65.70) and 48.00 CHF ($46.40).  Both appeared to be made quite well; of excellent quality.  Both were sturdy and heavy and included iron rests.

Needless to say, I left the store without an ironing board.  Not because of the price, but simply because I wasn't in the mood to purchase one.  Forty-eight Swiss Francs is not 98.00 CHF.  I will save fifty bucks!  When I eventually get it...

Currently, I am creating a list of what I miss about the States.  Today, that list got a little longer...I miss being able to purchase 10 ears of corn for $1.  Or four for $1.
3.40 CHF for two ears of corn.
You're in Die Schweiz now BABY!

I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable weekend. 
To my family, I love and miss you all.  Zav, I am so proud of you.  Yes, I'm in Switzerland, but I still got the juice on you.
Thanks to all of my followers for following.

03 August 2010

Does Crime Exist In Switzerland? Ja.

Does crime exist in Switzerland?  Yes, of course it does. 
If you recall my post, Doing Time...SwissStyle http://kiki-in-switzerland.blogspot.com/2010/07/doing-timeswiss-style.html, the photos of the Swiss prisons sum it all up.  Yes, crime exists, but it's almost nonexist in Die Schweiz.  Switzerland has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.  And coming from me, a person who lived on the Southside of Chicago, I'm relishing in this fact.  My apologies to those who may think that I'm knocking Chicago, but truth be told...you know damn well that Chicago, with all its beauty, is a mess!  Eighteen shootings in a 24 hour period, 40 shootings in one weekend (June 2010).  Enough with that!  I digress...

Back to Switzerland and my relishing...

Since moving here, some of my security habits have changed:  Although, I live on the 3rd floor, I don't have a problem with leaving the balconey door open when I hop to the store; I will walk a few blocks (Switzerland doesn't actually have blocks, but you get the gist) with money in my hand; I will keep my car running when I run into the post office.  Come on!   Really! 

Just look at the photo I took when I moved to Switzerland this past winter.  I was so amazed that items were left outside of the grocery store after closing hours that I took a picture and emailed it to my family explaining the craziness that is Switzerland (or maybe it's me who's crazy).  And these are not measly items, as you can see.
No thievery here

Now, what's really going on in Switzerland; many are not happy because crime is on the rise.  And truth be told, study after study shows that the foreigners are to blame.  According to the Swiss Police Crime Statics:

51% of Injury (I'm assuming this means assault) are perpetraded by foreigners
59% Intentional Homicide
54% Purse Snatching
56% Restraint / Kidnapping
62% Rape
59% Trade in Drugs

This angers me on so many levels.  ONE, b/c I believe that if people are productive and make a contribution to a nation then they should be welcomed.  But one rotten apple spoils a bunch and that's how it goes.  We live in a world of how things are, not how they should be, and unfortunately the unlawful actions of a few makes it harder for the rest.  TWO, Switzerland is known for having a large practice for accepting asylum seekers.  In other words, they want to help those who have to flee their home country.  If foreigners, many asylum seekers, continue to do unlawful activities, the desire to help others will change.  And actually, it already is.  Oh and THREE, this is very selfish, but I'm a foreigner and I don't want to have a negative label hanging over me.  A few people have told me that being an American is "different".  But most Swiss don't know I'm American until I open my mouth.

So what does this mean...??  First, the Swiss don't play games.  They are forcing deportation, starting with Nigerians.

If asylum seekers refuse to leave, they will be restrained and
forcefully placed on an airplance as demonstrated above.  Photo (swissinfo.ch)
Why the Nigerians?  "They are coming here to seek asylum, but to do illegal business," according to Alard du Bois-Reymond, new director of the Swiss Federal Migration Office.  "Many of them drift into petty crime and deal drugs.  It's a sad fact."  Therefore, according to the Swiss, they have to go.  In 2009, only one Nigerian asylum seeker was granted asylum, six were granted temporary stays, and 1800 were rejected.  Now, I can count on one hand the number of Nigerians I know, have known, have met, in other words not many, but I'm sure that out of 1800+, a lot more than seven are trustworthy... a looottttt more.  But this is where the rotten apples comes into play.  It's sad, it's disgusting.  Are Nigerians being fingered? Yes, definitely...thanks rotten apple.             

This is what I have to say, my own little observations.  Those from other African nations are not seen as "trouble."  Also those from war torn Sri Lanka (FYI, in Switzerland, they are also considered black, like Africans, like me) are accepted, no problem.  Also, people from the Balkans are seen as high participates of criminal activity.  Another personal observation which I think hurts the Nigerians is that they hang out at the stores, train stations in packs making noise; doing what may be normal to them in Nigeria. And this may not seem as a big deal to us Americans, but the reserved Swiss don't make noise and don't hang "on corners."  Seriously.

I wrote this post because the Swiss are going to have another referendum in November which will call for all foreigners who have been convicted of a serious crime to be sent back to their home country IMMEDIATELY.  (A little side note, Switzerland is a direct democracy.  Therefore, citizens can override any parliamentary decision with a vote.  Imagine if the US had this system back during slavery or the Civil Rights Movement.  I would probably be picking cotton right now instead of writing this post).  Looking by one of the campaign posters, you can figure out what will happen.

To be honest, I'm not against sending trouble makers home.  But I have to admit, it bothers me to the core to know that those who are here doing the right thing will be negatively labeled or prevented from coming here due to the behavior of a some and prejudices of others.  Who's fault is that?