And now for something completely different: actual information

September 14th, 2010

I was tweeting with After Words yesterday about our kindergarten situations (nutshell: hers, awesome; mine, suboptimal) and the discussion of kindergarten and school schedules led to a little back-and-forth about daycare options here in Switzerland (nutshell: suboptimal) and the dearth of any organized anything to help out families with two working adults led her to say: “Somehow I thought the Swiss would be more progressive?” which made me chuckle, because, really, Switzerland?, until it made me realize that clearly I’m not a very informative blogger. Because, really, Switzerland?¬†Switzerland, I think you know I am deeply fond of you, heck I might even love you, but progressive you are not.

So, since I’ve been telling myself for months that I need to recommit to this blog, and since I live in Switzerland, and since a fair number of my readers do not live in Switzerland, I came up with this brilliant idea. I should tell my readers a little bit about Switzerland and invite questions about life in Switzerland, life as an expat, raising bilingual children – and I’ve got an interview about that to finish for Bringing up Baby Bilingual, actually – or whatever question you have about life in the land of cheese and chocolate.

What do you want to know about the mountain fortress that is my home? Fire away. In the meantime, I’ll be putting together a post about the Swiss school system in the next couple of days. I bet you can’t wait.

7 Responses to “And now for something completely different: actual information”

  1. Jacquie | After Words on September 14, 2010 8:41 pm

    Clearly I have much to learn….

    Can you remind me how you came to be in Switzerland? I’m embarrassed that I can’t remember. And I’d love to hear more about raising bilingual kids. And, you know, everything else.

  2. Claudia on September 15, 2010 8:41 pm

    My questions:
    Is there a loyalty split because there is more than one national language? Do people get judged by the language/region they relate to?

    Is there any prejudice/lack of understanding because you are an actively bilingual family? Would it be different if the secondary language was something less global, like czech?

    Is the cultural difference pleasant or un? Is there a cozy culture to adopt, or does it feel foreign to you still? Does the history and traditions seem welcome to the people, or like a burden?

    I could go on, since I’m in a similar position but a different country. Thanks!

  3. Claudia on September 15, 2010 8:42 pm

    Please excuse the grammatical errors. I’m recovering from strep throat and tired from an almost normal day today.

  4. Jennifer on September 17, 2010 10:21 am

    Will do the how I came to Switzerland story.

    Good questions Claudia

  5. rswb on September 17, 2010 11:15 am

    I also look forward to hearing what you have to say about the language divisions. My Reto comes from german-switzerland, but we live now in the french part of fribourg (which was mainly my idea – since I agreed to move to Switzerland, I thought that he should agree to move somewhere “foreign” too. In fact, he went to university in Fribourg, so it wasn’t such a big deal, but it feels much more like a pleasant compromise to me. Very Swiss of us). I feel far more comfortable in the french part of Switzerland, probably because I actively learnt french and am not that bad at it now, whereas I have just found myself annoyed by the german/swiss german divide and rejected them both as far as I can. Now that we have a baby who is destined to be raised bilingually, if not trilingually, I suspect I might have to grow up and embrace german a bit more. But overall, I spend a lot of time in the german part of Switzerland (with R’s family, who all live over there, and also visiting Zurich/Bern which we are far more likely to do on the weekend than going to Lausanne/Geneva) and thus don’t really feel more loyalty to one part or the other. When we go to the Italian part, though, I always feel like I’m in a different country. Albeit one that still has Migros and Manor and CHFs, and where my GA is still valid ..

    Do you ever go to other language areas of Switzerland? Do you feel like a foreigner there? Would you and/or your R ever agree to live in another language area (my R works in Bern)?

  6. Jennifer on September 23, 2010 11:27 pm

    I’ll get to questions – I came up with this brilliant idea for a series of posts and then went on vacation. I’ve got some internet access and now that the worst of the jetlag is fading some time in the evening after the boys fall asleep (up until now I’ve been falling asleep right with them!).

  7. “R√∂stigraben” at Magpie Days on October 18, 2010 8:36 pm

    […] Bethany’s series on her “highland fling,” but since I already committed myself to answering your questions about life in Switzerland and then promptly left on vacation, it’s probably unwise to suggest that I’m going to […]

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