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What's been going on with me?
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tooki
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Jul 9, 2009, 02:12 PM
 
As some of you may know, I had to quit being an admin here when I joined Apple. After I quit in August 08, I came back as a normal "civilian" member, but things were so hectic that I really haven't had time to write about what's been going on. I don't really normally write about myself, but I guess I've been feeling the need to get things off my chest, and you all always have good advice. (And feel free to comment on anything, even just the gadgetry.)

As some of you might know, I moved back to Switzerland on 1/15 of this year.

But before I pick up at more or less the present day, let me recap the starting-Apple–through-the-move period.

Back in 2005, my boyfriend moved in with me (with his Siamese cat), while I was still finishing up school. I graduated in May 06 with my BA in Information Systems (minor linguistics) magna cum laude from UMBC.

I then took some time off (chilling, travel, etc) before starting at Apple in December 06. I started as part-time seasonal Mac Specialist, but by March 07 I'd been promoted to full-time (which is essentially a senior Mac Specialist). (No, I didn't want to be a Genius or Creative.)

Anyway, in February 07 we decided to get a dog. We adopted a 5 year old, 85lb black lab mix named Dino. We couldn't have asked for a better dog — he was super friendly, flawlessly housebroken, didn't get up on furniture, didn't chew on anything, didn't bark (!), wasn't food-aggressive, etc. The only thing he never did well was walk on a leash; as someone put it, walking him was "like walking a golf cart" (a Gentle Leader solved that problem).

In April, we added a second cat, another Siamese, to the house. Cat #2, Franklin, quickly became best friends with Dino. Times were good.

In October 07, my 1992 Civic finally croaked, and I got a swell 2005 Mazda3 (5-door, 2.3l).

Holiday of 07 came and went, crowned with being selected as one of the 200-ish Apple Retail employees who got to go to Macworld to work the booth, which was a great deal of fun. I was working the MacBook Air section, which was pretty fun. I also met some MacNNers, some on purpose (Hi demonhood!), some by random chance (Hey vmarks and mattosx!). Yes, I visited the mothership, and yes I got my Apple badge and ate at Cafe Macs. Yay for not having to pay to stay in a swank hotel and take an expensive direct flight from Baltimore to SF.

Anyway, life started getting more complicated, work started to get annoying, and there grew increasing tension between me and my boyfriend, who by then was my fiancé. All the same, in mid-08, we made the decision to pack up our little family and move to Switzerland so I could get my Swiss citizenship, and we could actually get a civil union that means something.

So I quit Apple in August to begin mobilizing for an October/November move.

Things kinda went downhill from there. Tension kept building at home, but still, we were moving along. I was getting everyone in the family ready for the move (you have no idea how hard it is to transport a large dog overseas!) when, in September, Dino (the dog), got a sudden illness. He spent the weekend at the veterinary emergency room on oxygen, where he stumped all the vets, then on Monday we took him to an internal medicine specialist, who diagnosed a pulmonary embolism, which was not treatable. I insisted that we not do euthanasia in a little closed room. I would have preferred that we do it at home, but Dino would not have survived the drive home, so the vet agreed to do it in the field behind the clinic. He got to run around for about 15 minutes before his blood oxygen dropped too low and we had to finish it. Dino died on a beautiful sunny day, the only sunny day for days before or after.

The relationship with my fiancé did not survive that blow, and we broke up in October, after 3½ years. He quickly moved out with Cat #1. Not long after, I had him take Franklin (Cat #2) as well, because Franklin is extremely social and was really suffering being an only pet. I would love to have him now, but it would have been a selfish decision. (The two cats now live happily with my ex.)

Since it was just me, it took longer to finish getting rid of 3/4 of my possessions, cleaning, etc. The movers came the day after Thanksgiving to pack the few things I took. I spent the next 6 weeks with friends before selling the Mazda and hopping on a plane, just me alone.

That concludes the pre-move history. Since the move:

Work: I started a job on March 1, for a small company that makes a reference management program (you academics and researchers out there might know EndNote — they're our major competition). Anyway, the program is only available in German at the moment, and I was hired to change that, so we can take an English version to the world market. I'm now about 95% done with the translation of the app itself, plus totally done with the 1000+ mini help texts in it, and about 40% done with the full manual. The website and correspondence templates are still pending.

It's a small company, and aside from me, half the folks are Swiss, half are German. It's also a very gay-friendly company, which is an unexpected bonus.

The office is on the other side of the lake, so I commute with the passenger boat that crosses from a nearby town.

Home: Once I had the job contract, I was able to get an apartment. I have a two bedroom (that's 3.5 rooms for you europeans), 92sq m. (~900 sq ft), two bath, ground level with private gardens front and back (every single room opens to a garden), full appliances, and a private laundry room in the basement.

I still don't have much furniture, but I did get some fantastic older stuff at the thrift store. (Not because of money, though it was cheap, but because if you are not filthy rich, you can only buy modern furniture here. The apartment's design is so modern that it really needs, soft, older stuff to temper it.) The pièce de résistance is a medieval-looking table and chair set from Spain, dark wood with rough hand carvings and big wrought-iron-looking rivets. It's lovely.

Stuff: Once I had the apartment, and my stuff arrived (on April 22) I was finally able to buy a proper TV to use with my Apple TV. I had been planning to buy Panasonic's middle model 42" 1080p plasma (the TH-42PZ85), but by the time I got around to it, Panasonic updated its plasma line, so I was able to buy the now-"old" top-of-the-line model, the TH-42PZ800E, for less than the new entry-level model! I actually came in under-budget, but with a better TV. The picture is lovely, and I don't have any clue how this thing has such awesome speakers built-in. It sounds like there must be a small sub inside it, but I can't imagine where. Excellent mids and highs, too. It almost feels like a shame that I'll be disabling the built-in speakers once I get a home theater receivers. (I have a full set of B&W home theater speakers.)

Oh yeah, the combination of a Mac Pro for ripping DVDs, the Panny plasma (LCDs... suck in comparison, and modern LCDs are damned good), and the Apple TV rocks. I have a library of ripped DVDs, since the Mac Pro can process them very fast, and then the iTunes store lets me rent and buy movies and TV shows I can't get here. The Apple TV gives me my whole library of video and music in one interface. Yay.

I also caved and bought a KitchenAid blender, since I've broken so many cheap ones before just making frozen daiquiris. I had no idea a blender could be so quiet and yet do a better job. I should have done this years ago, considering how frequently I make frozen drinks. Oh, and it's orange. This white apartment needs color.

Personal: I managed to get them to give me a Swiss driver's license without much hassle. If only the Swiss knew how foolhardy it is to give Americans licenses without further driver's ed, LOL! I still haven't used it (even though I have a car sharing membership) because I am extremely unsure of my stick-driving skills, and almost no cars here are automatics — and the roads are extremely narrow compared to the US, and here the right-of-way rules are very different, so I am not so sure about it.

My citizenship application is coming along. The last major hurdle was the vote by the town hall meeting, which passed, so theoretically everything from here on out is purely administrative. But given the BS I've gotten in the past, I won't believe it until I have a Swiss identity card, black on white (or blue, I think).

Social: Switzerland is a place to make money, enjoy lovely alpine scenery, eat impeccably fresh food — and be lonely. Every piece of my life (save perhaps for getting a car) has fallen into place, except for this. Making friends (never mind romantic encounters) is essentially impossible here. They say that the Swiss make their friends in kindergarten and never again after that. And it's true. In the US (or Italy, as it turns out), I could go to a new town, go to a bar, and have friends within the day. Of course, they may not end up being good friends, but someone I meet through them might.

Here, I go to a bar (even a gay bar!), and… nothing. Even if I boldly go up to people and say "hey, I'm here alone, can I join you?" they either outright say no, or say "sure", but then continue to ignore me. (Whatever happened to gays being... all about fresh meat in town? WTF?) I went to Europride, which was right here in Zurich, and made a point of talking to people. Some even gave me their numbers to hang out, but they don't return text messages — typical for here. I still have zero — zero! — gay friends here in Zurich. This is absurd. It's not like if all my friends have to be gay, but "gay" is one aspect of who/what I am, and it's being totally neglected.

Thank god I still have a few good friends from when I lived here before, so I'm not totally up s**t creek, but it's pathetic that I need to rely on friends from out of town to have fun with people. (That's not to say that I don't enjoy my visitors/visits — I love them — but it's the whole periods in between that get to me.)


So that about wraps it up.

<3
antonio

P.S. I am signing all my post-adminship posts with my real name, to make it obvious that they are not made in an official capacity.

P.P.S. I'm a proud daddy, so pix of the pets are on my website under "Older Pages".
( Last edited by tooki; Nov 30, 2009 at 09:50 AM. )
     
Laminar
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Jul 9, 2009, 02:27 PM
 
Awesome. Glad things are going well for you. Got any pictures of the apartment or the view?
     
tooki  (op)
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Jul 9, 2009, 03:00 PM
 
Well, things are going well materially, but I guess I'm just not happy since my social life here sucks. Switzerland has a way of making me... angry? frustrated? I dunno. (In USA, my friends know me as being the serene, grounded one, and here, things get to me that otherwise wouldn't.) :/

I'll try and post some pix soon.
     
shifuimam
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Jul 9, 2009, 03:15 PM
 
I'm curious...what prompted you to take Swiss citizenship? Are you also holding onto your prior citizenship (US? Elsewhere?)?

Just wondering.
     
tooki  (op)
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Jul 9, 2009, 03:26 PM
 
I spent my entire teens here, so I have a connection with Switzerland.

I'll be keeping my American and Guatemalan citizenship, since none of them require you to give it up.
     
turtle777
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Jul 9, 2009, 03:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by tooki View Post
Social: Switzerland is a place to make money, enjoy lovely alpine scenery, eat impeccably fresh food — and be lonely. Every piece of my life (save perhaps for getting a car) has fallen into place, except for this. Making friends (never mind romantic encounters) is essentially impossible here. They say that the Swiss make their friends in kindergarten and never again after that. And it's true. In the US (or Italy, as it turns out), I could go to a new town, go to a bar, and have friends within the day. Of course, they may not end up being good friends, but someone I meet through them might.
I have to agree with that. During my one year in Switzerland, I felt the same way.
I somewhat got into a circle of people (church) that I hung out with on a regular basis, but I never felt I could really become part of the group; I remained the curious outsider.

For me, it just seemed like Switzerland is this beautiful facade, but it was somewhat artificial. I used to call it the "Heile Welt", because it seemed so removed from anything going on in the outside world.

A nice, but weird place.

-t
     
starman
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Jul 9, 2009, 03:37 PM
 
Took,
Good to see you posting, not so happy about your current situation . Maybe it's time to move? I know nothing about Europe, but it seems you'd be happier somewhere else.

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turtle777
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Jul 9, 2009, 03:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Awesome. Glad things are going well for you. Got any pictures of the apartment or the view?
What ? Did you even read what tooki posted ? stick:

Even if you did, you didn't seem to get what's at the heart of his post.

-t
     
seanc
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Jul 9, 2009, 03:52 PM
 
Well I hope things pick up for you soon. How can everyone be so cold and heartless to just ignore you?

Is there much of a 'party' culture over there? How about throwing a house party?
     
Laminar
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Jul 9, 2009, 03:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
What ? Did you even read what tooki posted ? stick:

Even if you did, you didn't seem to get what's at the heart of his post.

-t
It seems like more was going well than wasn't. I was trying to be positive.
     
turtle777
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Jul 9, 2009, 03:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
It seems like more was going well than wasn't. I was trying to be positive.
I dunno, break up from fiancee, leaving of the pets and having a hard time finding social contacts doesn't sound like "more was going well than wasn't.".

-t
     
ghporter
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Jul 9, 2009, 05:05 PM
 
It's good to hear something about all that "I can't even post here" time with Apple, as well as what you've been up to since then. I'm sorry about the relationship and especially about Dino-I really do understand that sort of thing from personal experience.

By the way, I ABHOR End Note. I cannot say enough bad about it, from how user-antagonistic it is to how bollixed up its supposed "product" is. Maybe it's because I needed APA format, but I doubt it. I managed to do all my references manually after spending a whole weekend trying desperately to figure out how End Note was supposed to make life easier. Never again!

I'm not a very socially outgoing person, so making friends is hard for me. From that perspective, I think I get your issues with the Swiss around you. Do you think it's because of the specific town you're in? It looks like your company isn't exactly in the heart of Switzerland (unless I'm misreading the maps), so maybe it's just not as "newcomer friendly" as other cities are. I wish you luck with finding non-work friends; I know that's very important to one's emotional health.

Glad to hear you're doing well in most things! That's a lot better than hating your job and where you live, all things considered.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
tooki  (op)
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Jul 10, 2009, 03:56 PM
 
Well, once the English version of the program is out, I'll let you know and you can give it a whirl -- unlike EndNote, which costs a fortune, it's free for projects with 100 references or less, which covers a lot of papers. Reference management may not be glamorous, but EndNote literally looks like it was designed in 1978. I've never heard anyone say they liked using it, whereas our program is a huge leap, and in the German-speaking world we've got a big base of devoted fans. (It's only for Windows at the moment, but we have a developer working on the Mac version now.)

As for where I am, I'm in the Zurich area, which is the largest metro area in the country. Zurich has the reputation of being snooty and materialistic. No, I don't know whether my Pumas are from the current collection or from the "old" one six months old; I don't give a s**t. But even in less-snooty areas, Switzerland still has the reputation of being very closed off to newcomers.
( Last edited by tooki; Nov 30, 2009 at 09:49 AM. )
     
tooki  (op)
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Jul 10, 2009, 04:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I somewhat got into a circle of people (church) that I hung out with on a regular basis, but I never felt I could really become part of the group; I remained the curious outsider.

For me, it just seemed like Switzerland is this beautiful facade, but it was somewhat artificial. I used to call it the "Heile Welt", because it seemed so removed from anything going on in the outside world.
Totally. In many ways, Switzerland lives in ignorant bliss of what's going on around it -- but they seem to believe that that prosperity stems from inherent superiority (though they naturally claim otherwise). It's that same superiority that makes them resistant to newcomers. Of course, this ignorance doesn't stop them from passing judgement on other places (the US being a favorite butt of jokes; I often find myself being unwillingly forced to defend the US).

Zurich has repeatedly won "highest quality of life in the world" rankings. I wonder how they count it, given that if you move here as an outsider, you will never fit in, plus other things that drive me up a wall, like extremely limited store hours, perpetual crowds, random violence (I dunno if you heard about the three Swiss teens that beat up several random strangers in Munich a week ago, one of them to within an inch of his life? One of those kids is from the village I live in, the other from another village I pass through on my commute. I feel no safer walking around in Zurich than I did in downtown Baltimore.), graffiti, limited late-night... anything, and overall limited food choices unless you have a goshdarned fortune to spend.

As I said, I find that my overall frustration-with-life level is much higher here, despite my massively superior financial and living situation.
     
ghporter
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Jul 10, 2009, 05:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by tooki View Post
As for where I am, I'm in the Zurich area, which is the largest metro area in the country.
Bummer. I had looked up where the company is located and assumed you were near their headquarters/mailing address. My bad, I guess.

It sounds like they're not doing themselves any favors by being so insular, and I really have to agree with you that it's hard to understand how Zurich gets such high marks when everyone there seems to be immune to even trying to get to know someone who's "new in town." This seriously recasts my image of the Swiss people.
( Last edited by ghporter; Nov 30, 2009 at 01:29 PM. Reason: Obfuscation is fun!)

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starman
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Jul 10, 2009, 05:40 PM
 
Well now I know why their cheese has so many holes!

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tooki  (op)
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Jul 10, 2009, 05:41 PM
 
A long-time British ex-pat once wrote a book called The Perpetual Tourist, about living in Switzerland... sigh...

As for my workplace... it's about 40 minutes from downtown Zurich by commuter train. Where I live is about 20 minutes from downtown by express commuter train, but on the other side of the lake.
     
turtle777
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Jul 10, 2009, 05:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
It sounds like they're not doing themselves any favors by being so insular,
Well, from their perspective, it's a positive trait: they call it being "neutral".

You gotta understand, that mentality has been formed over many centuries. The Swiss always wanted to be separate from everyone else around them, and so they created their own little happy-happy-joy-joy bubble.

And as far as doing themselves a disfavor, well, that depends. For the Swiss, it's actually an advantage, because it maintains that notion of neutrality and trustworthiness (e.g. in terms of money). They don't take anyone's side, and in return expect that nobody forces them to join or embrace anything that's not theirs.

-t
     
Salty
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Jul 10, 2009, 05:47 PM
 
Dude, get a blog

     
Laminar
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Jul 10, 2009, 05:56 PM
 
I'm assuming the wink means you understand the difference between a life update from someone that people care about, and yet another "OMG MY LIFE IS TEH GAY" thread.
     
tooki  (op)
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Jul 10, 2009, 06:10 PM
 
Hahahaha!
     
ghporter
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Jul 10, 2009, 06:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by tooki View Post
As for my workplace... it's about 40 minutes from downtown Zurich by commuter train. Where I live is about 20 minutes from downtown by express commuter train, but on the other side of the lake.
Wow, I definitely misunderstood the scale on the map I looked at! That is REALLY close to Zurich! It looks like it's only about 13-15 miles away, not the 50 or so like I first thought. That puts many things is a very different perspective.
( Last edited by ghporter; Nov 30, 2009 at 03:37 PM. )

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turtle777
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Jul 10, 2009, 07:15 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Wow, I definitely misunderstood the scale on the map I looked at! That is REALLY close to Zurich! It looks like it's only about 13-15 miles away, not the 50 or so like I first thought. That puts many things is a very different perspective.
About 30 miles away.

Also, don't forget that you can't go as high speed as in the US.

E.g. whereas in the US, you are often allowed to go 45mph in cities / villages, in Europe it's for the most part only 50 km/h (31mph). So by that virtue, travel in cities or connected villages takes 40% longer.

-t
( Last edited by ghporter; Nov 30, 2009 at 03:37 PM. )
     
ghporter
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Jul 10, 2009, 07:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
About 30 miles away.
By road. The straight line distance is a lot less. But nobody's going to drive across the lake, so that's not a very helpful distance anyway.

To go to the nearest big city to me, from San Antonio to Austin, I'd travel around 90 miles. At speeds of around 70MPH for most of that distance, it's about 90 minutes for the total trip. Travel in Europe is VERY different from what I'm used to.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Andy8
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Jul 10, 2009, 07:38 PM
 
Tooki have you tried any online dating sites to expand your social circle?

Or give Mensa a try, it is an instant network of friends and social fun, the Swiss chairman was here in Hong Kong a few weeks ago!
     
turtle777
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Jul 10, 2009, 07:47 PM
 
A Swiss chairman of an international networking site ?

Talk about oxymorons

-t
     
Andy8
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Jul 10, 2009, 09:19 PM
 
Perhaps i worded it wrong: The Swiss Mensa Chairman, not the International Mensa chairman
     
rickey939
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Jul 10, 2009, 10:39 PM
 
Thanks for the update!
     
el chupacabra
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Jul 11, 2009, 12:52 AM
 
Maybe look for some kind of club, society, or group to join. Preferably an american one. I usually find there are Americans in other countries that are easy to make friends with; since they're the minority.
     
tooki  (op)
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Jul 11, 2009, 05:28 AM
 
I've actually found the expats here to be... kinda strange.

As for dating sites... unless you're looking for an explicit no-strings-attached quickie, the Swiss mentality carries through 100%. (No, I'm not looking for a quickie.)

When one of my friends in Baltimore first moved there, he myspaced (back when that was cool) some random people in Baltimore, who responded kindly and he joined our group. Here, i tried that... nothing. Not one single response.
     
tooki  (op)
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Jul 11, 2009, 05:31 AM
 
What the Swiss say is that they don't want "half" friends (which they accuse us Americans of all being to each other). They either demand that you be a super-tight friend, or not at all. But of course, since it's impossible to be a super-close friend without first being more distant, they create this catch-22 where there is no method by which to become friends with them.
     
Phileas
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Jul 11, 2009, 07:44 PM
 
I really, really, really dislike Switzerland. Sorry, no offense meant, but I have no idea what you're doing in that place, especially as Swiss citizenship doesn't really get you anything but the right to live in Switzerland. An uptight, arrogant country that pretends to be neither, a banking system with no morals of any kind, a society stuck in a glorified past that never was in the first place, the place made me feel claustrophobic the second I crossed the border.

There's a very simple way to make friends with the Swiss, btw. Be rich, the richer the better. You'll have more friends than you ever thought possible.
     
turtle777
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Jul 12, 2009, 12:13 AM
 
The Swiss mentality is really the worst mixture.

If we talk in stereotypes, American's tend to be very open and accessible, to a point where Europeans accuse them of being shallow. It might be hard to really build that very deep relationship, but that takes time no matter where and what.
Europeans (well, I can speak about Germans mostly) are at first tough and disinterested, but breaking the mold doesn't take that much, as long as you try and are not obnoxious about it.

With the Swiss, well, you get neither. You're just an outsider, and stay that way.

-t
     
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Jul 12, 2009, 03:51 AM
 
I am glad to hear that you are doing alright professionally, not so glad to hear about the akwqrd social situation. All in all, it is good to have word from you.

Any new piercings to report on?
I like my water with hops, malt, hops, yeast, and hops.
     
tooki  (op)
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Jul 12, 2009, 06:11 AM
 
Alas, no new piercings or ink. You?


Turtle: I forget, are you German, or did you live there, or what?


As for why I want the citizenship: Since my mom, sister, and nephew live here, I want the freedom to stay here indefinitely if the need or desire should arise.
     
ghporter
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Jul 12, 2009, 10:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by tooki View Post
Alas, no new piercings or ink. You?


Turtle: I forget, are you German, or did you live there, or what?


As for why I want the citizenship: Since my mom, sister, and nephew live here, I want the freedom to stay here indefinitely if the need or desire should arise.
Then multiple passports give you plenty of that freedom. If the Swiss tick you off, you can head back to the States (I recommend some place other than Baltimore), or lots of other places. I'm curious: with more than one passport, do you "shop" which one gets you the easiest and quickest visa, or are they all about the same?

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
turtle777
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Jul 12, 2009, 01:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by tooki View Post
Turtle: I forget, are you German, or did you live there, or what?
Yeah, I grew up in Germany, then lived & worked one year in Switzerland, and then moved to the US.

I'm ambivalent about my time In Switzerland.

Aside from the "social disconnect", the high standard of living and the general nice outside appearance made it an ok time. But I probably couldn't live there forever.

-t
     
turtle777
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Jul 12, 2009, 01:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
I'm curious: with more than one passport, do you "shop" which one gets you the easiest and quickest visa, or are they all about the same?
Sure you can. Generally speaking, Swiss passport will get you easily in almost any country. Because nobody would suspect that the Swiss would stick around. Rarely do they try to stay somewhere else for economic reasons

-t
     
QuadG5Man
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Jul 12, 2009, 02:40 PM
 
Good to see you!
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tooki  (op)
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Jul 12, 2009, 04:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
I'm curious: with more than one passport, do you "shop" which one gets you the easiest and quickest visa, or are they all about the same?
Most of the countries I'd want to visit don't require visas for US or Swiss visitors.

That said, if ever I get the urge to visit Cuba or North Korea, that's way easier with a Swiss passport.
     
- - e r i k - -
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Jul 13, 2009, 02:00 AM
 
Great life update and insight into Swiss culture.

Sorry to hear about your hardship however.

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Salty
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Jul 13, 2009, 10:38 AM
 
Hey Tooki, sorry I read this just as I was leaving work on Monday, that sucks about the whole insular culture thing. I confess I've had a bit of a shake up in my life lately and this year I've actually chosen to walk away from three friendships, one of about five years, one of about 3, and one of about a year and a half. It really makes you realize just how much having someone close to you who you can talk to is good for you... granted in this case those friendships were becoming progressively more toxic as I found I was consistently taken for granted.

Can you move back to America or something? Regardless of whatever money you're making it doesn't sound worthwhile for you.
     
tooki  (op)
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Jul 13, 2009, 12:42 PM
 
We'll see. Everyone tells me to just "give it time", but that's not a good thing for the mean time!

I have set a time limit of 2 years — if I absolutely hate it at that point, I'll abort and move away. But I am still gonna try and give it an honest chance, even if it's driving me to the brink of insanity!
     
amazing
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Jul 13, 2009, 01:35 PM
 
In these times, the more passports, the merrier. As for staying long-term, I'm wondering if the French-speaking part on Switzerland is any less closed-in upon itself? Having lived and gone to school in France and Germany as a kid, if finances and the dollar ever allow me to head back to Europe, I'll be going to France...

Here's a joke that I dearly love, with the Germanic portion transposed to Switzerland (I figure since you're gonna be there for awhile, you're faced with either laughing about it or crying about it--and laughing about it is way better):

A great Saint was once asked, 'What's the difference between Heaven and Hell?'

'Heaven,' the great Saint said, 'is when the English greet you, the French cook for you, the Swiss make all the travel arrangements, and the Italians plan all your entertainment.'

'Hell,' the great Saint said, 'is when the French greet you, the English cook for you, the Italians make all the travel arrangements, and the Swiss plan all your entertainment.'

So, how about posting all the Swiss jokes you know, to cheer tooki up?
     
turtle777
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Jul 13, 2009, 01:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by amazing View Post
As for staying long-term, I'm wondering if the French-speaking part on Switzerland is any less closed-in upon itself?
W/o having first-hand experience myself, I'm having a hard time seeing how a mix between Swiss and French mentality would offer any upside potential

-t
     
amazing
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Jul 13, 2009, 03:38 PM
 
Language itself carries its own lineage, its own cultural heritage. So I'm thinking that French-speaking Swiss have grown up with mitigating factors--in all likelihood, a cultural mélange, a certain freedom from "Swississitudiness" or Swiss-stuffiness.

Swiss history and Swiss inclinations have devised a great 'insularity.' People talk about the insularity of the Brits or the Japanese, but Switzerland is just as equally a great island in the mountains. There are cultural traditions and upbringings that maintain this monolithic (and therefore many times crushing) milieu.

The trick in maintaining your sanity is to find the cracks in the facade. Humor, when it's genuine, is a most wonderful way to sabotage that stuffy facade.
     
amazing
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Jul 13, 2009, 03:50 PM
 
Here's a wonderful April Fools joke that the BBC played, one that fooled many Brits. They came in to the office that day after the program aired, and talked about wanting to plant spaghetti trees in their gardens--and they still bear a great deal of resentment against the BBC for fooling them so completely.

It's all about the Spaghetti Harvest in Switzerland. Absolutely hilarious. Keep an eye open for how the Swiss have managed to harvest the spaghetti in such uniform lengths: You can just imagine the Swiss doing just that, it's wonderfully believable.

YouTube - Swiss Spaghetti Harvest 1957
     
tooki  (op)
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Jul 13, 2009, 05:08 PM
 
That's awesome!

Another joke about the Swiss (for German speakers):

German duck says: "quack, quack, quack"
Austrian duck says: "quack, quack, quack"
Swiss duck says: "quack, quack, quack, oder?"


(The same joke works for Canadians:
British duck says: "quack, quack, quack"
American duck says: "quack, quack, quack"
Australian duck says: "quack, quack, quack"
New Zealand duck says: "quack, quack, quack"
Canadian duck says: "quack, quack, quack, eh?"
)
     
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Jul 13, 2009, 06:03 PM
 
I can't believe your boyfriend broke up with you because of the stress associated with the death of your dog? I love pets too but. . . Or did he flake on the prospect of moving to Switzerland with you and getting hitched? Either way, my sympathies.

I'd say stay long enough to get your citizenship and leave for someplace a bit more friendly. As for the social scene that sounds challenging. There has to be *some* acceptance of new people--otherwise everyone just dates people they've known all their lives? Sounds a bit incestrous. If you're good looking have a great body I'd say show up at the bar shirtless. I don't care if they're Swiss, gay men are gay men and someone will talk to you!
     
tooki  (op)
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Jul 13, 2009, 06:39 PM
 
The breakup was, naturally, more complicated than that...

Alas, I don't think I look quite good enough shirtless to impress the superficial "Dolce and Gabbana bitches" that go out to bars here... I thought gay men were gay men everywhere... nope.
     
 
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