In the land of Switzerland, their laws are known to somehow discipline the citizens, from keeping the house as quiet as possible on Sundays to paying 5 CHF for a 32liter trash bag just for disposal. Mostly peaceful and conservative people living amongst each other. I reminisce on the blessings to drive a vehicle in California whereas most people here find it more convenient to commute through public transportation than to spend a fortune on a personal vehicle. I must admit, the punctual schedule of the bus/tram helps people to inhabit punctuality as well. The living difference is visible between the US and Switzerland. There are only 8.42 million people in CH and there are 345.7 million in the US. I believe that we tend to differentiate how people behave or act in other countries. The fact that there are both disadvantages and advantages to living in all countries. We often hear great things about Switzerland and praises how lucky a person would be to reside there. I don’t speak for anyone but I do have opinions. I speak my mind based on experiences throughout this blog. Feel free to comment and speak your mind.
November 28, 2018 marked my first time out of the country. I typically don’t really share the fact that I arrived in the US with my family in the year 2000 when I was only 5 years old. My memories of Vietnam were vague. I probably did not even understand what culture shock means. Marking my first time, the altitude pressure during my 13 hour flight was uncomfortable to my ears and head. As I step foot onto Switzerland I don’t feel foreign or experience any kind of cultural shock. I did not feel strange or nervous and I feel comfortable and proud to speak American English. I had a focus which is to reach my friend’s apartment. Keeping in mind that every signs are in German, so it’s important to know a few phrases to catch people’s attention when you want to ask for directions. People may look unapproachable because they typically mind their own business but almost all of them that I had ask for directions are actually very nice and helpful.
Entschuldigung (excuse me)
Sprechen sie Englisch? (Do you speak English?)
From these simple dialogues, you can navigate your directions in English. Growing up in California, I had the privilege to drive a car to practically anywhere I like. I never had the experience or a comfortable mindset to take the train or the bus. I should mention that certain stations or platforms in Zurich are a little difficult to find such as up the stairs, cutting across, or downstairs and then upstairs for first-timers. It’s also okay to ask the conductor or ticket inspector for directions as you keep going. If you have a big suitcase, be prepared to drag them up and down the escalator, bus, or the tram. But you can also take an Uber.
My cellphone data runs at 2GB… very slow or fast depending on wherever it is. It definitely taught me to be more patient with technology and rely on my own intuition. Google Maps helped me pinpoint which stopping station I should get off at. The main APP you will need to use for most of your transportation is SBB. SBB is Switzerland’s primary transportation service for its citizens. Small talks rarely happens. People like to mind their own business and give people the space. It’s hard to create a conversation because everyone already has their own agenda for their daily lives. Don’t expect them to socialize with you in a coffee line or anywhere you might think small talks can happen. People also keep their eye contact extremely minimal which I feel that it helps foreigners to feel more comfortable because stares can make strangers feel uncomfortable sometimes.
Listen to yourself
Jet lag is normal and you should allow yourself to take naps when your body tells you to. It is okay to wake up as early as 4 AM and start your day planning your activities or go to bed at 7PM. The point is to listen to your body and know your limits. I am very spontaneous by nature and rarely go with a structured plan. Some people like that about me and some people can’t handle it. There is nothing wrong with arriving at a country without having a clue what to do yet. Most of all, it’s okay to feel whatever one feels (spontaneously) and go with the flow.
Not only did I take this opportunity to visit another country for the first time. My main focus was to Paint there. Painting in Zurich created a lot of space in my work. Perhaps I was evolving through the energy that vibrates here. Perhaps the environment is peaceful, crimes are low, and people are reserved. Or perhaps one of the lessons that I have picked up on this trip is to be patient. I am either patiently waiting for the bus or the train, or just being patient with myself trying to figure out the transportation systems. And, perhaps, my process of learning patience is reflected into the space which allows the colors and texture to breathe.
Museum Rietberg ,
Nestled in a quiet neighborhood and park. I personally enjoy this museum for its ancient collections of statues and artifacts. If you love to see what kind of ancient artifacts that Zurich owns, this would be the place to go.
A more contemporary museum nestled in the city. As of December 2018, Helga Phillips’ work were in exhibition for a month.