Monday, February 2, 2009

Mrs. Mac Interviews ME!

Meghan of Swiss Family Mac was interviewed by another blogger on her blog and at the end of the interview she asked if anyone else wanted to be interviewed... and here I am! Thanks Meghan for interviewing me. Please do check out her blog - it is one of my daily reads.

1. What has the hardest transition or adjustment for you when you moved to Zurich? What has been your favorite part of being an expat? And more specifically, your favorite part of living in Zurich?

The hardest transition, and go ahead and start the pity party sounds now, is making friends in Zurich. I heard it and thought it wasn't true, but now I am sure of it - the Swiss are very closed. Not unfriendly. Not reserved. Not bitterly cold. Just not warm and welcoming when it comes to showing the foreigners around. I do not understand why... but after fighting the rumors, I believe it now and I am ok with it. The Swiss have their friends and don't really go out of their way to help foreigners integrate. Again, don't get me wrong, I am not saying the Swiss are unfriendly just don't expect to be invited over for a cup of tea for like the first 13 years. That is hard when you come from a place where the neighbors bring over a cake to welcome you to the neighborhood and you might go for drinks on a Friday night with colleagues.

My favorite part of living abroad is always the unknown. The challenges of trying new things, getting around and never knowing what to expect. After about 6 months I always feel like I know the new place, like it is a piece of me, and I have integrated, so I try to always keep doing new things and keep the challenges coming. I love that and living abroad makes it easy to seek an adventure - even if it is just checking out the horse meat at the deli counter or drinking beers on the train.

When it comes to my list of favorites for Zurich, well, it is as long as the varieties of Lindt. While I would say the outdoor lifestyle, I feel like that is not specific to Zurich. That is something Switzerland has got down pact with all the hiking trails, Friday night skates, river walks... and the list goes on. My favorite part is that I feel like I live in a big city, but let's face it - it is really small and manageable and beautiful and just... just like a kebab really, a tight little, satisfying package.

2. Where do you see yourself in five years? in ten years?

Oi - these are the serious questions aren't they. I really do not know. In five years, I will hopefully be married to Jace with kids, and perhaps within 10 years managing my own business - making cupcakes. Not seriously, but that is about how certain I am about the 10 year plan. Perhaps I will still be blogging. ;) And I will have the most amazing skin because of all these years in the cold - I will look 21, like I do now of course! ;)

3. Have you found any differences between working in the US and working in Switzerland? If so, what are they?

How many sheets of paper do I have on this blog? Let's keep it to three shall we?
  • The pace of work in Switzerland is way slower than in the US. I feel like I could get 6 years of work done in the US compared with one year in Switzerland. Things just move so much faster in the States. Not sure if that is good or bad.

  • Holidays, holidays, holidays. The Swiss work to live. The Americans live to work. I prefer the Swiss method. Don't believe me? Repeat after me... FIVE WEEKS OF VACATION. Yeah, that's right. And that does not include the plethora of national holidays.

  • Let's face it - Switzerland is the size of Virginia in terms of population and twice the size of Jersey... yes, that tiny. So when you do business, you inevitably have to do it overseas, and that is where my international business degree actually gets a bit of use. I love it. I know that the world is getting smaller, but you definately feel it in Switzerland. I hear at least 4 different languages in the office each day, I call Germany at least twice a day, and once a week I am on a European conf call... not to mention I get to travel FOR WORK to places like Vienna. It is just endlessly cool for someone that went to school with the intentions of doing business 'internationally.' Dream location? I think so.
4. Is there a place you desperately want to visit while you are in Europe?

Desperately... hm... I have been to most of my desperation places already - Paris, Berlin, Rome, Nice, etc. If anything, I would say we were pretty desperate to live in Europe. Now that we are here, everywhere we go is pretty cool. Places on our radar at the moment for 2009 are Florence, Prague, Copenhagen, somewhere in Ireland, Madrid, somewhere in Turkey, and Nuremberg - I am pretty desperate to buy my own Weihnachstpyramid at the Christmas markets there in '09.

5. If you had to choose a flavor of ice cream that most fits your personality, what kind do you think you would you be? Feel free to make one up if necessary.

Jace says I am poison punch... hmm I will not read into that too much. I think he was just annoyed that I asked him 143 times what flavor ice cream I am... I hope. I would say I am red bean ice cream - something foreign and different, but if found in the right place it's just another plain vanilla. And it is red - so it goes with the red hair. P.S. Red bean is a super popular flavor in Japan and China. And I LOVE it.

Thanks again, Meghan. Now following Meghan's lead, who would like to be interviewed by ME?!?! I will use the same rules as Meghan:

1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions. Be sure you link back to the original post.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Thanks again to Meghan! Visit Swiss Family Mac now...
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M'dame Jo said...

I worked in the US, in the R&D department of a huge tech company. It felt the total opposite... Most people were /actually/ working 9 to 5, the meetings could have last half the time if people focused less on off non-work stuff and eating donuts, the rhythm was much slower and people worked less (weekly) than in the same type of lab in Switzerland, for sure. Maybe it was just California?

It made perfect sense to me: I imagined that people were simply taking it "easier" not to snap having so little vacation time ;-)

Bluefish said...

Great post! I kept hearing that Danes are anti-social but have not met one yet. I'm looking forward to hear more stories.

mrsmac said...

I loved reading this!!! Great answers. I completely agree with the hardest part of the transition, I've found that as well. And red bean ice cream sounds super yummy :-)

MrsTina said...

I'll bite! Interview Me! :)

Michemily said...

I enjoyed reading your answers. Interview me! :)

Nicole said...

I love reading about how you are adjusting to life in Switzerland - it is truly one of my favorite places. And I keep forgetting I KNOW you from real life, not just the Internets!

Interview me!

The Antiques Diva™ said...

I've been "lurking" on your site for some time... but today, had to linger and leave a comment. Your answers were great... and really gave me a feel for YOU as a Person as opposed to only your life in Zurich. You're a funny girl, and I enjoy sharing your adventures through the blog! Me - I'm an American - having just moved to Berlin (4 days ago!) after living 4 years in Amsterdam (before that we were in Paris for 5). I love reading about the expat life... I've several good friends living in Zurich and visit them often. Your site gives me an edge up on what to do when I visit them!
All me best wishes!
PS. Interview Me!

Kathryn said...

Here I am!!!! How can I resist? "Interview me!"

Jessica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessica said...

Thanks to everyone for the comments, especially those that have signed on for interviews!!! Watch out!

I have had a HECTIC week, so expect an interview email or comment on your blog sometime this weekend.

Thanks! Have a great day!

Bruce said...

I am an American Expat living in the Philippines and I enjoy reading about other expats living around the world.
I enjoyed you site and the writing style. Keep up the good work.
Maybe you will enjoy my blog. Please comment to let me know you visited and if you enjoyed it.

The Antiques Diva™ said...

I was delighted to be chosen to be Interviewed! I'll post my answers on my site next week!
Until then,
Toma, aka The Antiques Diva


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