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Kristi
The Boy, 2 Muttleys and I have finally realized our dream of living 1 mile from the Lindt Chocolate Factory. Leaving Atlanta (the World of Coke) for Zurich (the World of Chocolate) hasn't come without challenges, incredible fun or giggles. Follow along as I chronicle our adventures as we acclimate to this new Swiss lifestyle.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thoughts on Nakedness


It is common knowledge that Europeans embrace nudity. We aren't talking nudity in fine art or on TV, but their own nakedness. Switzerland is no exception as the Swiss too embrace their boobies, pee-pees and other parts that us Americans deem not fit for sunshine or public consumption.

I had my first taste (or beer funnel full) of this when I began going to the gym. I wouldn't classify myself as a prude but I don't parade around with my clothes off. The women's locker-room is like a giant bearded lady convention and we aren't talking the facial kind. Women are putting their make-up on fully nude, blow drying their hair fully nude, yelling at me fully nude and can be found just standing there celebrating their nudeness.

In addition to the in your face nudity at the gym, I have witnessed several men and women putting their bathing suits on at the lake. The logic escapes me as to why this is better than putting them on at home. I have never thought myself "damn I would have much rather put this on in front of everyone else. People need to see my jibbly jobblies...maybe next time". Perhaps there is logic to it though, of which I am more than happy and open to hearing.

In addition to the fine examples above, it is also common practice for male and female work colleagues to meet for a steam while everyone is fully nude. I know...I just blew your mind. Gives a whole new meaning to "Um Ralph...I need your briefs today by 5pm...no really, I need them...OFF that is. Today is our nude team building event which is being held at the steam bath. Be there or be fully clothed!"

The thing is Americans, myself included, are all sorts of jammed up when it comes to nudity. Some argue our shame and embarrassment comes from our Puritan past and religious roots. If you go anywhere in Europe, there are churches on every corner and 5 kajillion paintings of baby Jesus (who by the way is always nude). So if it is religion making us Americans modest, then why haven't these same religious threads sewn themselves into the European psyche? It seems in Europe, thoughts on religion and nudity are mutually exclusive.

I admire the European attitude towards the human body. Only in America can you have a show named "Sex and the City" where the main character never once flashes a boob. We get more skin at half time shows featuring "Miss Jackson if you're nasty". Which by the way us Americans still hear about over here as I have met several Europeans who still bring up the big deal we made about Janet's stray boob.

I can't say I am completely comfortable with nakedness and I would draw the line at being side by side with my co-worker's ding dong. I do however think us Americans could lighten up about it and not view nudity with such "hand over mouth" reactions.

What are your thoughts on nakedness? Do you think Americans overreact or do you think the Europeans need to reign in the janglies?
Thursday, July 15, 2010

Saying Goodbye...

Smush faced friendships were made too...

...in one word SUCKS. Yesterday I had the displeasure of saying goodbye to the very first friend I made here as they are moving back to their home in the States. In fact, our friendship started before I left Atlanta. She was one of the bloggers I found (stalked) online and helped (humored me) while I was researching (obsessing) over our move to Zurich (Zurich). The very first week we moved here, she and her husband were kind enough to host us at their home for dinner where conversation, food and booze flowed effortlessly. In addition, they too had a dog with a face that looked like it was hit by a 2 x 4, which meant we had more in common than just our new address.

Whether it is saying goodbye to old friends like we did in Atlanta or new friends like we have here in Zurich, I can't get used to it. It is the dark side of Expat life and since I am the type of person who emotionally invests in my relationships, it hurts. It won't scare me away from developing friendships here because as much as it hurts to say goodbye to our new friends, it would hurt more to live in a strange country without any. It is calculated emotional risk if you will.

I have been thinking about the short term friendships and subsequent goodbyes that we will surely experience time and time again here. Are they less profound than longer term friendships we had back home? Will they last? How close can you really get to people when you live in a temporary world? Unfortunately the answers are up to each individual but for me, most of the people I have met live in the same temporary world and as a result, we will always have a bond. Us Expats are sort of like war veterans...our lives are full of beauty and horror where we either fail or prevail...but at the end of it all, we did it together and nothing will ever change that fact.

I am confident that the friends we said and will say goodbye to will be the kind we see in 50 years, where it will seem like no time has passed since our last meeting. Sure a lot will have changed, hair might be grayer, bellies might be plumper and we will have a lot more lines on our faces (hopefully mostly laugh lines), but we will always remember our time spent together in Zurich and we will always be Expats.

This post was written for AffordableCallingCards.net, a community linking Expats and soon to be Expats. In addition to being a great source of Expat information, they offer affordable calling cards, keeping you connected.
Monday, July 12, 2010

Zurich Puts the "Fest" in Festival

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays and I was curious to see how I was going to handle missing it this year. Zurich came to the rescue by holding a weekend long festival full of the following:

1. Meat on sticks
2. Massive fireworks displays
3. Booze
4. Over 3 ferris wheels scattered around the city
5. Sweaty, horny teenage boys drinking tall boy beers
6. A Snoop Dogg concert
7. Hot weather (making the porta-potty experience even more enjoyable)
8. Air shows

Zuri Fascht happens once every 3 years. I asked a few Swiss folks if there was a reason for it and I got a shrug of the shoulders each time with this response "nope...just an excuse to celebrate Zurich in the summertime". Sometimes the best festivals don't need a reason and this weekend turned into one of my favorites spent here.

The city scape was dotted with rides and tents selling chachkies, meat on sticks and booze.

This diving show was just one of the many interesting events held during the festival.

Um...me want boat with slide. WANT!

By far my favorite part of the weekend were the airshows...yes plural. I have never experienced one before and to see fighter jets whiz past my balcony over the lake was surreal. Friday night at 5pm was the first encounter I had with these jets. I had a towel on my head and thought Switzerland was under siege for the first time in its history. I proceeded to go outside onto my balcony with towel on head to watch the show. As I was staring at these jets whizzing by, I was overcome by the emotion of living here and I got a little choked up. Much to my chagrin, my neighbors were also on their balcony being blown away by the fact that I would cry, with a towel on my head, while watching planes. I held my head up high and proudly announced "Hi there...um, bad hair day".

Friday, July 9, 2010

Feet

Ok...if that title doesn't get you curious, I am not sure what will. Today you can find me blogging over on ACC where I talk about Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and my feet. I guess you will just need to read it in order to understand the connection between the two.
Monday, July 5, 2010

Do You Have the Fever?

For the flavor of Pringles? Well...no, although last weekend I did somehow manage to bury my head inside a 4 inch cylinder of every one's favorite potato crisp. Admittedly not one of my prouder moments.

For Justin Bieber? Um...no again. Who is he and why is he famous? He does have good hair which does mean he is far more talented than half of Hollywood.

For the World Cup? Ding Ding Ding....BINGO....Ole ole ole ole ole!

I have been really digging this Fussball thing. I must confess that I didn't know much about it before the World Cup began and I still can't spot this whole offsides thing even though it has been explained to me ad nauseum. I love how the world is watching and I love the funny faces you see during the slow motion instant replay. Best of all, I love how it seems to have invaded the American arena and spirit. I was a very proud American during our short run and felt our team not only performed well, but didn't possess that primadonna thing that certain other teams possessed (ahem...Argentina...cough).


Above is further proof that:

A. I learned something in 7th Grade Home Economics Class

B. I am still a very proud American and will always be

C. That patriotism sometimes outshines bad taste...oh yeah, I wore this...in public. To the USA vs UK game Y'ALL!

It wasn't just about feeling patriotic though. I loved seeing everyone out watching their teams, celebrating and the palpable excitement that these games produce. In my opinion this is way more fun than the Olympics and almost rivals my favorite time of year - March Madness.

My hope is the US truly embraces the sport and tunes in more than every 4 years. Hey peeps back home, can you work on this for me while I am gone? Anywho, here is a little video action of the excitement after a Germany goal against Argentina. I have a feeling that the Germany birth rate may go up slightly this year: