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Hi.

I'm an American living in Switzerland, sharing my love of food, travel and wellness - from one of the most beautiful places on earth. 

Slightly annoying things about Switzerland

Slightly annoying things about Switzerland

You know I LOVE Switzerland. It's beautiful, clean, safe and the high quality of life is pretty much unheard of anywhere else. The positives far outweigh the negatives, but of course Switzerland has its share of little annoying qualities. And mostly they are annoying because I'm used to something different. The Swiss probably don't even notice.

Lack of decent greeting cards - Where is Hallmark when you need them? Seriously though, the selection of birthday, wedding and thank you cards here is really depressing. And the designs are the worst. In the US, I always found really creative or witty cards. Here they are super cheesy and dated looking, with barely any options to choose from. They also cost like $6 each. I tend to stock up on birthday cards every time I go back to the US. If anyone is a designer and wants to tap this market, there is huge potential you guys!

Inconvenience of recycling - Recycling is pretty much expected here and easily encouraged, since there are designated garbage bags that one must use (your trash won't be picked up if its in the wrong bag) and they are seriously expensive ($25 for 10 - also annoying). As a result you really are cognizant about what you're throwing away, since you wouldn't dare waste space in your expensive trash bag with something that could be recycled. However, to actually recycle items takes effort. In the US, your recyclable bottles/cans/plastics/cardboard could be left out in front of your house and would be picked up weekly with the garbage. Here, I have to drive to a special recycling station to drop off my cans and bottles. And of course plastics are at a different location (at all grocery stores). I never remember to bring them with, so of course it just accumulates way longer than it should. And if you do leave your cardboard out to be picked up, you better remove any stickers and have it bundled with the correct string, otherwise it will be left behind.

No 24-hour or evening shopping - Pretty much all stores (including grocery stores) close by 6:30 pm. And EVERYTHING is closed on Sundays. So if you work full-time, you're really screwed; you're limited to Saturday (which even then most stores close by 4pm, and the post office is closed by noon) to do all your food shopping and errands...along with the rest of the country. I hate how crowded Saturdays are at the grocery store, so I try to do my shopping over lunch during the week. However this limits how much I can buy, since anything that needs to be refrigerated somehow must fit in our shared office fridge (which like all European refrigerators is SMALL). I also need to be able to carry it home on the train. I find it really stressful, especially if I'm busy at work and can't go over lunch or leave early to get to a store.

Minimal online shopping - You guys in the US don't know how good you have it with Amazon and the like. There are so many stupid little things I want to buy and can't find in a store here, which I know I could immediately get on Amazon. Yes there is a German Amazon and a UK Amazon, but they don't always deliver to Switzerland, the selection is limited and the prices are high. Why can't Switzerland have better options for online shopping?! I know quite a few people who open a PO box in Germany, right on the border, purely to have online purchases delivered to. But this is also a hassle since then you have to drive the hour+ every few weeks to pick up your packages. At least I have Zalando for online clothes shopping, but that's one store and there are so many more I wish I could shop from. All I ask is for a Sephora, Anthropologie, Nordstrom and Amazon, is that too much?! :-)

Also shopping related, but the concept of one-store-for-everything (AKA Target) barely exists. If I need cough medicine I have to go to a specific drug store, it's not available at a grocery store (and there is no corner Walgreens). If I need home furnishings, that's also a separate store. The idea of a Target, where I can get everything from cute clothes, to candles, to toilet paper, to vitamins, to nail polish to a new bike is rare. There are some wannabes (M-Park, Coop City), but it's just not the same. The clothes aren't cute and the selections are cheaply made.

Judgmental old people - Yes, I know there are judgmental old people everywhere, but they seem to thrive in Switzerland! I've never had so many people 'in my business' about things that clearly don't affect them. For example, I had an old guy reprimand me for taking the elevator instead of the stairs at the train station: "Don't your legs work?". Hello, who cares? Maybe I just ran a marathon yesterday? Or maybe my shoes are uncomfortable? Or maybe I'm just lazy? Either way, not your business. Warren once was parked outside (less than a minute) waiting to pick a friend up. He had the car's engine still running and some guy knocked on the window to tell him to turn the car off since it was bad for the environment. I've also had numerous female friends scolded during a (10-minute) bus ride for not keeping their crying children quiet. Um, it's not always possible. I feel like I get a lot of judgmental shakes of the head and eye rolls here. There are a lot of unwritten rules and somehow us expats are breaking them all. And don't you dare cross the road unless it is at a crosswalk and the light indicates that you can (regardless if there are no cars to be seen for miles)!

Craft-beer scene is still in infancy - Not that I can appreciate it at the moment, but the lack of good beer here is really surprising. Yes, you can find some craft beers at specialty stores, but it's not nearly as mainstream as it is in the US. Pretty much every bar/restaurant here sells the exact same 5 beers and they're pretty darn boring. In the US, most bars differentiate themselves by their huge and wide-ranging craft beer selection. I've never been a huge pub person, but I'd at least like the option of a good beer if I do go out!

No offence Switzerland, I still love you. But you do have a few areas to improve before you're perfect. ;-) 

Lajatico and Lake Maggiore, Italy

Lajatico and Lake Maggiore, Italy

Outfits of the week: maternity style

Outfits of the week: maternity style