Archive | October, 2012

First 3 weeks survived…

15 Oct

Well it’s been more than 2 weeks since I last updated my blog *slap on the wrist* There goes my promise of updating it on a regular basis. It turns out that once you are working full time it’s hard to keep up with everything and then you find out that life isn’t all that interesting when you are sat at a desk for 8 hours a day looking at spreadsheets.

Anyhow I have been here for 3 weeks now and have survived a whole 2 weeks at work (just). Here have been some of the highlights:

Zurich looking lovely yesterday evening.

Work

I started work on 1st October which seems like an age away to be honest. It has been a bit strange for me because I’m technically not new to the company and I know some people. For most people the first week or so at a new job is wandering round and getting to know where everything is. Not for me though. I was plunged straight into it. The honeymoon period wasn’t over; it was cancelled from the off. I went on a tour of the company (to see some of the part of the building that I’ve not been in before). It was enlightening because it was in German. I was a bit surprised how much I managed to pick up although I don’t think that it would take a genius to work out that the girl taking the tour said ‘This part of the building is called Longo because it is long” I could have worked that one out myself but thanks for the confirmation. I was meant to go on a day long presentation about the company and the industry but I managed to side step that one. Again this was in German.

It is strange working in a multicultural environment and it is so different to what working life is like in the UK. At first I was really impressed by how people switch from German, to English (for me) back to German, and then back to English (again for me). Now I’ve decided that I just hate them. It’s not fair that Switzerland is a land locked country and so much exposure to other cultures and languages. Most Swiss people can speak at least 3 or 4 languages fluently. I feel completely frustrated by it all. I sort of want to sit people down and explain to them that it’s not my fault that I only have one language because England has always had to stand alone because it has no neighbours and let’s face it Scotland and Wales aren’t attached to us by choice either. Plus I feel that the English educational system has let me down, now I’m 30 and I’m having to learn a language (yes, I am far to old and anyone who disagrees is lying).

The worst part about not speaking German at work is using the Bistromax, the canteen. When I first visited Head Office and saw the canteen I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven. There was so much food, so much choice! Now it’s a minefield for me trying to work out how to tell the dinnerladies (for want of a better word) what I want. It mainly starts with me pointing and smiling sweetly and them dolloping something that I didn’t want on my plate. At first it bothered me, now I think food is food. I did think that one of the ladies was lovely when she said to me ‘Broccolli?’ I thought how lovely she knows I’m English and has said it in English because she doesn’t want me to feel embarrassed. On further investigate Broccoli in German is actually Brokkoli. D’oh!

I’m sure that there will be more interesting observations about work in Switzerland. Watch this space for updates!

The German language

I have been trying to learn German on my own but I think that I may have found myself some lessons after work to help speed along the process. I have been trying to watch some German TV at the weekend. I watched an episode of Two and a Half Men the other day. It was one that I haven’t seen before with Aston Kucher in. I managed to sort of know what was going on but in fairness it isn’t the most complex of plot lines but still credit where credit is due. I watched a bingo game show the other day to try to practice my numbers (which are incredibly difficult, mainly because of the fact that the words are so long and you need to take a breath in the middle of them – six hundred and six is sechsundsechshundert, for example). And I watched a film with Meryl Streep and Rene Zellweger in it yesterday. I find that putting the subtitles on in German help because then I can try to see how sentences etc are constructed and learn a few new words at the same time.

Public Transport

I think I could write a book about the transport in Switzerland already and I am sure that this will be a topic that comes up again. As you can imagine, everything is always on time. I have a ticket that is valid for all types of transport in Zurich. This includes bus, train, tram, trolley bus and boat! I really wish that I needed to take the boat into work. Unfortunately, it’s not a speedboat or anything so it perhaps isn’t as glamorous in my head as it is in reality.

I never really used public transport in the UK, not because I’m a snob but because the transport living in a village in the Peak District is not very well maintain and I drove everywhere instead. I am enjoying not being stuck in traffic all the time on the way into work. Instead I can read a book, listen to music or sleep! People watching is fast becoming a popular pastime of mine. There are some very interesting characters in the world.

There was a lovely looking man on the train the other day on my way home from work. As look would have it he did glance a few times in my direction. I had wondered how long it would take the gentlemen of Switzerland to notice me (took a bit longer than I thought it would but hey ho!) So as the train pulled into my stop I realised that I would have to walk past him on the way out. I thought “Play it cool, Lynz”. I stood up and promptly smacked my head on the sloping part of the roof near the window so hard that I didn’t see stars, I saw galaxies. I have been embarrassed by my lack of language skills but this was the one time I wanted the ground to swallow me up whole and spit me out somewhere completely different. Slightly dazed and with I massive headache, I got off at my stop and I hope I don’t see that man on another train journey in the future.

A slightly blurry picture of Lake Zurich in the evening sunshine out of the train on the way home after work!

Welcome drinks

When I got my residence permit when I arrived, I was invited to City Hall one evening to learn more about the city and have a small guided tour. The place was packed. I think there were at least 200 people there and 35 different nationalities. It was nice to know that it wasn’t just me who was new and didn’t know what was going on. The tour was only about 1 hour long and it was a beautiful evening to see the sights by. After the tour there was information available and some drinks and food. I couldn’t help thinking that this would never happen in the UK; it would be more likely that the authorities invite all the “new arrivals” into one room and then politely ask them to go back to where they come from.

Sight-seeing

While I am still getting to know the city, I am going walking a lot while I’m not in work. The views and the weather have been outstanding. I could get used to this very easily. There are some lovely parks to go to and I have walked part way around the Lake a number of times.

Swans enjoying the October sunshine

All in all, things are going pretty well. There is still a long way to go until I will be fully integrated and feel at home here (that will start when I move into my permanent apartment in a few weeks!) but it’s not been too bad a start, especially as I don’t know the language.

I will leave you with something which confirms that people all over the world are the same no matter how different they are. I found the Swiss version of a car boot sale. Turns out Swiss people sell the shit they don’t want to other people as well