When you come into a country with "fresh eyes" you tend to notice things that are so commonplace for the locals, that they don't even think to tell you about them. We've had many of those moments already. And as we figure out:
*tram rules and times (they are never late and ALMOST never break down)
*new cars (ever heard of an Espace?!!! Well, there's not enough space, that's for sure!)
*grocery carts (yes, you have to have a coin to unlock the cart and use it--brilliant way for getting people to return their carts)
*garbage stickers (every canton has it's own. You can't throw away your tiny little garbage bag without one paying for the stickers)
*recycling rules (there are quite a few... overall they need to be separated and taken to the grocery store)
*quiet hours (10pm-7am and 12-2pm daily + all day Sunday. No overly loud music, showering, or children or vacuums or washing machines.... I can guarantee you that I've already broken this rule due to puking, sudden bed wetting and oh, how about that baby that isn't used to the 9 hour time difference?!!! I'm sure our neighbors are saying a few things about these Americans. Can't wait to get into our own place! )
*registering and deregistering in different cantons (every time you move)
*grocery shopping in Switzerland
*grocery shopping in France
*grocery shopping in Germany
*speed limit rules (already got a ticket-- I really did--don't speed in Switzerland. Just don't. And if you see a flash... you've got one too.)
*where to find the nearest bathrooms
*what's the best cheese to use when making Mexican dishes (cheddar is rare-- thinking Gouda)
*I'm sure there's so much more...
*Then of course the day to day stuff like finding good doctors, dentists, hairstylists, etc... we are far from close to getting it all accomplished. It can be overwhelming and exhausting. Thankfully, we have been so fortunate to have people reach out to us and take us places and show us things and answer our questions.
I've noticed a few similarities and definite differences from living in Chile. I'm going to throw a few out there while they come to mind. Definitely not a complete list, but here's what I've noticed thus far:
1. Dogs. They are everywhere in Chile. Never on a leash. Smartest dogs I've ever seen. They are everywhere in Switzerland. Everyone of them has been on a leash. They are treated like children here. They even ask you when you enter the country how many dogs you have. When looking for a house to rent, they assume you will have dogs but will say in the description: "Children permitted (or not)."
2. Driving. Every man for himself in Chile. I considered it a complement when a taxi driver flipped me off. It meant I was a pretty dang good driver with some awesome skills. Never worried about the speed limit. But here it's more like, "After you, please." I have never met such courteous drivers in my life! And everyone obeys the speed limit. They just do. People move over so you can merge, they slow down to let you in, the pull to the side to let you pass...and pedestrians and bicycles have the right of way. It's incredible. I do have to admit, I can't wait to try out the autobahn...
3. Waste baskets, washing machines, trash bags, refrigerators, etc... They were teeny tiny in Chile and they are teeny tiny in Switzerland.
4. Garbage Disposals. Don't exist in either one. I miss mine.
5. Rules. Not really enforced in Chile. Switzerland? You better be a law abiding citizen or you are outta here.
6. Grocery Shopping. You basically go every day. In both countries. That's just how life is. I miss Costco already... ;) You have to weigh your fruits and veggies in both countries. In Chile, you wait in line and have a person do it for you. In Switzerland, you do it yourself. The kids LOVE to help me with it.
7. Food. Both countries don't have brown sugar like the states. Both countries have banned many foods that the US allows. I always get really excited, thinking that I'm going to be so much healthier when I leave the country. In Chile, I just baked more and ate it. Here, I find myself buying soft pretzels and pastries on almost a daily basis... oh and the yogurt... and the chocolate... I'm doomed. Just doomed. We were thrilled to find that they did have some cereals here that Chile did not have. Rice Krispies and Golden Grahams!!! Interesting that the Golden Grahams don't taste as sticky sweet as they do in the states. I like it. And goldfish? Well, we discovered the original ones that don't have the fake cheese. The kids like them better!!! Woohooo!!!! Milk. They have FRESH MILK in the grocery stores here! I was overjoyed.
8. Buses: In Chile, people would get in fist fights so they could get a spot on the bus. Here, people hold the door open and move over to allow you to enter.
9. People: Both Chileans and Swiss are reserved until you get to know them. Then they become your dearest, life-long friends. We experienced this in Chile and can't wait to have the same experience here.
10. Countryside: Both are absolutely breathtaking. Can't wait to get out there and explore!!! (Maybe when temperatures reach above zero degrees...)