In the international community, we often hear people grumble about the citizens of our host country and we think that's a real shame. Yes, they're sticklers for punctuality and paperwork. Yes, I've been stopped and told that Townes looks like he needs to be wearing a hat and the twins were once brought a glass of water by a stranger in a cafe because she thought they looked thirsty. Yes, I've seen some glaring stares when I'm in a group that is being too loud. But let's face it- Americans do talk really loud!
I have found the Swiss to be kind and helpful. I've only had to wrestle the stroller off of a tram without assistance a few times. Townes is the only child in the apartment building and people dote on him. And when commenting to Coy once about the number of stories I've heard of older Swiss people giving unrequested advice to moms about their children (clothes seem to be the most common hints given- socks/shoes/hats/gloves/blankets), he said that it is actually pretty cool to live in a place where people felt like they could play a grandparenty role to all in the community. Perhaps it's a bit of a stretch but I think he was on to something. There is a true sense of looking out for one another and being aware of how your own actions impact the people around you.
Here's a few random things I like:
When you arrive or leave, you are expected to greet each person with a handshake or a kiss on the cheeks (we're a 3-kiss country, no playing around like with the weak 1-kiss number in Venezuela). To be honest, I'm still not great at this because it's not expected with our American friends but I really like the intentionality .
When having a drink with friends or before a meal, you should look each person in the eyes as you clink and say 'Prost.' Again, it's the idea of taking a moment to acknowledge your connection to each person that I love.
It's a nice day to appreciate the Swiss and their lovely culture. We spent half of our day at a yodeling festival! Though it was a bit more formal than we expected with concerts being held around the town, we enjoyed seeing all of the outfits, eating at the beer halls, and hearing the alpine horns.
In fact the day wore out both of the boys! Here's Townes crashed out in the backpack which gave us the perfect opportunity for a beer and sausage break:
And here's Coy an hour later at the park: