So Swiss: 10 Things I’m Loving About Switzerland Now

How ironic it is for me that I haven’t written anything much in detail about my stay in Switzerland for the past 11 months since I arrived. Yes, few more days to go and it’s going to be my first year. There are supposed to be so many stories to tell, as a matter of fact, but then again, the daily run of my life couldn’t seem to accommodate this another new idea in mind.

Until one day, someone asked me this question, “Do you feel your Swissness growing in you?” I couldn’t say the magic word that I ended up replying, “Maybe I’m getting there.”

It could be nice to look back, reflect and write about the events and experiences so I can better appreciate the life I have here and assimilate well into the Swiss culture (before it’s too late?).

I won’t be painting a rosy picture for Switzerland all the time because I’m equally eager to share the rest of the Swiss quirks too! Everything that is Swiss from a Pinay POV, and that Pinay must be, me.

For now though, it’s better to create a good impression first. So here are the ten things I like about Switzerland.

1. Swiss time is really gold.

What time is it, Swiss?

Switzerland is well-known as a watchmaking country. Most of the top-of-the-line, luxurious watch brands in the world originated from here. The Swiss are legendaries for their dedication to detail and accuracy. A luxurious watch for one, comprises of more than 300 precision parts and long hours of meticulous craftsmanship. As Switzerland has a reputation to uphold, it appears to me that everything here has to be in sync and everyone’s wired to be on-time.

Public transportation is one good example. I have always been an avid commuter ever since in the Philippines. Most of the time, I find pleasure in going through the Amazon-like traffic of Manila. Of course, since Manila traffic is very unpredictable, making (valid?) excuses for being late had become a part of the morning routine.

On a side note, I couldn’t entirely blame Christopher Lao for speaking out loud that he should have been informed (that the flooded road is impassable for a car like his) but when you particularly drive around Manila in torrential downpour that day, common sense is a must; and unfortunately his lack thereof, as well as his lame excuses, being seen on national TV has made him become a laughing matter (and lately, an Internet quick sensation).  However here in Switzerland, it’s au contraire. Waking up late can be the only reason for being so, and should foreseen circumstances ever occur, believe me, the Swiss will also inform you beforehand.

Unless there’s a traffic jam, technical problems, bad weather, life emergencies or any uncontrollable situations along the way, which also seldom happen, the buses, trams and trains in Switzerland arrive on-the-dot, and even earlier than usual.  Undoubtedly it’s good I left my Filipino time behind.

A very funny, creative satire on Lao, but, WTH is Christopher Lao? Here’s one for you in YouTube. This ain’t funny if you can’t read/understand Tagalog, so better skip this video. Definitely, in German, Hitler’s expressing seriousness here.

NEXT: The hills are alive.

Coffee Reads of the Week – fiercesome starts

Some of the articles I enjoyed reading over the net are worth sharing, too. Check out my weekly posts via the Coffee Reads series. I’ve got my google reader to back me up so do also check out my shared reads. Enjoy!

web tech: 5 Lessons to Learn from Web Startups by Jolie O’Dell
Your company culture can be fun. Work can be done anytime, anywhere. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good time. It’s OK to change your mind. A small risk can return a great reward.

web tech: Project Estimation Using “Use Cases” by Samuel Prasad
As a technology executive and a passionate software engineer I am disappointed at the high rate of project failures in the software industry. According to the 2009 report from the Standish Group, almost 68% of the projects were canceled, delivered late, did not meet product specifications or were over budget. I find this appalling. Is it because many workers in the software industry are incompetent? Well, my guess is that most technology managers tasked with estimating the cost of a project have no experience or training in the use of formal methods based on empirical research to compute the time, cost and resources required by a software project.

business: 4 Lessons from Billionaire College Entrepreneurs by Michael Deane
Find a need and fill it. Think outside of school. Use your school projects for larger goals. Don’t let school get in the way.

entertainment: Our Favorite Vampires by Miss Cellania
To celebrate our new “Team Edvard” shirt, we’re re-running some of our favorite vampire stories this week. Here’s Miss Cellania’s round-up of notable vampires from 2007.

green living: Postscripts from Little Steps Forward by Chit Juan
Going green does not have to be boring. Going green is simply being thoughtful. How will I leave this world much better than when I found it?

women: Women With Balls – Top 10 Fierce Pinays by Amber del Fuego
One great thing about being Filipina is that our society is relatively progressive when it comes to gender equality. Recently, we even beat the US in the World Economic Forum’s list of countries for having one of the smallest gender gaps for women. We are the only Asian country in the top ten list and praised for our “drive for smaller gender gaps in labor force participation and wages.”

entertainment: Lourd de Veyra gets down and dirty with TV5’s Face to Face by Lourd de Veyra
A flying shoe always makes for good show, be it in Iraq or Novaliches. This afternoon, a shoe flew in the direction of Melvin Tiplado, a tricycle driver accused of not returning things absentminded or drunk customers lose inside his vehicle in the dead of night. The shoe’s trajectory sweeps across Amy Perez, the host who protests, “Sandali lang! Sandali lang!” deftly averting premature physical confrontation between the tricycle driver and Joan, a woman in her early 20s. Her story: one night, she left her wallet and cellphone in Mang Melvin’s tricycle.

health & fitness: How to Lose the Last 10 Pounds for Good! by Laurel House
When standing face to face with your naked self in the mirror, do you think “Wow, I look good!” Or no? If you’re anything like the majority of women (and many men), the answer is, “um, no.” So what are you going to do about it?

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Coffee Reads of the Week– face to face

Some of the articles I enjoyed reading over the net are worth sharing, too. Check out my weekly posts via the Coffee Reads series. I’ve got my google reader to back me up so do also check out my shared reads. Enjoy!

management: Project Estimation Using “Use Cases” by Samuel Prasad

According to the 2009 Report from the Standish Group, almost 68% of the project were canceled, delivered late, did not meet product specifications or were over budget.

business: 4 Lessons from Billionaire College Entrepreneurs by Michael Deane

Find a need and fill it. Think outside of school. Use your school projects for larger goals. Don’t let school get in the way.

entertainment: Our Favorite Vampires by Miss Cellania

Here’s a round-up of notable vampires from 2007 in mental floss: Vlad the Impaler, Nosferatu, Count Dracula, Vampira, Barnabas Collins, Count Chocula, Blacula, Elvira, Count von Count, Lestat de Lioncourt, vampire bats.

green living: Postscripts on Little Steps Forward by Chit Juan

Going green does not have to be boring. Going green is simply being thoughtful. How will I leave this world much better when I found it?

entertainment: Women with Balls – Top 10 Fierce Pinays by Amber del Fuego

One great thing about being Filipina is that our society is relatively progressive when it comes to gender equality. Recently, we even beat the US in the World Economic Forum’s list of countries for having one of the smallest gender gaps for women.  We are the only Asian country in the top ten list and praised for our “drive for smaller gender gaps in labor force participation and wages.”

entertainment: Lourd de Veyra gets down and dirty on TV5’s Face to Face by Lourd de Veyra

A flying shoe always makes for good show, be it in Iraq or Novaliches. This afternoon, a shoe flew in the direction of Melvin Tiplado, a tricycle driver accused of not returning things absentminded or drunk customers lose inside his vehicle in the dead of night. The shoe’s trajectory sweeps across Amy Perez, the host who protests, “Sandali lang! Sandali lang!” deftly premature confrontation between the tricycle driver and Joan, a woman in her early 20s. Her story: one night, she left her wallet and cellphone in Mang Melvin’s tricycle.

technology: WordPress looks to cure writer’s block by acquiring Plinky by Ben Parr

Auttomattic, the company behind WordPress.com, has acquired inspiration tool Plinky from Thing Labs, who are also creators of the Brizzly Twitter app.

career: Fun Ways to Beef Up Your Resume by Charles Purdy

Study a language. Enroll in an acting or improvisation workshop. Learn something new. Turn a a hobby into a business. Volunteer. Write. Get physical. Get social. Explore a new career. Be creative.

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Coffee Reads of the Week – mythical secret no more

Some of the articles I enjoyed reading over the net are worth sharing, too. Check out my weekly posts via the Coffee Reads series. I’ve got my google reader to back me up so do also check out my shared reads. Enjoy!

business: 7 millionaire myths by Claire Bradley
Millionaires don’t pay their taxes. They just inherited their money. They feel rich. They have high-paying jobs. They all drive fancy cars. They hang around the golf course all day. And they’re elitists!

health & fitness: 25 best nutrition secrets by David Zinczenko
Drink a second cup of coffee. Keep serving dishes off the table. Think before you drink. Practice total recall. Eat protein every meal. Choose whole-grain bread. Think fish. Sign-up for weight-loss emails. Cut portions by a quarter. Turn off the TV. Put your fork down when you chew. Choose rye (not wheat) bread for breakfast toast. Eat a handful of fruit and vegetables a day. Sip green tea. Work out before lunch or dinner. Hung over, choose asparagus. Sleep 8 hours a night. Discover miso soup. Drink two glasses of milk daily. Take a zinc supplement. Go ahead, eat your favorite foods. Snack on popcorn.Or snack on walnuts. Scramble your breakfast.

personals: 9 things teachers wish parents knew
Don’t be a stranger! Learning doesn’t stop at 3:15. Stay involved – even when you don’t know the material. Keep your child organized. Let your child make mistakes. Raise a good reader. If the teacher deserves a good grade, give her one. The teacher’s on your side – give her the benefit of the doubt. There is a secret to better grades.

health & fitness: How long does it take to fall out of shape?
I’ve been out of the exercise routine for almost a month now. I haven’t gained much weight since I stopped and fascinatingly, I felt like I even lost a few pounds more since I arrived in Geneva. Despite this, I still somewhat feel that the strength and speed I used to achieve are now starting to wane. So this is a must read for me then!

green lifestyle: Signs of a green hypocrite by Lori Bongiorno
Recycles regularly, but shops constantly and uses a lot of disposables. Buys only organic food, but eats meat at every meal. Owns a hybrid, but drives all around town alone. Built a green house, but it’s enormous and it’s a second home. Takes an eco-vacation, but flies thousands of miles in first-class to get there. Carries reusable grocery bags, but fills them with bottled water and packaged junk (blame Migro and all the rest of the supermarkets!). Who’s guilty? Raise your hands.

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Coffee Reads of the Week – positive penny-pinching

Some of the articles I enjoyed reading over the net are worth sharing, too. Check out my weekly posts via the Coffee Reads series. I’ve got my google reader to back me up so do also check out my shared reads. Enjoy!

health & fitness: 5 ways to Become an Optimist by Deborah Kotz
Reframe those “disasters.” Take control. Pay attention to what makes you feel optimistic. Strive for real conversations. Do look at that glass as half full.

health & fitness: 9 Surprising Symptoms of Stress by Sarah Jio
It appears that I do get these symptoms when I get super stressed out. Tweaked muscles, Eye twitching, ragged cuticles, cavities, rashes, sleepiness, forgetfulness, confusion. Pretty burdensome indeed.

technology: Please do not change your password by Mark Pothier
“To continue reading this story, enter your password now. If you do not have a password, please create one. It must contain a minimum of eight characters, including upper- and lower-case letters and one number. This is for your own good.”

fashion: Dangerous high heels: Women’s shoes reach hazardous heights during the recession by Joanna Douglas
“We have entered a moment of heightened impracticality in footwear,” Elizabeth Semmelhack, author of “Heights of Fashion: A History of the Elevated Shoe” told CNN. “Heels heights noticeably grew during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the oil crisis in the 1970s, and when the dotcom bubble burst in the 2000s.” Women’s shoes are now at all-time high, and Semmelhack believes during tough economic times, there’s “a greater need for escapism.”

green lifestyle: University thinks the right font could help save the earth by Zac Bissonnette
Printing out documents in Century Gothic rather than its old font, Arial, uses 30% less ink.

business: Five Billionaires Who Live Below Their Means by Katie Adams
Warren Buffet, Carlos Slim, Ingvar Kamprad, Chuck Feeney, and Frederik Meijer are considered as the most frugal wealthy people in the world. Read how they do it.

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