26 Nov

Recycling in Switzerland

Expat Gone Foreign, tXc, recycling, Switzerland, Swiss, gold

One would think that recycling doesn’t really differ much from one country to another. Glass, paper, plastic and regular garbage: that’s what I knew from Germany, quite the environmentally friendly country. But the Swiss go the extra mile – at times I feel like they are just Germans on steroids.

When I moved to Zürich back in 2008, it took a while to get used to their recycling. For starters, they have a different container for every type of glass and plastic. Even mineral and cooking oil go in separate bins. Old appliances and electronic devices also have their special place, but remember to take out the batteries first: they are excruciatingly contaminating! Did you just eat a banana? The peel goes into the compost, so organic matter can make its way back to nature again. Did you just drink a beverage? PET bottles are returnable: if you take them back to a store, you can get some money back. Did your cat just die? I’m so sorry for your loss. In order to avoid potential illnesses, dispose of the dead body in the proper container.

I know what you are thinking: this is way too complicated. Do the Swiss really go to these lengths to save nature? It’s partly their love of nature and – for the most part – their love of money: in Switzerland you have to pay for every bag you throw into the trash, and you know how the Swiss like to keep their finances going…

What do you think about their recycling system? How does it work in your country? Let me know in the comments!

30 Jul

The Last Name Standing

Two issues at hand. First, coming from a Spanish-speaking country I have always thought the notion of dropping your name upon marriage is barbaric. Second, here’s the problem I have with feminists in this country :

Expat Gone Foreign, tXc, last names, surnames, marriage, maiden name

25 Jun

The Workplace Etiquette: German Edition

I have never been great at etiquette to begin with, whether it is social gatherings, dress code or celebratory events. The excruciating sea of unwritten norms and protocols becomes even more confusing when you have to factor in culture-specific practices.

The secret to blending in perfectly in the German workplace is addressing people in an utterly polite,  highly apologetic, purely factual, emotionless manner. Too much trouble, you say? I agree. You can always opt for being your-expat-self ;D

Expat Gone Foreign, tXc, Arbeitsplatz, work space, manners, etiquette

04 Jun

The Weißwurstäquator

A new fun word I learnt this week! The Weißwurstäquator refers to the supposed cultural divide separating Southern Germany from the rest of the country. I believe it’s named after the white sausage, which is traditional in Bavaria, along with its lovely castles, medieval towns and tasty food. Road trip time, gell?

Expat Gone Foreign, tXc, Weißwurstäquator, Bavaria