Just watched what makes America the greatest country in the world segment on Facebook – not for the second time, but in my head it triggered a conversation I had with mum about 2 weeks ago.
This was about why I should fight tooth and nail to be somewhere I may not necessarily call home.
My love – hate relationship with Europe — reflections while flying over Austria.
Firstly, I dislike hyperboles. There are awesome things all around the world – and bragging that your country is the best is cute but not in vogue. Also a little bit arrogant.
Oh, the things you learn hanging out with a guy who has an inflated ego. God bless.
Secondly, there’s something about the way people flock to a certain country that ruffles my feathers. Yes every country has the same kind of issues and the grass may look greener on the other side – but something about status, peace and life quality has its own hypocritical argument.
OK a moment while I get my coffee –
Americas statistics are abysmal, but you didn’t know that until trump wowed the cameras and put the spotlight on America’s conundrum – which is by all means, a very good point.
If that’s the political situation happening in AMERICA – the centre of the free world etc … imagine what’s going on with the rest of the world. Not any better.
This is one of the cool and strange aspects of living in a place like Switzerland – international kids with enough cash come right over**. In the beginning I would not have identified myself that way but to open the gates for education and a career, you need to play that international card like crazy.
ESPECIALLY for a nationality (Australian) that rarely made for 1% of the student nationalities. post: 2 Worlds, 2 Privileges: a Revelation
I made friends with my Czech people, Italians, Swiss Germans*, Canadians and Americans. We all bonded over how un swiss we are – even with the travelling swiss germans – and spoke on the politics in our countries.
For a place with huge mountains, extremities like farming, banking (ie what’s the IQ we’re dealing with here) and hosting heaps of celebrity millionaires (or aristocratic exiles if we go further back) —
I don’t think I was the only one taking time in the grey, rainy days to reflect on what it is that brought people HERE.
Not going to lie. There’s an element of safety here the rich adore.
Tax havens according to cantons – much smaller than your average city state, are easier to control. And they reward people that come from overseas. It’s actually a bit ironic. As one of my mates told me, Switzerland actually likes and welcomes foreigners more than any other country in the world.
I can understand in hindsight how that looks – without foreign investments, Switzerland ain’t got nothing. It just is. And because the rich see that Switzerland closes its eyes to what’s going on beyond the mountains (another irony) it looks like prime location to drag their bejewelled behinds and not have to worry about any cents drifting away from their bank.
There’s also a historical element of quality here – to get the job, you need to look reliable and detail oriented.
And there is no culture here like in Versailles – where you’re ordered to have all your best jewellery and clothes on in order to be considered worthy of the place.
Sporty and functional is the name of the dressing here. And if you want to look a million bucks, just buy some earthy toned outfit. You will look intimidating close up, but not I-want-to-knock-your-eyes-out-with-my-gems type of intimidating.
One of the reasons some rich folk come here is less tax – somewhere to hold their wealth and give LOADS of privacy.
Not all swiss can bear to live here. Life in Europe can be intense.
I felt this even flying 2,000 feet above it – to be exact, just going over Vienna. I was on my way to see the family for 2 weeks and felt a whole other experience compared to heading over to Sydney for Christmas.
It was lighter, happier, festive. Christmas season may have contributed.
And this trip felt intense – so little geography, so little room. Languages zapping past you. Judgments, customs. I wasn’t in a panic to come over, but it did set the mood for ‘do I want this?’ … well.
My Aussie side felt just a smidge tense. I went into my playful mode in order to get through, shake it off and … LIVE.
That’s been my philosophy so far since. Can’t say it’s always easy but it widened my eyes to lots of things. Heartache – family – letting go, control – pressures to amount to something –
Now don’t get me wrong, Switzerland showed me so much magic that it astounded me, left a deep imprint and always will be in my heart.
From the seasons – spring being my favourite, to winter with glorious snow. To how my stepdad adores my mum and gave me faith in the purpose of partnerships. Woof. An accepting albeit slightly strange extended family – to fashion and being serenaded by a half Albanian, Mexican, Spanish, Brazilian, a Swiss German and easily some of the best clubbing days of my life.
While the Italians complained about our small southern swiss student town, I found a few clubs, an event organiser – a master networker who sprung some epic stuff on me – and an apartment that was in walking distance to the Center. I’m not the only one that’s fond of Lugano.
Several romances and careers bloomed here; as well as several catastrophes. I’m planning on doing a reunion with the help of one guy that takes just as much pleasure with setting parties up.
Because the truth is, me and my classmates keep coming back to town as its pretty, Mediterranean and very nostalgic in a good way. We invested time and money (and sanity) to get our degrees and become who we visioned ourselves to be – great professionals in search of fulfilling jobs and some status. And some of the most amazing friendships.
And speaking of the last one, I’ve been referred to a great springboard in the form of an internship thanks to two beautiful girls I studied with.
Not to mention I’ve been protected against some monumental assholes thanks to another girl I already wrote about in the post, international friends, and had huge cheering on for my projects and goals. It was also here that I met a great professor who keeps it real and funny, and got referred to him for my thesis.
Ergh, so much love. I will not cry.
*Swiss Germans: as I mentioned in little red riding hood post each side of the mountains, although sharing a neutral mood for culture, swiss French and Italian sides are all quite different. They have their language which will also sound flat to their neighbouring countries – and their own customs, with respect to the mountain way of life.
** At least that’s what the media wants people to think – my crowd of people, have cash in the family but they work their butts off to make ends meet – not easy as an international or European student in Switzerland.