Details, details.

You know what this town has a lot of?  Bakeries, shoe stores, and lingerie shops.  Nearly every third store is one of the three.  A bakery is pretty easy to deal with, just point to what you want. Hold up your thumb to indicate "1" and you're all set. If shoes or lingerie are what you're after, you better know your European size.

It can be exhausting trying to figure out the equivalents of things here.

It's kilometers not miles.
It's liters vs. gallons of petrol (not gas).
It's a 6.0 grading scale in primary. 7.0 in secondary. Not 60-100. My kids could be flunking everything. I have no idea.
Kids go home for lunch. All of them- for an hour and a half.
Public schools don't have cafeterias. Every Wednesday is a half day.

When you wash your clothes, you select the temperature of water; 40-95 degrees Celsius. Not Fahrenheit. Hot, warm, and cold seemed fine.

10 digit phone numbers. I can't remember any more. Is it the same in the US?

Grams and deciliters not cups. Actually, I'm not entirely sure about the deciliter thing.  Math isn't my thing; metric just further screws the whole thing up.  This is one reason why when we had the fondue kitchen fire it was so upsetting- it took me about 45 minutes to translate directions and weigh ingredients- of which there were three.  45 seconds to set a fire in three places.

Keyboards switch the letters Y and Z. Makes Lauren crayz.

I think my shoe size is a 39. Not a 6.5. I say, "I think" because in the US, I am a size 7, here I seem to be 6.5. By the way, they (Switzerland) have totally done something to the recipe for Fruit Loops.

Sam is a size 164. Not a 14.

You order deli meat by the grams. Not ounces or heaven forbid, pounds but I still haven't had the nerve to order anything from a deli counter. Except in Germany, where I ordered 1000 grams of turkey. Conversation stopped and people stared. He gave me a 100 grams.  Metric.

It's not 10 pm; it's 22:00. I think. But I do know at 24:00 (is there a 24:00 or is it 0:00?) buses stop running.  I  know this because Sam and I had to walk home from the bus station last Tuesday. It was very dark, cold, and it was sleeting.

Want a bottle of water? You will be asked gas or no gas.  The first time I was asked this (in German), I had no idea what he was saying. The newspaper kiosk guy rolled his eyeballs at me. I thought that was rude.

Order a hotdog. It comes in a small loaf of homemade bread. You want ketchup? They will squirt it in with a hydraulic looking thing. I should take a picture.

Every salad seems to have corn it it. Good thing I like corn.

French dressing is NOT French dressing. Which is fine by me. It's better. And white.

Vinegar is hidden in the cleaning aisle.

There is a good chance there will be at least two aisles in the grocery store dedicated to just chocolate bars.

Milk and eggs are not refrigerated.

You can buy a single egg. You can buy hardboiled eggs pre-decorated like Easter.

Salted butter is expensive and doesn't come in a stick. It's rolled.

Bring your own bags into the grocery store or buy them. I think a paper sack is .29 rappens (not cents). I have a million grocery sacks because I can never remember to bring one.

You want a cart to go shopping? Gonna have to borrow one for one franc. You get it back when you've neatly returned your cart.

Want a crepe at a farmers market? You're going to need a plate and fork. You can rent them. Pretty sure that was 6 francs. Return them. Get your money back.

The gas stations bake bread. Very nice bread.

There are toll roads but no toll booths. You must buy a toll sticker good for a year.

You pay for parking almost everywhere. It's not cheap. And prices vary.

One thing is the same, I have no idea how to retrieve my home phone voice mail- in English or German.  Text me.

If your traveling ladies, this website may be helpful (in case the airline loses all your bras).
I especially like the fact they include Italy and the Czech Republic for "historical purposes".


  1. I think you, Doug, or one of the kids are going to have to come EVERYPLACE with me and Aunt Ruth!! Maybe we could get some T-shirts made up in German..."Have mercy, we are first time visitors here"

  2. Forgot to add a smile and a lol... I am not really worried. I am hoping that their concern with keeping the Sabbath will be coupled with honoring/respecting their elders whether we speak and understand their language and ways or not. :-) Love Pearl

  3. Jen, you crack me up! All of this is so true! I forgot how confusing it all really is! YOu made me smile:) Julie xxx

  4. Julie,
    I'd love to know what struck you coming from South Africa! Glad you liked it.


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