Wednesday, August 29, 2012

6 Fun Facts I Have Learned in Switzerland

#6 The Paper is Different

In Switzerland they use paper that is about the same width but much longer than your standard 8.5x11 sheet of paper in the US. It also has four holes punched instead of three so binders here are different as well. Even the notebooks are different (a) they are the same extra long length (b) It is near impossible to find lined paper, most of it is either blank or gridded and (c) if you are lucky enough to find lined paper it is extra wide ruled, something reminiscent of what we in the US might use as Kindergartners. 

#5 “Do” Really Means “Don’t”

In America if you are not allowed to do something it is pictured inside a red circle with a slash through it (think: no smoking sign)

But in Switzerland if you are not allowed to do something it is pictured inside a red circle without a slash. So at first glance when I look at a sign like this in a bathroom I think: do eat, do drink, and do smoke. A source of much confusion among tourists here I am sure. But with a little bit of context I quickly picked up on the reversed meaning.  

#4  Life Is Beautiful

For those of you who took AP Lit with Lake last year you will especially appreciate this fun fact! I had my Italian class for the first time yesterday and our teacher is Italian (naturally) and from a small city in Italy. When we asked her where her city is near she replied that it is about an hour outside of Florence and very small but known for being the location where the movie Life is Beautiful was filmed.

#3 Gelato and Crepes
I have had trouble even imagining winter here while I walk around the piazza in such beautiful weather.  I have been dreading the day when it will be to cold for me to wander around Lugano in my sundress and sandals, walk up to a gelato stand and order (in Italian) the newest flavor I want to try. But then just yesterday I learned that during the winter most of the gelato stands turn into crepe stands that also sell the best hot chocolate you will ever have. So excited! Although I will still miss this a little bit.

#2  The Traffic Lights
I am not sure if this is standard for all of Europe but here the traffic lights turn yellow right before they turn green, as well as right before they turn red. 

#1 We Have a Wardrobe That Leads to Narnia

Well not really… but most likely!

There is a MASSIVE ornate wardrobe that takes up most of the front foyer of our main academic building and when we passed by it on a campus tour last week our guide casually mentioned that it has never been opened! When Franklin College bought the building the owners said that the wardrobe comes with it because it is too large to move out any of the doorways and so old that there would be no way to dismantle it without completely destroying it. The only catch was that they had long ago lost the key to it and it was locked. So of course my automatic assumption was, NARNIA. But I also was suspicious of the tale so after hours yesterday I went down to the foyer when nobody was around and tried to figure out how to open it. There are no handles, no drawers, no even markings where handles might have been, only a large key hole in the middle panel, which I don’t even understand how one key would open up both sides of it. I tried my best to see if anything would budge, but not even a centimeter… Narnia will have to wait till another day I suppose.
(too big to fit the whole thing in one picture)

(close up of keyhole)

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