The following post is simply quick thoughts upon entering the USA from the space where I spent a few years, usually confused, trying to learn a new language, fit in and integrate into a small village culture – albeit – most of the time, looking and feeling like an alien.
SAFETY: the only time I ever had a moment where my security radar ever went up inside Switzerland was when I was walking across the country and I entered certain refugee areas on the outskirts of some cities. These pockets of immigration had yet to learn that one is in the second safest country I have ever been. When I got to the states, most of the folks were just going about, working hard to make ends meet in one of the worlds more interesting cities – NYC – yet, you could sense and see those who either were up to not much good – they have the eyes of a street hustler, or they modeled themselves after a movie character. But you had to put up your guard a bit more in the city. Survival, will trump civility in NYC. Would everyone change if they realized they didn’t have to walk and be in fear? As everyone was civil?
BAKED GOODS: I knew before leaving Switzerland I would miss the chocolates, cheeses and ironically – the backed goods. What can I say, I think overall, en masse with all products – the Swiss appear to have the best overall bakers on the planet. Yes, I can think of other countries that do certain products better, but for all – across the board…Swiss.
So I was really hungry and walked by some kiosk in the port authority. Ordered a few baked goods and realized that the social consciousness of NYC is everyone for themselves. Upon opening the bag, I looked at the cherry turnover tart, smiled, “wow, it has been a while since eating one of these.”
I raised the treat and admired it, took a bite, felt like I had bitten into a few layers of cardboard. I couldn’t even chew the turnover. My mind went, “This is crap. I knew there would be a difference, but this really is much worse than I could imagine."
CLEANLINESS: Switzerland is a neat, tidy and clean country. It probably is in the top 10 on the planet that I have been in. There is something to be said with high taxes and keeping the population employed. While I wonder how this model and the small nation will survive and keep going as the world economies change, banking alters and more investment goes into developing nations. Who really needs watches in the digital age (as much as I love them) …but you notice the dirt, grime and the weathered patina of use and social disorder with people just not really caring too much and thinking someone else will clean it up. In Europe you have no problem getting on a train or bus – but my goodness the trip from NYC to upstate, if the seats could talk, I don’t think I really would want to know what happened in the space before me.