I’m going to take a much-deserved break and sit down and write in my blog. Why did I think that by combining two dreadful chores into one it would make each slightly less horrible? Didn’t work. Listening to French language CD’s while ironing dress shirts just doubled the dreadfulness. So, to the blog for a breather.
I’ve been writing a lot about my travels in the rest of Europe and not so much about my own backyard, so let’s fix that and take a quick look around Switzerland. Switzerland is a funny place. Not funny ha-ha, funny as in odd. If Switzerland was a psych patient, it would be diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder.
Now, if a Swiss person ever tries to tell you that Jan, Fabian, Mario and Benno are all one big happy family and play nicely together in the sandbox, that is a load of crap. The only time these four feel like they live in the same country is every four years at World Cup time. For four weeks every fourth summer the whole body goes into a nationalistic soccer-driven fervor. All four personalities get out their red flag with the big white cross and hang it from their balconies or window sills. After those four weeks have passed, the flags get packed up again and the body of Switzerland divides itself once again into its’ four identities.
Imagine for a moment, if you will, if California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado all spoke one language, Florida and Georgia spoke another one entirely, Connecticut another and everybody else spoke English. Now imagine if those people who spoke English all spoke a different version of English, according to which state they lived in. Like, the folks in New Jersey spoke a slightly different English than New Yorkers. Different enough that it was difficult for a New Jersey person to understand a New York person. THEN, squish all of that entire land mass into an area the size of South Carolina, so they are all bumping into one another all of the time, (well, except for the people in Connecticut who never leave their state and are kind of spooky). What to do? How do they communicate with one another?
Answer: teach them a FIFTH language in school when they are just children that then becomes the default language when they try to talk to one another. Hence, in the body that is Switzerland that suffers from Multiple Personality Disorder, Jan, Mario, Benno and Fabian communicate with each other in English, the default language. Fabian and Mario even went so far as to learn each other’s languages in school, but neither one of them was willing to tackle Swiss German, so Jan is out of luck. Benno and Jan both had to learn to write in High German, because neither one of their spoken languages translates well into a written language, so those two can communicate if they pass notes.
And that, my friends, is a tongue-in-cheek look at life in Switzerland. Who benefits from this Multiple Personality Disorder? Travelers! You get the feel of three different countries/cultures, (four if you are brave enough to go to Graubunden) all within a few hours of each other. Why go to Germany, France or Italy when you can just tool around little Switzerland and get the same flavor? Fabulous, I tell you.
Allright, enough playtime. Back to ironing and French tapes. Wonder if the Rosetta Stone does a version in Romansch?