Do you follow me?

Explaining to the Man the reason and use for social media is like convincing a 3-year old to donate all his Halloween candy to charity: a noble endeavor that will certainly end up in screams and arguments, and possible injuries of one of the parties, or both.

As I am not only using social platforms in my job, but also taking time to take courses about them, the topic has arisen several times lately, usually when we get a chance to carry a normal adult conversation (about twice a month between 10:45 and 11:02 pm, when the Dwarves are asleep and we miraculously are not).

The Man does not understand why someone would post anything on Twitter, arguing he can contact his friends directly if he has something to tell them. When I suggested sharing with a broader audience, the reply was quite straightforward: “Why would I like to share anything with perfect strangers?” (yes, the Man can be a tiny bit autistic sometimes).

After numerous discussions, I eventually could feel I was making progresses as he is beginning to digest some concepts:

“So, a follower is like a husband, but one who would actually be interested in what you are saying?”

Image credit ideaschampions.com
Image credit ideaschampions.com
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You’ll take some more history?

The other day, I was queuing at a sport store cashier, when a quite elegant, obnoxious looking 50-something year-old man pointed out the logo displayed on my jacket.

– They do not carry this brand here.

– No, it’ a Swiss brand.

– Yes, yes, I know, and I know the country really well. I have been to Switzerland many times. And do you know the reason for this logo?

He got me interested there, and I was pretty sure I would learn something I could later brag about at various boring family dinners or in the dentist’s waiting room.

I admitted I did not know, eagerly waiting for his explanations.

Obnoxious man, in a patronizing tone:

– Because Napoleon crossed the Alps with elephants!

-…….Well,… this is a mammoth. I don’t think Napoleon showed up with any mammoths.

Mr. Obnoxious quickly left.

If I ever see him again, should I tell him it is actually Hannibal, about 2000 years earlier, who crossed the Alps with elephants?

Poor guy was not able to find any living mammoth either.

Mammut is a Swiss mountaineering and outdoor equipment manufacturer
Mammut is a Swiss mountaineering and outdoor equipment manufacturer.

Why does my country flag always appear next to the restroom?

Toronto is so international and diverse it did not take me long to feel at home.

Moreover, I truly appreciate the fact most people here know a bit about the rest of the world and, unless they are pretty drunk or stupid (one not excluding the other), they do not get mixed up between Switzerland and Sweden.

Some years ago, I lived in a neighboring, English-speaking country for a year (let’s call it the Big Anonymous country as their military power is quite noticeable) and got people totally confused by trying to explain Europe in general.

Nevertheless, I love the other country as well (you got it: by saying this I mainly want to make sure they don’t decide to wipe Switzerland off the map, which would definitely be a shame for all chocolate-lovers worldwide).

However, there is one thing I still cannot figure out in neither Canada nor the Big Anonymous country: almost everybody knows the International Committee of the Red Cross, it has been around for over 150 years. It was founded by a Geneva-born Swiss gentleman named Henri Dunant (no need to thank me for helping you impress your friends with your great general knowledge).

By analogy, a flag displaying a red cross on a white background nowadays stands for first aid or medical kit.

Now… here is my problem: it’s called RED cross, and if I remember right, most 3-year olds can recognize the color.
So can someone explain to me why my country flag ends up next to the restroom in most public spaces?

First aid

Apart from this, it always makes me feel great to see the Swiss flag is systematically displayed on lifeguards t-shirts. Makes us feel loved.

Come on, guys, I know we have St Bernard dogs in Switzerland, so we must be pretty good at rescuing people, but did it never occur to anybody than the red cross should be red?

My First Winter

Winter in Toronto

 

Canadian Darwinism

As winter is approaching, the sadistic part in me cannot help thinking (with a sardonic smile on my face, as it has to be) about newcomers from Southern countries landing in Canada in spring or summer, and naively believing the winter will all be about nice white snow and maple syrup flavored hot chocolate. If you have never experienced any temperature below 20°C, I admit the idea of winter itself might be pretty hard to get, and the post displayed below is a great example.
One of my colleagues from India had to come to Zurich in December a couple of years ago. The temperature was probably around 0°C (Canadians would have been running around in shorts and flip flop shoes) and she told me getting off the plane felt like entering a giant refrigerator, except that it applied to the whole country.
Maybe she feels like coming here and going for the freezer experience next time, eh?

freshoffzeboat

I’m a metrosexual. I accepted it a long time ago, but I was in denial for a long time before that, and spent a good deal of time in the closet too.

However, I started dating a girl (now my wife) who happened to be a fashion photographer. She brought out my inner fashionista, and since then they haven’t looked back.

I’ve even become quite the shopper. My friends, who once disparaged me as a mere dandy, now sheepishly ask for my advice. And I reply with sagely aphorisms like: fashion is expensive, style is not.

In the land that I hail from, we metrosexuals dream of the wonders of layers – dressing in scarves and sweaters, frolicking in the autumn leaves amidst falling snowflakes. Instead, we swelter in the tropical heat. I’ve always wanted to wear a trench coat, so that’s the first thing I bought when I reached…

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The boss is always right

Jimmy's Coffee Toronto (photo credit Cory Doctorow)
Jimmy’s Coffee, Toronto (photo credit Cory Doctorow)

Science may never come up with a better office communication system than the coffee break.

Earl Wilson

Late last year, my company CEO, who himself lived in Canada for 3 years, pointed out to me this country is the perfect blend between North America and Europe and I would love living here.

He was totally right.

What hurts is:

a) Realizing it took me about 11 months to fully digest something I was told about a year ago (I must have some boa DNA in me, which added to blondish hair, certainly does not speed up my thinking process).

b) CEO’s can sometimes actually be right, unlike what people at the coffee machine will tell you at work.

I have been lied to all my career.

Witch ever

Last Friday, like most North American families with small kids, we celebrated Halloween.

The concept is quite new to the Dwarves as it never really took off in Switzerland. I have to admit we were boycotting it as well, as it is not one of our traditions but mainly a nice opportunity for stores to make some extra money during the quiet period between the summer and Christmas (remember, we do not celebrate Thanksgiving either, which probably makes a few millions turkeys all over Europe happy, but is definitely not good for business).

However, convincing kids they will have to dress up, wander around in the neighborhood and get to eat a lot of candy does not require any diplomatic skills. I decided I would handle that part, and next time they decide they do not want to eat a weird vegetable I just bought, the Man can take care of it. He would probably say that it has nothing to do with the vegetables themselves, but rather with my cooking abilities; however, this is another topic.

We all had a blast trick or treating, the Dwarves collected about 1.2 tons of various treats, and I am currently thinking about opening a candy store.

Most children who came to our door were cute and polite, but I have to say they were a few who did not bother to open their mouth and would just hand out their bags without a word.

I realize I am new to the game, but aren’t you supposed to say “Trick or treat!” and probably “Thank you”?

Helped by a couple of glasses of wine, I could not restrain myself from saying “Huh…what do you want? Sorry, I don’t get it” until they would finally utter the magic sentence. Those who were not thanking us would get a loud “You are welcome!”, in a vain attempt to make them feel ashamed of themselves.

Now they can say they had at least one close encounter with a witch on that night.

No trick or treating, however Carnival is celebrated in Switzerland - here in Lucerne. Photo credit Wikipedia.
No trick or treating, however Carnival is celebrated in Switzerland – here in Lucerne. Photo credit Wikipedia.