Since I've been in Switzerland I've noticed a lot of things that are different from what I'm used to in the U.S. I want to clarify that I do not mean things that bother me, but just things that are different. Many of them I wish we did in the U.S. while others I think are inconvenient. Here we go!
1. They use the "Honor Code" for train tickets!
Seriously, for buses and trains you buy a ticket on an app or you can buy a ticket at a kiosk but at no point do you scan your ticket to get into the station or onto the train. Occasionally (very rarely) an attendant will come onto the train and ask people to show their tickets and everyone pulls them out! The fine is 100CHF ($110) if you are caught without a ticket! I had a hard time believing that everyone buys a ticket but usually it's only tourists that think they can get away with it or someone who is running late and didn't have time to purchase a ticket. Of course, I buy the tickets, but I was so confused the first time I got on a train with my newly purchased ticket and no one scanned it! I thought I was on the wrong train or something! Lol! Also, small thing, but every four seats share a small trash can! (The small gray thing pulls out for trash!)
2. Trash bags are expensive there is only one kind.
The Swiss are very conscious of their accumulation of trash! Trash must be put in a red trash bag that is regulated by the canton. There is no specific bag for recycling so you can recycle way cheaper. There is a HUGE fine for not using the right bag for trash or mixing trash with recycling. The bags cost almost $2 per bag, and before you think "okay that's expensive but no so expensive," the bag holds probably 1/3 or 1/4 of the trash that an average American trash bag would hold.
On that note, I think this is absolutely a wonderful idea even though it's hard to get used to. We produce so much trash in the US and people don't care to recycle because it takes more effort. Also, I don't know if you've ever been in this situation, but I think our bags are too big for what they hold. Seriously, they hold TRASH. We need to empty that more frequently or else it will smell, using smaller bags allows that to happen without wasting a half full bag because of the smell. Taking out the trash is even more strange! The trash bins are very very small (like the size of a chair) and the trash goes down into a well in the ground.
3. Doors lock using a KEY from the INSIDE & OUTSIDE.
When I first moved in the only door I needed to lock was the bathroom and all of our bathrooms are "Jack and Jill" style so it made sense that they lock from both sides, but then it was time for bed and I went to lock the front door and my bedroom door. There was no lock to turn on either door, only a keyhole. Here, you must use your key to lock the doors at night! It's not so bad because I don't lose my key as easily but it is frustrating when you are in a hurry because you have to unlock and then re-lock with your key! This is both sides of our front door!
4. Chicken is SO EXPENSIVE.
Seriously. In the U.S. most people have chicken either because it is healthy and cheaper than fish. Here, one chicken breast is $8! One egg is $1! For meat people mostly have prosciutto which is 100384829137% okay with me!
5. People smoke. A LOT. EVERYWHERE.
I don't know if I'm not old enough to remember what it was like much in the U.S. prior to the end of smoking sections, but I remember when it was a new thing. I don't however remember seeing so many people smoking! It's such a different culture here. So many young people smoke, the professors smoke, waitresses sit and smoke between waiting tables, it's crazy! It honestly makes me so sad to see what all of these people are doing to their bodies, and quite frustrated that they don't move away from the group so it doesn't affect everyone else, but I know it's a culture thing and they don't have the same pressures to end smoking as we have in the states. When we went to Lido di Lugano (the shore of Lugano) to have a welcome event so many students were smoking that I had to go and walk away from the deck area because I was coughing so bad from other people's smoke. Keep in mind these are college students at one of the best architecture schools in the world, they're educated!
(Obviously I haven't really taken any photos of this!)
6. Vending machines are so different.
First, I'll start with the content. This one goes along with #5 but most vending machines sell lighters!!! What?!? Also they sell marijuana flavored tea, paprika flavored chips (super popular here), and beef jerky! It's seriously so strange.
Also, they have vending machines everywhere that you choose a coffee and it makes it for you in a little cup, drops a stir stick in, and it pops out for you to grab! The university has one in the vending machine room and it's probably the best coffee I've had to date. They are small- we drink ridiculous portions in the U.S., but it is much more concentrated here, but a macchiato cost $1.50. You select your coffee, add more or less sugar, and then put your coin in and voila!
Coffee (espresso) is everywhere. Vending machines. Restaurants. Beach bars. Literally I had a cappuccino on the beach yesterday.
7. The water pressure is insane.
The best water pressure I've ever had in a shower or a sink, home or hotel, is less than half of every faucet here. I have to turn the shower only half way on so that I do not have red marks all over me when I get out of the shower!
Today marks one week since I left the U.S. and I feel like I have seen so many things that are different, I'm sure there will be a part two to this post coming soon!