This is the “F” installation to my alphabet series. I take three or so random words and somehow relate them to Switzerland. So, “f” is for friendship, family and fairytales.
is for friendship
Friends are those rare people who ask how you are and then wait for the answer.
~ Author Unknown
“How are you today?”, “If you need help, just call”. Something I’ve heard so many times in the States at practically every cash register. In effect, they don’t really care how you are doing nor do they want you to call. It has nothing to do with friendship, it’s just something the people say.
I have found that in Switzerland, if someone asks how you are doing, they want an answer. That person doesn’t have to be your closest friend either. And, they are interested in knowing how you are. I don’t think I’ve ever run across anyone who asked me how I was as a rhetorical question. It’s refreshing.
is for family
Families are like fudge, mostly sweet with a few nuts.
~ Author unknown
Families, like fudge are important. It’s comfort food. Of course, you can’t choose family like friends so some people end up with more nuts than fudge and nothing holds together and everything falls apart.
I know Swiss and American families that hold together and unfortunately some that have fallen apart. Too many nuts. Definitely not something confined to Switzerland. This is a worldwide phenomenon.
Me, I was lucky. My family and Ben’s family are both terribly sweet and stick together. As far as the nuts go… I’m afraid I probably fit just perfect into that category. But I’m okay with that, as long as you are not allergic to them, nuts make the fudge more interesting.
is for Fairytales
I find that stories people told each other thousands of years ago are still relevant now.
~ Cassandra Clare
As a child I was told fairytales, mostly Grimm and and Hans Christian Anderson but nothing typically American. I asked Ben if there were any characteristic Swiss fairytales. He thought for a moment and said sure, some deal with getting up early and money. Typical Swiss attributes of today. He told me the following story.
Kobolds (leprechauns like spirits) have children only once every 100 years. Once, a midwife was needed and she came when called to help. The kobold didn’t have any money and gave as payment a basket full of stones. The midwife had no choice but to accept that as a payment. The kobold saw the midwife’s despair and tried to comfort her by saying the stones are special and she should take great care with them.
On the journey home the midwife’s way was long and the stones were heavy. She took no particular care with the stones and some fell out. To lighten her load, some she dropped on purpose. When she finally reached her destination she had only one stone left. Tired, she went to bed.
The next day when she looked into the basket the one stone left had turned to gold. She ran back the way she had come the day before looking for the discarded stones but was unable to find any.
… Still relevant today.