Here is the “M” installment of my abc collection. I choose about three words and write something regarding them trying to relate them to Switzerland or the Swiss or my life in Switzerland. This week’s words start with “M”. “M” is for money, mantra and münster.
is for Money
Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination.
~ Oscar Wilde
Or maybe not. We say that Switzerland should adhere to the same principles that families do. You shouldn’t spend more than you have. At the moment Switzerland has debts but is actively reducing them with what is called the debt brake.
This brake is designed to keep the federal debt from soaring like it did in the 1990s. Of course, the Swiss voted on this Article (126) in 2001. And, the majority of the Swiss believe you should live within your means because 85% voted “yes” to the article. Lo and behold 15 years later, in 2016, Switzerland is doing well with this plan. It permits a deficit during a recession and requires a surplus when the economy is booming. Of course, there is a problem, there always is. When there is a surplus some politicians want to spend, spend, spend. They wanted to do that this year too and make an exception to the brake. Luckily there are enough politicians who want to adhere to the plan.
So, just to make it clear, no, I don’t suffer from a lack of imagination but I try to live within my means.
is for mantra
My mantra has always been to have zero regrets in life. Everything I do at one speed, I go all-out.
~ Apolo Ohno
If you are going to do something, you might as well do it right. After a bit of a rough start in Switzerland I decided to learn the language as well as possible. It wasn’t because I had seen others who hadn’t learned the language, it was because I wanted to learn it. I went all out. I can speak it now and quite often dream in Swiss German. But admittedly, it is strange when my parents speak Swiss German in my dreams!
After a couple of years, I got a job at a mediothek. As always, I thought if I’m going to do something, I might as well do it right. I took the courses needed and became a Swiss librarian.
When I started to airbrush I took a course. Then I saw they were having a contest, I entered my best paintings and was surprised, I won!
I have no idea if “go all out” is a Swiss quality or not but Ben also lives by that mantra. If you are going to do something, then do it right. It’s done us good.
is for Münster
~ Erhard Küng
The construction of the Bernese cathedral, known in German as the Berner Münster, began on March 11, 1421. It was finished a mere 472 years later when the bell tower was completed in 1893. It’s the tallest cathedral in Switzerland at 330ft (100.6m). If you have nothing better to do than count the stairs while going up the tower to the platform, you will find there are 254 of them. To get to the upper spire there are an additional 90 steps. That makes a lot of steps! Me? Forget counting the steps, I was concentrating on breathing while going up the stairs.
Above the main portal is a sculpture representing the Last Judgment that was done by Erhard Küng. On the second eastern pillar on the north side of the Gothic style Bernese Reformed cathedral are the words “Machs na” attributed to the master stonemason Erhard Küng. “Machs na” roughly means “imitate” and insinuates “if you can”. Obviously, this man was well aware that his stonemason abilities were above average.