Collection abc- R is for Relationships, Reading and Radio

Here is the “R” 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 “r”. “R” is for relationships, reading and radio.

is for Relationships

I really admire people who have long-distance relationships. It is an incredible achievement. I could not do it.
~ Rita Ora

I know from experience that a long-distance relationship really isn’t the easiest thing in the world. Ben and I had a five year one before we got married. And, this was such a long time ago there was neither Skype, e-mail nor social media. All we had was regular ol’ “snail mail” and super expensive telephone to keep us connected. It truly is somewhat of a miracle that our relationship stayed alive. Who knows, maybe we survived because there wasn’t the constant call of social media.

Of course, after we got married and I moved here, we enjoyed our time together that much more. After we started our business we worked with each other in the same office day in and day out. It was great. I guess you would call that a close-distance relationship. We have married friends who still find that frightening. They have said over and over again that that is something they could never do. The husband said that just seeing his wife in the evening and on the weekend is enough.

Um, hello? Isn’t that why you get married? So you can change those long-distance relationships into close-distance ones.

is for Reading

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.
~  George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons

Here are two books that are guaranteed to help you live out a couple more lives. Swiss of course. If you haven’t read them yet, I’m sure you’ve heard of them.

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss (first published 1812)

Wyss was Swiss pastor with a Christian and moral tone of writing. Strangely though, the name “Robinson” is not Swiss. In fact, I don’t believe that anywhere in the book it is said that the family name was Robinson. Wyss is said to have gotten the name and modeled his book from Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. Actually, the book, written in the first person, may be about the family Wyss.


A family of 6 are on their way to Australia. After their ship founders at sea, the family finds themselves stranded in an uninhabited, idyllic island. They handle every crisis with cleverness and skill. The book spans over 10 years.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri (first published 1880)

Spyri was Swiss and wrote the book originally in two parts. Heidi is one of the bestselling books ever and is among the best-known Swiss books. It has been adapted into Films and for television.


Orphaned Heidi lives with her crotchety but caring grandfather on the side of a Swiss mountain. There she befriends Peter the goat-herd and leads an idyllic life. She is forced to leave the mountain to live with a sickly girl in the city. A classic tale of a young girl’s coming-of-age, of friendship, and family love.

is for Radio

Life is not an iPod to listen to your favorite songs. It is a radio and you must enjoy whatever comes on!

I grew up in America. There, I listened to the radio a lot. It was mostly pop music with a touch of country, but mostly pop. You heard music and bee bopped along when you were at home, riding in the car or in stores shopping. I loved the radio, It was omnipresent and certainly wasn’t a must.

Then I moved to Switzerland and everything changed. It seems there were no restrictions to the number and strength of AM radio in Europe. Thusly, many countries were sending their stations with high power transmitters so they could reach their people residing abroad.

In an effort to regulate the “electro-smog” Switzerland had radio concessions. The concessions were given to nationally-owned stations, there was no room for private stations. Period. On every station I turned on there was either news, classical music or yodeling. Yuck, no more bee bopping for me. Okay. Who said I had to listen to the radio? For years I didn’t even turn the radio on.

The Tide Turns

Then, in the early 80’s Roger Schawinski showed up on the scene. He set up his private radio “Radio 24” in Italy, where it was completely legal. He was able to send his pop music in Zurich. Political Switzerland tried to get Italy to shut down what they called the “pirate station”. Italy refused, after all, it was legal. Because of the media ruckus, more and more people were tuning in and listening. After 4 years of fighting, Switzerland finally legalized private radio stations and Radio 24 was able to legally send from Zurich.

Since the dust has settled, there are more, diverse radio stations in the airwaves. For every musical taste there is something. Although there are still the major national stations there are a large number of private stations. So, I’m back to listening to the radio, or when I want to hear my favorites, I pull out my iPod. So, maybe I do have a choice in life.

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