Sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly where Switzerland is, especially if you are American. After all, it’s far away and “over there” in Europe somewhere. Usually, sometimes. Quite often Sweden and Switzerland are interchanged. Alas, to err is human. Here are a couple of examples of “err” that stick out in my mind. Remember, there are a lot of Americans and some are just better in geography than others.
The Swedish Connection
When Ben was in high school he took gym class like everyone else. The gym teacher, a body builder, was big and muscular. At some point in a class the teacher tried to put down Switzerland. He told Ben that he could fight two Swedes and win without any problems. Thinking of the Swiss “Schwingers” and their ability to throw their weight around, Ben shot back his answer immediately. “That might be true with Swedes but you wouldn’t have a ghost of a chance against a Swiss!”
Keeping the Swedish theme going. We told our wedding photographer Ben was Swiss and we were going to move to Switzerland after the wedding. Switzerland? He beamed and said that he had a Swiss camera. Now that was interesting, a Swiss knife would have been more probable. Does Switzerland even make cameras? I don’t think so but we were game and asked what kind it was. Why Hasselblad, of course! Oh yes [forehead slap], silly us, of course.
I remember telling someone that my fiancé was Swiss. Okay, I told a lot of people but this particular person asked if he was blond and blue-eyed. Does he ski? Well, yes he is and does! How did you know? Aren’t all Swiss typically blond and blue-eyed and ski?
Once my dad said we almost didn’t get our Christmas gifts that year. Of all the people in the States you would expect the Postal Service workers to be up on their geography. Dad brought our presents to the post office and when asked what country it was going to he said Switzerland. Then the man behind the counter went to work making labels and calculating the price of the package. When dad looked at the package he noticed that it was being prepared to be sent to Swaziland. My dad pointed out the mistake and the postal officer said he knew what he was doing. Luckily my dad didn’t give up easily and after a heated discussion the package was sent to the right country. We even got it in time for Christmas.
Around the World, Almost
This year a friend of mine in America sent me a bracelet in a small package. She started getting somewhat worried that it hadn’t arrived in a timely fashion. She had the package number and checked the status in the Internet. She was amazed to see that it had gone from the States to Tokyo then to Australia. It finally made a U-turn and after taking more than double the normal time, arrived in Switzerland. I’m not sure what they typed into the computer as a destination. Still, I think there must be a shorter, more direct way to get from New York to Switzerland. On the other hand, I now have a well travelled bracelet.
Deep in the Jungle
Once a girl in high school told Ben in a matter-of-fact way that she could never live in Switzerland. Life must be so difficult in the jungle! I’m not really sure if I agree with her. I’m having fun swinging from one tree to another.
Like I said, I guess that geography just isn’t for everyone.