Collection abc – T is for Teamwork, Thinking and Travel

Here is the “T” 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 “t”. “T” is for teamwork, thinking and travel.

is for teamwork

It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.
~ Napoleon Hill

There are literally two different sides to the word team or teamwork. On the one hand it’s true, if you help others then you will help yourself. Some say, open the window and throw out money and it will come back through the door. Some Swiss see this reasoning. On the other hand some Swiss would rather keep everything to themselves: mine, mine, mine.

When I was doing pottery, a friend of mine showed me a magazine that contained many different glaze recipes. You could try them out, change them and make them your own. It was from the States, she said that it was impossible to find something like that in Switzerland. She thought the Swiss were so closed-minded when it came to sharing their information.

The next time I saw this closed-minded attitude was when we were giving courses on how to make web sites. Someone actually suggested that we would have more business if we just made sites instead of teaching others how to. Our courses were just generating competition and they could take away our business. Which, of course, turned out to be a completely wrong assumption. We made new friends and actually acquired new customers through our courses.

There is a long standing Swiss joke about what the word “TEAM” stands for. TEAM stands for “Toll, ein andere mach’s” [Great, someone else does the work]. Quite often you pass by workers on the street. You usually see a group of 5 or 6 of them standing around watching one person do the work. Teamwork for sure.

is for thinking

What helps with aging is serious cognition – thinking and understanding. You have to truly grasp that everybody ages. Everybody dies. There is no turning back the clock. So the question in life becomes: What are you going to do while you’re here?
~ Goldie Hawn

That’s serious philosophical talk for someone who got their start in show business wearing bikinis. Quite often she was the dumb blond on the comedy show “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in”.

I guess it just goes to show you can’t judge a book by its cover.

As for aging, I think Ms Hawn was right. I also think Swiss do it well. Sure, there must be Swiss who have had face lifts, boob-jobs, tummy tucks and things like that. But I don’t personally know any of them.

Maybe it’s the Swiss in general or maybe it’s just Ben’s family that think about aging and dying differently. Like Goldie Hawn, they come at it in a no-nonsense, direct way. When you think about it there is something inherently logical about looking at life and death like that. There is no turning back the clock so why try to? Why try to stop time? It’s impossible. You might as well just enjoy what you’ve got when you have it.

It was a scary thought for me in the beginning…

is for travel

Many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased.
~ John Steinbeck

That is so true. A relative of Ben’s recently moved into a nursing home. She had to downsize her 5 room apartment to one room. Because her eyesight isn’t what it used to be, she decided that she would not take her photo albums. They would just take up space and she couldn’t really see the tiny pictures anymore anyway. She and her husband, who passed away a few years ago traveled a lot, so there were lots of albums with lots of memories packed inside. We couldn’t bring it over us to just throw the albums away. We ended up taking them to our home, not sure what we were going to do with them.

She had also stopped reading because using two magnifying glasses got too cumbersome. In the mean time she got an i-pad and rediscovered her joy of reading. On the i-pad (and other e-readers) you can enlarge the type to almost any size. Which is what she did. Ben decided to apply that principle to pictures and scanned in all of her photo albums and made electronic albums.

She can now relive the travelling and outings she did with her husband long after the movement has ceased. They also took bagfuls of Super 8 films. We’re working on digitalizing them. We’re looking forward to giving her these so she can watch them on her i-pad. And, indeed, we hope to put a bit of movement back into her travels long after they slowed down to a halt.

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