Collection abc- U is for Unconditional Love, Unexpected and Unique

Here is the “U” installment of my abc collection. I choose 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 “u”. “U” is for unconditional love, unexpected and unique.

is for unconditional love

A dog will teach you unconditional love. If you can have that in your life, things will not be too bad.
~ Robert Wagner

Awww, that is so true. Loving someone with your whole heart and being makes life wonderful. It doesn’t matter if a dog taught you about unconditional love or not. Still, you can learn so much from dogs. Unconditional love is only one of them. Live in the moment is another one. Of course, I also strive to be the person my dog thinks I am. Although I have a long way to go on that one.

One thing that I noticed with dogs is that they are all multilingual. When my parents, who speak no German, were visiting us in Switzerland they talked to and were understood by our dog. Our dog’s name was “Chnoepfli” in honor of my dog “Buttons” in America. Chnoepfli padded to my parents every time they called her although they mispronounced her name so it was completely unrecognizable.

For sure, Swiss dogs, American dogs and probably dogs from every other country speak the same language. They are great teachers too, and given half a chance they will teach by doing. At the moment my dog is trying to teach me to do a happy dance before getting dinner.

is for unexpected

If you do not expect the unexpected you will not find it, for it is not to be reached by search or trail.
~ Heraclitus

What might you not expect to find in Switzerland? A very good wine. Of course, when you think of wine you probably think Bordeaux, France then California, United States. But Swiss wines? Do Swiss even make wines? Yes, they do and they are exceptional.

Did you know that the Swiss only export 2% of their wines? Are they that bad? No, they’re that good. They drink the other 98% themselves. With that they drink more wine than the Spaniards, Italians or Americans. The French drink minimally more per person, per year. There are many vineyard terraces that overlook the lake of Geneva and the lake of Biel where the grapes are grown. There are even special hiking trails in these areas with wine-tasting-stops.

As far as I can tell, the people from Valais (southwestern part of Switzerland) probably add a lot to Swiss wine consumption. Ben used to work for a company that employed people from all over Switzerland. One weekend he was invited to someone’s chalet for an evening of raclette (another melted cheese specialty!) and potatoes. With that you drink white wine. He was amazed to find out how the host figured out how much wine to buy. 2 – 3 bottles for each person from Valais for all the others only one bottle. That’s a lot of wine pouring considering the white wine glasses are small, shot-like glasses here.

When Ben and I are out to dinner we always try to order local wine. We have never been disappointed with the results.

So expect the unexpected and try a Swiss wine.

is for unique

Being the best is great, you are the number one. Being unique is greater, you are the only one.
~ Anonymous

I looked for uniqueness in Switzerland. First I thought, ah, Switzerland has 4 official national languages. That’s a lot, I believe that all the laws and other official papers are written in 4 languages. But wait, what are “official languages”, my guess is, if you ask an Indian (from India) they would say that their country has the most, the same goes with Zimbabwe and South Africa. Defining what exactly an official language is can be tricky. Okay, so we are neither number one nor unique in the language category. I’ll have to look further.

Direct democracy. Switzerland isn’t the only country in the world with direct or pure democracy. Direct democracy lets the people decide. It feels like we are constantly going to the polls to decide. The Swiss vote 3 to 4 times a year. The other direct democracy country is Greece. Again, not unique but close.

What about the low crime rate? WooHoo! Switzerland is the best, but is it unique? No, Switzerland is not the only country with a nice low crime rate, there are others. But combine that with the liberal gun laws and see what happens. Switzerland has very liberal gun laws, in fact, it is second only to the United States.

So, the combination of low crime rate and liberal gun laws makes Switzerland unique. I knew it.

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