Here is the “W” 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 “w”. “W” is for winning, weather and waiting.
is for Winning
The best policy is to declare victory and leave.
~ George Aiken
Bobby Bare, The Winner
I have always thought that this is a great story-telling song. It makes you think about winning. The song is about one person bullying another. The person trying to be bullied was also a bully. He has obviously learned his lessons and handles the situation well. The light hearted, even funny song has a deeper meaning. Talk about de-escalation of a conflict.
What exactly is bullying and does it happen in Switzerland? Bullying usually comes in the form of a physically aggressive, hostile, overbearing individual. This person take pride, pleasure and even gets a buzz from lording over another person. It’s a serious subject with many branches (mobbing or cyber mobbing for example). Can this happen in Switzerland; the land of beautiful mountains, quiet and clear lakes and lush countryside? Yes, it can and does.
It isn’t as prevalent as in other European countries but, still, 5 – 10% of Swiss students have had to deal with school bullying at some point. It seems this is just below the international average. You might think that this is good but it isn’t, especially if you happen to be one of the 5 – 10%.
I won’t pretend that I know anything about bullying except that I know it can be harmful and scar someone for life. I looked on the Internet to see if there were any resources I could give to help anyone who is in the situation of needing help.
The Bully Expert
hopefully no one will need this information but if you do, I hope you will be victorious.
is for Weather
You know what they say about Chicago. If you do not like the weather, wait fifteen minutes. ~ Ralph Kiner
You might be able to say something like that for Switzerland. On the other hand, chances are probably better the weather will stay the way it is. We’ve had long streaks of cold and hot weather, weeks at a time, usually not only 15 minutes intervals.
There are some wonderful names given to certain weather situations. Depending on where the wind comes from it is either “the bise” or “foehn”. I’m not a weather-girl so simply stated, if the wind is from the north it’s “the bise”; continental, cold and dry. I found no translation for Bise (pronounced bee-za).
A “foehn” (pronounced “furniture”) is a hairdryer. The “foehn” is a relatively stable, mild and somewhat moist air that comes from the south and crosses the Alps going north. When I first came to Switzerland I was mystified how people knew what kind of wind was blowing. I said something like “It’s windy” and they said something like “It’s foehn weather again”. Since we’ve moved to Lengnau I can differentiate pretty well. When there is a “Bise” we could very well end up with a house full of smoke when we light a fire in the fireplace. Cough, cough.
There are lots of other interesting quirks about the weather, I’ll do a whole post about that! For the weather in Switzerland, I personally find it nice, as long as the fog doesn’t stick around for weeks at a time. If you want quick changing weather, I would suggest Chicago.
is for Waiting
We all have the extraordinary coded within us, waiting to be released.
~ Jean Houston
To prove the point just look at the people depicted on the Swiss banknotes. These were people who released their extraordinary codes.
First of all, it goes without saying that Helvetia is pictured on all of the notes from the first series (issued in 1907). Helvetia is the female personification of Switzerland. In the second series (issued between 1911 and 1914) all had women’s head. The exception was the 5 franc note which depicted the fictional William Tell. The fourth series, after the war notes, were never issued. Two of the six notes issued in the fifth series (issued between 1956 and 1957) depicted known people: Gottfried Keller and Guillaume-Henri Dufour.
The sixth series, which was withdrawn in 2000, depicts only men on all 6 banknotes. Leonhard Euler, Horace-Bènèdict de Saussure, Conrad Gessner, Francesco Borromini, Albrecht von Haller and Auguste Forel. They were extraordinary in mathematics, mountaineering, modern zoology, architecture, anatomy and psychiatry. The seventh series was never issued.
With the exception of the 50 franc note, the eighth series is still circulating. The eighth series also includes heads of extraordinary Swiss. It includes the architect Le Corbusier, the composer Arthur Honegger, the artist Alberto Giacometti, the writer Charles Ferdinand Ramuz and the art historian Jacob Burckhardt. The only woman in that series was the artist Sophie Henriette Gertrude Taeuber-Arp on the 50 franc note.
The ninth series was supposed to be printed in 2010 but was delayed until 2015. Finally, after a long wait, in April 2016 the new 50 franc note was released. Like all of the other notes in this planned series there are no famous Swiss depicted, neither male nor female.
No More Waiting
Of course, the people on the bills aren’t the only Swiss who were able to decode their extraordinariness. There are lots and lots more people which is probably the reason why the newest series of banknotes doesn’t depict any people. Too many extraordinary people, too few bills. Face it, everyone I know is extraordinary in their own way. I’ll bet probably everyone you know, too.
Wouldn’t it be cool if everyone could just custom-create their own banknotes like you can create your own postage stamps? I can see it now, a “Lisa” 10 Franc note! Too cool.