Home Leave 2022
We are on vacation at home. So book a flight and off to Switzerland. This home holiday is not just because we are bored. No, it basically has two causes… Causes sounds so blatant. Reasons just simply. Specifically, there are two weddings. Once the wedding of Claudia’s daughter Carmen and the future husband Alban and once of Claudia’s cousin Jasmin and her future husband Markus. And by the way, we are still at the Mexican consulate and apply for the visa for the “Temporal Residencia” in Mexico.
Off to Switzerland for home leave
Before we leave, there are appointments. So that we don’t lose track, let’s make a list. At this point it has to be mentioned that we have been in Switzerland for almost a month. Arrival in Zurich on 1 September, Wedding Jasmine on September 2nd. Jet lag in your bones and already celebrating. The program is crowded, jam-packed, not to say insane. Yes, we pensioners have more appointments than when we were still working.
Wedding Jasmin and Markus
We arrive at the registry office in Zurich on time, we still have jet lag intus. Great greeting to all acquaintances, relatives and strangers. The funny thing about weddings is that you suddenly meet people you would never have met otherwise. At some point – around 2 p.m. – the entire society is allowed to enter the premises of the registry office. The lady who performs the wedding ceremony greets everyone and points out that the one picture on the wall is a real Chagall. Hmm… I’m silent… No, I’m not saying anything… Ouh, I have to be silent… Ok, I’ll say something now: “I would like to know the code to turn off the alarm,” I call the registrar. She says that this is not possible. So I really can’t understand. So really… 🙂
From one house steeped in history to another
From the town hall, the company then slowly moves in the direction of Niederdorf. Zurich’s Niederdorf once had a dubious reputation, but today it is a cult and attraction. And where are we all strolling now? We move in the direction of “Öpfelchammere” – which means apple chamber. The restaurant “Öpfelchammere” has an even older history than the townhouse. It was built about 650 years ago and the name “Öpfelchammer” comes from the fact that the nuns of the neighboring St. Verena monastery stored the apples here for drying. If you want to know more about the building, you can find the link here.
The Oeli Wine Bar
Probably one of the most unusual rooms in Switzerland. A beam is mounted here. This bar has its own story. In the past – we are talking about around 200 years of student history – the students just mentioned spent their time in addition to studying in the Oelistube, the oldest wine bar in Zurich. The name “Oeli” is a short form of ölen which has nothing to do with working with wood – well, somehow it does. Oiling is another term for drinking quite a lot. You oil your throat so that the singing becomes greasy. And the beam, which hangs just low enough from the ceiling for a person to squeeze through, served as a test of courage during oiling. So if you were brave enough to squeeze over the beam without support, get stuck at the top and drink a glass of wine upside down, you were allowed to immortalize yourself with your name in the wood of the entire room. This tradition still applies today. So let’s go – off to the Öpfelchammere.
The Rose City of Rapperswil – my hometown
Yes, this is where I grew up. Here I made jokes. This is where I went to school. Yes, the order of the list is correct. The city of Rapperswil has a loooong history. For the time of the pile dwellers, Celts and Romans, we have to make do largely without words and writings – excavations and finds are important contemporary witnesses here. The river “Johanna” (Jonah) was first mentioned in written sources as early as 834. Rapperswil was first documented around 1220. The city is called the City of Roses, because on the one hand it has two roses in its coat of arms and on the other hand because several rose gardens can be found in the city. I will not publish the coat of arms here because everything is regulated in Switzerland. Also the use of a coat of arms. The authorities in Switzerland must somehow have a regulatory neurosis. If you want to know more, just visit the city website or go to Wikipedia .
Wedding Carmen and Alban
And then the big occasion – the main reason why we flew to Switzerland – is the marriage of Carmen and Alban. The celebration takes place in an extraordinary location. It is the Kunz tree nursery in Uster. This is where we all meet – everyone who helps to set up or decorate the location, provide tables, prepare the altar, etc. Around 70 guests are expected. The mood is cheerful, exuberant. That’s a good thing – laughter is healthy. Claudia is of course very proud of her daughter and has been looking forward to this celebration for weeks. Everyone is working together to transform the greenhouse into a festival house.
The wedding celebration
The guests arrive early. Little by little, the company expands and soon everyone is waiting for the bride and groom. And there they come – so for the first time only Alban. He greets everyone. After shaking hands for a while, he gets ready to step in front of everyone and waits patiently for the bride. The mood is cheerful, there is laughter, chatting, jokes. And now the car drives up with the bride – chauffeured by Markus, Carmen’s father.
The bride and groom sit down on the bench and listen to the words of Markus – today Padre Markus. As I look at and photograph the wedding, a few thoughts come to mind. It’s crazy how and what we experienced. I met Michael and Carmen, when they were still children – Michael was 12 and Carmen 10 years old. I’ve never considered either of them my children, that’s the job of Markus and Claudia. Nevertheless, I am sure that I have “educated” and shaped the two of them in some way. I have come to know and appreciate Markus as an incredible father. Claudia is a wonderful woman and I can’t imagine a better half than her. And now we’re all here together and Carmen is getting married. Overwhelming.
We are at the Mexican Consulate
What do we do in Switzerland at the Mexican consulate? No, there are no tacos here, no mole – only papers. We are here because we want to apply for temporary residency for Mexico. We have already tried to apply for this in Belize. That didn’t work out at the time, because the authorities don’t work at Christmas. Then we tried it in Guatemala. We had an appointment at the Mexican consulate and all the papers we need. The application was rejected on the grounds that we should go to our home country and submit the application there again. And so here we are in Bern and we apply again for the temporary residence. After two hours of interview and waiting, we have the visa in our hands – done. Yay, we’re temporary Mexicans now. Now we have to re-enter Mexico within 6 months and we have 30 days from the date of entry to get the identity card. This is the main reason why we were only on home leave in Switzerland for a short time. So – back to Mexico.
Yes, Switzerland is beautiful. A very green country with beautiful scenery and relatively stable politics. Switzerland is extremely expensive, even for the Swiss. I am happy to have been born and raised in Switzerland. However, I – Thomas – have to admit that I am frightened when I visit Switzerland. Frightened, therefore, that the Swiss is constantly in the hustle and bustle. Be it driving, walking on the streets or walking in the forest. Even when speaking. The Swiss sometimes speak so fast that the tongue almost can’t keep up mechanically. Imagine a button in your tongue because of hectic babbling. Also, the Swiss laughs very little. The faces on the street resemble zombie-like facial expressions. Distorted, dogged, pulling down corners of the mouth… It’s pretty awesome. And since 2020, society seems even more bitter to me. And the Swiss usually see only the bad. It even finds expression in everyday life. If you ask a Swiss person the question: “How are you?” he answers: “Not bad.” Doubly negative.