“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
I am reaching that fragile stage in the foreigner’s journey where the honeymoon is ending and reality starts to sink in. It is the phase where you wake up one morning and realize that you have not seen the sun for weeks, because it is hidden somewhere behind that impenetrable grey curtain; or that getting to the nearest Starbucks for your favourite coffee – the one you need so badly to be able to function in the morning – takes you an hour round-trip, when it used to be just a few minutes’ walk.
For me, the worst part of that phase is disillusionment with the people: realising that not everything is rosy and not everyone is nice. That’s particularly relevant in this move, since so far, with very few exceptions, everything has been rosy and everyone has been nice. We have been treated with extreme friendliness from day one. It is delightful – and almost unreal. The eternal realist in me has been dreading the moment when I recognise that not everyone is on their best behaviour here and that there are grumpy people in Switzerland, too.
In the past few weeks, there have been a couple of incidents – funny enough, all of them on the road and all involving impatient men in large vehicles, who I suspect noticed my gender as well as my foreign license plates – but nothing major yet. The more recent one was this morning and it involved a significant amount of unprovoked unfriendliness. A few months ago, I might have let it taint my beautiful Monday morning, but today I chose not to. I decided that it is time to take matters into my own hands. I have a lovely image of the people here and am not going to let a couple of grumpy
ones spoil that.
ones spoil that.
We can choose to be unhappy just like we can choose to be happy. We can allow ourselves to complain about everything around us or we can decide to appreciate the positives and tolerate the not-so-positives. At the same time, I believe that we both absorb and reflect friendliness and crankiness; positive and negative energy. I have found it easier to complain and be cranky in some places, while in others I have felt compelled to look for the positive side of things.
I feel that I have been much less grumpy since we moved here, simply because I encounter less grumpiness in my daily interactions. I choose to be nice to people here, even the ones who are not as well disposed towards me as I would have wished them to be. I am more tolerant and patient and more inclined to give people the benefit of the doubt, because I feel grateful that they do the same with me. I choose to be happy here.
Attitude is half the battle, right?