A new rhythm. 

Slowly but surely we are getting used to our new rhythm. My body seems to have adjusted to the early mornings once again and I still believe it is the very best shift to work. 

Im not going to lie, those early days were tough. I think my co-workers were a bit worried about me. The very first two back-to-back 5:00 am shifts had me stunned. I arrived with sore, red eyes, barely open. “Are you ok?” was uttered more than once. But after a few nights getting early to bed I was able to show up looking less like someone who had just finished an all-night bender. 

And this week I even made it to supper at the end of the week without weeping from sheer exhaustion. 

Considering that today is International Coffee Day (according to the world of social media) I will indulge in some of my Barista observations. 

I am amazed at how different the Sbux (that’s what the cool kids on WhatsAp call it) experience is here. Definitely the 20 year gap plays a role but the rest of it is simply the European influence. 

This is a cash society. The majority of the transactions are in cash. Big cash. It is not at all unusual for someone to pay for their 5.90CHF drink with a 100 bill. Or a 200 bill. (Those exist here – as do 1000 bills. I think they are play money every time I see them!)  

I found this particularly ironic today as I attempted to take Helena to the zoo in Rapperswil. The sign read “cash only – no 100 notes”. 

No zoo for us. 

I’m still not used to carrying so much cash. Had it been all 4 of us going to the zoo the bill would have been 88CHF. But we wouldn’t be allowed to pay with a 100 note. Why, exactly?

I digress…back to my Barista musings. 

There have been more than a few moments of confusion between me and the customers. For sure my lack of Swiss German plays a role but I’m not entirely sure all of the confusion is my fault. 

A customer will say “I’d like just a normal coffee.” 

Perfect, no problem. I get a cup and pour a coffee. The customer looks perplexed and says “Nein, nein, nein!” 

Turns out a “normal coffee” here is a latte. Noted. 

This is what I aspire to. Latte art. I’m terrible at it. The good news is I’ve stopped making shapes on people’s cups that unfortunately resemble a penis.

So when the next customer says “I’ll have a black coffee” I think to myself, “this time I know for sure what they want.” Once again, I reach for the brewed coffee. Once again I get a puzzled, somewhat irritated look. 

Turns out a black coffee here is a Cafe Creme. Two shots of espresso poured long. No cream involved. 

I’ve learned that brewed coffee is 99.9% of the time NOT what they are trying to order. In 1997 that was 70% of what we sold. 

The other time a customer looked at me like  I had 3 heads was when she clarified her drink was to-go. “zum mitnehmen” 

Yes, that was why I handed her a drink in a paper cup. “Zum mitnehmen.” I said. 

She sighed and rolled her eyes, clearly put out by my incompetence. “Do you not have a bag?” she said, exasperated. 

Of course, a bag. For your coffee, to-go. My bad. What was I thinking. 

Is it me? I’m pretty sure it isn’t me…

The parts that are the same as they were 20 years ago are the catchy playlists providing. the soundtrack to our days. I’ve noticed a very bizarre love of Neil Diamond here. I’m certain he must be a partial owner – there’s no other explanation for how often I hear Sweet Caroline. I am developing a certain loathing for Cracklin’ Rosie. There’s just no logic to how often it is played. It’s kind of like my own, personal Groundhog Day. It’s slowly driving me crazy. 

Order day is still Thursday. I was disappointed when I opened this box. There wasn’t a Hot German packed inside like the label said. Just some boring old paper cups.
No cops & donuts humour here. But they do still like coffee.

Outside of work I’m now establishing a new  routine to get all of the daily tasks complete. This means I’m seeing the city at different times of day, in different light, at a different pace. 

How have I missed this all this time? The larger than life Swiss vacuum. This guy must be the highest paid civil servant of all. That is Swiss perfection in a nutshell.
Should I ever decide this Barista gig isn’t for me, it would seem there are other reasonable options. (Photo courtesy of my friend Joanna who giggles at the lost-in-translation mishaps like I do.)

Beyond the daily responsibilities, we still find time to explore and find new places to discover. 

“Grüezi” aka Hello.
The Swiss version of the red Canadian National Park chairs.
The view over Lake Zürich from up top at Felsenegg.
Our sweet ride to the top of the hill. All included in our train ticket.
This jaunty fellow offered us some kurbis soupe on his way by. Where is one heading when pulling a wagon with two giant pots of pumpkin soup along a country lane?
My country lane companions.
Hill-top patio, ready for the cooler weather.
We still just enjoy the fancy patios from a far. A picnic on the wall right beside the patio is just as lovely.
Pretty Swiss country-lane.
Classic Swiss farmhouse.
The mark of a successful outing.

We even found time this week to celebrate our anniversary. 15 felt significant enough to warrant a little effort on our part. 

My beautiful anniversary flowers.
Our special anniversary wine. We all know I bought this strictly for the label. Thankfully it was also delicious. I may need to buy a case.

This shoulder season time, as always, finds me challenged with how to dress/accessorize. Too cold, too hot, too frumpy, too fancy (rarely my problem!) Our pursuit of a hike yesterday ended in the midst of high-society Zürich. I didn’t dress for high society. I dressed for hiking. I’m still in awe of the people who have this whole European living thing down to an art. 

Helena, while ill prepared for the hiking outing did represent quite well in Zürich.
Having scads of money helps.
Lunching late on a Saturday in Zürich is totally a thing.
My metro-sexual seat mate on the train. At 50ish, he had it totally figured out. Skateboard, ice cream, style and the ever coveted Freitag bag.
Looking forward to the style possibilities of October. Jeans, boots and big scarves I can do!


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