When you’re in a foreign country, here’s a fun game to play. Speak English among yourselves, even if you know the local language. That way, when the locals start badmouthing you or saying rude things about Americans, you can give them a good scare.
That happened on the train today.
Chari and I were headed to a far corner of the Zurich area to do some shopping. Jack, her one year old, was accompanying us in his stroller. The train ride was about 45 minutes long, and it covered the lunch hour, so before our trip, Jack and I stopped at the grocery store to pick up some lunch foods while Chari ran some other errands.
I love grocery shopping here. It’s one of my favorite things to do because I always see new and interesting foods. (You’d be amazed at the things they put in tubes here: mayo, tuna, mustard, tomato paste, and various herb concoctions.) I picked up some sort of apple quiche looking thing and a couple cups of yogurt, one which was chocolate flavored, my favorite, of course.
Jack and I met Chari at the train station, and while we were on the train, we all ate our lunch. People are always eating on trains here. It’s a socially acceptable practice, while oddly enough, eating on the busses and trams is forbidden (There are signs depicting an ice cream cone with a big “no” sign through it, and when I first saw them I asked why people couldn’t eat ice cream. Duh.). On the train, Chari and I ate some quiche and yogurt while poking food in Jack (always a struggle).
A woman passenger was sitting behind us and was mumbling in Swiss German, “Why can’t they eat at home,” and “they eat like animals.” Of course, I was oblivious to this, but the Swiss teenage girls sitting next to us and Chari, of course, picked up on it right away.
Chari met the woman’s eyes and gave her a good icy stare (the kind she perfected in high school to scare away creepy boys). It worked and clearly sent the message that she might want to watch what she’s saying about these particular Americans. The woman shut up for the rest of her journey on the train.
The teenage girls cheered when a couple stops later, the woman got off the bus. They looked over to me and shouted, “Hooray!”
Just another reason to watch what you say. You never know who’s listening (or understanding).