A couple of months back, our Régie (which is the Swiss version of a realtor/estate agent/landlord) emailed us after he received a complaint from one of our neighbours. When I saw the email, I couldn’t help but burst out in laughter for I was slightly amused by the complaint.
Nature of the complaint? It appears that some of the neighbours from the opposite block were appalled by our airing of our washed laundry on our balcony. There is no said rule on this but apparently, we are not supposed to be airing our laundry out in the open for the entire world to see. Never mind that the laundry is on some fancy rack and enclosed in our balcony. You see I’m rather traditional that way, while our washing machine is equipped with a dryer, I prefer to let the good ol’ Sun shed its rays on our clothes. Furthermore, some of the more delicate items we have wouldn’t be able to withstand the heat from the dryer.
When I shared this with Tweet-peeps, I received a flurry of tweet messages which just left me giggling and laughing at the entire episode. As my other Expat friends put rather aptly ‘Welcome to the Swiss way of life’. Apparently, there are a whole lot of rules that one must not break in order to live in Geneva. And to learn of these rules, there is a handbook of sorts called the Swiss Rule Book that most expats should have on hand in order to assimilate into the Swiss way of life as quickly as possible.
I obviously had no clue on this and wasn’t going to add that book into my reading list. Wasn’t that interested in reading a book of rules and preferred to ask friends what sort of major rules that I shouldn’t break in order not to land in jail. Haha.. turned out we did break one of these unsaid rules that thankfully wasn’t too serious enough to land me in jail.
I guess at this point in time I should probably share why airing of laundry out in the open for all to see isn’t an anomaly for me. You see in Singapore, most people live in housing flats (see below). We have very little land (694 km2) and with a population of 5.07 million people, we just have to build upwards in order to accommodate more people living on our tiny island.
See what I mean, our laundry is out in the open for the entire world to see. I grew up with this way of living and so I naturally assumed that it was fine to do in other countries. I did this before when we were living at a rather ‘posh’ area in Tokyo. Probably we ain’t supposed to be doing so, but if no one tells us, then how are we know that we were doing it ‘wrong’ in the first place?
So what are we to do now in Geneva? The airing of the laundry is now done indoors. Which explains the reason why we haven’t really opened up our house for any parties yet. When I’m done with the laundry, then I’m ready to host a party.
[Photos courtesy of my little sister]