My small village is smothering the life out of me.
I know I will never fit in this village.
People in this village know each others families even two villages over.
Swiss that move here from other areas of Switzerland (even the French speaking parts) are treated like foreigners.
Here. In our village, I have no friends. None.
The mothers of the kids that go to Sweet Bear’s school are super nice but each time I think they are warming up to me I am reminded that I am a foreigner.
Swiss are comfortable chit chatting and don’t feel comfortable with deeper conversations. Deeper conversations that I would consider chit chat, but for a Swiss in our village it is the equililant of walking around naked.
They are very hard to get close to or know. It would take me years to make one single friend here.
The fact that I am not completely fluent in French does make it harder to make friends here in our village when it did not in Strasbourg, France.
The Swiss in our village are very distrustful of outsiders. My language limitation doesn’t help in the least.
Each time, I try to have a conversation with someone it is like I am walking on eggshells. It starts out nice enough and then…CRUNCH. The person I am talking to clearly felt as if I had taken the conversation down a slippery slope without a helmet.
It isn’t like we are talking about our favorite sex position.
We are talking about our kids, vacations, or any other normal semi-boring topic that is allowed. Yet, I will more times than not flub it up.
Finally, I decided to keep my mouth shut unless someone asked me a direct question.
It seems to work.
If I ever speak beyond what I am asked I get the shut down from others.
I can never expand on a topic because that is just going over some unwritten rule that I never knew existed. I can see panic in their Swiss eyes as they turn away from the foolish foreigner.
I will get the cold shoulder for a week or two never knowing what I had done.
In the States or in France, I never felt this invisible conversation line. Everyone chatted away about whatever and no one felt or made me feel like the conversation had taken a dangerous turn.
Here, I feel like I must monitor every single word that comes out of my mouth or some poor unsuspecting Swiss mother will have to run for shelter.
It is tiring.
We would like to move to a city. In reality, I think we will end up in another small village on the other side of our mountain. I will not make the same social mistakes that I have here in this village.
I have learned my lessons about socializing as an American in a small Swiss village in the Jura.
You must first and foremost be overly polite and formal, try to be humorous when possible but NEVER ever take the wheel in the conversation.
Let the Swiss do all the driving.
Then, you will never walk away from a conversation feeling like you have just gotten slapped for asking someone to show you their breasts.
It is better for everyone.