Michael Kressig, Switzerland
I would like to write in my final issue some things about the different living standards between California and Switzerland. I think some things are quite different between this two countries, but we have a lot of the same living standards and similar life settings.
The standard of living with the amount of food or the time for your hobbies are similar most of the time. In Switzerland, you must work around 42 hours a week, normally you work 2-4 hour more for more overtime. You can use this time for more payment, or more vacation days. I heard that many people here in California have two jobs to earn more money. A full time job here does not have as many working hours as jobs in Switzerland. So it is possible to work for two companies. The amount of the salary of same jobs are in both countries are similar.
In Santa Barbara, the prices of the houses are similar to the prices in Switzerland. A difference is that our houses are built a little bigger with better thermal insulation and sanitary facilities. Also I think is there a difference with the sound insulation in the walls. It is difficult in both countries to own a house with a normal paid job. You must have some money from the family or a job in the higher level. For the normal earning person both countries it is difficult to have a house.
I think the American lives more her life than the swiss people. They go more out in every age, to a restaurant, or a bar and have a good time. Even the time for the morning coffee, the American spent some time to have that in a coffee shop. The normal Swiss person drinks her coffee at home or at work to save money and also time. Also I think make the Swiss people make some things on her own and not from a company or another person. Some example are; the wash and vacuum the car; to have a cleaning lady; and make the work in the garden. These things are too expensive to pay every week in Switzerland. The opening hours from the restaurants and the shops are different. In Switzerland are all shops except the gas station shops are closed on Sunday. Also the restaurants, except in a centre of a big city, or some few restaurants in the residential areas. Because of them, you must plan your week quite differently. Sunday in Switzerland is a day to relax; take a trip; and play some sports. In America you do your stuff on every day in the week. You don’t have to think about the time or on the day to go shopping or do some things you would like to do.
I like the way the American live their lives and enjoy the moment. The personal contact with strangers is more open and friendly. People search here more the contact with strangers. In Switzerland every person thinks about a possible bad situations and to save money. Going out to a restaurant every week is only for the younger people. The older ones are enjoying the evenings at home in their own houses. In this point I think Swiss people are lazier than the Americans. In Switzerland is quite better in the whole working situation, the pension and the health insurance. You have on your retirement day the safety for a certain pension amount, and you know at which age you can go in the retirement without having problems with money. But I could imagine living here in the USA if my friends and my family were not in Switzerland.