Male accompanying spouse drinks in Nyon on Thursday 26th February

Reminder –  Male  *“Trailing Spouse” Event on Thursday 26th February at 20:00 at Les Brasseurs Pub at Rue de la Gare 18 in the centre of Nyon.  Nearest parking Place Perdtemps car park, Nyon railway station is just a few minutes walk away.

For the past few years Living in Nyon has been holding the occasional  *Male Trailing Spouse evening. This is for men who have moved to Switzerland to follow their female partners who work in Geneva or Vaud based organisations.   *For want of a better phrase – we are still looking for a better title!  See article on previous event here  

If you are a male accompanying spouse and you want to meet others in the same situation, please email info@livinginnyon.com to register your interest. To those who have already registered, just come along and look out for Michael (on the right of the photo below) he will be somewhere in the pub!  Catherine (the Living in Nyon editor) will also be there for the first 20 minutes or so to answer any questions about living in the area but then she will leave after that!

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Rubbish/ Trash – What, Where and When to Throw It in the Nyon area

Just in case you missed it (or threw it away by mistake!) did you know there is an official brochure which explains all about what you can throw out in the official rubbish/trash bags?

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Some of the items you can still throw out! (Jan 2015) Milk cartons, plastic vinegar bottles, plastic packaging, cat litter, nappies/diapers, yogurt pots, textiles and clothes that are no longer wearable.

The brochure also lists the dates in 2015 on which some non-standard items will be collected from the kerb by the council and it explains how to recycle anything from Nespresso capsules to oil bottles, batteries and more. Note: batteries must not be thrown away in the trash/rubbish bags as they are highly toxic. They can be taken back either to the point of sale or the official eco-points, which can be found either at the déchèterie (official council rubbish/ trash dump) or at and outside many supermarkets. These eco-points are also listed on the council brochure.

Still not thrown away your Christmas tree?  Wednesday January 14th is the final date this year when natural (and probably very dry and dead!), Christmas trees will collected.

The official brochure that was distributed to all households in the Nyon area looks like this (see photo below) , but do not worry if you cannot find it, it is downloadable from the council’s website here.

Live outside Nyon or in a different town or village in Vaud? Type in “déchet/or déchets” into your local town, region or village’s website and you should be able to upload the official information. Make sure you put the acute accent on the é ! Some websites do not seem to recognise the word déchet without that accent…

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Note: The 2014 Nyon council macaron (sticker/card) which you must display on your dashboard or on your windscreen to enter the Nyon déchèterie, is still valid for 2015 until the completion of the brand new Nyon déchèterie. This new dump will be situated in l’Asse area of the town and it should be ready in summer 2015.

Photos coming up soon of the “Three Kings” night in Nyon.

 

 

 

Hop Suisse! Nyon railway station after the 2-1 victory over Ecuador

There was lots of celebrating going on around Nyon railway station last night after Switzerland’s 2-1 win over Ecuador in the 2014 World Cup. At big international matches this area of town often becomes a gathering point for those who want to celebrate. It’s noisy and it’s fun!

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Learning the language to help your integration into Switzerland

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Bonjour, parlez-vous anglais s’il vous plaît?  – Learning the language to help integration into Switzerland

Here is an excellent article written by Melina Hiralal on learning a language to help integration into  Switzerland.  She gives tips, hints and advice and recommends a good language learning website. Read on to find out how a recent trip to Australia made her reflect that language is more than a tool for integration, but is also a way of showing respect for the culture you are a guest of.

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Melina Hiralal is a cross cultural consultant and lives near Nyon and she works with companies, families and individuals offering training and assistance during both the expatriation and the repatriation process.  This is her second article in a series on expatriate issues  (read her first here)and says that sometimes, ”living in an unfamiliar culture is like watching a foreign film without sub-titles”. If  you would like advice from Melina you can contact her at hiralal.wolf@bluewin.ch

Bonjour, parlez-vous anglais s’il vous plaît?

We’ve all been in a shop or on public transport and heard variations of this sentence. Language is one of the primary tools needed to facilitate integration when you arrive at the new location which you will be calling home for the next couple of years. In the Lac Léman region, the answer will increasingly be “yes” and information can be exchanged and transactions made in a manner that is satisfactory to both parties. Language is also one of the keys to understanding the culture you are living in and a simple grasp of French enables you to participate in local, daily life. For many expats however, mastering the local language represents a real challenge as they often have no real need for it to accomplish the job they were hired for.  The Lac Léman area is filled with English-speakers and expats can definitely get by with little or no knowledge of French.

However, on a recent trip to Australia, I was fortunate enough to spend some time with an Aboriginal in Sydney who started by telling me that in order to speak his own language and tell his own stories during the tour (he was not a native of Sydney) he had needed to ask permission from the elders of the Sydney tribes. From Aboriginal Australia to La Côte, I realised that language is more than a tool for integration but also a way to show respect for the culture you are a guest of.  Plunging ahead in your mother-tongue without asking permission to use it is just plain rude in both hemispheres!  Asking permission first (using the local language) does not need perfect language skills and can be reduced to one sentence learned parrot-style. Starting conversations with this one sentence is more respectful; it will result in a more pleasant interaction with the local population, and will generate a lot more goodwill than doing the opposite. The Swiss, more than others, have an understanding of linguistic challenges and many have faced similar difficulties on crossing the language frontier of the “Rösti fence” at some point in their lives. Therefore, most will empathise and be respectful of your attempts. So how can an expat, with little time to devote to learning a new language, learn enough to get by and participate more in local life?

Benny Lewis from the website Fluent in Three Months strongly encourages immediately abandoning the mother-tongue wherever possible. This may seem daunting but he gives an easy example illustrating how this can be done. When visiting a restaurant, he recommends asking for both the English and the local menus. The layouts are often similar (sometimes there are even pictures) and the English menu will help you to choose what you would like to eat. When it comes to ordering, you use the local one and a combination of language and pointing will probably be enough to obtain what you want.

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Take language lessons: a true beginner will need to have a few lessons, and it can save time if you look for a course using teaching methods where language is taught in “chunks” or phrases that are useful, rather than those culminating in a dissertation on “Les Misérables”.

Join a local association: a brave friend of mine joined the local fire brigade and ended up not only learning better french but meeting his neighbours which increased his sense of belonging to the village.

Join a local club: pick an activity that you are already familiar with and instead of joining the expat one, join the local one; this can be anything from singing in a choir, playing bridge, sports-related, etc.

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 Take up a course: instead of a language course, pick a creative course from the long list of the Ecole Club Migros for example. Don’t be tempted by their few courses taught in English, and endeavour to learn how to cook Thai food, sew your own clothes, or do Ikebana all in French.  This is true learning by doing and when you miss “the middle bit” of the teacher’s explanation, you’ll just need to look around at what the others are doing and follow suit. As well as increasing your language competence and possibly learning a new skill, another positive aspect of all these activities is that you will meet new people. You may not become best friends, but they can be helpful sources of information for you. Finally, as familiarity grows, you will begin to feel less of a newcomer and more at home and at ease in your surroundings.

Photo below – Melina Hiralal

Melina Hiralal for blog

Film Review: The Laundry Room – Swiss Rules for Washing and Drying

Our second film review comes from writer Trish Thalman, who says this is a “poignant and sensitive film with moments of humour and candour” A film focusing on residents of an apartment building in Lausanne, people dealing with dirty laundry every day, physically and metaphorically.

“The Laundry Room”  -” La Clè de la Chambre à Lessive”   by Floriane Devigne and Frédéric Florey

Saturday 20 April at 14:00 – Salle Communale and Sunday 21 April at 19:30 – Capitole 1 cinema (72 mins)  

Link to buying tickets for this film on line here

“Claudina” holds the key!” In this case, the key to the communal laundry room of a low-rent apartment building in Lausanne. The inhabitants of the building are a mixture of people from Switzerland and various other countries and make up the Swiss ‘underclass’. The laundry room of the building is the size of a small storage room, in a clean and tidy, ground floor entrance area. It holds four washers and four dryers, and the door is locked. It is next to the elevator where people wait patiently for it to arrive. When it does arrive, it disgorges a number of people at one time. There is much activity throughout the day in the foyer, with the coming-and-going of the inhabitants.

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The new cleaning woman for the building is Claudina, a bright and lively woman who says that cleaning is hard work and not a terrific job. She is responsible for managing access to the laundry room. In the past, the laundry room did not operate according to any set rules and mostly there was chaos, arguments and a rogue key that kept getting “lost”.  Now Claudina will make an attempt at order with times and dates set for everyone to do his or her washing (“people need to follow rules”).  A white board with a colour code is designed and hung on the laundry room wall. We see that there is confusion and misunderstanding about how ‘the rules’ will work. Everyone has an opinion of how the rules should operate, mostly related to what suits them the best.

Residents sometimes don’t have the money to pay to do the laundry

Daily life goes on among the residents of the building. The police arrive. A recently single man is told he has to move to a smaller apartment (what shall he do with the furniture?) , a woman expresses her ambitions to work for Rolex (until she learns their workrooms are not in Lausanne). One day Claudina wonders why the people scheduled for the washing day have not come to use the laundry room. It is because  that week they do not have the money to pay to do the laundry.

The parade of colourful characters who spend time in the foyer ranges from a boisterous, edgy woman who doesn’t want her dirty laundry to be on TV (pointing to the security camera ‘eye’ in the laundry room), two young ‘wanna-be’ hip-hopsters in outlandish, trashy ‘bling’, four young girls posing and preening for the camera while engaging Claudina in a discussion about religion, and a sad, squabbling woman who quotes Zola and Jacques Brel when arguing with nearly everyone, especially Claudina.

All are dealing with dirty laundry every day, physically and metaphorically.

This is a poignant and sensitive film, with moments of humour and candour, patience and anxiety, along with the daily noise of washing machines and dryers.

Trish says “I particularly enjoyed the film, as I have learned to “follow rules’ for the laundry room in the apartment building where I live. The  key to the door was ‘lost’ a few years ago. The door is open all the time. A piece of paper is taped on the door with the names of who washes what day and what time. The system can work!”

Photo below – Trish Thalman

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