The struggle to be positive has never been as difficult as after i had moved to a beautiful safe country with wonderful nature, squirrels running up and down the trees as the leaves change color in the Autumn but like a short clip on youtube of a blind man with a sign “It is a beautiful day but i can not see that”
The move to Switzerland became a challenge, not only because of a personal family crisis ,but because of a social atmosphere where i did not feel free to express my opinion, something that is second nature to the Israeli culture in which i was brought up .
Seeking statistics online to verify my subjective feeling of negativity , i found that there are only 2,000 Israelis officially registered in Switzerland and in contrast 20,000 swiss live in Israel .
Mmm, so i am not the only one who feels uncomfortable?
Switzerland is one of the largest centers of Tibetans for example but Israelis? no!
I grew up thinking that Israelis are rude, loud and disrespectful but that was before i met swiss men who shoved in front of me in supermarkets, buses and did not seem to have any problem complaining about my loud voice or barking dog by being loud and rude to a perfect stranger, well, maybe i was not that perfect.
Two years ago i officially particpated in a positive thinking course in a yoga center but i realise looking back and reflecting upon past experiences that if one is to be positive it has to come without force, but after reflecting upon life experiences and never labelling yourself as negative, but perhaps trying to see the possibilities , and to be honest, at one point i felt that Swiss life was becoming an impossibility for me in many ways, though i do still want to and have to work on improving my attitudes and becoming less judgemental and remaining open before i judge a situation too quickly before i have the facts, there are some red lines i wish to note, everyone must have RED LINES; also known as limits.
- Racism :is a no go for me, i can not live in a society where ethnic minorities are discriminated and while many Europeans may smirk and call me a hypocrite, i still did not see the freedom Moslems have in Israel , where i live in a small town outside the big little city, a Moslem woman was told she could not work because she insisted on wearing a headscarf. I have heard too many negative judgemental comments about Israel and jews without apologies and trust me even ONE would have been too much given the history of aiding the Nazi war efforts and punishing swiss officials who helped jews escape over the border, it is not just that they feared the Nazis, they helped the Nazis by supplying them and by helping them keep the jews from being able to escape by suggesting the letter J, and that is before the swiss bank scandal in which the swiss banks hid the accounts of jews who did not return to claim the money because they were murdered in camps, and it was only thanks to one non jewish bank worker that this information got to the public and then rage broke out and it is a common grievance by swiss non jews towards the jews accusing them of greed…It is not just racism against Moslems and jews, it is against every ethnic group on earth , and even against French swiss and Italian swiss, and frankly i can not live in such a society no matter how pretty the mountains and trees are.
- Greed: I am not used to having fines, i do not drive, and i am used to a very simple life, i used to ride a bike back in Boston and so i was horrified when i was a single mother at how expensive life was and how the fines tripled and doubled, i recently had a misunderstanding regarding an electricity bill, that i did not receive and forget to ask about, my power was cut off, at late autumn and though i paid the same day the power was cut off, it took them THREE weeks to reconnect me despite phone calls..then there are the other bills and fines, in summer the swiss police are bored and it has been an annual event that i get police picking on me for a barking dog by the lake or a more recent event, a barking dog at the cafe, which sent me packing my bags, but because everything takes so much time, contracts etc . i have not yet left, which gave me time to think , in theory Switzerland looks like an excellent place to work and live and raise a family but if you have values like human rights, if you like to argue outside court room and have hope to win, you are in the wrong country, but on the positive side i have learned what it must be like for people who are discriminated against , what it is like to be a second class citizen and what it must be like to be looked down at, and it made more sensitive to the suffering of people who have no possibility to return to their homeland and yes, i am not forgetting the Palestinians in my prayers, they would gain more support from me if they had chosen nonviolence ,as much as i would like to admit i would like to see an improvement in their lives and that they could move freely about, the constant choice of violence makes me question whether i could show empathy towards people who do not show empathy towards me, but for nonviolent individuals i can only feel for each and one of them , i feel what it is like to be stopped by the police, armed police, and questioned for an hour but the difference between Swiss and Israeli police is that the Israeli press reports abuse, and in any case the Israeli police is on high alert because of constant terror threats, in Switzerland the police is obviously bored when it picks on a middle aged mother with a small dog . It is a sad statement about priorities and says a lot to a lack of ability to go after real threats and perhaps help their neighbours in France and Germany ,in the latest terror attack the terrorist moved through Switzerland to and from Italy, so if the Swiss police had their priorities better and had done a better job , maybe they could have prevented the last terror attack and who knows how many more , since Switzerland is right there in the middle, and if the police are untrained in knowing the difference between a real threat and a sadistic past time or attempts to milk naive foreigners residents for money through absurd fines for barking dogs, we can not really say Switzerland will be safe for long , and its lack of professionalism does influence the safety of its neighbouring lands, but this lack of regard to others , is another reason why i find life in switzerland beyond chocolate, bitter.
These past 20 years have been very rough, and it did not help me that i concluded i do not have a supportive community made up of my ethnic group, i was very much on my own but that definitely made me stronger in the long run, helped solidify my values and appreciate the kind people along the way who took time to encourage, advice, or just listen without judging.
I appreciate kindness and hopefully can offer it more now that i know what it feels like to hear unkind comments and to be treated unfairly by people in positions to do so , so out of these negative experiences will come a positive outcome, and the most important that i must learn not to listen to every comment made, but focus on the goals, and on the practice of remaining positive and open to possibility of acts of kindness because there are good people out there everywhere and kindness is a human trait just as cruelty is, and if we wish and think and focus on the kindness, we will find that positivity also outside of ourselves, and lets rewards those baby steps, every good thought counts!!!