Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanks For Asking...

Because I asked, the one and only Dictator Princess asked me FIVE QUESTIONS. Seeing how much I love to talk about myself, I was only too happy to spend a good chunk of the morning typing away instead of doing the things on my "Things To Do" list. Well, there's always tomorrow!


1. First question is the typical expat question, but I can't resist. So, are you ever, you know, gonna "go back" to Chicagoland? Or back to the States period?

YES! The pull of Chicagoland is strong (especially in me), and we plan on going back...eventually. When? We're not sure, but our standard line is "...two more years" - although now it really seems like it's REALLY going to be about two more years. We've thought about the possibility of relocating to other places after our time in Switzerland is up, but we know that family, friends, and all things Chicago will ultimately draw us back to Chi-town. It's not like I feel I absolutely must move back to Chicago this minute, because I'm in "a good place" right now as far as living in Switzerland goes (I, fortunately, am able to get my Chicago-fix several times per year). However, back-to-Chicago-moving-day will eventually come, and it will definitely be a happy time. Sure, I'll miss my friends here, but there's no reason why I can't make trips to Switzerland to visit them.

2. You are super tall. Did you feel weird in Japan? Have you ever hit your head in a medieval chateau? Do people want to touch your head? Am I being rude? What is the rudest question anyone asked you about being tall?

Gee...that's five questions right there, isn't it?
I didn't feel weird in Japan primarily because I'm used to being stared at in Switzerland (I'm a giant among the "little" Swiss too). As a matter of fact, it seemed to me as if a lot of the Japanese made an attempt not to stare when I was looking, but I'd often feel their stare after I had passed, and I'd take a quick look back to catch them in all their staring glory. The Swiss? They just stare bullets into me all the time, and they don't seem to care that I know they're staring. I often have to shrug my shoulders at them and say "Was?".
I don't think I've ever hit my head in a chateau, but I do recall hitting my head in the catacombs in Paris. Also, I once hit my head so hard on a low ceiling at our dog's kennel (right before leaving for vacation) that I thought I had a concussion (I didn't...I think!), and I once hit my head while going down the stairs at a local liquor store while reading the Vorsicht sign and wondering what it meant (warning me of a low ceiling, that's what)...PLONK! Oh...and I've hit my head on the hand bars on the tram about a zillion times while getting out of my seat....that really smarts!
Yes, people do touch my head fairly often - usually, much to my delight, during the summer when I'm a bit sweaty. They'll touch it, give me the eeeeewww look, and then I'll tell 'em: "That'll teach ya!"
I don't really recall any rude "tall" questions, but I've had people in America who are practically strangers make semi-rude "bald" comments. Something to the effect of a person at Target saying (as I cut through the shampoo aisle): "I bet you don't need to buy anything in this aisle." To which I'll reply: "Oh...not now, but the doctor said my hair will grow back as soon as I'm done with the chemotherapy!"

3. Travel diva question: is there any route in from Switzerland where it is NOT worth it to take business class? See I can think of a train where you are actually better off in second class (one of the Lausanne commuter trains) but I must ask The Expert about planes.

Personally, I don't think it's worth flying business class on intra-Europe flights. The seats are only a little wider than economy, the flights are so short that the extra food isn't really worth it, and the meal is rushed anyway. The only time I fly in business class within Europe is if it's part of an overseas business class flight (i.e. Basel to London in conjunction with London to Chicago). Keep in mind also, that we fly on EasyJet fairly often which has no business class. I actually like EasyJet a lot, but I always try to get an exit row because of the extra legroom. No charge for the tip, but it'll cost you having to give up your exit row seat to me if you see me on an EasyJet flight and there aren't any other exit row seats available.
Also, I ALWAYS ride in First Class on the train. It's not that the seats are really that much better, but more for the fact that it's not as crowded in the First Class car. TBF needs his space!

4. Being "Finnish." You totally look like someone from Finland from a mile away BTW. You grew up in Canada and the States but you speak Finnish and go back there. Do you "feel" Finnish? Do other people look at you (other than your unfortunate stalking incident at the Basel watch show) and their Finland radar automatically goes off?

Yes, I definitely feel Finnish when I go back to Finland. I think speaking the language allows me to enjoy the dry Finnish sense of humor and little plays on words that non-Finnish speakers don't understand (even if you explain it to them in English). When I walk into a store in Helsinki, the sales people automatically begin speaking to me in Finnish. An American person will walk in right after me, and they'll begin speaking in English with him befor even hearing him speak. I guess the Finns just feel the sisu when I walk in the door.
As far as the "Finn-dar" goes, I can't think of any instances other than at the Basel Watch Show. Actually, there have been several times when Mrs. TBF and I have been traveling together, and she'll say, "...those people are DEFINITELY Finns!". I'll say no way, and then I'll get closer only to hear that they're actually speaking Finnish. So, I have to say that Mrs. TBF has a much more accurate "Finn-dar" than I do.

5. I am obsessed with other people's pets as our apartment layout right now is not conducive to cats. Which is why you and Stacey both get a cat question. Is your cat as strange in real life as he seems on your blog? Have any of your guests heard him "howl" or caught him in the act of doing something weird that you and Mrs TBF are used to by now?

King da cat is definitely one strange beast. He pretty much just sleeps for a large part of the day, so in that respect he's pretty normal. However, he definitely has his quirks. For example: he is now only wanting to drink water out of the "saucers" that catch the water under our houseplants. The water under our jasmine plant seems to be a particular favorite of his. However, Christmas is coming, and soon he'll have all the "sap" water he can handle.
Let's see...what else? Oh yeah...he likes to touch peoples' nipples. That's right! If you sit on our sofa, he'll eventually sit next to you, reach up, and tap your nipple. For whatever reason, he seems to be more fond of mens' nipples.
Oh...and of course, the howling. This is almost always in combination with him carrying one of his many toys around the apartment. We always have to warn overnight guests about him because....well...he's really, REALLY loud, and we worry about them being freaked out. Or, worse yet, having them think it's US making all that noise. So, yes, people have witnessed (audibly) him walking around at night howling. As a matter of fact, this past summer, my mom's cousin from Finland - Jorma - actually heard King howling in the middle of the night, walked out of our guest room to investigate, and then went back to bed when he heard me loud-whispering: "Shut the hell up, ya freak!"

Do you want me to ask you 5+ questions? Just ask in the comments, and I'll try to come up with something. Sometimes TBF just gotta know!


CanadianSwiss said...

LOL! Love your answer back to the bald comment! I've never asked to touch your head, though. If I ever do, I'll make sure it's on a cold winter day.

Actually, since you know us so well, I wonder if you could come up with 5 questions for me/us.

The Big Finn said...

cs - Since there are two of you, I'll collaborate with Mrs. TBF when she gets home. Your questions will be coming up...soon!

Dixie said...

I've been looking forward to these answers and you didn't disappoint!

The Sour Kraut said...

Yes. please ask away! Not because I love to talk about myself, just because it'll give me something to blog about.