Friday, 27 May 2011

On Switzerland: It's Ironic

"It's like rain on your wedding day / It's a bad Swiss experience when you've already praised."
- A liberally modified quote from that 90's hit 'Ironic'

So I think you all might have guessed by now that I'm generally down with Switzerland, and today was to be my post on my thoughts about the Swiss (that will come tomorrow). However, just in case anyone at home is reading my generally positive remarks, and are foaming at the mouth (because they just ate pop-rocks and chased them with cola) because they think I'm the most unrealistic asshole to not experience problems or find fault, I will shake things up for you with a little anecdote courtesy of yesterday.

To prove, I'm human too.

You're welcome.

So as I already mentioned, Dan and I have been living sans-vehicle for the past year which means I haven't had much use for a driver's licence. However, in the back of my mind I was always carrying around the knowledge that if I wanted a Swiss licence, my Canadian one had to be converted BEFORE my one year anniversary.

So naturally, three weeks ago, I decided I best be getting on that.

Then I waited another week.

Then I began the process of hunting and gathering everything I needed to accompany my licence exchange, which included having to go and get my eyes tested. Now getting my eyes tested has nothing to do with the story, but I want you all to know I have found the most marvelous glasses shop in Bern where you can make an appointment with a personal optician who will hand select frames for you based on the look you want, and what they think suits your face shape.

I would really like to make use of this service, but alas (and per my post on 'Mo Money, Why 'Mo Complaining?) I must live within the perimeter of my wage, and the first pair of frames I fell in love with as I did a walk-by-glance on my way to the eye-testing station were CHF 500.00, and that's before my awkward prescription could fill them.


I mean, DAMN. Fools. Those frames weren't made-a gold! Gold is strong, plastic's cheap! Dem pricing bitches be crazy, yo!

(Have to remember to be angry sometimes.)

So anyhow, the point is one of the things I had to do was prove to the Swiss that without my glasses I couldn't see a rocket ship if it landed 400 yards in front of me on the plains of a bald ass prairie. The vision test went fine.

Then I packed up all my required paperwork, grabbed my Canadian licence, and went to the Zulassung Fahrzeugf├╝hrer offices and handed everything over the counter; then I left and continued to keep one eye on the mailbox to await my Swiss licence and the return of my Canadian one.

So my Swiss licence came in the mail yesterday, but my Canadian one wasn't returned as promised. Wondering if perhaps they were mailing it back under separate cover, I called my Swiss to get the low-down. He said that when he switched his licence, he was pretty sure his Canadian one was returned with his Swiss one, so he did me a favour by calling the offices to find out what was going on.

Well, when Dan got home last night he was pretty pissed.

"Did they throw it away? THEY THREW IT AWAY. Oh god, I'll have to pay like $200 to the B.C. government to get a replacement licence. This is so inconvenient: my picture was rocking on that licence. I'll never pull that look off again."

"No, they didn't throw it away, they gave your Canadian licence to the police."

"What?! Am I under surveillance? Is it because one time I felt rebellious and didn't want to wash out the glass bottle of tomato sauce, so I recycled it...dirty. Why did they give it to the police?"

"They gave the licence to the police for training purposes, so they'd be able to examine its security features. What a bunch of god damn bullshit. They said they thought you wouldn't need it anymore! Just assumed! Didn't even ask if they could give your licence to the police, they just went ahead and did it. You should have heard us just ranting about it today. And I gave the person on their end an earful. God damn bureaucracies, such a bunch of--"


"Oh, yeah, wait I haven't gotten to the best part. I had to send them a formal email requesting that I wanted returned the licence that was automatically supposed to be returned. I got an email right away saying they'd get it back from the police, but you won't get it for like ten days."

"Yeah, you'll get it back--pretty sure."
"Well, this is ironic."
I mean: I be angry now! Those suckas aren't making any sense; talkin' smack, assumin' what I do and do not need, makin' me ask for what is mine. Their brains must be turnin' to jelly. I pity the fool who stands between me and my licence! 
But seriously, work with me here Switzerland. Work with me.
I'll let you know how it turns out in ten days.


M'dame Jo said...

It's supposed to be a license exchange. If it was a EU license, I'm not even sure you'd be able to get it back.

But be happy. You don't have to pass the swiss license. You have no idea how I envy you and how I wish I had lived in the US long enough to exchange mine. That's one thing I'm pissed about: if you spent a year in the US, you can just come back to CH and exchange your license. Even if you've never seen a stick-shift in your life and never heard of how swiss right-of-way work (and are thus a deadly road danger).

You're saving thousands.

(You probably should take a couple of driving lessons before hitting the road, though.)

Caitie said...

I know, I have a friend from the UK who had to take a road test, because her licence didn't qualify as an across counter exchange. Still not planning to do any driving, but it will be convenient to have.

It's just weird they didn't give me my other licence back because the lady at the counter said it was returned, and Dan got his Canadian one back without any follow-up; it was just popped in with his Swiss one with a sticker on it that said he couldn't use the Canadian licence in CH. But all different cantons seem to have different procedures, so maybe if I was in another canton it wouldn't be an option to get it back.

Dad said...

Maybe they sent it to the police so they could get your DNA sample Cait :-))

T said...

Way to go on getting your Swiss license! I can only imagine how freaked out you must have been at first when you heard they handed it over to the police before knowing it had nothing to do with you personaly! Good thing you're getting it back, I think I'd feel exposed without my license after having it for so long!

T said...
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