Before we moved to Switzerland, we spent a lot of time on the Internet searching and figuring out how things work here. Of course, “Uncle Google” isn’t omniscient, and some things you have to figure out for yourself and find them when you lived here.
One of the things no one tells you before is, that everything here in Switzerland has its own rules. Really, everything! Don’t you believe me? So read further to find out, that even doing your laundry has its own rules. And stop tapping your forehead, I´m serious! Just to repeat, we live in a country, where the sense of rules and order have local people literally in their blood. So how does it actually work with doing laundry?
If you don’t live in your own house, there is a room in the basement of your apartment building called “Waschküche” – literally “washing kitchen”, simply just laundry room. Here you find one or more washing machines (depending on how many housing units are in the house), tumbler and usually a drying room. I don’t know who and why had implemented this method of laundering in Switzerland. Maybe it could´ve been meant as a place of neighbors encounters? Who knows?
But I probably don’t have to emphasize that at first, I was quite afraid of this system. I couldn’t imagine that I would have to run up and down with a basket full of dirty laundry. What if my underwear slips away somewhere along the way?! What if the kids come dirty from children’s playground, the washing machine will be busy all day and they won´t have anything to wear the next day in kindergarten? These and other worries were running through my head.
They have multiplied, when I found out that for every washing one should write down in the “laundry plan.” To let the other tenants know when is the washing machine busy. Fortunately, we have been told that this is not entirely necessary in our apartment building. However, the caretaker recommended me that as a housewife, I´d rather do my laundry during the weekdays, preferably before other tenants come from work. Because they usually do their laundry at evenings or on weekends. Strictly speaking: on Saturdays. Because in Switzerland, Sunday is generally “day off” – even shops are closed here (with a few exceptions such as small local bakeries or petrol stations).
That can one who´s just moved from Prague, where you can get fresh pastry even on Sunday midnight, hardly imagine. On the other hand, it reminds me a bit of good ol´days of my childhood – shops used to be closed too on Sundays. If you ran out of an ingredient necessary for Sunday cake, you simply rang the neighbors and asked for it. Yeah, those were the days, remember?
But back to doing laundry. I’m not saying that I fully happy with this system – I got angry a couple of times when I´d found out that the washing machine had been busy on “my” washing day and I had just three batches ready to wash (I think moms understand what an inconvenience it is!). But it’s nothing one wouldn’t get used to. It´s only one of many experiences, of which one is richer by living in another country. And it makes living in Switzerland so nice.