Why My Appliances Fit in Barbie’s Dream House

Switzerland is one of the smallest, but most densely populated countries in Europe.  It has a population of approximately 7.3 million, with 173 people per square kilometer.  Here, space is at a premium.  In all other European countries, appliances are 60 centimeters wide. Here, they are 55 centimeters wide.  Why?  Space. There is a lack of it.

When we were looking for apartments, I noticed all the elevators were the same (tiny) size. This appears to be a pretty standard size that is just large enough to fit appliances in one at a time.  Our kitchen is packed like the blocks from a game of Tetris, but it all fits. We are lucky to even have appliances like a dishwasher, oven, washing machine and dryer.

They are also smaller than we were used to in the US and only hold about a half to a third of what our washer in the US did.  It also takes a bit longer to wash and dry a load here, clocking in at about 4 hours. The result, we wear things a little more before throwing them in the wash.

By the way, everything seems larger in the US.  Check out the size of the US toilet paper roll compared to the Swiss role.

Les Incompetents Vol.1 – The Alarm on the Stove

I’ve decided to start a new, unfortunately all too regular, type of post called “Les Incompetents”.   No translation necessary.
This is our stove. It looks pretty straightforward, right?  Nope.  It is my nemesis.  Our first night here, it began beeping loudly at midnight. I pressed every button on it trying to make it stop and it finally did.  Unfortunately, it started again at 1:00 a.m. just after I’d fallen back to sleep.  There was more button pushing and some cursing (bilingual in both French and English) this time.
He wanted to unplug it.  As you can see, it is built in.  Since his first day of work was the next day, I think he was seriously considering ripping it out of the wall.At 2:00 a.m., the beeping started again! At that point, there was nothing else to do but sit down and read the instruction manual.  I had been trying to avoid this because it is only in French and well, it didn’t exactly look like a good time.  desperate times call for desperate measures.  I spent the first night in our apartment on the kitchen floor reading our oven’s instruction manual in French.  I succeeded in stopping the beeping that night and have been hesitant to use the oven ever since.  I fear that pressing too many buttons may restart things. Les incompetents!