I just got back from the InterNations networking event at a bar in downtown Zurich. InterNations, as the name would imply, is about bringing together professional folk from around the globe. Tonight was their 5 year anniversary party, and, let me tell you, it was more of a celebration than a meet-n-greet type event. Yes, we all were wearing name tags with our country of allegiance shown in tiny flag form to help facilitate chatting, I would imagine, but the disco ball was a-spinning and the music was a-blaring, so it was quite difficult to maintain a conversation with even the person standing right next to you. In order to hear and be heard, a cluster of us stood up by the exit where the speakers' reach was less intense. That being said, one woman, S., from Ireland marched on over to the DJ booth to ask if he/she could turn the throbbing mess down a tad. Turned out that the booth was unmanned. Bummer. Well, at least we had our perch by the door.
I began chatting with a lovely woman, K., also from the US. She was gregarious and friendly with a trace of East Coast about her English. I told her that I thought she looked like Debra Winger. She didn't know who that was, and I thought, at 53, K. must have seen the films Urban Cowboy and An Officer and A Gentleman. No, she hadn't. She told me that she's missed a lot. She came over from the US in 1981. Even so, she said, she feels American and not Swiss.
Another USAer, P., with dapper jacket and cane, also seemed as American as they come. P. came over to Switzerland 53 years ago from Chicago. He told me that he feels like a citizen of the world and called himself a 'cosmopolitan'.
I don't know why, but I found it intriguing that both K. and P. have been able to maintain their 'American-ness'. Their English didn't seem to be inflected in any way. They sounded like me. Both their manner and their humor seemed so familiar. How could those sorts of characteristics not dampen over the decades? Mind you, I didn't pry that much into their lives. I don't know if they had married Swiss or American. I don't know if they receive a lot of visitors from back home, or if they themselves visit the US regularly.
It's interesting to note that amid the 'fondue and fendant' there's a bit of 'mom and apple pie' here, too.