Grüezi mitenand, alli Billette vorwiise biitte!
For too long in Switzerland, I was used to this on the trains. A regular refrain from the conductor, it simply meant nothing more than they were checking up on tickets and passes — to make sure no-one gets a free ride, exactly as the law would require.
My trek and story with Switzerland has been unlike any other story you might have bumped into. For the first twelve years after landing in Zürich, I was an Ausländer, a foreigner, a Chinese citizen. I had to get a visa to get in — granted, as dad had a job in a Swiss company, and mom joined him in the country. Then I had a B Permit, a residence permit which had to be renewed every year, as we settled in Opfikon, just by Zürich Airport.
Sometime in the 1990s, for reasons I would much more relate to being a happy student in Swiss-German class in school, this became a Swiss Green Card, or a C Permit. The deal: you’re allowed to stay in the country forever — as long as you don’t desert it for over two years in a row. Twelve years in Switzerland meant that I was eligible for a Swiss passport. ▶