SnoWest Forums – Anatomy of a Windstorm; Washington State Ferry System in ActionWell this has nothing to do with our move to Zürich but it’s cool nonetheless. This happened during the last windstorm, the day we left Seattle. Wow, imagine being on that ferry.
Our goal today was to get out of town and see some nature. A colleague mentioned taking the tour to Rigi , a mountain southwest of Zurich. We got something of a late start. We got a package deal at the ticket office at the Hauptbahnhof.
Here is a shot of us on the train.
After hiking around Rigi we took a cable car down to Weggis, then by boat to Lucerne. Lucerne was a pretty town but by the time we got there we were all too tired and hungry to see much of it. We also didn’t know when the train to Zürich was leaving. We headed to the train station and discovered that, uh oh, the last train for hours was leaving in fifteen minutes. We had hungry, whiny kids (and a hungry, whiny dad) so we grabbed some sandwiches and hopped on the train.We stopped by the Migros in the Bahnhof. Grocery stores close at irregular hours here and on Saturday they seem to close early. Thankfully the shops under the train station (Rail City) are open a little later and on Sundays too in a pinch. We grabbed some food and headed for home. It was nice by the way to talk with Mom and Bill & Sharon via Skype. We don’t have the video working yet but voice is nice.Tomorrow we are taking a lazy day. We plan to head to the park for a while. Then we will take a tram south to Wollishoffen, a neighborhood we are interested in perhaps.
My friend Scott was inspired recently to figure out a way to simply say “thank you” to all the vets out there. This isn’t a political statement either for or against the current war. It’s just a way of saying thanks to all the people who do put their lives on the line.So he created The Gratitude Campaign . Nice work Scotty. Instead of sitting back and puzzling, you did something. I hope it takes off!
In all fairness I have to say this is written after we moved. Nonetheless the idea for this post came before we moved and I have been thinking a lot about it. Many people asked us how we thought things would go. Someone suggested we write it down and laugh about it years later. So here goes, the list of things I think will happen while we are here:
- The flight and actual settling in will go smoothly. We hired someone to help us with this and simple things like food and shelter should be okay.
- We will struggle with the language. Not German since we plan on taking courses but with Swiss German, the dialect here. We can take courses later in Swiss German but I noticed on my visit in March that I just couldn’t understand a blessed thing.
- The kids will do fine in school early on and then struggle a little down the road. In other words I suspect when things are new and they are being treated as “special” that things will be fine. When the newness has worn off, I think things will get hard. Other parents have told us to expect crying jags at the end of each school day.
- I will miss the social structure I had. When I want to go out for a pint, or go to dinner, or whatever it will be odd. This would be true with any move of course but more so since we have the language barrier.
- I suspect Susan will find a social network much more quickly than I will.
- I will struggle with jet-lag the longest (note: this so far has not been true, this has been an easy transition thus far).
- We went into this with armor of sorts: it will be different and that’s not only okay it’s one of the reasons we moved. We’re trying to convince the kids of this too. At some point this armor will break apart and we will be sorely homesick for some period of time.
- Things will cost more than I think they will.
- Our overall lifestyle will be healthier. With walking much more and the high cost of eating out I suspect we will eat in, have quiet evenings at home, etc. I’m sure as we get more familiar with the landscape we will be able to find cool things to do but overall I suspect a healthier lifestyle.
That’s a start. I’m sure there are more thoughts than this. In my dreams I always think about skiing a ton and being outside a lot. We will definitely wind up outside as the apartments will be tiny. The boys will need to be outside just to work off their energy.
Okay, now the reality is setting in for everyone. I am working full time which is nice. Today we took the kids to school. They are attending a DfF (Deutsch fur Fremdsprachige) class, i.e. a class for people who don’t speak German. The building itself is imposing. I’ll post pictures at some point, but in the US you’d house a federal court or state office there. Very nice.The classroom itself was bright with lots of colors. The kids’ desks are all arranged so they can see one another. The teacher, Mrs. Rufo was very pleasant. She speaks English but will only do so in case of an emergency. Otherwise the class is 100% German. We saw her interact with several other kids and she was patient and kind. I hope that happens when we are out of the classroom too:-)Susan stayed behind to watch for a while and get the schedule straight. It looks like they get 1:45 for lunch which is nice. They will also do PE twice a week and one day of swimming each week. This morning the class was empty for the first as the kids go to mandatory “sewing and knitting” once per week and “wood working” another day. That is kind of cool, I suspect both kids will like those courses once they get enough German to understand the directions.Susan will have a full report later today and no doubt the kids will have much to say as well. Today is a half-day for them, tomorrow is a full-day.
I slept really well Days 1 & 2. I didn’t sleep well on Day 3. Last night (sort of the start of Day 4) I slept very well again. There have been several differences in all of those days so I cannot pin this down to any one thing, yet. However one thing of note is that Days 1,2, and 4 I took a single melatonin tablet before bed.I know research is mixed on this stuff. Some people swear by it to overcome jet lag, others see no effect. As someone who is apparently immune to Ambien you’d think it wouldn’t make a difference. And maybe it doesn’t. But I slept really well last night, crashing at around 9:30, waking briefly around 2 as the kids climbed into bed, then waking again at 6. Nice.What’s on deck today:
- 2nd day in the office. We have a crunch piece of work to get done. That actually feels nice
- Cell phones. We understand that until we get a permanent apartment and my work visa we will only get prepaid SIM cards. Oh well.
- Apartments. We are meeting to look at apartments from 4-6. Or rather Susan is while I watch the kids. I could also look at apartments but
- I am less picky about certain things like light, flowers, parks, etc.
- Susan has a much better idea of what I do care bout, e.g. secure bike parking, proximity to groceries, nearness to pubs, good running /cycling routes.
Other than that it will be a bit more grocery shopping. It seems like we are picking up a single basket of food each day and just slowly starting our collection. You know the drill. For instance we have no rosemary so I cannot make rosemary red potatoes. Okay, so today maybe I get rosemary & potatoes and a small chicken (prices for meat here are sky-high) for a nice roast tonight.We are doing a decent job of eating in although we’ll get better. So far breakfast has always been eaten in. Lunch once, dinner once. Last night we had take-out food which was pretty good. K and I liked our burgers but apparently L doesn’t like spicy tomato-something Indian hot/spicy sauce on his.
One new thing for us is that we cannot “read” the weather. We don’t know where rain comes from or wind. We don’t have any sense of what the weather will bring. It turns out that the forecasters don’t either (which makes it just like Seattle!). We have Weather Underground predicting partly cloudy. Then we have WeatherZurich predicting a few degrees colder and snow mixed with rain. And we have the BBC predicting “sunny intervals” a phrase I have never seen before having lived in the Puget Sound region most of my life.So which is correct? Who knows, it will take a while to figure this out and also to just look out the window and get a sense.Today is our first weekday in Zürich. It’s definitely noisier in the morning which is kind of a relief. Susan went out for a brief run, I am heading out next. Then we will get ready and walk to the kids’ school and perhaps I will head into the office for a time. Goals for today seem pretty simple:
- Start apartment hunting
- Get a SIM card and calling plan so Susan has a cell phone
- Find the post office and get that working
- Buy another electric adapter so we can plug in more than one thing at a time.
We’ll see how all this goes. Tomorrow the apartment hunting really cranks up and I will definitely go to the office.Update: we went down to Sihlcity, the big shopping mall here. K needs a new coat. L could use a new sweater. After that I went to work. Wow, it’s like a startup! I worked for a few hours this afternoon and it was fun albeit a little tiring since it’s been so long:-)I walked to the apartment from the office. It took about thirty minutes although it could have been a lot less had I not got lost for a short time. Nice to know I can always walk in less time than many people I know commute via car in Seattle. Next time for my big adventure I will figure out a way to shorten the commute via the tram. And sooner or later I will get a bike and tackle the commute that way.