Wow, it’s been one month already. Looking back on my pre-move post I see a bunch of stuff that was correct and a bunch that was off, at least so far. So let’s dive in with the good & the bad.
- We’re all here, doing okay, starting to get involved in life here.
- We have solved our connectivity issues so we can Skype with family and friends at home. For those who haven’t tried Skype, it’s invaluable. We chat every night or two and it really helps bridge the gap. It’s not the same obviously but it helps.
- Outdoors. Getting outside is easy with lots of walking. Getting farther afield is just a few train rides away. We like taking trains and it works very well for us. We have a loaner car and it’s been parked for 2 weeks now.
- I’ve lost a little weight. No idea how much since we have no scale but at least a belt buckle.
- Job is good, nice people, nice office, good to learn a ton of new stuff.
- Trip to Barcelona broke up the time for me, Susan might have a different opinion.
It’s not always great, the move has been tough at times. One thing that has caught me off-guard is how living in a temporary apartment feels so transitory it bleeds into everything else. You don’t want to get a doctor or dentist or barber since you know you will be moving. This leads us to the biggest downers since moving.
We have found several apartments but so do other people. We know in one case we didn’t get the place because we have kids. The others we applied to never responded at all; we knew there were tons of applicants. This is a tough market, we knew that coming in, but we’ve never really experienced this before.
Update 23 Dec: yeah! we found an apartment. It’s a little further out of the downtown area than we wanted but it’s big, it’s comfy, and the kids love it. Casa Steckler is now open for visitors!
Coming from a region which is now smoke-free this is a tough adjustment. Many restaurants are okay; you can smell the smoke but it’s not bad. Some places are thick with smoke though and often standing around waiting for trams and trains is an exercise in learning which way the wind blows. I had forgotten what it was like to come home from a bar and need to wash all of your clothes and take a shower.
According to one survey I read 2/3 of the Swiss would like to move to a smoke-free public environment. It is something of an oddity that a country which is so concerned about health in general would have such a high rate of smoking. From what we have heard a few years ago a smoking ban would have been inconceivable but now apparently some people are talking about it.
As a guest here of course I have no say in the matter. Even when the initiative was being voted on in Washington I abstained since I was torn between a public policy “good” around smoking, second-hand smoke, etc. vs. a public “bad” of taking away a person’s rights. I will continue to do here what I did there and then; vote with my feet and dollars francs.There is a list of smoke-free restaurants we are trying to use. It’s pretty limited (Migras and Starbucks figure prominently) but we are willing to keep trying and will spend money in those places.
Good month. Homesick at times. Not taking German classes more seriously was a mistake (yes, everyone speaks English but sometimes you want to go with the flow).
Next month we hope to find an apartment and get settled. We need to tackle Christmas. We need to get our gear shipped over. We need to start traveling again (which we will do once our permanent visas come in and we can leave Switzerland).