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Old 21.01.2013, 10:53
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Recollections of first days in Switzerland - share your experiences

Somehow, it is coming up to my fourth year in Switzerland and it made me think of the first day that I landed here in Switzerland.

I'd been to Switzerland before both for skiing and for my interview, so it was no problem for me to get to Schaffhausen with a couple of suitcases. Luckily, a fellow Brit had joined the company 3 months prior to me and so she was able to meet me at the train station and show me where my temporary flat would be.

It was small, dark and there were only a few places in the roof flat where i could stand fully upright in, but at least it was a start.

The crappy TV had all of 4 channels in German (little did I know that my 3 months there would be the most German I would learn in my first few years).

I still remember how eerily quiet the whole place was and the mind-crushing boredom i experienced the next day (my first Sunday). it was also my first (and not last) day without food as i didn't know at the time that there was a shop at the station which was open out of hours.

thankfully, a month later, my (then) gf came to visit me which was part visit, part humanitarian relief effort which brought further much needed supplies.

busy work kept me out of trouble for the first few months and the summer was so wonderful, i felt like i was on holiday all the time. a few months later, i found a lovely flat and my gf moved over too and all was set.

things went horribly pear-shaped a short while after, but that's another story. but my first few months in switzerland gave me some great memories.
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Last edited by Phil_MCR; 21.01.2013 at 12:35.
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Old 21.01.2013, 12:05
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Re: First day in Switzerland - share your experiences

Completed one year in Switzerland and that first day looks like it was just yesterday. Landed at the airport with 6 bags and a 4 year old with no taxi guy agreeing to accommodate the bags. Absolutely no knowledge of German and too scared to leave the bags and the kid to go and ask inside the airport for some help. Finally after about an hour of standing in the freezing cold, a taxi driver took pity and agreed to take us to Neunhof which was where the temp accommodation was. The GPS could not locate the building and lost another 1/2 hour (plus the taxi charge). Didn't have more money to pay the taxi so got down and then searched for the apartment and after another 1/2 hr found it. There was not a soul in sight on a mid-afternoon to even ask for the address. Finally moved the bags in and made some lunch (fortunately had carried some supplies thanks to the 4 year old). The next one month was scarier with house hunt, day care hunt, job hunt (trailing spouse) and many other things!

But Yay!! Seen the tough first year through and yes we are happier than that first day in Switzerland
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Old 21.01.2013, 12:10
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Re: First day in Switzerland - share your experiences

I can't remember that far back , except that my company flew me business class because economy was full, and I had a room at the Hotel Central in Düdingen until my flat was sorted.
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Old 21.01.2013, 12:18
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Re: First day in Switzerland - share your experiences

The first time I came to CH (not the time when i moved here) I was having breakfast on a terrace overlooking lake Zug, on a beautiful summer sunny day, with a spectacular backdrop of snowy mountains, when I saw...a fox! I was 25 at the time and had never seen a live fox in my life. Add to that the fact that it seemed quite domesticated, minding its business just a few meters away from me and I was sold on this magical land of crystal-clear lakes and snow peaked mountains where humans and wild animals live in harmony
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Old 21.01.2013, 12:32
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Re: First day in Switzerland - share your experiences

January two, two thousand and six, arrived from Denmark and got off the train in Herrbrugg (SG) with a rucksack and a tent. Things went downhill from there.
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Old 21.01.2013, 12:41
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Re: Recollections of first days in Switzerland - share your experiences

October 22, 1999.

Drove up(/down?) from Calais in a rented Renault Espace filled to the may with all my worldly posessions and my girlfriend of some 4 months keeping me company.

Border guard: "what's all this in your car"
Me: "moving to CH for a new job"
BG: "but you need valuation papers for moving all this...! Anything new?"
Me: ""*
BG: "OK, go through..."

Some 13 years later, girlfriend is now wife, with kids and mortgage.

*thinking - if only there was an English-speaking forum on which to get experiences... Some of us had to learn and do it all on our own.
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Old 21.01.2013, 13:00
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Re: Recollections of first days in Switzerland - share your experiences

All I can remember is a middle aged Swiss guy with glasses, welcoming me at the airport, with open arms ...... I think his name was Christoph something.

How times have changed.
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Old 21.01.2013, 13:01
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Re: Recollections of first days in Switzerland - share your experiences

I first came to Switzerland as a child for a family holidays, then with my hubby to be for a holiday, then hubby got a job in Baden in 1999.
I stayed in the UK working, visiting hubby here once a month, so my first experiences were all.. yeah, I'm on holiday!
I moved here permanently in 2007, my first day here was my birthday, and as a treat hubby bought me a visit to the tigers in Zurich zoo. Have any of you ever been up close and personal with a tiger? (I actually touched hs foot through the bars).. Wow!
The next few days I spent in tears, or close to tears as I was missing my family, I booked a flight back home, stayed with my sister for a week, flew back here, and haven't looked back since.
I am a happy Hausfrau, after 27 years of working full time, and love it!!
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Old 21.01.2013, 13:01
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Re: Recollections of first days in Switzerland - share your experiences

This was for the first day of living here...not visiting:

I remember vividly: I was picked up from the airport by wife (who I had not seen since the summer), drove to new home, petted the cats, took a shower, went to swisscom for a phone, went to migros for groceries, installed skype on phone, ate dinner, had libations, then performed the horizontal mambo till the next day.

simple really. Surely my story is common though.
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Old 21.01.2013, 13:03
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Re: Recollections of first days in Switzerland - share your experiences

End of April 2011 - the hotel in an Aaragauer sleepy village just left an envelope with the key at the entrance area... All nearby restaurants - Ruhetag.
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Old 21.01.2013, 13:14
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Re: Recollections of first days in Switzerland - share your experiences

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This was for the first day of living here...not visiting:

I remember vividly: I was picked up from the airport by wife (who I had not seen since the summer), drove to new home, petted the cats, took a shower, went to swisscom for a phone, went to migros for groceries, installed skype on phone, ate dinner, had libations, then performed the horizontal mambo till the next day.

simple really. Surely my story is common though.
Really? I'd just have had sex all day. None of this cats, shower, swisscom, groceries and mambo crap...
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Old 21.01.2013, 14:24
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Re: Recollections of first days in Switzerland - share your experiences

Horizontal mumbo-jumbo.
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Old 21.01.2013, 15:18
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Re: Recollections of first days in Switzerland - share your experiences

hung over from the wedding party in Berlin of a friend that also turned into my farewell party i hit goldau via zurich airport on a sleepy sunday afternoon. 2 suitcases with me, i moved into my GFs parents house in goldau. next day i jumped on a bus to schwyz for my paper work. next day i drove to zurich to try to find my own apartment, that was done by the very next saturday. following monday (one week after i came here) i started working.
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Old 21.01.2013, 15:28
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Re: Recollections of first days in Switzerland - share your experiences

Train from airport to Zuri HB, tram to Letzipark to flat.

Got off at the wrong stop, eventually walked for 30 minutes in TORRENTIAL rain dragging a heavy suitcase. After 5 minutes I realised my coat was not waterproof, a few minutes later came to the same conclusion about my shoes.
That was about 18 years ago
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Old 21.01.2013, 15:29
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Re: Recollections of first days in Switzerland - share your experiences

Arrived at the airport in the dark with 3 kids and 1 dog - taken to a fab hotel for the night - only for hubby to wake up the next morning with his face and eyes totally swollen after being eaten by mosquitos all night.
Then getting a cab to go to where he was working and getting totally done on the price.
But the next day was 1st Aug and after settling into our new home we had a great night eating and drinking with our new neighbours
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Old 21.01.2013, 15:32
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Re: Recollections of first days in Switzerland - share your experiences

I ditched the razor.
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Old 21.01.2013, 15:39
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Re: Recollections of first days in Switzerland - share your experiences

First day I landed, but didn't move here, was quite an interesting experience. I had not even been to Europe before.

We flew into Basel and went through immigration and customs on the Swiss side. Walked around somewhere in the airport so we could go through immigration into France. This was back in the days when there were still controls at the borders. Rented a car in France. Drove it off airport grounds and re-immigrated into CH. Took backroads to our destination since we didn't have the highway sticker and didn't want to pay for it for a short visit.

It was summer and absolutely gorgeous. Drove all over the place and hit many of the touristy spots. Took tons of pictures. Met the future in-laws. On the way back: drove into France, returned the car, re-immigrated to CH and flew home.

It was a memorable and fun trip. Little did I know I'd be married to the same guy and living here several years later!
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Old 21.01.2013, 15:40
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Re: Recollections of first days in Switzerland - share your experiences

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as a treat hubby bought me a visit to the tigers in Zurich zoo. Have any of you ever been up close and personal with a tiger? (I actually touched hs foot through the bars).. Wow!
seriously? isn't that like totally nutjob? albeit hella impressive.

i arrived by plane when it was foggy and so the first thing i saw was the amazing, dazzling watch ads all over the airport. you can stick your GMT you know where - the world's default setting should be Swiss Watch Standard time.
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Old 21.01.2013, 16:02
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Re: Recollections of first days in Switzerland - share your experiences

Stumbling out of what seemed like a maze to the upper levels of Earth, I stood, on the now known wrong side of the Zurich HB, two suitcases and a backpack looking at a google map I had printed prior to my arrival on the land of cows and cheese. I had only landed a couple of hours ago, and was very disappointed I had not yet seen any cheese, and the closest I had come to a Swiss cow was the moooooo on the connecting shuttle at the airport, oh and the miserable so and so at the SBB ticket counter.

My location was not making much sense, I-phone I did not have.

Ahhhh look, I said to myself as I lifted my head from the piece of paper, a passerby. “Excuse me”….i reached out, causing the person to hurry past, looking straight ahead, ignoring my whimpy attempt at interaction and guidance. Oooo look, another, surely more helpful person is coming, “Excuse me, do you speak English…….?” I tried, again,……….”NO” I bluntly received back. Ahhh, I see this is going to be a do it yourself scenario I said to myself, bloody Germans I muttered.

So I started wheeling around and eventually found my office, not far from the HB and was greeted and welcomed to my new office environment and handed 1,000CHF in cash, “to get you started” I was told. Lovely. Onwards to collect my apartment keys and check out the new pad……….wrong. Your apartment is not ready, you will be staying in this hotel for two weeks…….it comes with all mod cons of a fan to keep the ridiculous heat down, a TV from the first line of televisions made, screen size similar to modern day ipod, but 1000 times bulkier and a lot of noise from the reconstruction being done on the floor. Ahhhh, so spoilt.

An evening with CNN soon got underway, and I set about on Google looking up about what I can do. My office colleagues were still on their holidays in the most part, and all attempts at a first day drink with those present were ushered away on the basis it was a school night after all. So after scrolling through the location of the lake, and the Zoo, and closest ski resorts, and when I can ski and oooo look, theres a thing called Zuri Fest coming up, that should be cool, I stumbled across the must see Langstrasse area to check out.

This area was not far from me, and I had heard of it before, so, knowing it would possibly compare with one of my other favourite cities, Amsterdam, for its life and soul, headed off into the night to find this infamous area. Before long, I was suddenly noticing that Switzerland does have non-white people living in the country and they seem to live here in large numbers. Suddenly I was feeling more at home from the London I had just departed. As I wondered through the streets, listening to music being played aloud and the general hustle and bustle of the more atmospheric side of town, I caught eyes with a Rastafarian looking man, dreadlocked and a big smile. He gave me only what I can describe as “The Look”. “The Look”, for those not familiar with it, is the look of, “how can I help you lost foreigner? Can I interest you in a selection of non-standard chemist items?”. Followed by mutterings of, “Coooca, eeeekkkks-ta-sea, marriage-jew-anna”.

I paused, pondered, about to walk away and then it dawned on me. The Xbox is not working on this excuse of a TV in the hotel, and CNN was the most entertaining thing on TV, ahhhh sod it, lets have a smoke. So, I requested this kind fellow tell me more about the last item on the list. A short while later, whilst waiting at a nearby bar watching a 2010 World Cup game, the gentleman sat down beside me placing something in my pocket. A little analysis proved this bore comparisons of what I had previously been advised was the substance I had desired at this point, and I exchanged a green note to the fellow. I bought him a beer, and he kindly offered to venture off to the nearest kiosk to get some additional supplies I might need to go with his product, which he paid for himself nicely enough.

Whilst he was gone, a young Indian looking woman sat down at the table. As the bar was full and concentrated on the football, I had not seen this as an attempt at starting conversation. However, I was asked whether I wanted to buy her a drink. No thanks, I said, head back to the screen. “Some food?” she asked, pointing at the menu. At this point I am a bit freaked out. She does not look homeless, is she chatting me up or just starting convo, this is weird, woahh my she has big hands for a girl, and why is she wearing that scarf round her neck, it’s terribly warm and humid tonight. Hang on a minute….is that a…..Oh hi there, my Rastafarian friend is back. He has some items from the kiosk for me and quickly whispers in my eye, “Ja man, dat gurl dere aint no gurl, tis a man ya na”……………..”I KNEW IT”, I shrieked, “I was just question that myself” having noted the big hands and scarf to hide no doubt a protruding adams apple..

Well I finished my drink, thanked my helpful dude, and hurried away from the man/woman.

I slept well that night and CNN got reallllllllll crazy.
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Old 22.01.2013, 18:05
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Re: Recollections of first days in Switzerland - share your experiences

We have arrived in Zurich, it will be 2 years on the 26 January.
Landed in Zurich with 4 suitcases, with enough stuff required to live before our stuff arrived from the UK. From air bed, pots pans, pillows, clothes for 2 weeks. Our flat was only ready in 31st Jan. Between airport and taxi to hotel, one of the suitcase loses all wheels... cool...

Wonder around the city for few days, getting our bearings and registering on gemeinde, bank, etc.

House ready, move in, no furniture, as expected - house hunting in december. unpack stuff all on floor, eating on the floor, confy airbed with duvet. the day we move in our Hauswart knock´s on our doors (we didn´t spoke a word or German). other Flat on the same floor is vacant and i´m going to have to call moving company to remove all their stuff, do you want some furniture? oh yes please, we took office furniture and garden chairs worked a treat until all furniture arrived. great fun looking back, but at the time quite stressfull.

Can´t complain at all about Switzerland.... only good things to say...
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